It’s usually the major, pioneering product innovations that grab all the glory. And there’s nothing wrong with that. But most of the time, it’s the less high profile breakthroughs that give our customers the most satisfaction.
Applying putty to repair large wooden substrates is a classic example. Imperfections and defects that occur naturally in wood are normally repaired by hand, using putty. The putty then needs to be dried before the huge panels of wood can be turned into flooring, furniture, doors and so on. This process is slow, not always accurate and the technology used is not particularly durable.
So our Wood Finishes and Adhesives business – working together with leading manufacturers Swedwood (an IKEA company) and Tarkett – developed a new concept known as the Automatic Putty System (APS). It’s an automated system which uses scanners/cameras to detect imperfections, robots for application and a special APS machine to push down, smooth out and cure the putty, which is supplied by AkzoNobel.
This new patented process brings major benefits to the customer as it requires fewer people, offers increased quality due to the use of our UV curing putty, results in higher productivity and efficiency and is more accurate and consistent. Tarkett is running one line in Hanaskog in Sweden, while Swedwood is using the system to produce spruce and pine furniture for IKEA.
The putty system also provides benefits in terms of sustainability. For example, because our customers are able to transform defective or poor quality wood into usable wood, it means there is less waste, so fewer trees are being harvested.