Medite SmartPly’s €59m investment in continuous press technology at its SmartPly OSB plant last year has enabled the company to manufacture a wider range of panel sizes and to enter new markets.

Product launches since the end of last year have included SmartPly FR OSB, which has been rolling off the new conti-press since October. This is a flame retardant structural OSB3 panel with European reaction to fire class C-s2,d0 and BFL –s1 performance. The panel also complies with the FR/FR Build performance requirements in accordance with the Structural Timber Association’s ‘Design guide to separating distances during construction’.

“Zeroignition Solution, a water-based eco-friendly fire retardant is added during panel processing, ensuring fire performance whilst maintaining structural integrity,” said Stuart Devoil, Medite SmartPly’s head of marketing and brand.

“The addition of the ZI fire retardant during the manufacturing process ensures that the OSB3 panel quality is maintained to EN30.

“This means that SmartPly Flame Retardant OSB3 panels are CE marked at the source of manufacture and stay certified regardless of if they are cut, fixed or machined.” One of the other key features of the new board is its flexibility in size – it can be produced in a range of panel sizes from 2.4- 7.5m long. “This makes it perfect for offsite construction or use in modular building,” said Mr Devoil.

He added that the target market was roofing, flooring and wall sheathing applications where strength, moisture resistance and flame retardance were paramount and reported that it had already been used in a number of “high profile” projects.

Norbord has also launched a new OSB product – SterlingOSB StrongFix. The new panel is aimed at both domestic and commercial markets and has been designed to strengthen and provide secure anchorage areas for weighty fixtures and fittings– such as cabinets, radiators, wash basins and railings – in metal C-stud dry lining applications.

SterlingOSB StrongFix is said to be easy to fit and is precision-engineered to fit metal C-stud wall with 600mm centres. A continuous recess down one side allows quick installation and ensures a seamless finish, ready for hanging plasterboard without adding extra thickness to the stud wall. “In accordance with the requirements of BS5234 Part 2 it achieves excellent pull-out ratings and is capable of supporting heavy weights of up to 400kg with standard wood screws,” said the company.

There’s a new range of plywood on the scene this year thanks to James Latham’s exclusive UK distributor deal for Garnica’s poplar plywood.

The Spanish manufacturer’s poplar plywood is available as both PEFC and FSC certified and is the result of Garnica investing more than €30m in developing its product offering in recent years.

“I can already see lots of opportunities within markets and applications where plywood may have been previously discounted or not even considered because of concerns over either the quality of the product, the price or the provenance,” said Lathams director, Andrew Wright.

The company went on the say that the poplar plywood has “a superior surface quality”, is strong, stable and easy to machine. Its light weight makes it suitable for interior and exterior applications including the manufacture of furniture, caravans, partitions, speakers, boat building and exhibition stands.

The range comprises seven different product “families” and initially James Latham will focus on four of these – Efficiency Poplar, Duraply, Fireshield and Elegance Birch.

Efficiency Poplar is a plywood in which both the core and faces are made from poplar; Duraply incorporates a ply-toply treatment making it fungi and insect resistant; Fireshield has been modified through a ply-to-ply process to give it flame retardant properties, which remain intact when working or sanding the panel: and Elegance Birch is a poplar panel with a birch veneer to the face and back.

Kronospan has a new range of designs in its latest collection – Trend 16/17 – which features 27 new decorative surfaces. The new designs are characterised into three colour palettes, Nordic, Metropolitan and Luxury and consist of 11 contemporary wood designs, six real metal designs and 10 worktops.

The Nordic palette combines light woods with natural tones and concrete; Metropolitan blends grey tones with metallic, black and graphite wood; and Luxury sees gold, copper and bronze complemented by rich tones, exotic woods and marbles.

“The Kronodesign team work tirelessly, picking up on the shifts in style and taste that feed the next trend,” said Craig Holt, marketing manager. “The challenge is not only to discover new designs but provide inspiration and possibilities which we hope can be used to create some of the world’s most stylish interiors.”

Trend 16/17 is available in MFC 2620x2070x18mm (wood designs), laminated MDF 2800x1300x18.7mm (metal designs) and laminate worktops 3050x600x38mm – all with colour matching HPL and edging.

Meanwhile, Egger has unveiled its biggest-ever portfolio of decors for the kitchen, bedroom, bathroom (KBB) sector. The company’s 2017-2019 UK and Ireland Furniture Manufacturing Collection features 170 predominantly MFC decors, 144 of which have matching laminates available from stock. The range includes 44 new designs and two new textures.

Egger reports that unicolours are becoming a dominant force in the KBB and furniture sectors. Neutral decors, such as white and grey are also widely represented while blue tones are also on trend.

The centerpiece of the collection is an expanded range of 16 Feelwood decors with deep textures and “synchronised” pore finishes. This synchronisation means that the pattern exactly matches the texture, resulting in a convincingly lifelike woodgrain effect. The company has made significant investments in edging technology and is now promoting the use of contrast edging.

Thirteen new “accent edges” are being used as a design feature, including a multiplex edge with a black core, which results in a plywood effect.

Egger’s head of décor development, Elliott Fairlie said this is the most comprehensive range the company has ever launched.

“We captured the latest design ideas from across Europe with woodgrain, unicolour, textile, metallic, concrete and ceramic décor effects, all designed to work individually or in combination,” said Mr Fairlie. “Through listening to our customers we have refined our product range to make it even more user-friendly and have moved from a five-year collection to three years.”

Mr Fairlie’s tip is that “handcrafted” style oak decors will be particularly strong over the next few years.

“Oak is enduringly popular because of the wider interior design trend for warm neutrals and its perception as a timeless classic,” said David Huggins, business development director for panel products at International Decorative Surfaces (IDS).

He added that grey “in all its shades” is currently in vogue and that this is spurring the development of woodgrains with a complementary base tone.

“Advances in print and surface technology mean that these days it is possible to have the best of both worlds when you want woodgrain finishes,” said Mr Huggins. “Laminates and MFC mirror the natural beauty and warmth of timber, yet offer the benefits of UV-resistant, hard-wearing materials that are easy to maintain. The products are also very easy to machine and work, with no need for sanding, sealing or re-sealing.”

IDS stocks Swiss Krono’s One World collection, which offers a creative choice of 253 different options and features advanced decorative printing and perfectly matched inline embossed surface textures. More than 30 woodgrain finishes in oak, ash, elm, beech, walnut, marron (sweet chestnut) and hickory are available.

Belgian veneer specialist Decospan, for whom James Latham is the UK distributor said there is a lot happening in terms of the new decors it is offering this year – some of which will be unveiled at Interzum this month.

The company’s flooring division features two main brands, Par-ky and Cabbani. Par-ky, which is marketed as “wood for the price of laminate” is a prefinished floating floor available in various dimensions, top layer species and thicknesses.

New colours have been added to the Par-ky range for this year – Deluxe+06 Rustic Ivory, Rustic Milk, Rustic Umber and Rustic Desert Oak.

Cabbani is a custom-made high-end parquet that has an HDF or birch plywood core. Customers can chose between five colour levels, from basic finishes up to reactive stains and oils. The French oak top layers are available in 2mm, 3.2mm and 5.5mm in both select and rustic quality. The Decospan panels division includes “Premium Service” and “Branded” panel products and the latter will feature updates of Querkus and Shinnoki onto the market.

“You can expect new colours, technical improvements, new visuals, new marketing tools and so on,” said Wouter Polfliet, brand manager of Decospan’s panel division, adding that all would be revealed at Interzum