The worldwide demand for valuable floor covering with parquet has been increasing for some years, says Fagus GreCon.

To meet the expectations that go along with the image of a high-quality, modern and durable flooring, it is necessary that the individual components, as well as the finished products, are subject to a reliable quality control. This is a case study with GreCon's client, Scheucher.

For 99 years, wood products have been manufactured in Mettersdorf am Sassbach in Styria, Germany. Today, the company is run by the fourth generation and is known as a manufacturer of high quality parquet.

In 1996, Scheucher focused consistently on the production of parquet and the increased demand for high-quality flooring generated new growth opportunities for the company. Scheucher currently produces approximately two million m² of parquet per year. This quantity will be increased by 50% in the coming years.

Scheucher exclusively manufactures in Mettersdorf and Karl Kaufmann, production manager at Scheucher Parkett summarised the company's situation: "Our objective is not a cost leadership – we are famous on the market for being a flexible and reliable partner in the craft, with short reaction times".

A modern floor must meet numerous requirements, says GreCon. It must have good thermal conductivity, because an increasing number of underfloor heating systems are installed. For this purpose, it must be available with an optimised structure in different formats, colours and types of wood to offer creative freedom to the architects.

Scheucher Parkett produces in accordance with the two- and three-layer process in order to meet these requirements.

The two-layer parquet consists of a wearing surface and a supporting surface, with the wearing surface made of a quality hardwood layer and the supporting surface of local softwood or plywood.

The three-layer parquet also consists of a wearing surface and a supporting surface; a spruce wood veneer is added on the rear side and everything is made of solid wood.

Both production processes are subject to quality control. The individual components, as well as the final product, are inspected.

Preventing repair by quality control

The production of the parquet is monitored by measuring systems at different points in order to guarantee a high product quality. Scheucher says it avoids returns and complaints by pro-active quality control.

An optimal moisture of the supporting surface must be guaranteed before pressing the individual layers, so that a flawless final product is obtained. For this end, Scheucher relies on micro-wave technology.

GreCon maintains that its MM6000 VS guarantees a reliable moisture determination independently from density, thickness or colour. "The microwave moisture determination proved to be very reliable," said Mr Kaufmann.

Before the system based on microwave technology was commissioned, Scheucher worked with capacitive moisture analysis systems. "The big advantage of the microwave is the reliable determination of the moisture, independently from the bulk density, branches or the colour of the material," added Klaus Bauer, head of Scheucher Holzindustrie's Research and Development department.

In addition to the determination of the moisture of the supporting material, parquet pressed from individual layers is checked for delamination and flaws: the GreCon UPU 6000 fs is used here.

The system inspects the complete surface of the parquet board for flaws, so that bad boards can be sorted out at an early stage. Complaints, for example for a delamination of the top layer of the parquet, are avoided proactively. "Repair costs for faulty parquet boards are 100 times higher than the value of the individual board," said Mr Bauer, adding how important quality control is.

Thanks to the inspection of the parquet boards, it is possible to draw conclusions as to the quality of the supplier so that no loss of quality by weaknesses of the intermediate product slips into the final product.

The production quality has been further increased by the installation of a new press. In the course of the installation, the GreCon UPU 6000 fs changed its location: in future, inspection will take place directly behind the press, so that it is possible to inspect the boards for quality losses as early as possible. The consequence of this is that expensive and time-consuming production steps, such as grinding, cutting or filling of knotholes in faulty parquet boards, are not necessary anymore as they can be identified and fed out at an early stage.

"We have been using the UPU for about one year and are very satisfied with the quality control. For the first time we detect flaws early," said Mr Bauer.

The quality control helps Scheucher to detect gluing errors and discharge them early, so that an absolute quality product can be offered to the customer.