Decor print specialist Schattdecor generates over 50% of its value-added abroad, thus helping to safeguard its headquarters in Thansau, Germany where many services and coordination functions are handled for the whole of the worldwide group; this family-managed, mid-sized, company is a good example of how expansion abroad creates jobs at home.

What began as a series of lab-scale studies has since reached the commercial-scale production stage, with the result that this globally successful designer of furniture and flooring surfaces was able to unveil ‘digitalVisions by Schattdecor’ – as the fruits of two years of intensive development work – at the Euroshop 2011 in Düsseldorf.

Under the motto ‘Success comes from being different’, over 30 digitalVisions were put on show, bearing witness, says Schattdecor, to its design and technical capabilities in the area of digital printing.

The response was apparently very encouraging throughout the five days of the show, with visitors from architecture, shop fitting and booth design visiting the décor specialist’s 50m2 booth to find out about the possibilities of high-quality digital printing. In addition to the exhibited designs, a trend book and CD containing over 80 digitalVisions were placed on view, providing customers with an overview of designs that stand for the creative work of the surface specialist.

Architects, planners, shop fitters, booth constructors and residential and commercial interior decorators can now profit not only from Schattdecor’s design prowess, but also its digital printing resources gathered under one roof, says the company.

From the initial creative idea to technically perfect implementation on wide-format digital inkjet printers, the company offers a complete array of future-oriented digital printing skills and services for the laminate and timber products industry.

Thanks to in-depth understanding of the properties of base paper type, printing ink and digital printing technology – an approach requiring particular technical know-how – Schattdecor says it is able to produce digitally-print decors of an unusually high quality standard.

Following Euroshop, Schattdecor displayed its digitalVisions at a special section of the Cologne Interzum 2011 devoted to ‘Innovation of Interiors’ where some 30 digitalVisions were showcased. Tactile surfaces were Schattdecor’s main focus at Interzum 2011, demonstrating its mastery of surface effects which left visitors wondering whether the exhibits were real or replica.

The very natural-looking Santana Oak decor offers fine pores and attractive detailing in the form of tiny knots and elegant long cathedrals for a subtly rustic effect; Wyoming Maple decor has a very fine fibrous texture and clearly delineated planking and offers straight grain and figured sections in equal proportion; subtle pores and densely-packed growth lines contribute to the mainly straight-grain look of Armagnac Elm, while Sonoma Oak was developed in response to the demand for rough-sawn wood in a rustic 3D look.

2011 has already been a very constructive year for Schattdecor in terms of expansion.

January saw the opening of a production facility and offices at Schattdecor Inc in St Louis, Missouri.

Construction of the project had been temporarily put on hold in 2009 but was restarted with great fervour in May 2010.

Tom Drazen is the general manager of the facility and his fellow employees have gone from seven to 42 in just a few months.

The production team is being led by Klaus Allombert who has been printing at Schattdecor in Thansau since the company started 25 years ago.

His team is a blend of veteran Schattdecor printers from Germany and Poland and new employees from St Louis, most of whom have impressive printing backgrounds themselves.

Another new plant for Schattdecor is a Turkish subsidiary in Gebze, near Istanbul.

Having printed its first reel of decor in December 2010, the plant has since produced over 1,200 tonnes of the material – reason enough to mark its opening with a festive ceremony in April.

Originally a logistics centre was to be erected at the site, but Schattdecor became involved in the project before work began and was thus able to adapt the plans to its own requirements, including the possibility of earthquakes which had to be taken into consideration in the structural planning.

The resulting plant was erected in the record time of 11 months and thanks to its elevated location, offers breathtaking panoramic views of the city of Gebze and the surrounding area. In addition it also has excellent connections to Sabiha Gökcen International Airport (SAW).

The site in Gebze’s industrial site is 25,000m2. Some 16,000m2 of this total has been developed, with the production and logistics buildings accounting for 11,000m2 and office, staff and showroom space an additional 5,000m2.

Schattdecor has invested €21m in the project, which is designed to accommodate a maximum of five printing presses.

The company also acquired in 2011 two impregnation lines and a resin heating system from the Tura furniture combine in Tyumen, a city in the Russian oblast (province) of the same name and operations started work in April.

This step will enable Schattdecor to expand its melamine foil production capacity in Russia as a whole and tap further growth regions in western Siberia where Tyumen is located.

Schattdecor has had two impregnating lines in Russia since 2000, namely at its plant in Schatura, some 1700km west of Moscow, and a third one at the location in 2008.

Its new facilities in Tyumen will enable it to serve the populous areas of western Siberia further to the east.