By Melissa Donovan
Big box stores are getting in on the action when it comes to personalization and customization. Working with trusted suppliers, these companies recognize the demand for one-of-a-kind products. Customers are willing to pay more for just about anything unique.
When it comes to furnishings, whether textile-based or something more industrial—such as a table or door—digital print is one tool that can make these items standout. The technology allows for runs as low as one to be cost effectively created, while simultaneously offering a quality product that an organization can stand behind.
Cabinetry Launches into New Territory
Borne Türelemente, based in Trierweiler an der Mosel, Germany, is a family-owned company specializing in the production of doors and frames for do-it-yourself stores in Germany and other European countries. Founded in 1956, the business employs a staff of 1,100 worldwide. It owns two furniture factories in Barlinek and Gorzów, Poland. These house 500 employees that exclusively produce cabinet doors, tables, and pictures for Swedish furniture company IKEA to distribute worldwide.
IKEA was founded in 1943 in Sweden and offers functional home furnishings at affordable prices. There are over 392 IKEA stores in 48 countries, including 43 in the U.S.
One of the many products IKEA offers is the PAX cabinet system, which includes sliding doors. Originally they were only available in a limited number of smooth coated colors, but thanks to advancements in inkjet technology, the cabinet doors can now be purchased with designs. All artwork is created by IKEA in Sweden and then sent to Borne Türelemente as a PDF file with exact color samples. Any color combination is offered, in addition to decorative patterns or graphics resembling wood grain such as maple, beech, oak, cherry, or walnut veneer. The image is printed via a flatbed device directly to the cabinet door.
As Borne Türelemente’s largest customer, IKEA influences any new technology implemented in the Polish locations. For over a year, Frank Borne, CEO, Borne Türelemente and IKEA representatives researched hardware with plans to upgrade the company’s existing wide format flatbed printers—a Hymmen GmbH Jupiter single-pass device and an Inca Digital Printers Ltd. Spyder flatbed.
Using samples, Borne Türelemente and its customer vigorously tested the EFI VUTEk GS3250LX Pro. It was of particular interest because of its photographic image quality, printing width of 126.5 inches, and performance. IKEA paid close attention to the high resolution and detail, ink adhesion, accuracy of printing special colors, and the environmental impact of the UV inks. After all of the qualifications were met, the printer was installed in the Gorzów location in January 2016.
The EFI VUTEk GS3250LX Pro device features eight colors plus white and offers resolutions of true 600 or 1,000 dpi depending on print mode. LED technology offers the ability for printing to a greater range of substrates in addition to more eco-friendly printing.
“With the evaluation of the machine, IKEA became convinced of the quality of our printers. And because more digitally printed doors are being purchased, we let the EFI VUTEk GS3250LX Pro print around the clock,” shares Borne. The success of the printer led to adding a second device at the end of October 2016. The additional device has given more capacity to production in addition to serving as a backup to the first EFI VUTEk GS3250LX Pro.
At press time, the furniture production company utilized its two EFI VUTEk devices solely for orders from IKEA and no other client. This illustrates the level of demand it is currently encountering when it comes to the personalized doors for the PAX cabinet system.
IKEA and Borne Türelemente are exploring direct printing onto other three-dimensional objects used in décor. According to a representative from EFI, IKEA’s marketing department heavily favors digital printing and enjoys the idea that it allows more creativity with furniture design
Aug2017, Industrial Print Magazine