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For a manufacturing company to fulfill a strong commitment to environmental sustainability, it requires an integrated approach that encompasses all aspects from the initial product idea, through production and use, to disposal.

The GRASS Group has earned a reputation for not only producing the highest quality hinges, drawer slides, lifters, and drawer systems but also for its early and continuing leadership in environmental stewardship. Many companies treat ecological concerns as an added cost to production, but the changes made by GRASS for more sustainability have not only benefited the environment but also saved costs.

The company takes pride in taking “personal responsibility” for environmental protection for this global company and each of its 1860 employees.  Since 2010, the GRASS Group’s international environmental management system, certified according to ISO 14001, ensures that the company establishes and achieves ambitious, measurable objectives and targets in a process of continual improvement. This commitment is exemplified at its manufacturing plants in Höchst, Salzburg, and Götzis, Austria; Reinheim, Germany; the Czech Republic; Kernersville, North Carolina; and its central warehouse and logistics center in Hohenems, Austria, and distribution center in Toronto, Canada.

We see the present as part of the future. For GRASS, environmental protection is a fundamental corporate goal, because it is an important prerequisite for sustainable corporate success. The effort to keep the ecological footprint as low as possible requires a continuous improvement process that involves all areas of the company.

Green Power

Set in one of the world’s most beautiful regions, the GRASS head office is located in Höchst on Lake Constance, in the Austrian state of Vorarlberg, on the borders of Germany, Switzerland, and Liechtenstein. Enjoying — and protecting — the environment is a way of life that has always been deeply rooted in GRASS Corporate culture.

The manufacturing plant at Höchst has achieved dramatic reductions in its carbon footprint. Energy efficiency measures have reduced CO2 emissions by 640 tons per year during the past five years.

During this period, overall electricity demand has been reduced by 18%, from 62 million kWh to 51 million kWh per year. In addition, compressor and exhaust gas heat exchange systems, with a total output of over 3000 kW, also improve our carbon footprint.

The logistics center in Hohenems, Austria, has a photovoltaic system with approximately 421 kWp on the roof of the high-rise warehouse.  This facility can cover 100% of its energy requirements.  A combined heat and power plant covers 75% of our electrical energy requirement in Höchst, Austria, producing an output of 2000 kWh. The waste heat can be used to heat the premises or, in summer, to provide a substantial proportion of the cooling capacity via an absorption refrigerator. Heat requirements are reduced through heat recovery.  Grass is proud that through all the measures put in place over the past five years, we have achieved electricity savings of 11 million kWh per year.  This equates to an average annual consumption of 2,500 single-family homes (according to European standards).

Waste Reduction and Recycling

All Grass plants are now recycling 100% of steel waste generated during production (6650 tons of steel waste per year).

GRASS products are almost 100% recyclable. They do not contain any hazardous substances or substances specified in REACH, the European Union regulations restricting chemicals dangerous to human health or the environment.

The volume of non-recyclable waste has also been reduced 40% in the last five years, from 1530 tons to 905 tons per year.

Collaborating for Sustainability

The manufacturing plant in Kernersville, North Carolina, where Grass America produces 40% of its products, has achieved many of its sustainability objectives through collaboration with external stakeholder partners.

For example, Grass America partnered with its electric energy supplier to replace fluorescent lighting with more efficient LED lighting.  This resulted in reduced energy consumption and the elimination of waste from spent fluorescent tubes.

Grass America partnered with one of its largest customers to support the customer’s program of converting waste to energy. As a result, redesigned packaging eliminated Styrofoam and plastic so that cardboard packaging material could be used in the customer’s new state-of-the-art furnace. This new furnace provides heat for the dryer utilized in their finishing process and generates heat for their facility during the heating season. The result was energy savings and solid waste reduction. The packaging of finished goods was also modified to reduce solid waste disposal requirements by implementing bulk packaging instead of individual packaging. Grass America utilizes reusable containers for manufactured parts that require outside services, such as electroplating and heat treating. The reusable containers are employed throughout the production cycle of the part—production, outside servicing, storage, and final assembly.

Green Offices

The commitment to the environment at GRASS goes beyond the product, the production process, and the packaging. Not only are the manufacturing facilities focused on sustainability, but so too are the offices and distribution centers.

In October 2020, GRASS Canada moved into a brand new, state-of-the-art building in Toronto that exceeds the Canada Green Building standards. Features include priority parking for carpools and electric cars, EV charging stations, and a living roof planted with grass and other plants.

This green roof exemplifies the strong company-wide “GRASS is green” commitment to sustainability.

Cefla Finishing, the leading supplier of finishing, decoration, and digital printing solutions, is proud to announce the new Managing Director over North America, Giuseppe Scazziota.

Scazziota brings almost 18 years of experience with Cefla Finishing at the corporate headquarters in Italy. Scazziota started as a Manufacturing Manager in 2004 and became the Service Director in 2008. Before Cefla, he worked at a medical company that manufactured components for infusion lines and served in the Italian Air Force after high school.

Scazziota attests his almost two decades with Cefla to the community the company has built between all departments and subsidiaries. “Cefla embeds all the good things about being a big company with the benefits of feeling small,” explains Scazziota.

Having relationships with Cefla North America has made the transition very smooth. With the recent CeflaLive in Charlotte, he was able to make even more connections with partners and customers that were in attendance. “I step into this new role knowing the legacy that Massimo Di Russo has built during his time as the previous Director. I am stepping into a firm foundation and can rely on the team built here because of the previous leadership,” explains Scazziota. “Cefla North America has a well-established identity in the market, and I am looking forward to upholding that standard.”

NeoCon recently announced the winners of the 2022 edition of the prestigious Best of NeoCon Awards. Now in its 32nd year, the program annually attracts scores of groundbreaking product submissions from leading manufacturers in the commercial design industry.

After an intensive in-person evaluation by an esteemed jury of influential architects, designers, specifiers, enterprise clients, and facility managers, HALCON’s HELM table won the ultimate honor of Best of Competition.

Best of NeoCon is the official awards program honoring outstanding new products from exhibiting companies across a wide range of verticals. A total of 99 awards were announced Monday, June 13, at theMART. Industry dynamo and officeinsight Publisher/Editor-in-Chief Bob Beck once again took the helm as the official master of ceremonies.

Best of NeoCon 2022 featured entrants in 54 product categories evaluated onsite by a diverse jury of more than 50 leading architects, designers, specifiers and facility managers with expertise spanning commercial, healthcare, education and hospitality sectors.

“Best of NeoCon has been an invaluable component of the NeoCon experience since 1990,” remarked Best of NeoCon Awards Competition Director Eileen McMorrow of The McMorrow Reports. “The caliber of our jury is unparalleled—recognition by this group of highly active industry decision makers is incredibly powerful and a great achievement. Congratulations to all the winners!”

The Best of Competition 2022 winner, HALCON’s HELM table, was also awarded Gold in both the Tables: Height Adjustable and Tables: Conference categories. Designed by Jehs + Laub, HELM is a modern table solution for the 21st century. Perfectly proportioned and appointed with luxurious materials, it is sleekly integrated with technology and unexpectedly equipped with an adjustable-height surface. The jury noted, “This groundbreaking table has a professional and high-end feel, while also meeting current user demands and expectations for wellness. It is seamless and well-executed in all ways.” A gallery and the full list of Best of NeoCon 2022 Winners is available on neocon.com.

Uniboard, Canada’s largest producer of biocomposites and decorative surfaces for a variety of indoor and outdoor applications, is proud to announce a $250 million investment in the construction of a new state-of-the-art particleboard press at its Val-d’Or plant. The new continuous press will be equipped with the latest state-of-the-art technologies for the production of particleboard. Construction work begins in the summer of 2022 and the commissioning of the new press is scheduled for early 2025. Once the work is completed, the plant will employ about 190 people.

“This investment, which is the third phase of the Val-d’Or investment plan, confirms Uniboard’s leadership position in the North American engineered wood products market and its commitment to its valued customers and employees,” said Lionel Dubrofsky, Chairman of Uniboard’s Board of Directors. “When the work is completed, we will have invested more than $350 million in the Val-d’Or plant, as part of a three-phase investment process, making it the most modern particleboard plant in North America and positioning Uniboard as one of TFL’s leading integrated producers, particleboard and MDF. The Val-d’Or plant is renowned for its use of black spruce fibers, making its particleboard unparalleled in the North American market.”

As Quebec’s largest manufacturer of composite wood panels and decorative solutions, Uniboard is a major player in the forest value chain.

“Today’s announcement represents an important milestone for Uniboard and its entire team,” said James Hogg, President and CEO of Uniboard. “This investment, which builds on a 45-year success in Val-d’Or, will play an important role in strengthening relationships with existing customers, recruiting new customers and developing new markets and business opportunities. It will help expand our product offering and increase their availability, which will allow Uniboard to consolidate its position as the supplier of choice.”

In addition to having the latest particleboard production technology, the Val-d’Or plant will have a negative carbon footprint thanks to carbon sequestration in sustainable products and low-carbon production. In addition, Uniboard will enter the thin panel market, a biocomposite that is in high demand in the North American market.

The geographical position of the Val-d’Or plant allows Uniboard to serve the main markets of Quebec, Canada, and the United States by truck and train. In addition to its ability to produce value-added TFL products, the Val-d’Or plant also leverages its Unires resin plant, located in the same location, making it one of the most integrated production sites in North America.

Uniboard thanks the governments of Quebec and Canada and their organizations, as well as the City of Val-d’Or for their collaboration in carrying out this project.

Cefla Finishing, the leading supplier of finishing, decoration, and digital printing solutions, welcomed attendees into its finishing laboratory in Charlotte, North Carolina for its third edition of CeflaLive. On May 18-20, visitors were able to see Cefla Finishing technology firsthand with more than 10 industry-leading pump, gun, and coating suppliers. During the event, there was an emphasis on accessibility of surface enhancement technologies to all finishing professionals regardless of experience level, employee headcount, or revenue size.

Our two newest product launches were on display during the CeflaLive with our Spray + Drying Automated work cell under power. Attendees enjoyed seeing Cefla’s Prima, entry level one arm reciprocated spray machine, in line with the UniDry-G gas-powered oven manufactured in our Charlotte facility. Also on display was our iBotic, the number one automated spraying robot with two arms working simultaneously and independently on pieces of different shapes and thicknesses.

Attendees were able to experience complete finishing solutions in action, with applications relevant to a multitude of end markets. Guests benefitted from direct access to Cefla’s technical experts, supplier network, and in-depth discussion on the many benefits of automation. For more information visit the Cefla Finishing website.

Cefla North America offers the broadest range of finishing and coatings application equipment on the market today. Forward-thinking customers look to Cefla for solutions to coat virtually any substrate: wood, metal, glass, plastics and composites. Spray equipment, roll coaters, vacuum coaters and many other automated systems help customers involved in furniture, panel processing, casegoods, flooring and dozens of other industries be more successful.

The REHAU Group will sell its business in Russia to the local management and will withdraw completely from the country. A corresponding preliminary agreement has now been signed by both parties.

REHAU had already announced on March 4, 2022, to ramp down its business in Russia in a controlled manner. The development of the past weeks has made further decisions unavoidable.

The REHAU Group has been active in Russia for around 30 years and has served the market there primarily with polymer-based solutions for the window, construction and furniture sectors.

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For a manufacturing company to fulfill a strong commitment to environmental sustainability, it requires an integrated approach that encompasses all aspects from the initial product idea, through production and use, to disposal.

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