Surface & Panel Q4 2017 - Page 10

Groupe Lacasse FINDS ITS SWEET SPOT with TFL Thermally Fused Laminate Helps Canadian Furniture Maker Bridge Divide Between Office and Healthcare Markets C DOMINIC AUBREY 10 B Y R I C H C H R I S T I A N S O N asework for corporate offices or for medical exam rooms. One-off custom or production runs. Drawer fronts or desktops. Textured or high-gloss finishes. Doesn’t matter. Groupe Lacasse has a solution, and it invariably involves thermally fused laminate (TFL). “We offer a variety of products, but we really go to market trumpeting our thermally fused laminate,” said Dominic Aubrey. “This is where we shine the best. This is where the customer gets the biggest value for what he pays.” Aubrey is product manager for laminate case goods of Groupe Lacasse based in Saint- Pie, Quebec. While his current role is defining strategies for product development and market positioning, his career is rooted in furniture design. He’s been in the industry long enough to appreciate the many advances that have transformed TFL from a cost-reducing alternative for furniture and cabinet construction to a go-to product coveted not only for its utilitarian value but its versatility, resiliency and especially its aesthetics. “Print quality, texture and new designs—those are just a few of the stand-out improvements for TFL within the last 10 years,” Aubrey said. “Texture quality due to new embossing in register technology started to improve about five years ago, and it really helped change the perception of laminates. Also, we saw the arrival of completely new designs. Some mimic wood, while some tend to look like other types of materials like leather and concrete. Others are a mix of real and invented designs.