Surface & Panel Q4 2017 - Page 11

“What’s fun with laminates is that you can modify the design and make it look exactly like you dream of it, like adding planking and tickle marks that can be toned down a little bit to look more in-line with customer expectations and tastes. Add this with the impres- sive synchronized texture effects, some of which are two sided, and you’ve got an impressive board to play with at a very reasonable price which will basically last forever or almost.” PARTICLEBOARD 101 Not all TFL is created equal. The longevity of furnishings made with TFL panels is largely dependent on the quality of the substrate, Aubrey noted. The truckloads of TFL panels from Uniboard and Tafisa delivered each day to Groupe Lacasse’s casework plant are made with an M2 grade particleboard as defined by the ANSI 208.1-2009 standard. The M2 rating encapsulates key quality assurance mea- surements, including dimensional tolerances, internal bond strength and surface and edge integrity. “From the untrained eye, the outside of a desk is a desk, but there are huge differences that result in durability over time—screw holding, density deflection—which is why we buy a better panel,” Aubrey said. “Combined with a quality substrate, TFL delivers impressive perfor- mance specifications very close to high-pressure laminate. It’s also maintenance-free, is impossible to delaminate and may dent but will never chip. Some of our competitors use MS, which is a lower grade level of panel. This is why we go to market using high-quality TFL that will last. In fact, we warranty our products for 25 years.” Because casework made with high-quality TFL will endure, it’s important to choose finishes that will endear for years to come, Aubrey said. “We need to be careful when selecting finishes because the prod- ucts will still be in perfect working condition when the color trend might be over,” Aubrey said. “This is one of the factors we take into account when selecting a finish for our color palette. The finish needs to be in sync with the life cycle of the product.” TEXTURED FINISHES SET THE STANDARD Regardless of whether they are used for furniture for corporate or healthcare offices, all of Groupe Lacasse’s newer TFL finishes are textured, Aubrey said. “We still have some finishes from five or six years ago that might not be textured, but we’re not giving the choice to the customer. We’re selling a certain finish, and it comes with that texture. It’s not a big deal though because our customers are requesting textured finishes.” Aubrey said he was initially surprised to find that finish trends for office furniture and healthcare furniture mainly follow a shared path. “These days, we pret