The MMFA – the Multilayer Modular Flooring Association, based in Bielefeld – has established itself as a European network in the international market within a short period of time. It has already brought together the major market players from the flooring sector and their suppliers. One of the goals of the MMFA is the implementation of high quality standards for modular multilayer flooring (MMF) products in all markets. To this end, the Association participates actively in standards committees, cooperates with other industry organisations and focuses on its in-house pilot research projects.
For MMFA President Matthias Windmöller, the annual report is positive: “2015 has been a good year for the MMFA, and a significant one: the upward trend for modular multilayer products in our markets is now well-established. At the same time, the MMFA – a young, European Association – has received approval and recognition as an international organisation.”
Windmöller attributes this acceptance to the cooperative style of contact that the MMFA has with other industry institutions. MMF products have many different types of structure and use different materials such as engineered wood, cork or plastic products. It naturally follows that there are overlapping themes in research and standardisation activities with other categories of flooring. According to Windmöller: “The MMFA maintains a cooperative dialogue with other associations in the flooring sector and its associated lines of industry. We believe that all players benefit from these detailed technical exchanges.”
When the new EN 16511 was officially published, a new milestone was set for the industry. This standard was drawn up with the involvement of the MMFA. The activities of the Association extend far beyond the European region, however, as it is represented globally by its own experts in standardisation committees at ISO level.
In-house test series initiated
Appropriate product standards are indispensable for evaluating the safety, quality and sustainability of innovative multilayer coverings. In view of the growing diversity of mixed products on the market, some of the previous test methods are no longer adequate and need to be revised. And in certain areas it has proved worthwhile developing new test standards specifically for modular multilayer flooring. The MMFA regards itself as both a joint interest group and a driving force, bringing together the expertise of its members to carry out its own programme of research in order to lay down the foundations for further development of product testing.
Volker Kettler, MMFA Technical Chairman, says: “The MMFA wishes to play a positive role in the future development of multilayer products. After an identification stage during 2013 and 2014, we kick-started our own research and development projects for the first time in 2015, from which we expect to gain new and significant insights.” In the summer of 2015, the MMFA initiated a series of tests in collaboration with the IHD Wood Technology Institute, Dresden. Two MMFA working groups are engaged in developing new parameters for testing the locking strength and temperature resistance of MMF planks. Work is currently underway on issues such as a measuring technique for dimensional stability and on test details for evaluating the seam strength of MMFA Class 2 products. The first interim results were analysed in the autumn of 2015 and the MMFA wishes to finalise these pilot projects during the course of 2016. In this way, the Association intends to make substantiated contributions to ongoing ISO and CEN work. According to Mr Kettler: “Continuing the development of international product standards is a vital pre-requisite for allowing safe and high-quality MMF flooring to assert itself in future, in all markets if possible.”
Technical Bulletins on installation and cleaning & maintenance
Members of the MMFA are fully aware that there is still a great need for clarification on modular multilayer flooring (MMF). By preparing comprehensive technical information for this sector, the Association is making an active contribution towards improving market transparency. The intention here is to achieve high standards of quality and knowledge, across as wide an area as possible. Two new Technical Bulletins on “Installation” and “Cleaning and Maintenance” are currently being worked on and are due to be published in spring 2016. As with all technical information produced by the Association, these documents will be available at a later date free of charge from the Download section of our website www.mmfa.eu.
Interesting innovations in product features and design
For Sebastian Wendel, Market Development Chairman for the MMFA, there is one key reason why modular multilayer planks enjoy market success: “No other floor covering combines the many advantages of different flooring categories in a single product.” Thanks to the benefits of floating installation and the innovative click-lock installation technique, laying the planks is a quick and secure process. At the same time, MMF flooring possesses all the positive characteristics of elastic coverings: comfortable to walk on, warm to the touch, good room acoustics and easy to care for. Where there is minimal installation height, these floors offer numerous variations in product structure as well as a remarkable choice of designs across the multilayer segment. This allows users to select varying degrees of elasticity ranging from semi-rigid cores to fully elastic planks, and thus achieve a broad spectrum of potential applications in both the contract and private sectors.
For example, modular multilayer systems with a wood effect finish suitable for wet rooms continue to gain ground. As well as kitchen and bathroom applications, this flooring with its special features is an increasingly popular choice in the contract sector for many different areas from shop-fitting to doctors’ practices. When it comes to multilayer planks, the extra-long version is currently a big trend; in line with the modern country style of furnishing, the preference is for longer and wider plank formats. With new developments in installation technology, even the larger boards can be clicked together securely. One interesting new development is the “all-round” click system that enables various-sized planks and tiles to be combined in one area for a custom look.
In the production technology of modular multilayer flooring, both environmental and sustainability are increasingly coming to the fore and the proportion of product ranges now being developed using bio-based materials is rising accordingly. – These are just some of the exciting new developments in the MMF flooring sector.
Rustic-style variety of surfaces and new tile formats
The major themes on the flooring markets are still the Scandinavian style with its light shades and clean lines and also the exciting mix of rustic and urban looks, where country style and contemporary “shabby chic” are creatively combined. By using cutting edge digital printing technology, manufacturers can be very flexible and satisfy the demand for custom designs within their collections. The many faces of oak are presented in a variety of new surface designs. These planks gain their rustic character from tactile surfaces that provide an authentic look through wood-grain effects, open pore structure, cracks and knots. The newly-developed pine variations bring a new look to flooring – from calm to busy wood textures, or visually striking fresh beech interpretations in lighter shades. Equally authentic are the planks reflecting natural reproductions of maple, acacia, hickory, larch and cedar. These ranges are dominated by lighter and mid-tone colour schemes in warm white, grey and beige shades. In the medium and darker colour spectrums, the trend is moving towards warmer tones, and this is where walnut comes back strongly into play. Another main topic for the MMF is the flexibility offered by new tile formats: the offering has been expanded with attractive concrete decors, among others, in a range of colours.
European manufacturers of modular multilayer flooring are continuing to conquer new market segments with their fresh design ideas. The Domotex trade fair incorporating the Wood Flooring Summit will launch a very exciting year for the floor industry – this is where the latest developments in MMF coverings will be presented on the world stage for the first time. Sebastian Wendel says: “We are confident that in 2016, innovative multilayer products will continue to attract a great deal of attention in flooring markets.”
Aspecta, Novalis, ter Hürne and Toppan join as new members
At the beginning of the new year four companies joined the MMFA, namely the flooring producers Aspecta BV (Oud Gastel/Netherlands), Novalis (Bonn/Germany) and ter Hürne GmbH & Co. KG (Südlohn/Germany) as ordinary members, and the printing specialist Toppan Cosmo Europe GmbH (Düsseldorf/Germany) as an extraordinary member. Thus as at 1st January 2016, the MMFA is made up of 18 flooring manufacturers as ordinary members, 18 supplier companies as extraordinary members and two research institutes as supporting members, and discussions are currently underway with other interested companies. Members of the MMFA will be attending the next Ordinary Members’ Meeting in the spring. At the invitation of Schattdecor AG, this working meeting will take place in Thansau, Southern Germany, on 9-10 May 2016. www.mmfa.eu
mfnd1601_b1: MMFA President Matthias Windmöller: “The MMFA maintains a cooperative dialogue with the associations in the flooring sector and its associated branch industries. We believe that all players benefit from these detailed technical exchanges.” – Photo: MMFA mfnd1601_b2: Volker Kettler, MMFA Technical Chairman: “The MMFA kick-started its own research and development projects for the first time in 2015. Our work contributes towards the international implementation of high-level, consistent quality standards for MMF floor coverings.” – Photo: MeisterWerke mfnd1601_b3: Sebastian Wendel, MMFA Market Development Chairman: “Modular multilayer planks have clear advantages. No other floor covering combines the many advantages of various flooring categories in a single product.” – Photo: MMFA mfnd1601_b4: European manufacturers of modular multilayer flooring are continuing to conquer new market segments with their fresh design ideas. – Photo: Haro mfnd1601_b5: New tile formats have expanded the range of MMF floors available. These new decor trends include attractive stone and concrete effects. – Photo: Classen
Press Conference, Pictures 17/01/2016
mfne1601_b6: MMFA board on 17th January 2016, Domotex in Hanover (v.l.): Volker Kettler, Sebastian Wendel, Matthias Windmöller. – Photo: MMFA mfne1601_b7: MMFA president Matthias Windmöller on 17th January 2016, Domotex in Hanover. – Photo: MMFA mfne1601_b8: MMFA vice president Volker Kettler on 17th January 2016, Domotex in Hanover. – Photo: MMFA mfne1601_b9: MMFA board member Sebastian Wendel on 17th January 2016, Domotex in Hanover. – Photo: MMFA mfne1601_b10: MMFA board on 17th January 2016, Domotex in Hanover (v.l.): Volker Kettler, Sebastian Wendel, Matthias Windmöller. – Photo: MMFA
mfnd1601_b1: MMFA President Matthias Windmöller: “The MMFA maintains a cooperative dialogue with the associations in the flooring sector and its associated branch industries. We believe that all players benefit from these detailed technical exchanges.” – Photo: MMFA
mfnd1601_b2: Volker Kettler, MMFA Technical Chairman: “The MMFA kick-started its own research and development projects for the first time in 2015. Our work contributes towards the international implementation of high-level, consistent quality standards for MMF floor coverings.” – Photo: MeisterWerke
mfnd1601_b3: Sebastian Wendel, MMFA Market Development Chairman: “Modular multilayer planks have clear advantages. No other floor covering combines the many advantages of various flooring categories in a single product.” – Photo: MMFA