Upbeat attitude seen throughout exhibit halls
Hannover, Germany—While the world’s economy may not be what it was five years ago, there are numerous signs pointing to better days ahead. For the flooring industry, trade shows are a key indicator of what people expect for the coming year. So when a reported 45,000 people attended Domotex Hannover 2012, a 12% increase over last year, it had officials elated.
Andreas Gruchow, managing board member for show organizer Deutsche Messe, is calling Domotex a huge success with a double-digit surge in visitors, design highlights at every turn and a thoroughly upbeat mood in all the halls. “The four days of the show have provided proof of the industry’s drive and innovative spirit.”
Helping to spur the excitement were the 1,371 exhibitors partaking in this year’s event, up slightly over last year’s 1,350 companies, and the fact many showcased new, innovative products and styles as opposed to just adding colors to an existing line.
“Domotex has real international charisma,” said Yves Bonne, general manager of Beaulieu International Group (BIG). “This is the biggest and most significant platform for attracting a global audience.”
BIG’s Beauflor division was showcasing its new LVT technology, Dream Click, which was developed under an exclusive license with Mei Li Sheng of Guangzhou, China, for the mechanical-locking LVT technology known as Super-Click. Dream Click was launched in tandem with a full LVT collection called Podium and includes Podium Easy (peel and stick), Podium Pro (dry back for residential and commercial use), Podium Click (click LVT) and Podium XXL (offering 72-inch dry back planks). The Podium LVTs are available worldwide.
Gruchow commented how the flooring industry as a whole “revealed itself as more innovative than ever” with unconventional patterns, spectacular designs and bold colors making for some eye-catching displays. “The new design trends for rugs and fitted carpets, parquet and laminate flooring showcased at Domotex represent the epitome of lifestyle and contemporary interior design.”
While locking LVTs were all the rage in Hannover, as they were at Domotex asia/China-Floor last year, there were nu-merous technological advance-ments on display at the show, including high definition digital printing on just about any kind of surface—from vinyl to cork to wood to laminate and more—as well as backing systems to enhance the production and performance of carpet. And, because the environmental movement is worldwide, numerous companies were pointing to their latest green technologies.
The range of innovation was so diverse, Gruchow commented, “Whereas previously, floor coverings were only expected to be practical and easy to clean, these once-utilitarian items have now advanced to becoming unique objets d’art which make a statement of their own. Today’s customers have an incredible range of materials, colors and formats at their feet.”
At the show, Colbond launched Colback Profloor, described as “an innovative primary carpet backing delivering benefits during carpet manufacture and service life.” Marc Krauth, vice president of sales and marketing, said, “The new backing will help carpet producers raise their product portfolio to the next level and strengthen their position in the flooring market.” Examples include enhanced tuftability, stitch holding performance and process behavior contributing to increased process efficiencies, further improved carpet appearance and superior dimensional stability of the finished carpet tile, he explained.
Though it is available to everyone, Krauth noted the backing is the result of a major R&D program “we carried out in close cooperation with leading carpet tile producers.”
On the sustainability front, Germany’s Xentrys announced it is the first carpet yarn manufacturer to obtain an environmental product declaration (EPD). “The comprehensive scrutiny of the products afforded by the preparation of the EPD shows the company’s production process is fully in line with strict environmental, health, quality and social standards,” a company spokesperson said. “The benefits offered by Xentys products can be utilized by carpet manufacturers to optimize the sustainability of their own products because the EPD is not restricted only to environmental impacts but also deals with social, health and economic effects.”
One of the big attractions at this year’s Domotex was the premier of the Wood Flooring Summit for the parquet (wood) and laminate flooring segments. From Amorim to Unilin/Quick•Step and everyone in between, “All the market leaders [were] on hand to display their innovations for 2012,” Gruchow commented.
It wasn’t just show officials touting the quality of the wood summit. Ludger Schindler, president of the Association of European Producers of Laminate Flooring (EPLF), called it “a complete success” and “a real burst of vitality and renewed momentum for the laminate flooring sector.”
He said the association, along with its member companies, supported the concept right from the start. “We are leaving Hannover with a wealth of new ideas and impressions, not to mention business leads.”
And in the end, participants of all types said that is what a market like Domotex is all about: networking, creating contacts, finding new ideas—from products to design to merchandising—and preparing for the coming year.
Next year’s Domotex is scheduled for Jan. 12 to 15. For more information on attending or exhibiting, contact Hannover Fairs USA at 404.214.0432.