On study trip in Styria
PANFA AIK Cluster organised a one-day study trip to Styria, Austria, in the framework of the EU tender called “Inno Wood” project of the INTERREG V-A Austria-Hungary Programme.
The aim of the study trip was to build trust between SMEs of the wood and furniture sector operation on both sides of the border, moreover, to exchange knowledge and experiences in the area of SME research and development and to get to know good practices and innovations.
The Austrian partner Holzcluster Steiermark (Wood Cluster of Styria) organised a busy but very interesting programme for the Hungarian entrepreneurs.
First we visited the furniture manufacturing plant of KAPO Möbelwerkstätte GmbH Neue Wiener Werkstätte. After a short introduction and watching the image film of the company, we could observe the process of making some pieces of furniture. The company makes unique furniture for individual orders. Their clients include big companies, hotels, restaurants and individuals as well. Apart from their own designers, they employ well-known designers, too. We could see how a sketch becomes a finished product on an idea board.
The technology and machinery used in this plant is basically the same as the ones used in Hungary. However, we realised that although they use a relatively low number of staff, but they work stress-free and accurately on the mostly hand-made pieces of furniture. As we learned, the reason for this is the much longer delivery time compared to that we are used to here in Hungary. We had a short visit there but still we were impressed by the high organisation level of production. Individual products are accompanied by a documentation, a drawing, throughout the whole process and employees can record possible comments or alterations on it thus informing those working on the next phase. Production preparation is done by a much bigger team, in greater detail, than here in Hungary.
Furniture and furniture groups are assembled on the factory area as a trial. Thus neither the customer nor the people doing assembly work will experience any surprises on the location. They do the shipping using their own trucks.
KAPO prepares the drapery frames for its upholstery plant. In this plant, we also visited, the finished frames and chair frames are upholstered with high quality drapery. The leather range includes even goat or zebra leather. The textiles and leather are tailored according to hand-made patterns which are kept for each piece of furniture. Thus customers may have their KAPO furniture re-upholstered even after years. The pace of work here was also more relaxed than the one we are used to in Hungary. In the lobby we could see finished products. We could see the high quality of design and manufacture but, of course, their prize reflected this.
The companies in the neighbourhood prefer having their furniture made by this local company, for example the furniture of the showroom at the Fandler oil press was made by KAPO. After listening to the history of the oil press, we tasted samples from the oil made from more than 15 raw materials and could even buy some products.
Following a short journey in picturesque Styria, we arrived in Birkfeld where the owners of Hutter Acustix introduced their company. They discovered this market niche two decades ago and now they produce sound absorbing or acoustics assisting equipment – naturally from wood – for rooms with too much noise, like schools, kindergartens, concert halls or restaurants ...etc. The inside of these appealing panels is the result of twenty years of research.
Production is preceded by thorough planning involving the company's own or independent experts. The data is then used to create the panels influencing the acoustics of the given room or, as seen in pictures, even outside spaces. Big projects sometimes need several years of preparation. Since during this time no profit is made, they also produce high quality traditional furniture using their free capacity.