Information about the industry, expert lectures, as well as a boat ride on the Spree river were on the agenda of the EPLF member meeting, which took place at the invitation of Kronotex in Berlin. The German capital is always worth a trip and presented itself at its best in May, with blue skies and bright sunshine. Even though networking and socialising play a big role at every EPLF meeting, hard work is also accomplished during the two days of the event. The association is active in quite a few areas, after all.
At the beginning of 2011, HDM Holz Dammers Moers joined the association as an ordinary member. Thus, EPLF currently has 22 ordinary and 27 associate members. The ordinary members include manufacturers of laminate flooring, the associate members are supplier companies of the laminate flooring industry.
An important topic of the association’s meeting was the economic situation of the European laminate flooring industry, which is developing increasingly positive. A slight growth could be recorded for Western Europe and the markets of Eastern Europe, which are also showing an increase in growth momentum, even though they are subject to continuous fluctuations. Germany, Turkey and France are at the helm of the Western European sales statistics, while Poland, Russia and Romania lead the ranking of the Eastern European markets. Serving multiple markets in the Middle East, Turkey remains a dynamic growth market. The South American markets are also growing after the crisis, especially Chile and Mexico. In contrast, the development on the North American and Asian continents, whose growth decreased again after a recovery in the beginning of 2011, is rather moderate. In Asia, the Israeli and Iranian markets are particularly potent.
Numerous standardisation activities at CEN and ISO level are also a key focus of the association’s work. One of the important projects of EPLF’s Technical Committee, is the active participation in the revision of EN 14041 at EU level. It mainly deals with the integration of ecological parameters, such as threshold values for VOC emissions into the draft standard, as well as making them accessible to the end user. This goes hand in hand with the work on an ISO norm for laminate flooring, which is increasingly progressing. The draft standard for underlay materials, which has been developed by EPLF’s Technical Committee, was submitted last year at the EU level. At the moment, tests are conducted to verify the requirements and methods specified therein. A draft standard for drum sound continues to occupy the association: EPLF has presented a draft standard and submitted it to the CEN committees.
EPLF is planning a new market study
For EPLF’s Markets and Image Committee, everything currently revolves around the implementation of a market study in several European countries, the results of which are to be presented at the Woodflooring Summit at Domotex in 2012. End-users and architects are the focus of this study on the image of laminate flooring, in order to generate a particularly extensive and expressive reflection of the perception on the market. The results of the market study will influence the association’s planning of communication measures for the coming years. Currently, the association is in pursuit of positioning laminate flooring as the first choice in floor coverings in consumer media, using continuous PR. Also important are the systematic PR measures in the trade press, which frequently require a swift reaction to requests.
Along with the working groups, expert information for the member companies is always in the foreground at EPLF conventions. The programme in Berlin included two lectures on completely different topics: On the one hand ”The correct handling of anti-trust risks”, and on the other hand “Smart Media – the future of communication”. In her lecture, specialist solicitor Dr. Christina Malz, SZA Mannheim, reported on the recent anti-trust law practice with illustrative examples. In light of the various cases of anti-trust law in the various sectors, the topic was received with great interest. The opportunities and risks of modern communication media in the internet were the focus of the lecture held by Dr. Andreas Steinle from the Future Institute Kelkheim, who ensured excitement and entertainment with many practical examples.
The 2011 EPLF meeting in Berlin ended with many new impressions and stimuli. Information, business, networking – the member companies took advantage of the opportunities provided by the association. This is to be continued from 23-24 May 2012 in Mainz.
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