Innovation Name: Akij Lacquer Grade Board
Category: Best Innovation in Product Development
Company: Akij Particle Board Mills Limited
The content of this case study was written by the representatives of Akij Particle Board Mills Limited.
The furniture Sector is going to be the next big thing in our economy, as the trend suggests. Each year, we lose almost 7 million cubic meters of timber for the ever-increasing furniture and interior sector (Source: FAO, 2015). Bangladesh’s current volume of forest resources is approximately 17% of the total land area, which is distributed unevenly. This increasing demand will soon leave us with the scarcity of forest resources, preventing us from meeting our needs, especially for furniture and interior making purposes.
With the philosophy of Environmental Balance, Akij Group has launched their particle board unit to fulfill the ever-growing demand of the furniture and interior making industries. The company can cater to almost 5% of daily timber demand with 1029 cubic meter production capacity/ day. This gigantic production capacity of Akij Board puts us ahead in serving the need of wood-substituting with boards.
Since the introduction of the particle board industry, different types of boards have been used in urban/city areas for furniture and interior decoration. But there was still a gap in the market since people were using timber to craft designs onto its surface and lacquer as desired. As a result, deforestation was still going on to meet the furniture requirement of that sector.
Intending to create a sustainable substitute for timber and to overcome the growing demands of our rural markets, Akij Board set the following objectives:
- To develop a product that will save deforestation and protect the environment with an eco-friendly and sustainable production plant.
- To innovate a product that will completely substitute solid timber by being designable, lacquerable, and as well as affordable.
The idea behind the product is to provide a woodchips-based particle board solution that will cater to the need-gap of the furniture market. But several limitations of regular particle boards emerged as these boards could not be lacquered and engraved.
Akij Board Product Development team came up with a solution by innovating new technology to produce boards made with wood chips from tree branches instead of logs. The products allow to engraved designs up to 4 mm, can be lacquered, sanding, filler materials, and surprisingly less time & cost to achieve a smoother lacquered finish. Besides establishing the core value, the product will be affordable and environmentally friendly as well. So, a new product came into the production named “Lacquer Grade Board” in 2018.
The innovation came into reality through engineering efficacy and several trials. Akij Lacquer Grade Board hit the market in 2018 following several trials. The core recipe behind the product was adding on different eco-friendly complied resin and wax in the production process to facilitate easy lacquering, increase the depth of surface layer chips which ensures designing on the product up to 4 mm. In addition, the world-famous German technology of particle board production unit ‘Siempelkamp’ empowered the product quality and consistency at its best.
Lacquer Grade Board provides the following facilities:
- Easy to design on the surface up to 4 mm through manually or CNC routing machines.
- Is easy to lacquer minimum lacquering chemicals and saves 50% lacquer cost compared to timber/wood veneer.
- Assurance of minimum UF (Urea formaldehyde) emission.
- Affordable cost of the product.
- Eco-friendly solution.
Economic Value Addition: By using this innovation, the manufacturers can now produce wood-finished, designed, lacquered furniture without using the timber at minimum time and price. The consumer can purchase their desired wood-finished furniture at an affordable price. As a result, the industry grew at a 15% rate/year, creating employment of 2.5 million people. Most of it we have bridged an 80% market gap with proper solutions. Akij Lacquer Grade Board has a significant contribution of about 40% to an overall 15% board industry growth.
Environmental Value Addition: We use only the branches of the trees to prepare the chips in the production process. This product discourages deforestation as the main stem of the tree remains untouched. Every year we save almost 300,000 cubic meters of timber. UF (urea formaldehyde) resin is produced at our plant by maintaining the lowest standard emission level. This ensures low CO2 emission into the environment and the health safety of thousands of workers and millions of Board users.
Result and Impact
The consequences of this new product were revolutionary. The entire rural furniture market started using the Akij Lacquer Grade Board from district to union level at large scales. Simultaneously the solid wood-made furniture started becoming obsolete from the market as the trend shifted towards Akij Lacquer Grade Board made furniture.
In just 3.5 years, Akij Lacquer Grade Board became a household name among rural furniture manufacturers. As a result:
- On average, 0.3 million cubic meters of solid wood are saved every year. Deforestation saw a sharp dip
- 80% of rural manufacturers now have access to this board
- Akij Board fetched a volume growth/year of 40%
- Board industry is booming; this contributed about 40% to an overall 15% board industry growth,
- The entire furniture market is growing as the furniture is now more affordable to the consumer.
“Akij Lacquer Grade Board” is one of the greatest innovations in the Bangladeshi board’s industry, continuously creating endless possibilities.