The vision of Bjelin
Bjelin, part of Pervanovo Invest AB Group, is the sister company of Välinge Innovation, which has developed many patented flooring technologies, known throughout the world. The Bjelin range of hardened wood flooring includes the following technologies invented by sister company Välinge: Woodura® – a patented surface technology which gives outstanding durability and is also highly sustainable; and 5G® Dry™ – a water-resistant fold-down system unique among hard wood flooring products because of its ease of installation and leak-proof qualities. These are the next generation of highly innovative hard wood floors.
At Välinge Innovation, founded in 1993, the focus has always has been on product innovation. The company has historically been an R&D and technology company. It has pioneered a technological revolution for the flooring industry and led the transition from traditional glued tongue-and-grooved flooring to today’s modern click technology.
Since launching the original mechanical locking system Välinge Innovation has been granted over 3,500 patents for floor, furniture and surface technologies, and has over 260 licensees across the globe using its innovations. Nowadays Bjelin has sales operations in Scandinavia, China, Croatia, North America and France, as well as the UK.
What is hardened wood flooring?
Patented Woodura technology from Välinge involves fusing a thin sheet of real wood veneer with a Välinge Compositek wood core through a powder mix layer. The powder mix completely fills the natural gaps within the wood, while also enhancing the wood’s appearance. It eliminates the need for a wood-filler and creates a significantly stronger surface with a hardness three times greater than a traditional solid wood floor – more solid than a plank! Compared to traditional wood flooring, the durability of the wood wear layer is massively increased.
Bjelin hardened wood floors are made with oak, ash and walnut from sustainable sources of timber with FSC certification. The unique Woodura® technology makes the manufacturing process much more efficient and environmentally friendly in terms of timber usage than traditional processes.
In this way hardened wood flooring meets the multiple objectives set by Bjelin for the technology – first and foremost to be highly sustainable and economical with resources, something which is increasingly demanded by clients and specifiers, secondly it is highly durable, hard-wearing and long-lasting and finally it allows a stunning aesthetic, where every plank is different and the beauty of the natural woodgrain is maximised.
A founder of innovation
Bjelin’s sister company, Välinge Innovation, can trace its history back to the late 1970s. Darko Pervan, company founder, was general manager of the laminate division at Perstorp. In this role he led the team which developed the first ever laminate flooring panel. This single development led in turn to the development of the whole laminate flooring industry, when the concept was introduced to the market by IKEA in 1979.
Since its foundation in 1993, Välinge Innovation has made licence agreements with flooring manufacturers all over the world. The basic Välinge technology for locking floorboards mechanically has become the world standard.
In the decade following the formation of the company, close to one billion square metres of laminate and wood floors were installed with mechanical click systems using Välinge technology.
As a result of its advanced R&D capability at its factory in Viken, Sweden, and the dominance of its technological innovations on the global flooring market, and the nearly 300 licensees worldwide who use Välinge technology in their products, the company is very well-known internationally.
A key development has been the launch of Bjelin in the UK and other national markets as a finished products manufacturer. It is spearheading its presence in the UK with the introduction of new product ranges featuring the next generation of highly innovative hardened wood floors.
Technology for all occasions
5G® Dry™ is a premium water-resistant fold-down system which is unique among hard wood flooring products on account of its ease of installation and its high water resistance. The 5G® locking system is a single action installation method suitable for all types and widths of floor products, and prevents water from penetrating into the joints of the floor panels.
5G® Climb™ is a variant which comprises innovative technology for wall mounting. Based on the proven 5G® Fold Down system, 5G® Climb™ uses the panels as battens and with specially designed clips, the panels are attached instantly to the battens, without any tools. The wall panels can be placed horizontally, vertically or in herringbone pattern. In this way, the floor can be made to ‘climb up the wall’, ensuring a perfect match between floor and wall.
A full range of sizes
Bjelin now offers a full range of sizes, following the recent launch of its Small, Medium and Large version, which are a perfect complement to the larger and wider XXL (2378 x 271mm) and XL (2200 x 206mm) floor planks.
These new Small panels measure 1170 x 151 x 9.2mm to fit easily into cars and vans, while the new Medium panels are 2000 x 151 x 9.2mm, and Large panels being 2000 x 180 x 9.2mm are also easy to handle and transport. For specifiers, the range of sizes also increases the number of creative floor patterns which are possible.
Bjelin Hardened Wood floors are customised for both the residential and the commercial sectors. Bjelin offers a broad range of formats, designs and colours, from Scandinavian-inspired whites and greys to traditional warmer tones, and darker hues offering plenty of character. The products are already available in XXL and XL and now in Small, Medium and Large sizes additionally.
The new sizes are available in Pro Matt Lacquer, which is Bjelin’s best lacquer to date. The extremely durable surface makes the floor easy to maintain while protecting it from stains, making it ideal for heavy traffic areas like hotels, restaurants, offices and shops – or the entrance of a home.
The recent addition of a Hard Wax Oil surface in XL and XXL sizes, also makes the product ideal for the hotel and heavy traffic hospitality sector.
Bjelin leads the way on sustainability
Bjelin has created a smarter, greener way to manufacture hardwood flooring and has invested in a new state-of-the-art 14,000 m2 production facility in Sweden. It has also built a new factory in Ogulin, Croatia which extends the overall available production capacity to over 20 million m2. The company’s production facilities are located near to its timber sources to avoid extended supply lines.
Bjelin’s hardened wood floors use timber much more efficiently. Only a tenth of the material normally used in hardwood flooring is required for the timber used in Woodura®. Hardened wood flooring with Woodura® technology is made with oak, ash or walnut that come from sustainable sources of timber with FSC certification.
The company is fully aware that the flooring sector has to play its part in the crucial drive towards sustainability and improved environmental performance. The company has demonstrated, through its history and expertise, that innovation is the way forward to achieve important climate change goals in the flooring sector.
It is leading the way by developing products which minimise the use of raw materials, and where raw materials are used, that this is carried out sustainably and responsibly. The flooring industry needs products which are easily separable and which, where possible, do not require the use of adhesives.
Bjelin stands as a beacon of much-needed innovation, bringing durability, functionality and sustainability to the sector.
Beauty in practice
Where Bjelin hardened wood floors are installed on commercial projects, it is easy to see how the aesthetic advantages combine with the other benefits of durability, ease of installation and sustainability to create a winning solution for clients.
Two examples of recent projects demonstrate this very clearly. Bjelin products were specified on a stunning refurb job in Central London, highlighting both the functionality and the outstanding aesthetic qualities of the range. Market Halls Canary Wharf was a project which had to be implemented with only the very best materials.
Bjelin was able to supply 450m² of hardened wood flooring to meet the requirements of this most discerning customer. They were looking for maximum durability, in view of the high footfall through Market Halls, a strong position on sustainability and the most aesthetic and stylish flooring available.
A further project was an elegant 250 square metre renovation project for design gallery Modernity in Belgravia, London, which highlights the functionality and outstanding aesthetic qualities of the Bjelin range.
Modernity specialises in the collection and sale of rare and high-grade furniture, ceramics, glass, lighting and jewellery from the most renowned Nordic designers of the 20th century. This year the company has opened a new permanent London showroom in Belgravia, for which Bjelin supplied its XXL Oak Nature – Natural – Brushed Lacquer.
Meet the team
In the UK, the company is headed up by Simon Darbyshire, Managing Director of Välinge Innovation UK Ltd. Simon brings more than 30 years of international management experience in the wood-based panels sector to the business.
His colleague Richard Banham is the National Key Account Manager for UK & Ireland. Prior to joining Bjelin, Richard had 16 years’ experience with the Headlam Group, where he was responsible for the hard flooring business.
Between them, Simon and Richard have many years’ experience of the wood flooring sector, and their success in the market is now beginning to speak for itself.