At the firm’s sawmill in Semarang, Oak logs are prepared for manufacturing at the flooring plant.
Oak Is Wood Of Choice At TANJUNG KREASI
By Michael Buckley
Jakarta, Indonesia–Impressive is the word for Tanjung Kreasi – the producer of TEKA Parquet in Indonesia and operator of one of the world’s largest engineered wood flooring plants. Impressive because of the sheer range of flooring products; impressive in terms of management led by the engineer, President Daniel Handoyo, and the loyalty and respect he commands; impressive because the company has succeeded in a crowded and competitive market in Europe. Finally one can only be impressed by the transparency of this Indonesian company in its quest for environmental responsibility and the loyalty of its distributors in 38 countries around the world.
This company’s number one imported species is Oak, mainly in the form of Red and White lumber; some Red Oak logs from the USA and Oak logs from Europe, all used in as much as 35% to 40% of the production – not surprising given the main markets of Europe and North America into which TEKA products are sold. European and American Ash, American Walnut and some Maple and Cherry are also imported.
Mr. Daniel, as Handoyo is known here, came to flooring from plywood in 1980 and then furniture in 1990 and now directs a company in Central Java with a 14.5 hectare site, 60 kilometers inland from Semarang, the regional capital. Material is fed from the company’s own sawmill at the port of Semarang. In both the flooring plant and the sawmill, most waste is utilized to power water heated kilns and
Tanjung Kreasi President Daniel Handoyo.
plants, and some sold locally for much needed fuel. Species are drawn from all over the world for face material, but much of the core material is recovered rubberwood or lumber supplied from Java’s plantations of Albizia used locally for plywood and other local species.
“We do guarantee that all our material is sourced legally,” Mr. Daniel said, adding that the company is FSC and PEFC certified. “We have to be really transparent to answer our customers and NGOs to give clear origin of material and prove that nothing is from illegal sources.”
The Pingit flooring plant sits at 700 meters above sea level in the Temanggung region surrounded by seven and timber plantations – a situation not unusual in crowded Java where most natural forests were long since cut out. Java’s forests were depleted decades ago by intense agriculture and for fuel wood by the world’s most populous island, today standing at over 130 million of Indonesia’s 240 million. But in such fertile conditions Hevea braziliensis (rubberwood) grows fast as well as Albizia falcataria (sengon), Antocephalus cadamba (jabon) and several other species which can produce saw logs in 7 to 10 years providing sustainable sources of wood core material. Longer growing species such as Mahogany are also managed sustainably. The TEKA plant is surrounded by hundreds of acres of government and private plantations. The company has secured longterm, mainly local, supplies of sustainable plantation species grown in Java. Not only are these species environmentally highly acceptable but the flooring plant is able to use very low grades, thus maximizing the yield of material that otherwise might be wasted. One of Indonesia’s many resources is its
American Walnut is another species preferred at Tanjung Kreasi. Pictured are samples of lumber blanks manufactured by the firm.
people, and unlike some other Asian countries immigrant labor is unnecessary. Inevitably in flooring production, handcrafting is an essential element and Javanese people are very dextrous. Almost all the workforce lives locally and most are long-term employees making training more effective and worthwhile. This company has a real sense of family. Within its perimeter is a mosque and canteen where meals are free for the hourlong lunch period; and work is a six day week in a plant which stops for a month of mainly religious and national paid holidays. There is however only one foreigner in the company – a Taiwanese technical advisor who has been with Mr. Daniel since his plywood production days in Jambi, Sumatra.
TEKA Parquet is distributed in 38 countries mainly by long-term customers with whom Tanjung Kreasi works closely on technical issues and designs. Formerly, until the recent global crisis, the USA and Canada accounted for as much as 40% of sales – now reduced to about 20%. However the company has always been extremely strong in Europe with Scandinavia, Germany and Spain as most important. That’s changing too as Asian markets such as Korea are developing well. This year Mr. Daniel predicts that Canada, Korea, Germany and Scandinavia will be the key markets. Technical innovation, with such benefits as the Swedish “Välinge Innovation AB” patented locking system marketed under licence as “SoftLoc”, has helped to keep TEKA at the forefront of European engineered flooring markets. It allows gluefree installation saving 60% on labor, vital in the high cost markets of Europe and North America. Most of the technology and equipment is European, mainly German, Italian and Austrian.
Tanjung Kreasi workers grade wood to be used in production.
TEKA is also working on solutions for its flooring to be installed in either extremely dry or highly humid regions by developing TEKA’s patented VersaCore, a unique veneer composite core material which withstands a wide range of relative humidity. In the 15 years since TEKA was established, at least 95% of production has gone to export, but with the new confidence that investors and property buyers now have in the current, stable Indonesian government and its fast-improving economy, Mr Daniel, for one believes that a new market will develop at home.
Dimensional stability – vital in flooring performance is enhanced by TEKA using its own in-plant heat treatment process giving a more stable product with resistance to abrasion and therefore longer life performance. All kinds of in-house production techniques are continuously being developed with core material to increase stability and special plywood used within the ends of boards to ensure secure interlocking end to end. Heat treatments are used to deepen color which, for example, enables the plant to use light color wood faces resembling the exotic tropical species. These techniques also give many options for Oak – still the number one choice for hardwood face material in North American and European flooring markets. Today fumed Oak is growing in popularity. Other treatments, purely for aesthetic effect, include distressed, hand-scraped ‘antique’ look and ‘ship deck’ design and ‘fine line’ engineered face veneer.
At TEKA’s packing station, employees handle each handmade item with great care.
Finishing is mainly with water-based stains or oils and UV acrylic lacquers applied by roller process. The current trend of darker furniture and floors allows the company a lot of flexibility in species and the ability to utilize lower grades than the blond-wood fashion of 10 years ago. Most of the production is three-layer but not much of it is simply three layers of wood; but has different combinations of material. Most of the products have a surface of 2.5mm solid lumber cut with high accuracy by Austrian-made gang saws. Other products, such as ‘deck’, ‘dur’ and ‘line’ are offered for specialist use, all incorporating 3.4mm faces.
Impressive are the many design alternatives and combinations, such as Herringbone Parquet in 400mm square modules, which also incorporate “SoftLoc” for glue-free installation. Finishes in oiled, smoked, white-wash as well as carbonised surfaces are all available giving huge flexibility to buyers from as far afield as Lebanon and China (two who were encountered during this particular visit). Iwan Agra, long time employee and now General Affairs Manager, is proud of the fact that the production is “very natural and eco-friendly” and that TEKA products are helping local forest owners to afford replanting. He is also naturally a little guarded about some of the current product innovation developments – a symptom of the company’s determination to keep ahead.
When asked about the difficulty of overcoming some negative perceptions in international markets about Indonesia’s past management of its forests resources, all of Tanjung Kreasi’s staff are clear. “We are certified, transparent and work hard to ensure that we operate in a sustainable manner,” they all say.
At Tanjung Kreasi in Jakarta, Indonesia, an employee displays a piece of Oak flooring up to 35 mm in width that will be used in TEKA Parquet. Oak from the U.S. is the number one imported species at this company.
PT. Tanjung Kreasi Parquet Industry is PEFC multi-site certified by SGS (COC- 0879) for the “Purchase of sawn and veneer for the manufacture and sale of PEFC engineered flooring using the percentage method, based on Appendices 1, 4, 5 & 7”. The company is also certified for FSC by Smartwood – Rainforest Alliance (SW-COC-003536 and SW-CW-003536) for “Single Chain-of-Custody and Controlled Wood based on FSC-STD-40- 004 and FSC-STD-40-005”. For more information visit the company’s website at www.tekaparquet.com.
Pictured is handmade treatment of American Oak used in TEKA Parquet.