Norway's leading provider of hard flooring and wall and ceiling panels is RBI Interiør AS. This innovative company relies on Teknos solutions for manufacturing its Smartpanel elements.
The Smartpanel success story began in 2004 with an untreated wall panel. RBI later began supplying these panels pre-painted, and sales increased rapidly. Today's range covers more than 350 different wall and ceiling paneling products. RBI Interiør leads the Norwegian and Swedish markets with its Smartpanel brand of MDF plates, and exports to a series of European countries. RBI Interiør modernized and extended its Smartpanel production facility in Fredrikstad (southern Norway) as recently as 2015. With production capacity of 10 million square meters of MDF plates a year, it is Scandinavia's largest and most modern factory making pre-painted panels.
While Smartpanel is a significant contributor to success, this innovative company has other brands as well. RBI Interiør was founded in 1997 as an importer of Kronotex laminate floors, a brand that it still sells. Others brands have also joined the selection, such as Wicanders cork floor and wall coverings, Fjordal simulated wood plank laminate, and the company's own highly successful SAGA parquet brand. Total sales at RBI Interiør stand at 500 million NOK (around 55 million Euros).
Smartpanel elements consist of MDF plates, fully prefabricated and painted at the factory. The panels are typically 600 mm wide and between 2390 and 3050 mm tall. They are manufactured with V-grooves and attach easily to walls and wood structures using concealed nails – the ideal way of creating aesthetic and functional interiors.
The collection comprises eleven product lines featuring a wide range of different designs, colors, and functions. Choices include the smooth surface of Smartpanel Color, Smartpanel Struktur with an old-fashioned brush stroke texture, the contemporary Trend series, versatile Smartpanel Multi for walls and ceilings, Smartpanel Tiles with simulated ceramic finishes, a line specifically for kitchens, and panels for use in wet areas such as bathrooms. Smartpanel elements are sold exclusively through well-stocked builders merchants.
Remi Bergstrøm, the executive in charge of Smartpanel
“They are easy to install, environmentally compatible, and extremely versatile. Whether you want a traditional or a contemporary look, our Smartpanel collection covers the whole spectrum of requirements, styles, and uses. Our color collections also make it easy for customers to choose and combine the optimal shades.” To achieve this, Smartpanel worked with an interior designer in developing the ‘natural’, ‘urban’ and ‘harmonious’ color collections that work either individually or in concert.
Besides design, quality and innovative production are factors contributing to Smartpanel’s success. At its plant in Fredrikstad, RBI Interiør uses the latest industrial processes together with a high level of automation and vision-based quality control of milling patterns and colors.
When it comes to painting the Smartpanel elements, RBI Interiør has relied on solutions from Teknos for a decade now. The company mainly uses a water-based Teknos system with a UV-curing topcoat. “There is a need for high quality in our Smartpanel elements,” explains Remi Bergstrøm. “Teknos coatings give us extremely high-grade, durable surfaces, while processing meets modern standards of sustainable production that matter greatly to us at our Fredrikstad plant.”
Collaboration at the technical level is also working well. As an innovative company, RBI Interiør is constantly at work on new developments and improvements to existing products and processes. Where those concern painting, the Smartpanel developers bring in the Teknos experts at an early stage. Teknos also supported RBI Interiør with developing and implementing its present color collections.
“We are an innovation-driven company, so our suppliers need to be flexible, open to new ideas and capable of contributing the latest technical know-how in support of our development,” says Remi Bergstrøm. “In this respect too, we have had very good experiences with Teknos.”
The collaboration is a success. More and more Smartpanel elements with Teknos finishes will continue being installed – and not just in Norway.
Norway’s leading provider of hard flooring and wall and ceiling cladding
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