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Monday, 04 February 2019 15:47

Wood – Polymer – Mixed

The MMFA renames MMF product categories

The MMFA has assigned new names to product groups relating to floating multilayer modular flooring (MMF). In doing so, it has made a clear commitment to bringing together all the various terms within the sector under the generic term “MMF”. The same system of classification will be retained, with multilayer flooring still grouped according to its type of construction, but as of November 2018 the Association is working with the new product categories “Wood”, “Polymer” (which is divided into “LVT” and “Rigid”) and “Mixed”.

The rapid pace of product development in multilayer flooring shows no signs of slowing down. The appearance of new structures and a steady increase in the choice of materials means that product ranges are becoming increasingly diverse – and at the same time more complex. In January 2018, the MMFA Association revised the way it differentiated between Product Classes 1, 2 and 3, to take the latest product developments into account. In simple terms: Class 1 previously denoted HDF-based products, Class 2 polymer-based and Class 3 special constructions. Class 2 was broken down into sub-groups 2A (classic LVT Click products) and 2B (predominantly products with an extruded core layer, often also classified as “rigid boards”.

Systematic grouping to include newcomers to the market

After in-depth discussions at the MMFA’s autumn session in Cologne on 20 November 2018, members made the decision to put an end to the “Class” system for the future. Sebastian Wendel, Vice-President of the MMFA and Chairman of the Technical Committee, explains the decision: “We are retaining a classification system for individual MMF products, but we have moved away from the concept of Classes 1, 2 and 3. This comes as a result of our belief that such a classification could be misconstrued as a product ranking. So from now on we will be categorising according to MMF construction – i.e. wood, polymer or mixed. Under “Polymer” we will still distinguish between classic LVT Click products and “Rigid” EPC or SPC-based products.”

The re-named categories will continue to form the basis for the sales statistics, which are made up of the quarterly sales figures submitted by ordinary members of the MMFA. The purpose of these statistics is to help the Association, its members and their customers to gain a better understanding of the market dynamics.

The new MMF categories at a glance

WOOD: Wood-based core with polymer or cork surface

As a category, “Wood” (previously Class 1) applies to products with a wood-based core (minimum 65% content of wood particles/fibres in the core) and a polymer or cork overlay (cork thickness less than 2.5 mm, i.e. below EN standard 13489).

POLYMER: Polymer core with polymer surface

The category “Polymer” (previously Class 2) includes polymer-based and polymer composite-based substrates. This category is divided into heterogeneous, (semi-) resilient LVT Click products (mostly in accordance with EN 10582, previously Class 2A) and the more stable Rigid products (usually in accordance with EN 16511, previously Class 2B). “Rigid” includes polymer Click products with predominantly extruded middle layers based on either EPC (Expanded Polymer Core – polymer foam middle layer) or SPC (Solid Polymer Core – high-filled middle layer). The criteria for assigning products to each of to these sub-categories are currently being worked on by MMFA technical experts.

MIXED: All other product constructions

The category “Mixed” (previously Class 3) continues to apply to all other flooring constructions not covered by any other category or by own external standards. This would include, for example, MMF modules using the click system with a textile top layer, and those with a mineral core or a cork middle layer.

In all three categories, the polymers can be either PVC or other synthetic material alternatives.

Ad Hoc Group develops tests for “Rigid” products.

Already thinking well beyond categorisation, the MMFA is now working on a much larger concept: product clustering. Sebastian Wendel explains: “Our aim is that the MMF product cluster will aid customers and processors to clearly identify typical requirements for a particular product, such as basic necessities for installation. We intend to define and develop the comparative values and standards associated with this product cluster. We have discussed this in great depth with our members at a number of working sessions and it will continue to be a key topic for us for some time to come.”

The actions of the MMFA in this area have made a positive contribution to increased product quality. For example – unlike with HDF core products – there is no existing long-term practical experience with EPC and SPC-based planks, and to date there have been no generally binding requirements or standards for assessing the quality of core boards. For the MMFA, closing this gap in standards is seen as an urgent task and it has set up its own working group to address this. The group will examine flooring systems, define their properties and develop measurement procedures with reproducible results – initially for publication as part of the Association’s in-house specifications and later for integration into EU standards. Examples of possible parameters for a differentiated evaluation of EPC or SPC systems are: rigidity, elasticity, deflection and density.
www.mmfa.eu

OVERVIEW OF CATEGORIES

MMFA Product Categories – updated version, valid from 20.11.2018
Product categories represented by the MMFA for floating, multilayer structure modular flooring (MMF), as approved during the joint session of the MMFA’s Technical & Market Development Committees held in Cologne on 20 November, 2018.

WOOD
Composite wood core with polymer or cork surface.
All products with wood-based core (≥ 65% content of wood particles/wood fibres in the core) with polymer or cork overlay (cork thickness < 2.5 mm).

POLYMER
Polymer core with polymer surface
Polymer-based or polymer composite-based substrates with polymer overlay and/or polymer coating system.
with two sub-categories:
LVT: LVT Click products
Rigid Products: EPC – SPC.
All other polymer Click products based on EPC (Expanded Polymer Core) or SPC (Solid Polymer Core).

MIXED
All other constructions.
Note: Examples of products in the “Mixed” category are MMF modules using a Click system and textile surface, or those with a mineral core.

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