“Beautiful Thinking: Innovative Efficiency”
30 Jun 2015
An adjunct to CEFPI's annual conference in 2015 was an invitation to WA and SA delegates from Interface Australia to learn more about modern carpet design and manufacture by working with their design team and visiting their factory at Minto NSW where a new type of carpet tiles is produced in a wide range of styles.
Five people joined the Interface team to learn more. Before leaving Canberra we were introduced to the work of the design team and given the opportunity to learn how the team works with its clients to develop designs and customise colours and styles to suit specific functions and places.
We then visited the Minto factory which is streamlined, efficient and environmentally responsible in all aspects of production. We were shown the wide range of threads and colours (420 yarns, 500 patterns and infinite possibilities for design) in a cavernous place (24,000 square metres) where the industrial machinery is carefully managed by highly competent staff with expertise in their specific roles including careful attention to quality control. The spools of yarn are set to the customised specifications and delivered through incredibly fast machines with multiple needles to form loom-sized rolls of carpet which are cut to tile size prior to packaging and distributing.
Factories in Australia, the USA, and Thailand work cooperatively to ensure quality, efficiency, recycling, innovation and continuous improvement.
The work practices in the factory include individual and team rewards for productivity, safety and continuous improvement as well as company profit sharing. The environmentally sustainable features include recycling factory off-cuts and rejects, recycling used tiles, and recycling water used in the production process. Everything is measured – energy, water, materials, products, and time.
It was fascinating to see how the company which produced Heuga carpet tiles for use in schools in the 1060's has evolved and now manufactures high quality carpet tiles suitable for a wide range of applications in hospitality, commercial, and education.