Doors for tomorrow, made today

Kelachandra Industries, one of the leading door manufacturers in Bengaluru, has been into woodworking for over 38 years and employs about 200 employees across three verticals. WoodNews spoke to Mr Thomas Markose, Director of Marketing for Kelachandra Door Systems, to find out his views on the segment.

Doors have to be constructed strong, its wood must be stable and durable, and their finish must make the right statement for the interiors.

With your experience in the doors industry could you tell us what are the qualities that one should look for? What is there to be avoided when buying one?

The primary function of the door is to be a room partition. Hence, the main qualities that have to be looked for are strength for safety; stability against warping due to temperature variations between rooms; durability and aesthetics, something that makes the right statement of your interiors.

In addition one must also look out for basic sound rating, basic fire rating on materials being used – this requirement should never be under-estimated – and manufactured to precision to get the best surface for paint or lacquer.

It’s also important to mention what we don’t want in a door is over-engineered weight – all that extra load just hangs off a couple of hinges for nothing. One must also not use non-renewable or non-eco-friendly timber or other raw materials, especially non-toxic coatings, glues and fillers. Finally one must avoid over-specified door frames that use large sections with a lot of waste of timber.

The whole concept of doors and door frames has changed drastically over the years. Could you tell us how and why this has happened?

With pre-hung doors getting more popular, the functions of frames have changed quite a bit. Frames and doors can be installed with precision towards the end of a building project. They are almost as easy as installation of furniture and need no extra work for handover and avoid unnecessary damages to a finished product.

Today, the only function of the frame is to take the weight of the door and transfer this load to the masonry wall. A pre-hung frame will not add any extra strength or stability to the building. Hence, the right amount of load-bearing timber is all that is required for this.

Architraves around frames play an important role and are a standard offering today. They can be crafted in many creative ways to change the grandeur of door systems.

What are the processes that are used by your company to ensure quality doors?

We have perfected the method to blend these qualities to manufacture better doors for the Indian market. All raw materials are carefully selected from vendors that have invested in future technologies. We currently work with Sauderland (Germany) for door cores, Kupsa Coatings (Spain) for high quality door finishes, Canadian wood for most of their timber, and very durable imported E2 grade panels from South-East Asia.

All processing is done using fast and precise imported woodworking machines.  The stages in door production cover core composition, hot pressing, final size cutting, edging, CNC machining for slotting of hinges and finally lacquering.

In the factory the frames move through 4-side moulding machines, length cutting with integrated frame joinery slots, calibration sanding and lacquering. We also offer to install door seals on frames to extend the life of the product and for better sound and thermal insulation.

Could you elaborate on the veneering and lacquering facilities at your factory?

Our greatest pride is our veneering section – it has been our backbone for over 38 years. We harness all our experience in veneers to craft and cater to many designs needs. Our in-house lacquering facilities offer the possibilities on colors/stains, numerous finishes (matt/glossy) and effects (open-grain, retro, distressed, etc.). 

Our Kelachandra signature innovation in doors are technologies like “wear-n-tear layer” for toilet door bottoms, “tight-shut door systems” for discerning customers, special timber edgings on doors and our own crafted handle details as an aesthetic add-on for architects.

What is your current range and volume of production of doors and what are your future plans?

We have also made our production line flexible enough to produce an order for a single door or even and order for over 1,000 doors. This enables us to cater to different types of orders.

Besides the standard range of doors, we have also developed our signature specialty range of door systems: solid wood classic style doors, super-sized door 75-mm thick and up to 10 feet in height.

Our Prima doors have seamless sliding systems and invisible door frames. These cater to high-end residential projects. The new product range currently being worked on is high quality European timber windows and outdoor architectural timber products.

This is a new emerging market in India and Kelachandra would like to be among the front runners. This will also integrate our indoor wood work into the outdoor spaces.

What are the biggest challenges that you face from the market?

The manufacture of pre-hung doors has been the mainstream business for many years now. The biggest challenge we have faced is customers either over-specifying a product due to some pre-instilled notion, or trying to cut corners where they shouldn’t.

The more clients we meet today, the more we are convinced that they have not clearly understood the functions and properties they should be looking for when specifying doors and frames. (www.kelveneers.com)

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