Valinge raises DIY bar several notches

Its patented Threespine assembly technology helps buyers assemble furniture without tools, screws, glues or even fasteners

Because the locking function resides in the tongue, the technology is suitable for all material that can be machined to a profile.

Japanese furniture retailer Nitori, one of the top furniture retailers in the world, launched a new range of products featuring Threespine click furniture technology from Valinge. With this implementation, it addresses changing market needs as well as the challenges with conventional flat-pack furniture.

One of the company’s main goals is to provide products that make consumers’ lives more convenient and comfortable. It currently organises approximately three million global deliveries per year through its more than 540 stores worldwide.

Nitori provides ready-to-assemble (RTA) furniture: products delivered as flat packages and later assembled by the end-consumer. The global RTA furniture segment continues to show strong growth, partly because of its suitability for e-commerce, and the need for fast, easy and reliable assembly methods will become increasingly important.

Game changer

Valinge Innovation is a research and development and intellectual property company (with more than 2,100 patents) in the flooring and furniture industries that developed the Threespine furniture assembly technology.

Founded in 1993, the company pioneered the concept of glue-less “click” flooring and changed the way people install and use flooring and the worldwide patented technology introduced a fast and easy way of installing floorboards mechanically, without using glue.

Threespine is based on Valinge’s 5G fold-down technology, which has been used worldwide in the production of more than 1.4 billion square metres of flooring. Today, the technology base covers all fields related to floating flooring, but also to other applications such as furniture and surfaces.

All R&D activities take place at its facility in Viken (Sweden), which is considered to be the world’s most advanced R&D centre related to laminates, wood and wood-powder based flooring technology.

Threespine assembly

The technology empowers the user with the ability to assemble furniture in seconds without using tools, screws or fasteners. “When I first came across Threespine I was completely blown away,” said Mr Noriyasu Yamamoto, manager of Nitori Product Development Laboratory.

The key feature is a flexible plastic locking tongue that automatically locks boards or panels when they are pushed together. When a panel is pushed into position, the tongue is forced into the tongue groove. As the panel reaches its final position, the tongue snaps out into a wedge groove and locks the panels.

“The tongue strength, in combination with the long connection surface, achieves an extremely stable locking that in turn makes the furniture very robust,” said Mr Hans Brannstrom, director of furniture technology at Valinge.

The locking tongues are inserted in panels during production, making it easier for anyone to assembly furniture. The technology also enables furniture to be dismantled by using a strip that pushes the tongue back into the groove, unlocking the panels.

With Threespine, gluing or other assembly methods are no longer needed to cover holes for fasteners, screws and plugs. The new technology allows a clean design for furniture that can be assembled and dismantled many times.

While traditional construction results in point loads, Threespine spreads the load along the connection surface. As a result, the strength of the joint is less dependent on the material dimensions and properties and that opens new design opportunities, especially using thin panels.

Because the locking function resides in the tongue, the technology is suitable for all material that can be machined to a profile, such as particleboard, medium- or high-density fibreboard, plywood, high-pressure laminates, plastic and more. The technology allows these materials to be combined in ways that weren’t possible before.

Threespine can quickly move into production because of the technology’s compatibility with existing machinery, such as CNC machines, double-sided edge banding machines and profiling machines.

“Threespine provides an attractive alternative for RTA manufacturers looking to offer superior products,” Hans said. “It also enables manufacturers of factory-assembled furniture to switch to RTA to reduce logistics costs and lower their environmental impact without any negative impact on the design and quality of their products.”

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