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Coating and staining to the highest standard

„If you purchase a spray coating machine, you‘ll go bankrupt in two years“. Felix Graf laughs as he quotes his long-standing machine sales consultant and Bürkle Austria representative, Adalbert Lindner. This is because Felix Graf GmbH, based in the Lower Bavarian municipality of Zenting, has recently acquired a new „ROBUSeco“ machine from Bürkle that is doing a perfect job.

Felix Graf runs the company, founded as a furniture joinery by his father in 1955, in the second generation. In the 1990s he systematically realigned the range of services towards hotel and gastronomic facilities as well as upscale interior construction. The reference list reads like a guide through European starred hotels. It includes 4 and 5-star hotels in Moscow, Berlin, Hamburg, Munich, Mallorca and numerous Swiss destinations. From flooring work via wall designs, painting work and extensive cabinetry to electrical work and pieces of furniture, Graf has positioned itself as a complete interior designer for its market partners. Surface finishing is tremendously important in this business field. Graf meets the highest quality requirements for his clients. He has been using Bürkle roller coating machines with UV dryers for many years. This also explains the statement by Adalbert Lindner that was quoted at the beginning. „For reasons of quality, we and Lindner actually felt that only roller coating could provide the highest level of finishing. In addition, we have three manual spraying stations for the highly diverse individual painting jobs and, above all, for irregularly shaped workpieces“, explains Graf. It is precisely these manual spraying stations that made it necessary to invest in additional technology and capacity. For one thing, proficient painters who are able to perform this challenging manual work are few and far between in Lower Bavaria. Then a major contract was awarded as part of the complete renovation of the „Grande Dame“ in Bad Ragaz.

A few months ago, Felix Graf received a major order from the Grand Hotel Quellenhof in Bad Ragaz. This project required the entire know-how of his company as a complete fitter. Also the painting technology contributed its part to the success.

The Grand Hotel Quellenhof in the Swiss municipality of Bad Ragaz celebrates its 150th anniversary this year. The five-star hotel with over 100 luxurious suites is a flagship of top-class Swiss hotels. 20 years after the last full renovation of the hotel it was time to create a „new Quellenhof“. After two years of planning, the hotel was completely closed from February 2019. The complete overhaul was carried out for 45 million Swiss Francs over a 5-month construction period. Felix Graf was involved. His company applied all of its know-how as a complete interior designer to the suites. „For us, the required 25,000 to 30,000 surfaces mean finishing a good 12,000 m² of wide-ranging surface geometries individually and with a high degree of flexibility“, says Felix Graf, describing the job description for this sub-area of his services. During the planning period for the work at Bad Ragaz, it already became clear that „it was absolutely impossible to do manually. Roller coating wouldn‘t work because of the geometries“.

An initial inspection of the „ROBUS“ spray coating machine presented at the Holz-Handwerk trade fair in Nuremberg awakened Graf‘s interest in the technology. His company was already familiar with Bürkle. And not only because of its roller coating machines: back in 1969, a veneer press from Freudenstadt was set up in the Graf workshop. Together with an application engineer from the Austrian subsidiary in Wels of his paint supplier, the Stuttgart-based paint factory Votteler, the details were discussed at the Bürkle technology centre. It was particularly important that the „ROBUS“ spray coating machine could not only be used for coating, but also staining. Surface staining is method that is being used increasing rarely. However, Graf‘s customer base requests it when it comes to giving the appearance of fine woods a special emphasis. The Bürkle specialists around spray coating project manager Martin Brümmerstädt accepted the challenge. „Until then, we had no experience whatsoever of staining with the spray coating system. We were all the more surprised that we very quickly managed to achieve goods results in collaboration with Graf and Votteler“, recounts Brümmerstädt, describing the results of tests in the Bürkle technology centre.

Felix Graf had found his desired alternatives and complement to the bottleneck of manual painting. And that‘s not all: „We were able to deploy our existing staff to operate the system. Stained dark walnut, which we were able to use for the display cabinets in the suites of the Quellenhof, would not have been at all feasible by hand in the desired design. The surface has a consistent, heavenly quality. Unfortunately, staining is a dying art“. Felix Graf becomes almost sentimental, going well and truly into raptures as he talks about the look and feel of the surface quality.

©DRW-Verlag Weinbrenner GmbH & Co. KG, HK Holz- und Kunststoffverarbeitung



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