Prototyping

The serial production of furniture requires a well thought-out design, carefully prepared drawings and a team of enthusiastic specialists. For this very reason, each of Krošlák’s new upholstery products begins its journey in the prototyping department. This is where the mock-up is created, based on the client’s proposal and preferences.

The initial input can be varied, stemming from a sketch or other visual inspiration with a description, but cooperation can also be based on an exchange of detailed technical drawings or a physical sample. In 2017, Krošlák began to implement its ambition of having its own product line and brand, thus launching the process of its transformation

from a manufacturing company to a product-focused business.

One of the essential tasks of this department is calculating and defining standards; this is ensured by three employees certified by IPA Slovakia. Once the customer has approved the design, quality, seating comfort, price and delivery terms, the model is ready for production.

Technologies and Team

– The portfolio of Krošlák’s research and development department includes a wide range of upholstered furniture – sofas, beds, armchairs, loungers and chairs. As well as a variety of materials, they are also experienced in using many functional elements: mechanisms for the manual or motor-driven adjustment of seats, backrests and armrests, as well as integrating, for example, USB chargers and other electronic components. They focus on products aimed at serial production, but also deal with tailor-made solutions such as upholstered elements for the interiors of yachts, restaurants and hotels.

The department’s staff consists of eight specialists with a fine-tuned spatial imagination and the ability to think in 2D and 3D, which helps them prepare technical drawings. Software is their basic work tool. When designing frames and foam, they use CAD systems and – in the case of frames – specialised software which is able to turn drawings into data for CNC machining centres. Other software includes a Lectra package for cutting fabrics and leather,

which also optimises the use of materials. The programme Plan Assyst is used for documenting and calculating standards for the sewing workshop, which is even able to work out the standard time for sewing a cover.

– The whole prototype development process usually takes one to two months, depending on the complexity of the model itself and the number of modifications.

Frame Preparation

Krošlák’s continuing growth is confirmed by the frame preparation department. In the past, the wooden components for the furniture produced were cut by subcontractors. Today, a new woodprocessing centre has been opened, and frames are not only assembled here, but the individual wooden components are also prepared here.

The frame is essential for a good sofa, and the new CNC machine and the cutting centre have not only speeded up and made the whole production process more efficient, but thanks to them, Krošlák is now in control of the quality of the material, its processing and its economical use.

The local know-how in the development and production of frames is based on long years of experience with models equipped with all sorts of mechanisms, where precision must be measured in millimetres. By cutting the wood internally, the company has simplified the logistics and increased its flexibility.

Technologies and Team

– The greatest support in the modern framemaking workshop is the new machining centre SCM Accord 20 nst, which optimally meets the needs of a flexible production. It is exceptionally well suited to processing untreated wood panels and materials based on wood, as well as plastic, composites and light alloys, and can cut one to three layers depending on the material. The dimensions of the machined planks are 3,650 x 1,600, 3,650 x 2,120 and 4,250 x 2,120 mm. The machine is fully automatic with a power of 12 – 15kW and rotations of up to 24,000 rpm. It can hold 12 to 36 tools.

– The department for the preparation of frames is equipped with a SCM SIGMA IMPACT P cutting centre with a cutting length of 3,800 mm, a depth of cut on a platform ranging from 1,850 to 2,200 mm and a variable cutting speed of up to 135 m/min.

– The SCM SI 300 CLASS format saw is suitable for angular cutting, with a swivelling circular saw from 90° to 45°, a sliding table of 2,800 mm, a width of 360 mm and a precision of 0.05 mm along the whole length of the cut.

– The Metabo TKHS 315 C universal table saw and compact stapling guns are also indispensable in the workshop.

– Work on the frame ends with the insertion of plastic grips, spring rails or metal hardware ensuring the requisite functionality of the particular model.

Foam and Gluing

Comfort and correct seating ergonomics are decisive when choosing sofas and beds. The sandwich foam plays a role in the above, and its composition is always tailor-made. The quality and firmness of the foam is exclusively dependent on customer preferences. They are based on the customs of the market at which the product is aimed,

and the parameters which are a priority for the end customers. The required qualities of seats, backrests and armrests are the result of using filling materials with the correct parameters, shaping and layering them, or using mattresses with Bonnell springs.

Krošlák’s workshop has experience of the most varied demands from throughout the EU and uses a wide range of materials to meet these needs.

The process in the gluing workshop ends with gluing the batting. The result, the so-called “white frame”, is then ready for upholstering.

Technologies and Team

– The team of ten professionals from the gluing workshop works to prepare 350 sofa units daily, which are immediately made available for the next department: the upholstery workshop.

– The gluing workshop is equipped with a central distribution point for a solventbased adhesive which dries immediately once applied to the surface of the frame or foam.

This method is very effective and ensures a smooth production flow. In order to make the workplace safer, a powerful air extraction system is installed in the hall.

– The foam blocks are supplied by market leaders: B6 A/S, Eurofoam andMolitas. Orders are placed according to the plan for the given week, thus reducing to a minimum storage needs.

Cooperation with several, well-established suppliers has proved essential for timing continuous production. Access to the wide range of ready-made foam products required by the production capacity and variety of manufactured elements is also an advantage.

Cover Cutting and Sewing

The cover – its material and finish – is what reveals the quality of upholstered furniture at first glance.

Customers either choose the cover material themselves, or use local and foreign suppliers with whom Krošlák cooperates. A new feature is the internal stocktaking system, able to differentiate between different material characteristics,

leading to an improved production.

Textile and synthetic leather is cut by machine, but where leather covers are concerned, the company thinks the world of manual cutting. This is carried out by experienced “cutters” who have attended several training courses focused on handling high-quality leather

and are well versed in the system for setting quality criteria based on customer preferences.

The cut cover materials make their way into the sewing workshop, which was modernised in 2016. Sewing covers – in particular leather ones – requires great skill and experience; clever seamstresses are thus essential for a flawless result.

Technologies and Team

– The new warehouse system records the different characteristics of materials and enables an absolute shade match for each model produced. If the customer supplies the material himself, he has access to the system, giving him an overview and the opportunity to optimise his purchases. This minimises the risk of insufficient fabric and potential problems in fulfilling the order.

– Krošlák uses the Lectra Vector 5000 multilayer fabric cutter,

which cuts approximately 272,000 metres each year. Requirements for cutting ordinary materials such as cotton, linen, silk, artificial leather or other technical materials are well met using the powerful Dayang CZD-103 vertical cutter. On top of this, the company plans to buy a Zünd D3 single-layer double-headed cutter from the Swiss manufacturer to increase production quality, representing the latest technology in this field.

– in 2017, Krošlák opened a new sewing workshop in Brezová pod Bradlom. Further support thus came to help the 22 seamstresses in the modernised workshop in Nitrianska Blatnica. The workshops are equipped with new software and pneumatic sewing machines with lockstitch. The production’s flexibility is aided by subcontracting with three external sewing workshops in the region.

Upholstery

The production of upholstered furniture is completed in the upholstery workshop. The frames wrapped in foam and batting come together with the covers here. In this section, the greatest care is given to the precision of the work, which is mainly based on the staff’s many years of experience.

The final quality control for each product also takes place in the upholstery workshop.

This is why the whole model needs to be assembled, including the legs, motor and other functional components, as well as the upholstery of individual elements. At a first level, the finish is inspected: controllers note in particular the precision of the sewing and the regularity of the upholstery.

If everything is satisfactory from an aesthetic point of view, the function of the motors and integrated metal hardware is checked. Finally, a despatch label and documentation are allocated to each item.

The workshop team produces 1,100 furniture units per week.

Technologies and Team

– Krošlák’s upholsterers work on high-quality ST-3 upholstering assembly tables from the Rexel brand. Their stable structure and fabric-covered work surface with a pneumatically adjusted height enable an easy manipulationof the furniture. All the above result in increased comfort for the upholsterers, a higher quality for the finished products and a more efficient production. Specific parameters include the dimension

of the work surface (900 x 2,000 mm), the adjustable height (300 – 1,280 mm) and the maximum table load (160 kg).

– Products arriving from the upholstery workshop must meet strict criteria for quality. For this reason, each sofa is assembled and tested here, in order to guarantee the end customer’s satisfaction once it is unwrapped. Each model has an allocated list of quality criteria; these are documents

which are drawn up and modified as relations with the customer develop and his needs are defined. Krošlák’s customers therefore do not need to check the products once again, and they can be offered for sale immediately. On top of this, if required, a photo-documentation can be provided for each item, which is mainly of interest when launching a new model for production or during the initial phases of cooperation with a new customer.

Packaging and Dispatch

Production and dispatch at Krošlák works to a weekly pattern. The loading of goods into the twenty lorries despatched weekly takes place on platforms monitored by CCTV, thus ensuring the correct loading of goods and any further control. The majority of customers organise their pick-up themselves, but Krošlák’s vehicle fleet is also available.

Staff load and organise goods following instructions given in advance, which ensure simple unloading at their destinations. Combined lorries can also be loaded, already containing products from other manufacturers.

Damage to the products during transport and handling is prevented by the packaging, whose technique

is the result of 25 years of development and experience in Krošlák. Various materials are used; depending on the type of sofa, it is corrugated cardboard, thin film and a thick outer film. In the case of leather sofas, bubble wrap is also used. Stainless steel and chrome parts are wrapped in polyethylene foam and for premium products, packaging in a thick cardboard box is also possible.

Location

Nitrianska Blatnica, where the company headquarters are situated, is only 15 km from the motorway exit to Piešťany. The D1 transport artery also links the municipality with the closest airport in Bratislava, 90 km away; it is 145 km from Vienna-Schwechat airport.

Brand New Arteston

Krošlák is a success story based on craftsmen’s skills, one person’s determination and cooperation. The company founded in 1991 and still managed by members of the Krošlák family, continues to develop. Its products bring customers’ ideas to life and actively help improve the quality of life, home interior culture and comfort in many households.

Respect for ethical and moral rules of conduct in its business relations and a professional approach make Krošlák a stable and reliable partner, as confirmed by its long-term cooperation with many Slovak and foreign partners.

The current project, under the brand name Arteston, follows on from its many years of experience. In cooperation with the designer Michal Riabič, it reflects contemporary trends in its product line, with the ambition of providing comfort, natural cover materials and variability.

Facts

– Krošlák, s. r. o. has been producing furniture and sofas since 1992,

– over 700,000 items of furniture have been made on its production line,

– it has a well-established production of several types of upholstered products: sofas with various functions, beds, loungers, armchairs,

– the company employs 230 people,

– the specialist production staff have lots of experience and continue to learn about new materials and technologies. They are able to define a set of qualitative criteria individually for each client,

– by launching its own brand and product line, it started off in 2018 a process of transformation from a production plant to a product-focused company,

– communication with the commercial department and administrative staff is possible in English and German,

– the company has experience with exports to Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Benelux, France, Denmark, the Czech Republic, Russia, but also works with local Slovak brands,

– uses an open IT system.