Insignia Group is an innovative Estonian-based company specialising in developing advanced production solutions for the wood-processing and furniture-manufacturing sectors. The mission of Insignia is to develop innovative techniques and methods for the design and manufacture of high quality and performance furniture and other value-added wood products to ensure their competitiveness on international markets.
In close consultation with clients, Insignia designs and develops integrated and cost-effective production solutions for commercially-viable manufacturing processes. In effect, Insignia is focused on the development and commercialisation of new technologies to establish wood as the sustainable material of choice.
One of the major issues concerning local industry and the world in general is how mass-manufacturing can be environmentally friendly while still producing the economic profits desired by business. Insignia is approaching this issue with the notion that timber is a renewable resource that can be replaced time and again and, therefore, methods should be developed to assist in promoting the use of timber through new materials and technology development for cost-effective production.
Demand from existing clients led to consideration of new approaches for environmentally-friendly wood protection.
To ensure a long and useful life in many end-use situations, timber — especially softwoods — needs protection from the hazards of fungal decay and weathering. The current approach to wood preservation is based on the principle of toxicity. Wood impregnation with biocides (containing creosote, arsenic, zinc, copper, chromium, etc.) prevents biological degradation, but the European directive on the use of biocides place severe restrictions nowadays on the active substances that can be used in wood preservation, above all arsenic, and their fields of application. Wood treated with such preservatives is classified as hazardous waste. Furthermore, current treatments don't have positive contributions to other critical properties of wood, such as dimensional stability or water absorption.
Recent research demonstrates that antifungal components and hydrophobic extractives produced by trees themselves can be effectively used as environmentally-friendly wood preservatives. Such extracts are readily available as a by-product of the paper industry. Our SafeWood bio-inspired approach is based on wood preservation as trees do it, the novel preservation process, in effect, converting sapwood to have characteristics of durable heartwood.
A feasibility study has recently been undertaken to evaluate and analyse the potential of the innovation. The overall conclusion from this study is that it is highly worthwhile to bring SafeWood to market.
It is now intended to develop a large-scale production plant to protect wood using this innovative new process. Insignia is seeking partners who are interested in commercial partnerships in developing and operating this new process and welcomes receiving all expressions of interest.
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