2022 was an excellent year
The year that has just ended was a really good one for Catas, the most important European laboratory for testing in the wood-furniture sector, which looks back on the past twelve months with real satisfaction, in the light of a slight growth over 2021 in terms of the number of tests carried out, just under 45,000, and a turnover that remains just over the 7 million euro threshold. The number of personnel is growing, reaching 56, and is set to increase further thanks to the hirings planned in the first weeks of the new year. And in 2022 about 200 training hours were made available to operators and companies by Catas Academy, through webinars, meetings, and seminars in Italy and for the international market.
“A 2022 that has pleasantly surprised us”, the Managing Director Franco Bulian comments, “if we think of the atmosphere of concern in which it had begun, with the uncertainties of the pandemic and the war in Ukraine, which led to the closure of three markets – Ukraine, Belarus and Russia – where we were making around 4 per cent of our revenues”.
Some of the activities launched by Catas in 2022 have undoubtedly contributed to this result, first among them a renewed commitment to the supply of testing machines designed and manufactured by Catas Engineering, thanks to which more and more companies manufacturing furniture can keep the quality of their products under control. The debut of the new service launched by the laboratory, “The Life Cycle measured by Catas”, has also been highly profitable: at a time when markets throughout the world are increasingly focus on sustainability issues, many companies have turned to Catas to objectively measure the environmental impact of a raw material, a semi-finished product or a finished product according to the internationally recognized principles of the LCA-Life Cycle Assessment.
A more aware consumer
“Today, more than ever before, consumers are careful in their choice of safe and reliable products”, Bulian continued. “A scenario that is undoubtedly the result of both greater awareness on the part of individuals and even more decisive and consistent international standards that have, as their ultimate goal, the best quality of life for all. However, I am convinced that the context of great difficulty that we have shared in recent years also plays an important role in this dynamic, as if among so many dark moments we are seeking serenity, a greater tranquillity among the objects that are part of our daily life. It is inevitable for companies to play their part and guarantee – through tests and certifications – reliability, safety, durability, care for the environment.”
As the Italian market continues to grow, tests for customers around the world now represent 35 per cent of Catas’ entire business. In 2022, in particular, there was a significant increase in orders from China, where many manufacturers have to meet the stringent specifications imposed on them by the furniture distribution global retailers.
The Catas proposal
A growth in complexity to which Catas responds – one of the few, if not the only laboratory in the world – by being able to offer all-round competence and experience: not only tests according to reference standards on the performance of a chair, a mattress or a table, but also fire reaction tests rather than on the quality of surfaces, mechanical tests, tests on paints and adhesives: “Those who turn to Catas know they can count on engineers, wood-furniture technicians, and chemists who can support them – quickly – with tests and certifications thanks to which they can define new products or implement and further improve established production processes. Being able to propose ourselves as a single point of contact for the entire furniture supply chain, as “total interlocutors”, helps us to consolidate relationships all over the world,” the Catas Managing Director continues.
Thirty years of the “CQA – Catas Quality Award”
The year 2023 will also see the thirtieth anniversary of the “CQA-Catas Quality Award”, a certification that does not concern a single product, but an entire production that therefore sees affirmed in terms of quality a “chain of values” including materials and processes. Just in the last few days Catas have reached the prestigious milestone of 200 certified products, from panels to coating systems, from semi-finished products to furniture.
An anniversary that will also be celebrated by the birth of the new certification – “VOC Low Emission” – which will be awarded to products that demonstrate that they limit emissions of volatile organic compounds within the most restrictive thresholds, another issue – that of indoor emissions – on which the end consumer is strongly urging the furniture industry.
Goals for 2023
For the year that has just begun, there are many opportunities to take advantage of activities, investments and plans that will allow Catas to further develop its activities in its three locations in Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Lombardia and Marche. In San Giovanni al Natisone (Udine) everything is now ready to start the project and construction of the extension of the building that holds the Fire Laboratory and the Mechanical Laboratory, an additional 2,400 square meters on three floors.
In the premises in Lissone, in the province of Monza and Brianza, Catas is reaping the benefits of a thirty-year presence that in recent years has involved a growing number of companies in the Brianza furniture industry and has led to the renewal and expansion of the number of the testing machines and equipment available.
During 2022, the activity of the Catas Point Pesaro, opened the previous year, was consolidated, which saw the definition of relationship for tests with many important companies in the area, as well as the start-up of courses and seminars that will certainly receive new boost from the move of the structure to a new and larger location.
And let us not forget abroad: during 2023 Catas will in fact be present for the first time in some exhibitions and events to confirm its international vocation and its desire to be more and more directly present wherever in the world there is a need to measure performance and results for the wood-furniture sector.