As Modulex projects continue to appear across the globe, from Miami to Malmo, and Barcelona to Bergen, the man who leads the production and delivery of the projects works from the Modulex Head Office and Manufacturing Facility in Billund, Denmark.
Kim Pedersen, Plant Manager is the production expert. With a confident attitude, partly derived from his 26 years experience with Modulex, his team delivers extraordinary products, often with extraordinary deadlines. We caught up with him to discuss the latest trends, challenges and the future.
The signage market is competitive, what do you see as the key strength of Modulex?
Modulex have been around for over 50 years and it’s location in the small rural town of Billund means that many of the employees have worked for the company for a long time, often with other family members. This loyalty has also brought a vast amount of experience. This experience combined with the continual, yet considered, investment in equipment means that we are capable of doing most things in-house allowing us to closely control the quality and deadlines. The trend for bespoke signage has increased significantly over recent years and here we have actually chosen to have two or more horses to bet on.. We use our experienced team when we feel that the actual product is matching our capabilities but at the same time the factory has very experienced and skilled resources dedicated to source elements or complete signs from both local, European, Eastern European or even Chinese high class manufacturers. This way we can handle almost any requirement – and actually we enjoy the challenge!
Even working in the office on vehicle livery for Copenhagen Zoo
Sample piece with wood effect and graphic element
As well as bespoke, what other key trends have you seen in 2016?
The requirement for new finishes like woods, stone and metals like corten steel which echo latest interior and exterior design trends.
Are there any unique details which the equipment can do?
Although UV flatbed printing is not new or unique, we are seeing a huge surge in demand. It allows our graphics teams to scan pretty much any material, for example, hessian, wood, marble, and print it on a panel to give the effect of the real material. Combined with the ability to 3d print textures for example, wrought iron or braille lettering the opportunities are only really limited by the designer. Sometimes this inspiration comes from an external agency though we also have graphic designers in-house who create concepts for clients. Modulex was one of the first companies in Northern Europe back in January 2009 to purchase one from the very first production series of 20 SwissQPrint UV flatbed printers - embracing this technology from a very early stage.
Creating customised metallic finishes through print
How sustainable is the production process? What are the most sustainable elements?
We are Danish so this is a core driver in our business and indeed our lives. The facility is completely powered by wind energy but that is only the start. A majority of the products are manufactured from aluminium, which is fully recyclable. Our polyester based paints are burnt oven hardened meaning that leftover paint from one production can be stored and reused the next time we get an order requiring the same colour and we are therefore producing with a minimum of waste. We have one of the most efficient paint facilities in the world (capacity compared to paint quality) for flat aluminium panels and the whole paint department including pre-treatment is built up so that both the environment and our colleagues working there are protected in the best possible way. Last but not least we are constantly
looking for new environmentally friendly materials taking all aspects from the extraction of raw materials through to production, transport and finally disposal/reuse. Actually we are just in the process of having Force Institute in Denmark making a comparative report on aluminum versus a new material which we are expecting to be a new environmental friendly alternative to aluminum for signage.
What is the most dramatic challenge the production team have had at Modulex?
Not sure I want to mention this ….. but we helped a client out with an urgent request for nearly 1,000 painted panels which were issued next day to a very happy client. Not something we like to repeat but we always enjoy the challenges!