Production

An industry for design.
A glance into B&B Italia's production facilities to relate the uniqueness of its industrial process.

B&B Italia and Maxalto products are produced in the Novedrate and Misinto facilities, in northern Milan. The industrial approach to the production of sofas defined by the brilliant mind and vision of Piero Ambrogio Busnelli, founder of B&B Italia, is perfect to date, after half a century. The method has persisted virtually unchanged, and still is the best technology available to construct padded furniture. In the 1960s Brianza was the region of furniture manufacturers, and the entire sector was based on manufacturing and craftsmanship. Piero Ambrogio Busnelli, instead, wanted to industrialise the production process in view of establishing the company in foreign markets. And it was in London, at the end of one of his many journeys, that a special light sparkled once again in Piero Busnelli's eyes. A minor detail that might have seemed unimportant to many aroused his curiosity - it was a machine that created and “spat out” rubber ducks. But he saw something else in it. That machine cold moulded polyurethane, injecting it as foam into the mould. Why not try it for sofas? The shift from “ducks” to sofas was not easy.

Production

1968 - Corporate campaign stressing how the company uses its advanced tecnology

The Factory in Novedrate – the production of upholstery furniture

Today the Novedrate facilities cover a total indoor surface area of over 27,000 m2, and all the production phases of padded furniture, including the innovative foaming plant, are carried out here.
The use of cold moulded polyurethane foam, a technology B&B Italia was the first in the furniture sector to perfect and adopt in 1966, radically innovated the design concepts that underpinned upholstered models, and brought with it important improvements in terms of the quality of industrial production.
Starting by making use of a metal load-bearing frame that guarantees the best results in terms of product durability and resistance, these frames are integrated with all those elements (elastic straps, springs, reinforcing, etc.) that enhance product performance in terms of comfort and functionality.

The frame is sunk in polyurethane injected into the mould that reproduces the exact shape of the product.

The polyurethane cold moulding process makes use of two different liquid polymers that are simultaneously injected into the mould. The chemical reaction triggered determines expansion and solidification of foam. Foam density depends on the quantity of the blend of the two polymers.

B&B Italia's product range includes many seating types that have polyurethane in common. In addition to this, softer and more comfortable materials, such as sterilised down or polyester fibres, or a blend of the two, are also used.

The optimal level of padding is defined during a prototyping phase that is closely followed by both the R&D Centre and the designer.

This provides a whole host of advantages compared to a standard frame (timber frame with shaped polyurethane blocks):
- using metal frames immersed in polyurethane guarantees solidity, resistance, durability and functionality;
- the insertion of elastic straps and springs ensures the highest standards of comfort;
- the fibreglass or preheated aluminium moulds allow to easily reproduce organic shapes.

The entire production of B&B Italia and Maxalto upholstered furniture

and seats is carried out at the Novedrate facility, ranging from harmonic steel frames to foam moulds and packaging. A complex production track that unfolds in multiple phases:
- Moulds: storage of all the moulds used during production, besides archiving of the moulds of “historical” models that are not on the market anymore.
- Structures: storage of all raw materials and semi-finished products for product manufacturing.
- Foaming: production systems intended to create foam models of all products. Foaming is a process that B&B Italia performs inhouse, and which envisages the use of polyurethane without Freon gas. B&B Italia defines the ideal density of the foam for every product (by establishing the bend of polymers for each product) to guarantee the utmost comfort.
- Fabrics and leather: cutting and stitching of covers for various model types.
- Packaging: all models are assembled with their related padding and upholstery.
- Quality Control and Packaging: supervision of all products ready for delivery, product check and insertion of all technical documents on the product (“product fact sheets”).

“Fabbrica Sistemi” - automation and efficiency

B&B Italia is a leader in the sector of padded furniture, furnishing complements and living room and bedroom systems.
Since its first wardrobe Sisamo in 1984, the production of living room and bedroom systems has been carried out inhouse.
The “Systems Factory,” which stretches over more than 11,000 m2, centralises the entire production of B&B Italia's wall systems for living room and wardrobes with systems dedicated to the various processing phases of assembled products. These products stand out for their high degree of industrialisation.

Production

The factory transforms various types of semi-finished components, with different materials and finishes, and completes the many possible combinations. This is achieved through an intentionally flexible set up that adapts to the various design and technological challenges required by the constantly changing market.
The key processing methods of this production facility include:
- Squaring- edging: automated panel squaring process and application of bands with subsequent hand finish and brushing of all furniture. Every product is entirely hand finished.
- Satin-finish: all products of B&B Italia are made with non-toxic water paintings.
- Assembly of furniture and packaging: all products are checked item by item, and then packaged.
- The facility and production processes of the Systems Factory are studied to ensure the health and comfort of workers by means of acoustic and thermal insulation and natural lighting.

Maxalto Factory – the convergence of craftsmanship and industry

Maxalto has distinguished itself, from its origins in 1975, for excellent wood processing. By making use of expert craftsmen, who are assisted today by cutting edge industrial techniques that guarantee constant production and high quality standards, wood is still the collection's distinctive element.
The Maxalto factory covers a surface area of over 10,500 m2 and, besides respecting nature, it coexists with nature. Indeed, it is situated in Groane Park where strict and precise checks are carried to guarantee and certify that the natural heritage is protected.

Production

All wood processing phases are performed in Misinto, making use of the professional expertise and competence of qualified craftsmen. Maxalto products made of wood preserve the spirit of skilful handcrafting inserted into an industrial organisation, thus guaranteeing exceptional product quality.
The main wood processing phases include:
Preparation of veneers: this phase ensures excellent aesthetic quality of products, and is based on various operative phases. Maxalto oversees these phases, such as the choice of fitches to produce the piece of furniture, selection and combination of colour tones, jointing, trimming, sheet jointing and numbering of the same.
Squaring - edging: automated panel squaring process and application of bands with subsequent hand finish and brushing of all furniture. Every product is entirely hand finished.
Polishing: polishing is entirely performed by hand, making use of an innovative system to safeguard both environment and employees.
Assembly of furniture and packaging: all Maxalto products are dispatched assembled. This procedure guarantees quality control of the product, which is the outcome of “piece by piece” customisation.