We recently returned from an exciting trip down to Dalton, Georgia to tour the Mohawk Group offices and manufacturing facilities. The flight down was a little tedious as flights were delayed and when we finally landed in Atlanta, we ended up sitting on the tarmac for another 45 minutes. However, things took a turn for the better once we were finally able to leave the plane. A Mohawk rep picked us up and took us to the beautiful Barnsley Resort in Adairsville and after a delicious dinner we enjoyed the night around a bonfire.
Our first morning was free so we were able to see the breathtaking resort and surrounding area in the light of day as we enjoyed the warm sunshine on a leisurely trail ride. I sat like a sack of potatoes and let my horse follow the leader. Rob had a bit more excitement as his horse was a snacker and would occasionally break out into a trot to catch up.
Around noon we drove out for our first tour and presentation at the Mohawk Flooring Center. Our rep had a little difficulty finding the location and then parked way out in a far off parking lot. However, with all the fantastic food, the walk was probably needed. It was very interesting hearing their sustainability story which includes recycling everything and producing all their products locally to reduce transportation emissions and ensure quality control and workplace health and safety. We also received a brief overview and further information on their products. The Mohawk group has acquired many lines which include residential, commercial and hospitality carpet, vinyl tile, sheet vinyl, hardwood and ceramic tile.
Our next stops were the sheet vinyl and LVT (Luxury Vinyl Tile) manufacturing facilities. The sheet vinyl is manufactured in one continuous run, which would be miles long if flattened out, and rarely stops running. There are catch stations where the sheet vinyl can accumulate if another area needs to slow down so that the product can keep running. It was fascinating to see the layers added to slowly see the final design and texture appear. Along the way the product had to be flipped and turn corners which was done by simply folding the product over at angles to never break the production line. The LVT facility was similar in some ways but very different in others. This was not a continuous line and different layers were made separately and then compressed and heated together. Massive robots guided by GPS roamed around transporting heavy pallets or rolls of product. Unfortunately, machines were not in production at a few steps of the process.
As a preview of the carpet manufacturing facilities we would be touring the next day, we had a presentation on the different methods of manufacturing carpet, which was quite interesting. The fact that the presenter was British also helped, of course.
The next morning came much too quickly but we finally made to the carpet manufacturing facility. Due to the series of random morning delays, we missed the yarn extrusion tour which sounded fascinating. We did tour the custom lab where the dyes were mixed and custom samples created by miniature versions of the plant equipment. We then moved on to the production line. It was very interesting to see the yarn being threaded from the gigantic spools through tubes over into the machines using various types of technology for various finished carpet effects.
The final stop was the Light Lab Design Center, so named because of all the natural light in the space. The building sits on top of a hill surrounded by trees and so it feels as though you are in a tree house and it was recently renovated using products and methods to meet the Living Building Challenge. Here, we saw a sampling of new products that will be launched as well as the inspiration behind the products. This is also were we had the most incredible pecan dessert. After all, we were heading to the airport right after so who knew when we would eat again. After a brief presentation on how to create custom designs or custom colour carpets we were off to the airport for the journey back home. Overall, it was a wonderful and inspiring experience and we are very thankful to our rep for taking us on this excellent adventure.