Author: Nicola Mohler
Published: Oct. 11, 2012
Merbau

Merbau Banks on Seamless Surfaces

In addition to selling windows, doors, and frames, Merbau GmbH offers its customers SEMCO, a seamless surface material that comes in a variety of colors and patterns.

Visitors to Merbau GmbH's large showroom in Wettingen soon see all the possibilities that SEMCO has to offer. Floors installed using SEMCO are not only seamless – they are also waterproof, durable, and even graffiti-resistant. The range of uses is almost limitless. The color and pattern of the surface are selected by the customer. And Merbau focuses on quality when it comes to its other products, too. With its high-quality building components, including windows, doors, and sunrooms (with sunscreens and insect screens), Merbau GmbH offers solutions tailored to its customers. When a customer buys a product, the company also handles installation. Merbau GmbH is thus not only a retailer, but also a traditional full-service provider.

Looking Beyond National Borders 

The company is well established in the Swiss market. "However, as building opportunities are limited in Switzerland, we have created a second business area with SEMCO," explains Urs Steiner, Secretary General of Mertec Group, the parent company of Merbau GmbH.

With this high-quality product the company seeks both to strengthen its position in Switzerland and to look beyond its own borders to establish a European network for SEMCO. For this reason, it plans to certify SEMCO dealers. Only those dealers that successfully complete a three-day course at the company's training academy, where they learn the correct way to handle and apply SEMCO, will be allowed to sell the material.  

SEMCO is a mineral-based substance that is mixed by specialists to meet customer color requirements (all colors are, of course, UV-proof). Once mixed, it is applied to the surface as a three-millimeter layer of liquid. Various application techniques are used, which are then reflected in the structure or pattern of the finished surface. A mosaic and an imitation terracotta wall are on display in the showroom. "SEMCO offers almost limitless potential – virtually any customer requirement can be met," Steiner explains. "As it is applied by hand, every SEMCO surface is unique," he says. That's why Merbau's slogan is "You dream it – we make it."

If you touch the seamless surface in the showroom, you'll see how soft yet sturdy it is. The roughness or smoothness of it depends on the tool used to lay and work SEMCO. For example, when applied with a trowel, it is difficult to tell the difference between the surface and a real cobblestone floor. This method was used in the shopping mall of the world-famous Caesar's Palace hotel in Las Vegas.

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A Corporate Division That Acts Like a Start-Up 

"Among the major advantages of SEMCO are that it is antibacterial and waterproof," says Steiner. "So, it's ideally suited for use in wet rooms." The wellness lounger on display in the showroom provides an excellent example. It not only feels pleasant to touch but the antibacterial benefits of the surface are also clear. Because it's waterproof, SEMCO can also be used in other interior spaces, in garages, and outside. Whether it's used for a terrace or in a swimming pool, the properties of this product make it very useful and practical.  

The Merbau team has been aggressively marketing "SEMCO – modern seamless surfaces" for two years now. To ensure that this corporate division, which operates like a start-up, can expand even more efficiently and quickly, Merbau turned last year to Credit Suisse Entrepreneur Capital Ltd., a company that provides risk capital for small and medium-sized enterprises. "The capital from Credit Suisse Entrepreneur Capital Ltd. significantly facilitated SEMCO's market launch," says Steiner. As a result, in the future Merbau customers will not only be able find building products, but also seamless surfaces in just the color and pattern they're looking for.