Development and partnerships
With almost a decade of experience developing karuun®, we’re knowledgeable about your technical and economic requirements and can work alongside you to pioneer future-oriented products.
What is rattan?
Rattan is a product from the stem of any rattan palm belonging to the genus Calamus or other palms of the subfamily Calamoideae. Rattan, also spelled ratan (scientific name: Calamus Rotang) is a fast-growing, climbing palm native to the rainforests of Southeast Asia. It can reach a length of 200 metres with a diameter of up to 20 cm. Calamus Manau rattan has a maximum diameter of approx. 8 cm.
Rattan grows best in the warm, humid climate of the equator, so not only in Asia but also in Africa, India and Australia. Most rattan comes from Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines, however. Its name comes from Malay, where it is known as ‘rotan’.
There are 600 different types of rattan, only about 30 of which are used commercially. The industrial uses of many types are still unexplored.
What is the difference between rattan and bamboo?
On the outside rattan and bamboo look similar, however in contrast to bamboo – which is actually a type of grass – most species of rattan do not grow independently. Instead, rattan relies on other plants for structural support, climbing them using its small spines. Rattan is known to grow up to several hundred feet in length. The thick part of the rattan palm is used to make frames for furniture. The five-metre sections cut from the shoots’ surface are smooth on the outside and are traditionally used to produce sturdy wickerwork furniture, mainly chairs and sofas. ‘Chair cane’ is 4 mm or less whereas ‘binder cane’ is typically at least 4 mm, both are usually sold in coils. Rattan is also considered a culinary speciality in Indonesia.
How much rattan is produced in Indonesia per year?
As the main exporter of high-quality rattan, Indonesia produces around 80 per cent of the world’s rattan, exporting more than 400-500 million tons per year.
How much rattan can be grown in a hectare of forest (100×100 metres)?
200-250 seedlings can be planted per hectare. When all the plants are fully grown, approximately 12,500 metres of rattan with a diameter of two to eight centimetres can be grown in one hectare of rainforest.
How is rattan for karuun® harvested?
Rattan stems are pulled out of the canopy, then the dead leaves and any other debris are removed. The top two to three metres of growth haven’t hardened up yet, so they can be cooked and eaten. Debris is usually removed by winding the rattan stem around the trunk of a small tree and pulling, leaving behind a clean stem. This is then cut into sections about three metres in length, bundled up and transported out of the forest to the processor.
How does the method of harvest compare to other materials, e.g. wood?
Rattan is harvested by hand with a machete. It’s easier to harvest than wood, it requires simpler tools and it’s much easier to transport. Compared to wood, harvesting rattan has a far lower impact on the forest ecosystem; no large machines which would destroy many plants and soil structures in the long term are used to harvest rattan.
What is the composition of the rattan used for karuun®?
The composition of rattan in its unprocessed form is cellulose, hemicellulose, lignin (about 21-27%), inorganic substances (of which: silicon dioxide 68%, magnesium dioxide 12%, calcium dioxide 17%)
What are the material’s technical properties?
Unlike bamboo, rattan is not hollow. Rattan is characterised by its capillary structure, characterised by technical robustness, flexibility and lightness. These properties allow it to be processed creatively and shaped with heat and water.
How much rattan is needed to produce karuun®?
50 m rattan palm = 18 poles
1 block = approx. 100 poles
1 block = approx. 5 plants
5 plants are needed for approx. 200 m² karuun®
What is karuun® made of?
0.3% acrylic-based binder
2% PVAc (white glue)
0.2% colour pigments
Can karuun® stripe be recycled?
karuun® stripe can be recycled as scrap wood or used as fuel.
Can karuun® stripe be composted?
The material’s biodegradability has not yet been tested.
How much waste is generated in the production of karuun®?
Very little waste is created to produce karuun®. Only the outer shell is removed from the naturally grown poles for processing purposes. When karuun® is made into veneer, the round bar is milled square, which produces waste in the form of fibres.
Is the waste re-used?
The shell isn’t just thrown away; it’s re-used as bedding for chickens for example. For us, the fibres left over after milling are the raw materials of tomorrow, so they’re collected up for use in the future. In fact, we’re already working closely with partners in the fibre-processing industry to develop future products.
How much karuun® is currently being produced? (by weight, volume, square metres)
The production of karuun® is fully scalable to requirements. Automated and manual processes, as well as warehousing, all run in parallel, making us a reliable supplier to the industry. At the same time, by increasing capacity stably, we’re able to maximise the advantages, such as protecting the rainforest and securing a sustainable, fair income for the rural population. Every order directly supports rattan cultivation and our unique, circular economic model.
At present, we produce approximately 600 karuun® blocks, 100,000 m² of veneer, 99 m³, 42 t.
What adhesive is used to bind the blocks together, and how much is used?
We strive to use the most environmentally friendly adhesives that also meet our and our customers’ technical requirements. For example, we use mainly PVAc water-based white glue. The nature tech material karuun® product contains 1–2% plastic.
In the future, adhesives of natural origin will be used that still meet customers’ high demands.
(Calculation: solid content of white glue approx. 50% – approx, 2.5 kg per block (wet) equals approx. 1.25 kg (dry) – with approx. 70 kg mass of the block equals max. 1.8% or < 2%)
What is karuun’s potential and how much karuun® can be sustainably produced with the available resources?
There are enough rattan stocks to produce karuun® sustainably. Plus, the use of rattan also helps protect the rainforest – the more that is harvested/planted, the more rainforest needs to be protected. Decisive is that rattan is consistently replanted and that the forest is used for rattan cultivation in the long term.
For this reason, we started a rattan ranger training programme last year together with selected partners and the Indonesian government. Our goal with the rattan ranger scheme is to seize on the huge sustainable potential that rattan cultivation offers people and nature.