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Pioneer of the laminate flooring industry - Surinder Khurana, dies at the age of 68

18 August 2004

He was a pioneer of the laminate flooring industry: At the age of 68, Surinder Khurana died on 26th July 2004 near his home in Gütersloh. Originating from the Pujab in India, he had left his position as Senior Director of International Business with the well-known overlay specialist MeadWestvaco some two years ago in order to dedicate himself to his consultancy business specialising in impregnation and laminating within the laminate flooring industry. Sadly, he will be able to do so no longer. The EPLF, where Mr Khurana was actively involved from its earliest days, mourns the death of one of its most faithful and passionate supporters and offers its sympathies to his widow, Helga Khurana, and his three children, Claudia (33), Thomas (29) and Karin (27).

As a qualified chemist and timber specialist, Khurana had striven all his working life towards the optimisation of laminating technology and particularly with high-pressure lamination applied to the laminate flooring industry. EPLF managing director, Peter H. Meyer, who knew Khurana during their time working together at at Pfleiderer, comments, “He was a tireless worker – one who never took the easy option – one who put everything into his profession – and one who succeeded.” Almost single-handedly he had built up his role as Director of European Sales for the European base of MeadWestvaco (USA) from his office in Gütersloh. He developed the business with high abrasion-resistant overlays for Mead to a significant level and established these for their direct lamination into laminate floors. Time and again, he took it upon himself to encourage and enthuse innovative undertakings for ‘his’ products, and in doing so, created a whole new branch of industry.
Khurana possessed a superb know-how in surface lamaination, acquired over a whole working career and constantly developed. Since the start of the 1960’s he had been involved in the timber products sector, initially in India but soon after in Germany. During his employment with Wirus, later Pfleiderer, (where he also met his wife) he developed a highly compressed form of particleboard, which effectively led to the whole process of direct lamination. From 1970 to1990 he was involved with the technical management of that business and led the Research and Development Department of the laminate factory in Gütersloh, where he set up one of the very first short-cycle laminate presses, which enabled finishing to be undertaken in a viable commercial manner. During the 1980’s he worked with a leading equipment supplier on the development of the two-bath, intermediate roller impregnation system.

Against this background it is clear that Surinder Khurana was a true pioneer in the field of timber lamination, taking credit for fundamental developments, which were subsequently adopted in Asia, America and Australia. In particular, he will be remembered for his work in the development of high-resistance overlays and his commitment to the laminate flooring industry. He was always there when his industry came to the fore, a friendly smile on his face, unshakable optimism, and great spirit. He will be sadly missed.

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