SOURCE: The HON Company

June 11, 2007 08:00 ET

The HON Company Introduces Industry's First Agri-Fiber Panel Substrate to Its Initiate® Workstations

New Fiberboard Material Provides Environmental Benefits With Superior Performance

MUSCATINE, IA--(Marketwire - June 11, 2007) - For more than 60 years, The HON Company has led the office industry's environmental efforts. What began in 1947 as a relentless pursuit of smart materials, rapid continuous improvement and lean manufacturing has evolved into the development of high-quality, sustainable solutions that perform equal to -- or better than -- their traditional counterparts.

Continuing this tradition, the company is proud to announce its newest environmental initiative, Nature Core™ fiberboard, a non-woven composite material made from a blend of primarily natural and synthetic fibers. The Nature Core fiberboard is made using a patent-pending process and will be offered as an alternative construction material on The HON Company's Initiate® panel systems. The announcement was made by Eric Jungbluth, president of The HON Company.

Nature Core fiberboard offers a number of key features and benefits, including:

--  Annually renewable agri-fiber
--  Very low formaldehyde emissions
--  Superior tackability and improved durability
--  Sound-blocking characteristics (STC) exceeding BIFMA standards
--  Class A fire rating
    

Initiate panel systems made with Nature Core and low-emitting work surfaces are compliant with California Special Section 1350 specifications, currently the most stringent and comprehensive indoor air quality standards.

"The HON Company continuously strives to develop novel processes that offer an environmental benefit while improving product performance," said Jim Cahill, vice president of systems for The HON Company. "Nature Core is a result of this commitment. Composed primarily of an annually renewable material and with no added formaldehyde, Nature Core reduces emissions while improving the structure and performance of our Initiate panel system. It really is the best green story in the market."

Nature Core is made primarily from a natural fiber, kenaf, which can be spun into coarse, strong threads and is second only to cotton in the volume grown around the world. It has an established supply base and is available from a variety of sources.

Cahill continued, "For years, kenaf has been used in automotive interiors as insulation against road noise. But only The HON Company has been able to render it suitable for use in panel systems."

How do they do it? The kenaf fibers are combined with a synthetic fiber and are processed into roll goods. These roll goods are then treated in a patent-pending process with smoke- and flame-retardant applications and are processed into a rigid board stock.

"Our customers will appreciate all the benefits of traditional panel systems, with additional emission and sustainability advantages... all without an increase in cost," added Cahill.

Nature Core, which was developed by the HNI Corporation (NYSE: HNI), will be standard on all of The HON Company's Initiate system tackable panels. Nature Core began phasing into production in May 2007.

Initiate panels are for all office environments -- they can be used to create everything from distinctive reception stations to sophisticated executive offices. They are easy to afford; easy to specify; and easy to install and reconfigure.

Additional benefits of Nature Core include its certification by the Indoor Advantage™ Gold standard for indoor air quality by Scientific Certification Systems (SCS). Products achieving Indoor Advantage Gold meet the most rigorous criteria in the USA. It tests and certifies products for compliance with USGBC LEED EQ4.5 (furniture and seating), USGBC LEED EQ4.1 (paints and coverings) and USGBC EQ4.2 (adhesives and sealants).

For more information about Nature Core, and other sustainable products and services from The HON Company, visit www.HON.com or www.HONthinksgreen.com.

About The HON Company

The HON Company is a leader in the design and manufacturing of workplace furniture including chairs, files, panel systems, and desks. Headquartered in Muscatine, Iowa, The HON Company has numerous manufacturing facilities strategically located throughout the United States, and markets its products through a nationwide network of dealers and retailers. For more information please visit www.HON.com.

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