Stora Enso to increase the production of building elements for urban construction and export

Stora Enso to increase the production of building elements for urban construction and export

In Finland, Stora Enso will begin the production of LVL (laminated veneer lumber). In the second quarter of 2016, a new production line will start up at the location of an old paper machine at the Varkaus mill, which will make wooden building elements using lathe technology. The company’s aim is to supplement the present production of CLT (cross-laminated timber) and sawn timber with the renowned and much-used LVL engineering wood product, which is suitable for many construction applications.

jari suominen- LVL board is suitable for a wide range of construction purposes from houses to large multi-storey buildings. LVL solutions can also be combined with sawn timber and CLT, says Jari Suominen, Executive Vice President, Stora Enso Wood Products.

The expected annual capacity of the production line will be about 100,000 m³. The investment is expected to generate annual net sales of €50 million, once the production line reaches full capacity.

- Through this investment and innovation, we are strengthening our position as a global supplier of high-quality, refined wooden elements. The new products will excellently complement our existing CLT products with solutions in which the elements remain invisible under the surface materials. At the same time, we will expand our product range and strengthen our market position as a producer of building elements.

Suominen sees the investment as part of a change in Stora Enso into a more customer-centred company for renewable materials. - Through the investment, we can meet the growing demand for urban construction, serve new geographical areas and markets and offer our customers a wider range of wood product solutions.

According to Suominen, behind the investment is a belief that wood is the building material of the future. It is an energy-efficient, renewable and carbon neutral construction choice. - Refined wood products will play a key role in our future product range. As the world population continues to increase and non-renewable natural resources decline, wood offers a responsible alternative for the needs of the construction sector.

The bulk of product to go to export

Suominen says that the lathe technology used in the manufacture of the product has already been in use for decades, but the development work carried out by Stora Enso enables the cost-effective manufacture of building elements from LVL. - The intention is to use the product in Finland, but the bulk of production will go to export. The LVL manufactured in Varkaus will complement Austrian gluelam and also all Stora Enso’s existing selection of building materials.

- The end product can be tailored to different customer needs by means of a computer-aided production control system. As a product, LVL is even stronger than steel in relation to its weight, says Suominen.

LVL production will be located in Varkaus where the necessary space for the production line already exists. Once production has started up, the mill will directly employ about 80 people from the Varkaus area, and the local total employment effect will be about 150. Production will utilise not only the existing buildings but also the existing industrial infrastructure around them.

- Significant benefit will also be obtained from the wood procurement and optimal utilisation with the cartonboard production that will begin in Varkaus in autumn 2015. For its raw materials, the LVL line will use spruce and birch, also taking advantage of log sizes for which up to now we have had no use, says Suominen.


Article service/Markku Laukkanen