Learning is now just one click away!

Knowledge is the key to success. Throughout the years, Raute has enhanced the knowledge of mill staffs on plywood and LVL production to enable them to work more effectively through training. The competitive market and fast development in technology create demand for more effective learning. Raute provides a new way to train your staff: millacademy.


MANY ISSUES complicate the organizing of training, e.g. location, shift work and the number of participants. These problems are non-existent in MillACADEMY, which is available at any time, with any device and from anywhere with a sufficient internet connection. It makes both basic and comprehensive training easy, activating and flexible for hundreds of employees.

Digital tracking and monitoring of results ease verifying of required knowledge and skills of the personnel. Tracking the results of training becomes easier as MillACADEMY provides a safe platform where supervisors and HR personnel can monitor the test scores and learning progress of employees. Just one example of this is our Safety at Line course which teaches how to work in a safe manner on a production line and measures whether the employee has understood and internalized the safety instructions.

Millacademy MG 7832
MillACADEMY is easy to use, available 24/7 and provides excellent content for your training needs.

MillACADEMY can also be used as a tool for filtering potential employees – even before interviews. When looking for new mill employees, why not ask them to study a course in MillACADEMY. Passing or failing a course is a good indicator on whether an applicant has any motivation to learn about your industry or mill.

Most effectively, MillACADEMY is used when combined with other training methods, such as classroom or hands on training. For example, Raute’s own training program is made up of two components: independent online learning in the basics of the subjects and an expert lecture for a more in-depth view. Studying the theory and the basics independently with MillACADEMY means that lectures can concentrate on detailed information and teaching of the theory in practice.

The courses are compiled by Raute experts and cover the entire production process and more: from raw materials to quality control, and from log handling to packing. The courses consist of interactive training materials, line manuals and exams which evaluate the learning and skills of your staff. They are all available in your language 24/7 and can be accessed with computers, tablets and mobile phones. •


York Timbers doubled capacity in two years

York Timbers, a South African plywood manufacturer, continues the development of its plywood production capability. The company has been a forerunner in modernization within the African plywood industry. The target has been to develop an internationally competitive and environmentally and socially responsible manufacturing facility. Sustainable forestry management practices and constant genetic improvements provide the best possible softwood raw material.


YORK TIMBERS AND RAUTE signed a Partnership Agreement in 2017. Since then technological co-operation has been intensified. Key personnel from both companies have visited the operations of each other in order to develop co-operation roadmaps with specific milestones.

York Timbers is the largest single plywood manufacturer in Africa. The latest bold investments have amazingly almost doubled the plywood production within a few years to around 135,000 m3/a. The main investments included: a new steam conditioning chamber, 22-hot sections dryer and the latest was a 48-opening, 8×4 ft hot press, which is the biggest of its type in Africa and in Europe. Co-operation between the project teams of York and Raute was efficient and effective throughout the project. This was a key element contributing to the successful installation and commissioning of the project. A detailed time schedule was developed together and York Timbers was thoroughly prepared to assemble and install the new press.

Two old, unreliable presses were replaced with one new hi-tech pressing line which has the capability to meet the increased capacity requirement. The high-quality plywood is produced through accurate temperature distribution and thickness control in the hot platens during the pressing phase. Double feeding and water spraying are some of the technical features integrated, as well as tailor-made recipes for different thicknesses and constructions.

We asked York Timbers’ group engineer, Schalk Grobbelaar, about the project

WHAT WAS YOUR EXPERIENCE IN TERMS OF THE INSTALLATION AND COMMISSIONING OF THE PRESS?

– The key aspect contributing to the success of the project was the preparation performed before the press arrived. Preparation for the installation of the press commenced even before the order was confirmed with Raute. Both teams reviewed and communicated specifications and drawings regularly in order to ensure that expectations on both sides were similar. The Raute team visited the site before the installation to monitor progress and also to ensure that both teams had the same expectations. Construction and installation of all the services related to the press were completed before installation of the press commenced. During the project some challenges were experienced but the team (Raute and York) remained committed to the objectives and worked together to find solutions as quick as possible. Installation of the press commenced on time and the project was completed ahead of schedule. Commissioning of the press went well and the press achieved the designed capacity within two weeks of commissioning.

DID THE PRESS MEET YOUR EXPECTATIONS?

– The press is performing as promised. This includes specifications related to production capacity, the level of automation, reliability, maintainability, after sales service and support, energy consumption and the quality of the panels being produced.

HAS THE CO-OPERATION WITH RAUTE BEEN SUCCESSFUL?

– The co-operation with Raute before, during and after the project has been exceptional and it is one of the key reasons that the project was such a big success. Being far from Europe is always a challenge when partnering with a European supplier. However, the team has managed to overcome the distance through regular and effective communication, which ensured that all parties were aligned at all times.

WHAT ARE YORK’S FUTURE DEVELOPMENT PLANS?

– Extracting the maximum value from the available raw material is key to the success of York. For this reason, York is continuously considering operational and technological improvements. Raute has been a great partner in terms of regularly improving their services, providing operational and technological advice and delivering on promises. This enables York to do the same for our customers.

WHAT IS YORK’S APPROACH TO SUSTAINABILITY?

– York is an integrated forestry, sawmilling, plywood, remanufacturing and wholesale company. York endeavours to perform business in an environmentally and socially responsible and sustainable manner. York is FSC accredited and plays an integral role in the communities surrounding its operations in order to ensure sustainability. York continuously monitors its impact on the environment and strives to develop environmentally sustainable solutions, for example, by generating power from biomass, improving energy efficiency and sequestering carbon through optimal utilization of the available raw material.


How to enhance the drying process

Improper drying is the cause of most damages and veneer losses in plywood production. It is the process through which quality is made and cannot be improved afterwards. During the drying process, the moisture inside wood cells is evaporated in the shortest possible time and with the minimum use of energy. It may sound simple, but production managers struggle with splits, over dried veneers, jams and stops in the process, as well as the need for re-drying and having to deal with broken veneers on a daily basis. Luckily, proper technology can make this process much more predictable.


HOW TO DRY VENEER efficiently to desired moisture and maintain quality and elastic properties for further processes? This is the question the most successfull plywood and LVL producers are paying attention to. The answer lies in focusing more on the input material and combining that information to drying functions and controls in a smart way.

RAW MATERIAL CHALLENGES DRYING

As every producer knows, wood material has a great deal of variation in moisture and stiffness, depending on the log size, ground, time and place of growth.

Variation also occurs inside every block, depending on which part of the block the veneer is peeled.

As raw material properties continuously change, the drying process must also adapt accordingly. Unfortunately, most of the drying solutions on the market simply don’t have any tools for that.

When quality and efficiency matters, the right solution is an intuitive drying process that automatically adjusts the speed, temperature and moisture for a given material batch with minimized energy usage.

ANALYZERS BRING THE PROCESS TO THE NEXT LEVEL

The Drying ProcessTaking advantage of long experience with dryers, Raute, together with Mecano, has developed accurate veneer analyzers. The most advanced mills have earlier first adapted greyscale VDA and DMA brush meter analyzers, then upgrading and ending up with the latest G5 technology.

Mecano MVA was the first analyzer that made previously impossible low moisture analyzing a reality – setting a new standard for moisture grading. Mecano MVA-G is the game changer when the highest quality, recovery and smooth operation are required. When installed in a peeling line before clipping, it offers remarkable savings by accurately separating wet and dry veneer scanning through the veneer, instead of just the surface. In addition to accurate analyzes in low moistures, MVA finds uneven moisturized zebra veneer that causes great losses in drying. When spotted already in the peeling line, zebra veneer can be dried separately in different drying conditions.

The latest addition to Raute’s product family is Metriguard Veneer Tester DME 2805, which is the industry standard in the evaluation of veneer suitability for structural uses. Together with the VDA it brings the entire grading process up to a new level by enabling even a more efficient usage of raw material.

PROFITS BY PROPER DRYING

You need valid information to be able to improve the process. Efficient drying is possible when moisture and veneer properties are properly measured and gathered data utilized in the drying line. Drying will always be one of the most challenging processes in plywood and LVL production. However, with the right knowhow and tools, challenges can be transformed into a competitive advantage!

MECANO MVA-G IS A GAME CHANGER.

Stay tuned to hear more about VDA and DME 2805 integration with the Raute SmartMill concept.


A Finnish company developed a veneer bike

Wood-based products are now strongly experiencing a new era of popularity and new applications are found, for instance, in design.


THE BEAUTY and individual structure of wood is not the only reason that enhances the use of wood. Important factors are also the consumers’ interest in renewable materials and in endeavours to make ecological and sustainable choices. A good example of this is the Wiilubike – a bicycle with a body made of wood.

Wiilubike was developed by the Finnish Wood Innovations Finland Oy.

The starting point for the design of the wooden bike was to emphasize the possibilities of the utilisation of wood in products where it is traditionally not known to be used.

”A wooden bike as a thought felt sufficiently technical and outstanding, compared, for example, with traditional furniture”, says Ilari Alaruka, the founder of the company.

The design of Wiilubike is functional and simple and it really stands out. The bike was designed by means of 3D simulation. The style and initial prototypes and drawings were created directly from 3D files. The bodies of the production models are milled with a 5-shaft milling machine from a form-pressed blank, which guarantees a perfect fit of the metal and wooden components in the assembly. The manufacturing technique also enhances the manufacture of bodies of different sizes and shapes by changing the manufacturing tracks. Veneer of any species can be used for the face.

Raute New Applications
A Finnish company developed a veneer bike.

The business customers of Wiilubike are companies in the wood and forest industries, as well as companies, into whose values, operations and brands Wiilubike brings additional value for increased support and awareness. Some end user customers of Wiilubike wish to support the Finnish wood and forest industries, whereas others wish to communicate on the ecology. ”The owner of a Wiilubike is a brave and open-minded optimist, who lives to the full every moment”.

In terms of the material, strict requirements are set on the veneer quality. The veneer shall be strong and free of knots. The torsional rigidity required of the bike body is attained with carefully made glue lines and the correct grain directions. Nevertheless, the wooden body retains an appropriate elasticity and dampens vibrations on uneven ground without loosing its riding properties.

The veneer is peeled from birch blocks by Koskisen Oy with Raute lathes. The veneer is processed and form pressed into parts for the bike body. Other components are supplied by players in the field around the world, and assistance for the assembly is provided by the Finnish bike factory Salon Polkupyörätehdas.


LVL is unlocking the ‘timber age’

The great thing about timber is that it’s a renewable resource. It can be grown, selectively and sustainably harvested, then grown once again.


IN THE PAST of timber construction, the size of components equated with strength. Today, strength equates with intelligence, through engineered wood, such as LVL (Laminated Veneer Lumber).

With newer advancements in peeling technology and lamination, manufacturers have been able to produce lighter and smaller LVL sections with a greater strength and longer span than sawn timber. As wood defects (i.e. strength reducing knots) have been removed and randomized within thin layers, LVL is stronger, straighter, and more uniform than traditional sawn timber. The phenomenon of shrinkage and swelling is reduced, saving the manufacturer costly callbacks on job sites. Due to its composite nature and pre-graded veneers for stiffness, LVL is much less likely to warp, twist or bow than tradition timber. LVL also has a lower thermal conductivity compared to bricks and concrete, combined with long span capability.

Without LVL, today’s homes would not have cost-efficient open plan living rooms, two-car garages free of centre support columns, or extra-wide doorways. LVL makes modern homes possible. Some major advantages of using LVL in construction are its relative low installation cost (minimum labour and high speed), and the fact that it can be manufactured to any length and desired shape. This opens up the door to a myriad of design possibilities, which make architects and professionals repeatedly come back for more.

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EU HOUSING AND TIMBER FRAME MARKET

LVL demand across the globe is the function of usage rates multiplied by the level of construction activity in every market area (new housing starts, residential and non-residential projects, civil engineering etc.).LVL demand across the globe is the function of usage rates multiplied by the level of construction activity in every market area (new housing starts, residential and non-residential projects, civil engineering etc.).

As per Euroconstruct, construction volume in the eurozone grew by 3.5% in 2017. The strongest stimuli once again came from residential construction. Developments in 2017 were remarkable as growth in construction markets in Europe reached its highest level since 2006 (the outbreak of the international financial crisis) and housing demand rose in all 19 Euro zone members. This is the first time that growth has been seen across the board in Europe since the reunification of Germany; and it looks like this feat will be repeated in 2018.

The favourable development in EU construction demand is partly due to robust economic growth and its positive implications for household income, corporate profits and the state of public finances. Moreover, the low interest rate level, immigration and internal migration flows, as well as the investment backlog that has accumulated in areas like infrastructure since the financial crisis, is supporting the upswing.

In 2017 construction demand was the strongest in Hungary (+25%), the second smallest market in the EU area, followed by Ireland (+15%), Sweden (+10%), and Poland (+9%). Hungary also posted the highest growth rate forecasts for the next three years through to 2020 (+33%). In addition to state subsidies for residential construction, the more consistent use of EU funds especially for civil engineering will play an important role here. In the three-year growth projections, Hungary is once again followed by Ireland (+28%), Poland (+25%), the Czech Republic and Portugal (+15% respectively).

Raute Lvl Article Chart

In Germany, construction activity in 2017 increased more strongly than in 2016, driven by higher demand for residential accommodation, a greater willingness to invest on the part of companies and a civil engineering drive by the German government. Although growth will slow down significantly in the midterm, investment in both the residential and the infrastructure segments is expected to be high in the long term. In addition, Germany has a traditionally highly developed prefab industry (16% of a total of 20% timber frame share in building methods), which favours the usage of LVL due to its precise dimensions and stability.

UK construction companies had their best year in a decade for starting work on new homes in 2017 and the outlook for 2018 is positive. Housing completions in 2017 rose by 4% to 147,278, the highest number since 2008. UK Prime Minister Theresa May wants construction of new homes to rise to 300,000 units/ year to tackle a shortage of housing and make housing more affordable. By recent standards, 300,000 units per year is a very high number – the last time that many were completed in a year in UK was in the financial year 1969–70. It is not clear where the UK will find the labour it needs to build these homes. There are currently more than 350,000 fewer construction workers employed in the UK than there were in 2008 before the global recession hit. A substantial portion of the current construction labour force is foreign born – having mainly moved to Britain from eastern Europe. In a post-Brexit Britain, those labour market shortages will only become more pressing. This will open the gate for a higher usage of prefabricated off-site manufactured housing structures, which regularly require the usage of engineered wood products, such as LVL, I-Joists, glulam and openweb trusses.

The Scandinavian construction and civil engineering market appears to be levelling off. After three years of growth, a slowdown in construction output is expected in 2018 and 2019. The new housing starting in Finland, Sweden, Denmark and Norway combined is still a modest number compared to large EU construction markets such as France and Germany. However, Scandinavian countries offer a high potential for LVL, as they have traditionally focused on timber in housing construction (70% timber frame share from new housing starts).

This, combined with a harsh climate and the need for fast construction and labour savings, will continue to favour off-site manufacturing with LVL and glulam used as framing solutions.

THE GLOBAL LVL CONSUMPTION CONTINUES TO RISE.

LVL CONSUMPTION IN EUROPE

There has been a significant expansion of European LVL consumption over the past 10 years, as home and commercial builders increasingly adopt building systems that incorporate engineered timber. Consumption of LVL in Europe doubled from 65,000 m³ in 2000 to 125,000 m³ in 2004. Over the subsequent four years, LVL consumption increased by 11% annually, reaching 189,000 m³ in 2008.

In 2009 and 2010, volumes dropped to 184,520 m³ and then to 178,150 m³ because of the global financial crisis. However, it is notable that these drops were quite modest compared to the precipitous decline experienced in North America.

Since 2010, LVL consumption in Europe has risen consistently, averaging an annual growth rate of 11% over the past six years and reaching 373,450 m3 in 2017. (I-Joist flange consumption incl.)

The LVL consumption growth in Europe is supported by several factors: Increases in housing starts in key EU markets and the growth of the timberframe share of total EU residential and non-residential construction; Growth in demand for LVL flanges in I-joists versus solid timber flanges (in 2012, one of the largest European producers of I-joists, Steico, began using LVL flanges instead of solid timber flanges for its I-joist production); Growing trend toward the use of prefabricated components and modules in several key European construction markets, fostering greater demand for engineered timber; The entry of prominent new manufacturers, such as Pollmeier, Steico, and Stora Enso, has raised the profile of LVL as a viable solution for architects, engineers, and contractors.

The two largest LVL-consuming regions in Europe are Scandinavia and the UK, which together account for 54% of all LVL demand in Europe. While beams, rim board, headers, posts, and columns account for 98% of all LVL consumed in the Scandinavian region and only 2% is used in flanges for I-joists, in the UK on the other hand, due to an already well-developed I-joist market (the largest in Europe, with nearly 19 million lm consumed in 2017), this ratio is more balanced: 49% of all LVL consumed in UK is used in flanges for I-joists, and 51% in solid section applications.

Other important LVL markets in Europe include the DACH region (Germany, Austria, Switzerland), Poland, France & Benelux.

Over the next three years, LVL demand in Europe is forecasted to continue to grow with a projected average annual growth rate of 6%, reaching more than 440,000 m3 in 2020. This substantial LVL consumption increase will be supported by several key factors: Growing LVL usage rates and volumes, both as beams and headers, as well as I-Joist flanges; Builders’ needs to shorten building erection times, avoid costly equipment on site (e.g. cranes), reduce the cost of onsite labour, and eliminate callbacks; The trend toward slimmer wall cassettes, which can be realized with LVL ribs and panels in SIPs (structural insulated panels) allowing for increased living space, while achieving excellent heat exchange and acoustic properties.

The LVL markets across the globe are healthily positioned for sustainable growth.