The wood products industries utilize wood to a full degree. Half of the material ends up in wood products, and by-products, such as bark, sawdust, chips, trims, shavings and dust, make the rest. They are important feedstocks for pulp and paper, particle board and fibreboard industries as well as for bioenergy, and in the future also for chemical industries and manufacturing of bioactive products.
The primary wood products industries encompass sawmills and production plants of wooden boards, poles and posts. The further processing industries cover those which use the products of the primary industries as their raw materials to manufacture, for example, furniture, doors, windows, and prefabricated houses.
More than half of our most important sawmill product, softwood sawn timber, and even more of other important products such as birch plywood, laminated veneer lumber, glued laminated timber and thermally modified wood are exported. Exports of softwood timber bring in an income of more than EUR two billion per year. The further processing industries largely operate on the Finnish market, but they also generate more than EUR one billion in export revenue per year.
Broad-ranging research provide service for all fields of wood products industries
The results from the studies of Luke are used as the basis for developing new technologies as well as process and product recommendations for different tree species among the wood products industries. Luke has also developed tools for the industries to plan investments and upgrade production, for example an activity-based costing method for sawmills.
The properties of wood products are modifiable through physical and chemical methods. For example, a modification treatment that involves first compressing of wood in the presence of heat and moisture to increase its density and then modifying it thermally has been studied to be adopted on an industrial scale production. Natural durability of wood has been studied in detail, primarily from the perspective of weather and decay resistance. Natural and treated woods are tested and analysed according to specified methods and standards to meet the needs of different wood users and customers of research.
The knowledge on wood in the manufacturing processes provided by Luke is used by the wood products industries themselves, but also by their suppliers of machinery and equipment, product and technology developers, and end-users of wood products and hybrid products of wood and other materials. Forest owners and wood procurement organisations benefit from the results as well.
Picture on top of the page: Henrik Heräjärvi, University of Eastern Finland