Plywood Mills Eye Modernizations
Modernizations are a rapidly expanding trend in the plywood manufacturing business. “Companies have increasingly become more cost-aware, and therefore interested in improving their present machinery through modernizations as an alternative to new investments,” comments Petri Lakka, Group Vice President of Raute Technology Services.
At Raute, the growing interest around modernization projects has been earmarked. “Today customers want different options for their investments—some focus on acquiring new assets, but some are looking for cost-efficient modernizations for their production lines. Peeling line modernizations have been and still are the largest section of all modernization projects; modernizing a peeling line tends to be more cost-efficient than purchasing a brand new line,” explains Jussi Puranen, Technology Manager at Raute Finland.
In North America, the focus with peeling line modernizations tends to be on improving the quality and thickness tolerance of veneer, with increasing automation and better usability. “The ability to raise the level of automation is very important to our North American customers, where labor costs are high,” Puranen explains.
The challenge with peeling line modernizations is that it requires an understanding of the total process of veneer, plywood and LVL manufacturing. Raute’s advantage is its process expertise, offering lifespan services for a variety of demands.
A growing number of small service and machine manufacturers have entered the plywood markets, but Puranen sees Raute as able to respond to the tightening competition. “We have inextricably linked equipment manufacturing, sales and services to support our customers.”
Puranen sees modernizations moving from hydraulic solutions towards electric solutions. In addition, the growing demand of peeling line modernizations requires acceleration of the processes.
As of now, the modernization supply chains in this industry are mainly designed for bigger projects, but Puranen predicts a shift towards modernizing of smaller components as well. “We have to be extremely precise in everything we do, and to handle things quickly with minimum bureaucracy. Raute is ready to take on this challenge.”
(Article and photo submitted by Raute.)