The new factory in Kauhajoki in Western Finland will produce CLT board, a versatile construction material made of multi-layered panel of wooden boards glued together. The factory is scheduled to be operational in the autumn of 2017 and produce CLT boards in the spring of 2018. In addition to the CLT board factory, there is interest in establishing new business in the area for further processing of CLT boards and producing end-products locally.
CLT for Finnish construction sector
Currently, the only factory in Finland producing CLT is in Kuhmo. CLT Plant Ltd was founded in 2015 to meet market demand. The owners of the factory are Finnish entrepreneurs.
Keijo Ullakko, Chairman of the Board, CLT Plant Ltd, regrets that some construction projects have had to be postponed due to the poor availability of materials. He estimates that demand for CLT continues to grow in Finland and internationally.
“We could probably export all our production. However, our main goal is to develop use of CLT products in the Finnish construction sector, such as in building detached houses and apartment buildings.”
The Finnish state promotes wood construction domestically and export of it.
“Market share of wooden apartment buildings in Finland is growing steadily. The majority of frames in new wooden apartment buildings are made of CLT. It is a true delight that a new operator will increase the domestic CLT production,” tells Markku Karjalainen, Associate Professor, Architecture at Tampere University of Technology.
New factory creates business opportunities in region
The factory location in Kauhajoki is excellent regarding logistics and availability of trained staff, partners and raw material suppliers. The surrounding area consists of machinery and equipment suppliers, saw mills and house building factories.
According to Ullakko the region offers many business opportunities. “The factory is only a start, there is interest in the area, for example, to post-process CLT, manufacture and assemble elements,” the Chairman of the Board outlines.
Sari Toivonen, Senior Director, Invest in Finland, predicts wood construction market growth and sees this new company strengthening Finnish wood construction ecosystem.
“When local companies believe in wood construction, it makes Finland more attractive as an investment location as well,” Toivonen states.
The Mayor of Kauhajoki, Keijo Kuja-Lipasti, sees establishing the new factory extremely import for the area.
“The factory creates new jobs and gives boost to whole area. The role of town is to support this kind of entrepreneurship,” Kuja-Lipasti highlights.