For most of us, construction material means the nuts, bolts and panels scattered across the living room floor after a trip to IKEA. If a piece of furniture cannot be assembled within an hour, we imagine it would be easier to turn our backyard tree into a tabletop than spend another minute deciphering the directions.
As aggravating as a giant jigsaw puzzle of wood can be, the formation of these clean cut panels is a complex but precise process which saves you countless hours of labor. These boards are constructed by a series of conveyor belts which transform wood chips and glue to the building blocks of your next home accessory.
Nature’s magic material
There are fewer more far-reaching industries than wood and it is no wonder. As an insulator, it is 15 times more efficient than concrete, and on a strength to weight ratio, wood is stronger than steel. Although furniture and flooring are some of the more familiar uses of wood, not to mention paper products, it is also used in the production of camera film, rayon, fuel, paint, and the interior moldings of car doors.
The journey of a piece of wood from the forest to your living room involves many transfers and alterations. The process begins with debarking and cutting fresh timber which must then be fed into a chipper. This shreds the wood in order for it to be blended with glue, resin or chemicals. The particles are delivered from a mixer onto a series of belts where they are pre-pressed, deaerated, and then formed and dried under extreme heat. This is followed by careful trimming, possible lamination and then assembly so that the wood can finally be dispatched as a smoothly sanded product.
From forest to furniture
A wide range of belting is necessary for every division of the wood industry. Heat and chemical resistant surfaces must be equipped to transport heavy and abrasive loads for long distances. Habasit’s knowledgeable engineers take into account each factor of production in order to identify the belts that will best fit the needs of each customer. Through innovative research and development, Habasit offers a variety of fabric and timing belts which are perfectly suited for the industry.
Working with leading suppliers, manufacturers and industry specialists, Habasit has responded to the specific and varying needs of the market and developed cutting edge solutions which are changing the face of the industry. With forming belts of up to 130 meters long and four meters wide, Habasit has extended the possibility of the production line of every customer. Not only that, but Habasit’s proven anti-sticking belt ENB-12ERCH is matchless in the market for drastically minimizing the adhesion of wood chips and reducing surface residue. This is a crucial factor for efficient productivity and cleanliness which can prolong the lifetime of the belt.
Habasit is aware that trees are one of the most precious renewable resources on the planet. Finding ways to conserve energy and reduce waste is a priority at every step. Fortunately, there has been increasing global awareness on this issue, so that in the USA, more trees have been planted than harvested in the last 70 years. Still, with older trees slowly disappearing, it has been necessary for the lumber industry to get creative, taking apart second or third generation trees and then piecing them back together to form a product which is actually stronger and more flexible than the old wood. Composite material can increase the conversion efficiency of a tree up to 90 to 95 percent so that every last branch is put to use. Plywood and oriented strand board (OSB) have opened up new possibilities so that even waste sawdust or shavings can be used as raw material for particleboard and medium-density fiber board (MDF).
Habasit is doing its part by staying one step ahead of the most cutting edge trends in the market. Engineers are currently conducting intensive research in order to increase energy savings and to expand recycling possibilities. The results have been encouraging. Using less energy will mean savings for both the environment and the financial investment of every customer.
After all, with the right use of resources, it is an industry that can only go up from here. New ways are being found to replenish wood even as we find new ways to use it. Whether it is your IKEA cupboards or a family heirloom made of solid oak, wood is all around us. It is worth remembering where it came from and re-imagining the places it could grow.
We will share some of our latest findings at Ligna, the world’s leading trade fair exhibition in the wood industry. It will take place from May 22nd to the 26th 2017 in Hannover, Germany. Habasit will be among the over 1,500 exhibitors presenting innovative ideas and introducing the most up-to-date trends in the market. (ST)