Step 1: The Forest
It's important to us that all raw logs used in our plywood are sourced from legal and sustainable forest concessions. We only use mills who use the Timber Trade Federation's Responsible Purchasing Policy to ensure this.
Once trees reach an acceptable level of maturity, they are felled by trained harvesters. Depending on the operation of the mill, vehicles like those in the image above can be used to select and fell trees using satellite imagery.
Step 2: Transport to the MillLogs are transported from the forest concession to the mill to be processed.
Transportation comes with its own environmental issues in some instances, as forest areas are cleared to make room for roads and therefore new trees cannot grow.
Step 3: The Log Pond
Step 4: De-barking the Logs
Before the logs are cut and peeled, the bark must be removed. Mills use industrial machines such as this to de-bark logs as they continue along the production line.
Step 5: Cutting the Logs
Step 6: Peeling the LogsLogs are peeled using a rotary lathe. This peels the log in a manner similar to that of a pencil sharpener except the blade is completely parallel to the log at the time of cutting. You can see this process in action in the video above, and see them coming out of the back of the peeling machine straight onto a conveyor in the video below.
Step 7: Sizing and GradingOnce they've been peeled the resultant sheets are fed to the next step on a conveyor, as in the image below.
Following peeling, the veneers are moved along the production line in long streams. They need to be cut to size and go through an initial grading process. Grading is especially important in regards to Birch Plywood (laserply) so the majority of mills use scanning technology to check for defects in the veneers, cutting to the required sizes and then separating potential face veneers from core veneers. Unlike mills from Eastern Europe and the Baltics, countries like China will peel the veneers in smaller squares and then stitch them to the appropriate size as a more cost effective (but quality reducing) method.
Step 8: Drying the Veneers
Step 9: Repairing Defects
Once dry, veneers need to be repaired where defects exist. In the case of Birch Plywood for example, open knots (where branches used to be) can be 'plugged' in. Splits in veneers on plywood can also be filled in and mis-sized veneers can be finger-jointed together (see above). Some mills have a machine that scans the veneers and automatically plugs open holes or knots. (See below).
Step 10: Application of Glue and Lay-Up
Step 11: Cold Pressing
Cold Pressing occurs after glue has been applied in order to prepare the veneers for Hot Pressing. This works to flatten out the veneers and ensure the glue is distributed across the veneers evenly.
Step 12: Hot Pressing (Daylight Press)
Step 13: Trimming, Sanding and Finishing
Following Hot Pressing, the board is left to stabilise and cool down before further processing. Then it is a case of trimming down any excess veneer so the board has square edges, then the boards are most commonly sanded using a large, industrial sander.
Step 14: Quality ControlThe final product has to be assessed for quality but it wouldn't be very efficient just to wait until the end of the process to find a large problem with production. For this reason, mills control their production by carrying out a number of tests on different sections of the production process e.g. testing moisture levels, formaldehyde release, durability, etc.
Step 15: Packaging
Finished products are then stacked up and banded together. Any relevant CE marks are printed on the packaging.
Step 16: Laser Plywood (laserply) Delivery
We take delivery of plywood (laserply) weekly, ready to dispatch to you!
|Useful Laser Plywood (laserply) Resources|
|What Is Laser Plywood (laserply).|
|Plywood: The Production Process.|
|Plywood glue types and classifications.|
|Looking after your plywood.|
|How is Poplar Plywood Different to Birch Plywood?|
|A Guide to Plywood Grading.|
|A guide on using laser materials.|
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