Take a look at this picture. Two European experts explain the technical details of the improved X-Press for CLT to an American university professor. After being completed, the 12 metre long press was shipped to Asia, to the Japanese company Cypress Sunadaya of Komatsu Saijo, to be specific. This picture was taken at a production site of Slovene machine manufacturer Ledinek and is a reflection of the global trend towards CLT.
With fewer than ten CLT presses built, Ledinek has already become one of the industry’s most experienced manufacturers. In 2013, the Slovene company installed their first 8-metre machine at Ammattiopisto Lappia in the Finnish town of Kemi. In 2014, a 12-metre press was built for the Finnish transformation company Crosslam Kuhmo. In the same year, Ledinek started the first CLT production in the Baltic region.
Cross Timber Systems of Jelgava in Latvia has ordered a complete system, from the infeed of the raw material to the passing on of the finished panels to the joinery machine. “This is certainly one of our strong suits”, comments sales manager Robert Mlinaric. With this project, Ledinek was responsible for the planning of the entire system and built nearly all of the machine components. “Thanks to our full responsibility and the use of Ledinek’s planing and finger-jointing technology, we were able to avoid interfaces, guarantee highest machine quality and accelerate the planning and start-up of the project considerably”, says Mlinaric about the advantages.
In 2015, Ledinek had its first project in Austria. The company built a 16 metre long CLT press for Mayr-Melnhof’s production site in Gaishorn.
Faster and more flexible
After having delivered only four machines, Ledinek presented an improved version of the X-Press at the beginning of 2017. Particularly striking is the aluminium table on which the laminations that are to be glued are placed. In the construction of the press, Ledinek has opted for fixed glue nozzles and a moveable table. “This makes the application of the adhesive more precise. Also, the system can do without long cables and wires” explains Mlinaric. The challenge of this method lies in the reduction of the stacking time.
In terms of speed, the massive steel table, which had formerly been used, coupled with heavier press cakes could not compete with modern adhesive application systems. “Thanks to the lighter aluminium table, this no longer poses a problem”, he tells us. Due to their higher energy consumption, the use of stronger drive motors has been out of the question. Inside the press, the aluminium table is placed on massive steel I-beams, as is customary at Ledinek.
The application of the pneumatic lateral pressure is done over the entire length and makes it possible to close the joints in all longitudinal laminations, even when more than one panel is in the press. Every lateral pressure element can be controlled individually, which is why pressure can be applied without limit on panels of virtually any length. Depending on the type of press, wall panels of up to 16 metres in length can be produced. The height ranges from 2.45 to 3.55 metres with thicknesses of 60 to 360 millimetres. The maximum surface pressure is 0.8 N/mm².
Projects around the globe
The first X-Press of this generation was again shipped to Finland. CLT Finland Oy of Helsinki received a 12 metre long press last spring. Ledinek also delivered an adhesive application system and a Europlan planing line for laminations.
Last summer, the Slovene company built a 16 metre long big-format CLT press for an Australian manufacturer. According to Ledinek, it was the first press of its kind that was shipped to Down Under. In this case, the company also provided the entire production line.
In the company’s headquarters, an X-Press 12 was built for the Japanese manufacturer Cypress Sunadaya of Komatsu Saijo. According to Ledinek, it is only the second industrial CLT press in Japan. Parts of the press had been shipped to the country before, as they were exhibited at the Mokkiten Fair in Nagoya together with finger-jointing and planing machines. “We notice a growing interest in cross-laminated timber in Asia”, comments Mlinaric.
France, Sweden and the US
After having delivered the press to Japan, the company processed orders of French manufacturer Piveteaubois (X-Press 16) and American company IB Xlam USA (X-Press 16). After that, Ledinek shipped two 16-metre presses to Splitkon in the Norwegian town of Amot and to the Finnish company CLT Plant of Kauhajoki.
At the moment, Mlinaric does not want to comment on other planned CLT projects. He only reveals so much: “We get a lot of requests for CLT presses and complete production lines. In the coming years, we will surely build a number of them.”