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CLT capacity expected to double until 2022

Article by Günther Jauk (translated by Eva Guzely) | 06.11.2020 - 10:15

Despite the corona pandemic, CLT production in the DACH region, Italy and the Czech Republic is recording another marked increase this year and will pass the 1 million m³ a year mark for the first time. Compared to 2019, production grew by 15%. Last year, a 9% increase was recorded compared to 2018. The newcomers Theurl Austrian Premium Timber with 40,000 m³ and Pfeifer Group with 30,000 m³ are mainly responsible for the increase of more than 130,000 m³ expected this year. In June, Theurl started up its first CLT production line at the newly built site in Steinfeld im Drautal. In future, the company wants to produce up to 100,000 m³ a year there. In Schlitz in Hesse, Pfeifer put a plant into operation, initially with an annual capacity of 50,000 m³. With the second phase of expansion which is currently underway, the plant will then also have a capacity of 100,000 m³ a year.

Ante-Holz is working on entering the CLT sector in stages. Already in 2019, the company started producing cross-laminated timber with two vacuum presses at its headquarters in Bromskirchen-Somplar/DE. In the meantime, these have been largely automated and ensure a possible annual output of 30,000 m³. This year, however, Ante-Holz wants to produce 8500 m³. In 2021, a plant with a capacity of 100,000 m³ a year is to go into operation in Berga near Ante’s site in Rottleberode.

In 2020, the Hasslacher Group started up a combined plant for glulam and CLT at the Magdeburg site. The manufacturer puts the per-shift performance of the plant for cross-laminated timber at 30 to 50 m³, depending on the dimensions.

Also in 2020, KLH will put a second production site in operation in Wiesenau near Bad St. Leonhard. This means that the veteran of the sector will have an annual capacity of around 250,000 m³ in the future.

Three confirmed big projects

Nearly a year ago, Mayr-Melnhof announced a major investment in its headquarters in Leoben. Of the total sum of € 200 million, € 130 million are to be invested in a cross-laminated timber plant. Once everything is completed, the company wants to produce up to 140,000 m³ a year in Leoben. Together with the existing CLT production site in Gaishorn am See, the company’s annual output can reach up to 210,000 m³ in the future.

Among the projects confirmed in 2020 is also the construction of Stora Enso’s fourth CLT production at the Czech site in Ždírec. The group puts the costs at around € 79 million. The annual production capacity should be 120,000 m³. Production is to start in the third quarter of 2022. Together with the existing production sites in Gruvön/SE, Bad St. Leonhard/AT and Ybbs/AT, the annual output will amount to almost 400,000 m³ in the future, which is significantly more than what is produced by the current “king of capacity” Binderholz (320,000 m³/year).

The third confirmed big project is located in Meßkirch in Baden-Württemberg. Around 60 km from the headquarters in Eberhardzell, Best Wood Schneider is building a sawmill as well as a CLT line with an annual capacity of 100,000 m³. This year, the company produced 25,000 m³ of CLT at its headquarters. This brings the possible overall production to at least 125,000 m³ a year.

100% increase

When adding up the additional capacities in 2020 and the projects which have been announced, the additional volume amounts to over 800,000 m³ in the DACH region and in the Czech Republic. Added to this are the volumes produced at the Derix Group, Schilliger or Binderholz sites which went into operation or were massively expanded in 2019, but are probably not yet fully utilized. This results in a possible annual output of around 2 million m³ in the coming years, which is twice the volume recorded today.

High concentration

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The concentration of cross-laminated timber production sites is increasing in the south of Austria © Holzkurier

The concentration around the “CLT town” Bad St. Leonhard with two CLT plants (Stora Enso, KLH) is becoming particularly high. If one takes the small town as the center of a semicircle with a 150 km radius, one will find eight large-scale productions with a total capacity of nearly 900,000 m³ of cross-laminated timber. If one calculates 1.25 m³ of sawn timber for every finished cubic meter of CLT, sawn timber demand is almost 1.2 million m³, which means that the raw material supply in this area will be increasingly challenging in the future.