Timber customer magazine 2022/2023

Timber is Metsä Fibre's magazine for timber customers, spanning the entire value chain of sawn goods. Articles in the latest edition explore Rauma sawmill, developments in timber construction and the use of wood for interiors.




New era of wood building Rauma sawmill starts up The versatility of pine


Greetings On a shared path towards industrial efficiency page 4

World of timber About sawn timber and our business in brief pages 5–7

Sustainability We are reaching our sustainability goals faster than expected page 8

Updates from CEO Aiming at sustainable and profitable growth together with our customers page 9 Made of timber Wood is a trending material in interior finishing. What makes it so popular? pages 10–17

Wood is once again a popular material in interior decoration, pages 10–17

Innovations & investments Our Future Sawmill concept is blazing a trail for the whole sawmill industry pages 20–24

Cooperation Kalevi Huhtala Oy views its role as an extension of the customer’s production pages 18–19

In detail A fully grown pine tree contains one cubic metre of timber page 25

Visiting Nemus Futurum, you can smell the forest and learn about forest management, pages 64–67

Sustainable solutions Architect Michael Green is a prominent advocate of wood building pages 26–27

Timber market Fluctuations in sawn timber prices remain possible in the future pages 28–31

Our customer Kurikka Timber favours Finnish pine as its raw material pages 32–33

Why Nordic wood The short growing season impacts the structure of the Nordic conifer pages 34–35





Rauma sawmill

Get to know the sawmill of the future!

pages 37–48

The sawn timber production at Metsä Fibre’s Rauma sawmill begins in Q3 2022. It is the all-time biggest sawmill investment in Finland.

Our customer Rose Group builds its business relations on trust pages 58–59

Perspective In sawn timber sales everything is based on forecasting page 73

How we serve you Technical Customer Service supports our sawmill customers’ operations page 36 Rauma sawmill Our Rauma sawmill is the most advanced sawmill in the world pages 37–48 How we serve you Timber Marketplace offers an even better online shopping experience page 49

Regional focus In the Alpine region, wood building is a tradition dating back centuries pages 60–63 Our operations Nemus Futurum showcases sustainable forest management with experiences pages 64–67 Influencer The breakthrough of wood construction is closer than before, says architect Pekka Heikkinen pages 68–72

Our operations Industrial wood building in Rauma sawmill and Kemi bioproduct mill projects pages 74–79

Professional Timo Tuomela is planning the Rauma sawmill production line pages 80–81

Metsä Fibre Key figures for our sawmills and operations pages 82–83

Sustainable forestry Nurturing the nature values of forests is an important part of Finnish forest management pages 50–57



Together towards industrial efficiency

Wood is one of the most sustainable and diverse construction materials. Increasing wood con- struction is important for the world because wooden buildings and products store carbon and effectively curb climate change. Nordic slow-growing wood is excellently suited to purposes in which the aesthetic nature of wood plays a key role. It is also ideal for structures that demand strength. When the whole value chain from the forest to the end-product runs efficiently, wood is a very competitive construc- tion material overall – and outright superior for several purposes. We have made the development of industrial efficiency one of the key themes in Metsä Fibre’s updated strategy. We centrally control felling and cutting based on the length of trees needed and the end uses for which the sawn timber is destined. We also renew our sawmills systemat- ically. The new Rauma sawmill is naturally spearheading development in sawmill technology and substantially promotes the industrial efficiency of our operations. We offer our customers high-quality sawn timber, as well as data that communicates quality. As our customer, you can use this information to improve the efficiency, quality and yield of your own process. The production of wood products and construction materials is largely automated. The more detailed the data we supply to our customers, the easier it is for us to jointly determine the key measures for achieving more efficient production and a higher yield in different refining pro- cesses. This improves efficiency throughout the chain. In the future, the development of industrial efficiency will be the most important question for all companies in the wood products industry. Our operating model addresses the entire chain’s sustainability and efficiency. We believe it will open a joint path towards a sustainable future.

Ari Harmaala SVP, Sales and Customership Metsä Fibre

Please give us feedback on our magazine!

We produce Timber magazine for our sawn timber customers and hope to get feedback from you on the magazine’s content. Where did we succeed? What could we improve? What was especially interesting, what offered new information or was enjoyable? What topics would you like to read about in future issues?


World of timber

Recognition for sustainability work In 2021, EcoVadis, a provider of business sustainability ratings, gave Metsä Fibre a Platinum rating for the second time. Platinum, the highest possible rating, recognises the company’s environmental work, work- place practices, ethical business practices and supply chains. Metsä Fibre is among the top one per cent of pulp, paper and paperboard manufacturers assessed by EcoVadis. “This was a great climax to our excellent year. Of all the companies assessed annually by EcoVadis, only one percent receive a Platinum rating,” says Marko Ruottinen , Metsä Fibre’s Sustainability Manager.

Grand display of Finnish wood at Helsinki Airport In Helsinki Airport’s revamped Terminal 2, travellers receive a warm welcome from design and craftsmanship reflecting the nature of Finland. The undulating wooden ceiling in the departure hall reaches a height of 16 metres and is a paragon of carpentry and woodwork. The architecture is said to have been influenced and inspired by geographical contour lines and classic Finnish design like the Ultima Thule glassware series by Tapio Wirkkala . The ceiling elements feature CLT (cross-laminated timber) panels, their surface made of Finnish spruce. The ceiling of 7,700 square metres contains a total of 500 unique elements, each measuring 3x6 metres and weighing up to 1,500 kilograms. Cross-laminated timber retains its shape well, ensuring that the ceiling design will endure for years to come. CNC milling and 3D modelling were used in the production of the elements, but the finishing was carried out manually. The ceiling was de- signed by Juho Grönholm from ALA Architects, and the wood construc- tion was implemented by Raision Puusepät, a joinery company. Finnish nature is also visible in the arrivals hall in a diorama called Luoto. It offers passengers a refreshing experience and portrayal of natu- ral scenery, featuring living trees, plants and large boulders. The expansion of Terminal 2 is a part of Finavia’s billion-euro develop­ ment programme at Helsinki Airport. The domestic content of the investment – that is, the proportion carried out by Finnish contractors – is approximately 90 per cent.


Support for future talents

In spring 2022, Metsä Group donated nearly one mil- lion euros to seven Finnish universities. The donations were allocated to the fields of technology, natural sciences or agriculture and forestry, depending on the university. At the end of 2021, Metsä Group donated a total of 500,000 euros to its partner universities in Helsinki and Oulu.

Source: Finavia


World of timber

75 % Forests cover

12.6 % Finland has 2.9 million hectares of protected forests and forests in restricted forestry use. This is 12.6 per cent of the forest area.

108 m 3 Finnish forests grow by roughly 108 million cubic metres annually.

more than 75 per cent of Finland’s land area. In relation to its surface area, Finland is the most forested country in Europe.

Source: Finnish Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry

Little Finlandia shows the way in the circular economy

Thank you, customers!

Metsä Fibre’s latest customer satisfaction survey was conducted in the spring of 2022 in the Europe, Asia-Pacific, Middle East and Africa, and Americas sales areas. We would like to thank our sawn timber customers for their active participation. We will, of course, continue to develop our operations.

Little Finlandia is a pavilion-like building in Helsinki that provides temporary facilities during the renovation of the adjacent congress and event venue Finlandia Hall, designed by architect Alvar Aalto . A superb example of wood architecture, Little Finlandia is a joint project of the City of Helsinki, Finlandia Hall, Aalto University and FM-Haus. Its elements are built with Metsä Wood’s Kerto® LVL products. In terms of construction, Little Finlandia is made of portable and reusable wooden modules, thus complying with the principles of sustainability and the circular economy. The debarked pine trunks that serve as supporting pillars are a very distinctive feature of the building. After Finlandia Hall’s renovation, Little Finlandia can be moved to a new place and given a new function, such as a day-care centre or school building.

Learn more about the survey results online

Berlin builds 32 wooden schools

The City of Berlin in Germany will construct 32 three-­ storey wooden schools by 2025. The buildings will be made from prefabricated wooden modules that speed up construction work. GLVL beams, made from Metsä Wood’s Kerto LVL®, are stronger than steel and will be used for the joints.


World of timber

Learn more about sawn timber

We have published an e-learning course for our customers on the sawing process. It provides a closer look at the production of premium sawn timber and discusses the factors that affect quality. The course is available at the Metsä Learning Hub service, which also includes a course on sustainability. To gain access to the service, please get in touch with your contact person.

Supporting biodiversity

Metsä Group provides financial inputs and expertise to support development projects that substantially and effectively improve biodiversity and the state of water bodies in Finland. The measu­ res are part of the nature management programme conducted in 2021–2023. The projects are implemented outside commercial forests. They can be related to aquatic bird habitats and wetlands, watercourses, small water bodies and coastal environments, the living conditions of pollinators and new water protection methods. “I am pleased that we now have a programme that safeguards forest biodiversity. We will invest millions of euros in the project over a ten-year period, without profit targets,” says Katja Tuomola , Vice President, Sustainability Management at Metsä Group. The protection of rich forest groves is another way to safeguard the biodiversity of the forest environment. These groves account for only 1 to 2 per cent of forest land area in Finland, but they are home to about 45 per cent of endangered forest species. “The nutrient-rich soil of forest groves offers good conditions for abundant flora, which in turn provides nutrition for insects. This is why we want to see nature management in these areas instead of timber cultivation.” From 2022 onwards, Metsä Group will inspect the forest groves of its owner-members and provide guidance for their management.

AI supports wood supply An application developed and implemented by Metsä Group applies artificial intelligence to Finland’s versa- tile open spatial datasets, to estimate growing stock data. Thanks to the application, reliable assessments of growing stock and felling site data can be made for wood trade purposes, even without a forest visit. “The application defines the site’s growing stock data such as the percentage of log wood, sturdiness per tree species, quality and diameter distribution. We complement public spatial datasets with our own ma- terial such as measurement data from our harvesters and data collected from the log-measuring devices at our sawmills,” says Olli Leino , Director, Digitalisation, Metsä Group’s Wood Supply and Forest Services.


Read more about our sustainability targets and the work we are undertaking to achieve them


Towards 2030

The sustainability targets set by Metsä Group for 2030 are being met even faster than previously predicted. Metsä Fibre has a significant role in making these goals into reality. Take a look at our numbers for 2021.

Metsä Fibre is committed to promoting sustainability, carbon neutrality and resource efficiency through its operations. Clean water, circular economy and climate change mitigation are issues for which we for our part want to create solutions. Our journey to fulfilling these targets was accelerated by our significant investments in the Rauma sawmill and the Kemi bioproduct mill, commissioned in 2022 and 2023, respectively.


Target 2030: Fossil fuel based CO2 emissions 0, share of fossil-free fuels 100% Metsä Fibre 2021: Share of fossil-free fuels 97%



Target 2030: Traceability of all raw materials 100% Metsä Fibre 2021: Traceability of all raw materials 96%, traceability of wood raw material 100%

Target 2030: Share of fossil-free raw materials 100% Metsä Fibre 2021: Share of fossil-free raw materials 99.99%



Target 2030: 100% of raw material suppliers complying with the set environmental, social and economical sustainability demands (Supplier Code of Conduct) Metsä Fibre 2021: 97% of raw material suppliers complying with the above sustainability requirements

Target 2030: Production side streams 100% utilised as materials or energy

Metsä Fibre 2021: Utilisation of production side streams at 85%. Only green liquor dregs resulting from pulp production is not yet utilised.



Target 2030: Accident frequency (LTA1) 0 Metsä Fibre 2021: Accident frequency 7.6

Target 2030: Ethics index of 100% measured from ethics barometer Metsä Fibre 2021: Ethics index of 83.5%


Target 2030: Increasing the volume of carbon stored in forests by 30% compared to the level reached in 2018.

Target 2030: Increasing the amount of carbon stored in products by 30% compared to the level reached in 2018.

Target 2030: Safeguarding the biodiversity of forests and increasing the volume of decaying wood.

These are Metsä Group level sustainability targets and Metsä Forest’s sustainability actions.


Updates from the CEO

Towards sustainable excellence

MATTI REMES, Photo: Kristiina Hemminki, Fotonokka

Metsä Fibre aims at sustainable excellence. It means industrial efficiency, long-term customer relationships and solutions that promote sustainability. Population growth, urbanisation, loss of biodiversity, climate change and digitalisation. Although these megatrends have long influenced the forest industry, their significance for and impact on our business environment and the operations of our customers have changed over time. This is why we review our strategy at regular intervals. The goals of our latest strategy review can be crystallised in three strategic projects: We seek industrial efficiency to ensure the continuous improve- ment of competitiveness in our own production and that of our customers. In sawn timber production, this means systematically renewing our production capacity. The process is being spearheaded by the new pine sawmill under construction in Rauma, which will run an automated production line featuring cutting-edge technology and digitalisation. This line marks a major development in the field. We focus on the continuous development of customer relation- ships. We want to continue improving and strengthening our long-term customer relationships. We believe that lasting coop- eration ensures the best results for both parties. We want to serve our customers by supplying premium sawn timber and by offering them professional technical customer ser- vice. We collect data on our production process to ensure consis­ tent sawn timber deliveries that meet customer needs. We strive for sustainable solutions to mitigate climate change and promote the circular economy. We develop new bioproducts to replace products made from fossil raw materials and continue to strengthen our bioproduct concept to make full use of our side streams. We use Nordic wood from sustainably managed forests and take biodiversity into account in sourcing our wood. We are also committed to fossil fuel free production by 2030.

These themes have also become increasingly important to our customers and partners. We work together to mitigate climate change and reduce the environmental impacts of the entire pro- duction and conversion chain. Our vision is to be our customers’ preferred partner. This ambi- tious goal requires us to continuously improve our operations. I believe that we can achieve our vision through long-term co- operation. We aim for sustainable excellence. In practice this means sus- tainable and profitable growth together with our customers. •

Ismo Nousiainen, CEO, Metsä Fibre



Made of timber

There is nothing like wood

SAMI ANTEROINEN, Photos: Ikea, Riikka Kantinkoski, Svante Gullichsen, Elvo Jakobsen & Kesko

Wood is a trending material in furniture and interior finishing – but what are the key factors driving its popularity?

Wood is mounting an unprecedented comeback. From designer brands to Do It Yourself (DIY) home renovators, it is suddenly everywhere, and suppliers need to keep up. Matti Mikkola is Managing Director of the Federation of the Finnish Woodworking Industries, an alliance of companies that make products from wood. He sees the popularity of wood as strongly connected to the fight against climate change. “Clearly, it is because of climate impact that there is more wood construction in new builds and also more wood in renovation projects.” As the Covid-19 pandemic hit, demand for wood reached record levels around the world. A big part of this growth came from the DIY segment, where countless home renovators pursued their pet projects. “Starting from March 2020, we actually first saw a decrease in the demand for wood due to the general corona scare. After that, it just took off.”


This modular system has been sold and developed by IKEA for nearly 50 years. It is a favourite among customisable shelving systems – combining form and function with endless possibilities for stylish expression. Solid untreated pine is durable and ages beautifully, or can be oiled, painted and stained according to preference. It is also closely tied to the Scandinavian heritage of IKEA.


“Despite all the talk of the ‘second coming’ of wood, we feel actually that wood never went away.”

Mikkola says that wood has plenty of great qualities alongside its climate friendliness. It brings down stress levels and allows you to relax. Its good acoustic properties are well-known and it is also visually pleasing. “In addition, wood is a durable material - with good design and proper care wood products last for hundreds of years.” Construction and furniture businesses are now trying out new things. “Great R&D is being conducted all the time, so it is very likely that we will see much more wood being used in the future.” Transforming the bathroom A good example of wood-related innovation is the Finnish startup Woodio. Around 2015 it came up with the idea of making wooden tiles for the bathroom. CEO and founder Petro Lahtinen explains that the core idea sounded fun and challenging – but also impor- tant from a sustainability perspective. “Bathrooms use ceramics which are a burden on the environ- ment and come with a large carbon footprint.” Lahtinen holds a PhD in chemistry from the University of Helsinki – and wasted no time in tapping into his broad networks to develop the idea. “We had dozens of people from various universities partici­ pating in the innovation process. It was a really multi-disciplinary effort that yielded great results,” he says. A wooden toilet Woodio is the world’s first 100 per cent waterproof solid wood composite designed to replace ceramic and stone materials sus- tainably. The first products were launched in 2018, with a more

robust commercial push taking place the following year. Ranging from interior panels to wash basins, bathtubs and toilets, Woodio’s portfolio brings together the best of Nordic design traditions and the use of sustainable bio-material innovation. “We are getting some of our wood chips from Metsä Board’s Joutseno mill, and we plan to source all chips from Joutseno even- tually,” Lahtinen says. With exports now to 26 countries, Woodio keeps building mo- mentum. The vision is to become a globally leading ecomaterial brand, says Lahtinen. “Despite all the talk of the ‘second coming’ of wood, we feel that it never went away. As a natural, sustainable material it is always in demand.” Thermal wood market is heating up Another pioneer in wood use is Estonia-based Thermory, the world’s largest manufacturer of thermally modified wood and sauna materials. The company’s product range includes decking, wall panelling, cladding and floorboards made of thermally modified wood as well as industrially painted wooden products for indoor and out- door use.

Woodio Soft40

Woodio washbasins are made from 100% waterproof solid Woodio® wood composite, which is an innovative combination of solid wood and resin. Wood chips used as raw material are a side-stream of Metsä Board’s Joutseno mill. Washbasins are manufactured at Woodio’s own factory in Helsinki, Finland, with a minimal carbon footprint. All the washbasins made of Woodio® come with UV, scratch, chemical and dirt resistant coating.

Matti Mikkola Managing Director for the Federation of the Finnish Woodworking Industries, an alliance of woodworking and wood products industry companies.

Petro Lahtinen CEO & founder of Woodio, a Finnish interior and design brand championing the use of sustainable biomaterial innovation in a contemporary way.



Juha Huusko International Category Director for tools, building materials, timber and heating at Kesko Corporation, Building and Technical Trade.

Andres Kangur Group Marketing Director for Estonian Thermory AS, the world’s largest manufacturer of thermally modified wood and sauna materials.


“Wood is a great building material, because it is beautiful, functional and sustainable.”

Andres Kangur , Group Marketing Director, says that since the beginning of the pandemic, Thermory has seen a strong increase in demand for high quality wood products from its customers around the world. “Group revenue increased in 2021 by 30 per cent, driven partly by price increases, but also by strong volume growth. The largest increase has been in our custom-made sauna business area.” Recently, Thermory has significantly broadened its international customer network, which sells high quality sauna building ma- terials, sauna products like benches and doors and ready-made designer saunas. “The main growth has come from domestic Baltic and Finnish markets, but we have also made strong progress in the USA, Ger- many and many other European markets.” Thumbs-up from designers and architects Kangur points to wood’s range of competitive advantages. “Wood is a great building material, because it is beautiful, func- tional and sustainable. There is plenty of evidence to support the use of wood in both interior and exterior applications. We believe that more and more customers – architects, designers, developers and homeowners – will re-discover its beauty and versatility.” He remarks that sustainability is becoming “a natural way” of doing business. As part of this, Thermory has long maintained its focus on sourcing high-quality certified raw materials and part- nering with green-thinking companies. Its cooperation with Metsä Group started in 2017. The learning curve was pleasantly short, as Metsä had experience in thermal modification of softwoods, he explains. “Collaboration began with the most common pine decking di- mensions and grew from there.”

Maidla Nature Villa

A small unique accommodation complex in Maidla Nature Resort, Estonia. The house is clad with durable thermally modified wooden cladding boards from Thermory, which are perfectly suited for houses exposed to rain and winds and preserve the intended look for a long time. Thermory wood has also been used in the interior – it covers the floor of the bedroom and all of the ceilings in the house.



Beautiful details

With its cosiness and organic and ecological nature, wood is an attractive material for consumers. Instead of full coverage, wood is used more and more in creating unique details. Basic dimensioning allows the creation of inspiring solutions for both dry and wet rooms with the help of different lathing and partition solutions. There is no desire to cover up the natural hue of wood – rather, it is used to bring softness and a sense of timelessness to the décor.

“In the meanwhile, it is up to us to educate the consumers about the use of proper certificates and other responsibility factors in- volving wood.” Wood in Swedish DNA The biggest global brands value wood. Last year Swedish IKEA announced its new forest agenda for 2030, ramping up its work to enhance biodiversity, mitigate climate change and drive inno- vation to use wood in smarter ways. IKEA has already reached its goal of more sustainable sources. Today more than 99 per cent of the wood used for IKEA products is either certified or recycled. Jukka Tapani Vornanen , Global Wood Supply Manager for IKEA, points out that wood is the main material in IKEA products – as well as an essential part of the company’s heritage. “IKEA loves wood – and so do our customers,” he says. In addition to being durable, renewable and recyclable, it is highly aesthetic: “Wood as a material is beautiful, it feels comfortable and it creates energy. More and more, we are seeing customers who appreciate and have an interest in the material itself.” Plenty of innovations to come Regarding the evolution of wood, Vornanen notes that wood engi- neering is bringing new lightweight wood structures to the market. “We are excited about all the innovation that is cooking now and want to be a part of the scaling-up process,” Vornanen says, adding that a lot of the fresh ideas originate in Finland. “We find that some of the highest quality softwood comes from Finland. We greatly value our partners in Finland and rely on them as well as on other Nordic countries that have state-of-the- art sawmills.” •

Wood is selling out at hardware stores The wood renaissance is also evident at K-Rauta, a leading Finnish hardware chain that is part of Kesko Corporation. Green values cut to the core of the company: Kesko is the only company that has always been on the list of the Global 100 Most Sustainable Corporations. The list, compiled by Corporate Knights, was first established in 2005. Juha Huusko , International Category Director at Kesko, says that wood became a major hit for K-Rauta shortly after Covid-19 arrived. “In 2020, the Finnish market was 250,000 cubic meters for im- pregnated wood products for deckings and other outdoor needs, while normally the market's size is around 200,000.” Over 90 percent of K-Rauta’s wood is domestic, with Metsä Group as an important supplier. “Our long-term collaboration with Metsä has only strengthened lately,” he says. Customers increasingly appreciate the wood trace- ability data that Metsä can provide with great accuracy. Wanted: a new deck in the backyard Brand Director Tarja Viilola at Kesko says that, during the pan- demic, the Finns have really taken to doing small renovations indoors and fixing up the yard. “As a trend, it is clear that people want to invest in their yards and spend more time there. Indoors, they are using wood because it is a natural, soft material that breathes.” Huusko believes that the current global green transition will expand the reach of wood tremendously. “Wood construction is going strong, but there are also efforts to replace plastic with wood-based material.” Viilola agrees that the sustainability megatrend will elevate wood use everywhere.

Tarja Viilola Brand Director at K-Rauta, a leading hardware & builders’ supplies chain in Finland and a part of Kesko Corporation.

Jukka Tapani Vornanen Global Wood Supply Manager, Purchasing Development, Wood Supply & Forestry for IKEA of Sweden AB.



Superior logistics for reliable deliveries

MARJA BERISA, Photo: Elmeri Elo

A Finnish transport company Kuljetusliike Kalevi Huhtala Oy believes in the power of cost-effectiveness and proactive problem-solving.

The logistics sector has revamped its image in recent years. Digitalisation replaces stacks of paper, and the Internet of Things supports loading, unloading and transport operations. Rail and air cargo play an important role, but road transport will continue to be used where no other competitive transport mode exists. Kati Huhtala , CEO of the transport company Kulje- tusliike Kalevi Huhtala Oy, points out that road transport has a strong foothold in Finland. “We keep close tabs on the development of vehicle tech- nology. Electrical and hydrogen cars are on the way, but for now, the engines of articulated vehicles are so big that alternative fuels cannot yet replace biodiesel as the driving power,” Huhtala says. HCT vehicles reduce the carbon footprint Kuljetusliike Kalevi Huhtala was established in 1982 and specialises in industrial bulk transports. Over the decades, the company has grown into an international logistics ex- pert of nearly 200 professionals and more than 100 vehicles. It has also been closely involved in the development of top-class Finnish logistics. The company began using biofuels several years ago and was one of the first Finnish companies to receive a test permit for HCT articulated vehicles. HCT (High-Capacity Transport) vehicles are substan- tially larger than standard articulated vehicles. They have a notably smaller carbon footprint per transported unit than traditional road transports and vehicle fleets. In larger

vehicles, payload accounts for a greater proportion of the overall weight. HCT vehicles therefore reduce the burden on the road despite their higher weight. Thanks to their high transport capacity, fewer lorries are needed. Kuljetusliike Kalevi Huhtala operates 15 modern HCT vehicles, which carry payloads that are on average a third larger than those of standard vehicles. Towards full automation alongside Rauma sawmill Advanced logistics play a very important role at Metsä Fibre’s new Rauma sawmill. Kuljetusliike Kalevi Huhtala has already allocated a fleet operating 24/7 to the sawmill’s port transports. “Rauma sawmill production is continuous so transports must keep to the same speed. The sawmill and the port are three kilometres apart, and the sawmill can produce several loads of sawn timber an hour,” says Huhtala. The sawmill does not have a warehouse for sawn timber. All its production is immediately transferred to the pack- aging and dispatch centres, and from there to the transport unit, which features automated loading. Lorries have clearly demarcated stopping points, and smart conveyors transfer the packaged sawn timber batch- es from the dispatch centre to the transport unit. The driver opens and closes the side doors by remote control. All this saves both time and space. However, efficiency must not be at the cost of product and occupational safety. The articulated vehicles used in heavy industry must meet stringent requirements for


steering and stability, and they must be equipped with ad- vanced emergency braking and driver assistance systems, electronic stability control and electronic braking. Transport is an extension of customer production Metsä Group has partnered with Kuljetusliike Kalevi Huhtala from the outset. The Kouhi sawmill, now known as Metsä Fibre’s Merikarvia sawmill, was its first customer. “Every sawmill and pulp mill is unique. Transport profes- sionals must be able to interpret the customer’s needs when the invitation to tender arrives in their inbox,” says Kati Huhtala, who has been at the helm of the family-owned company since 2016. “Competition in the field is stiff, and capital-intensive op- erations are susceptible to economic fluctuations. Success requires a keen ear for customer service, reliable services and the adoption of the latest technology.” “In my opinion, the customer should not need to wor- ry about the cost-effectiveness or technology choices of transport. That is our job. We serve as an extension to the customer’s production, making the wood value chain as effortless, environmentally friendly and cost-effective as possible.” •

“The customer should not need to worry about the cost-effectiveness or technology choices of the transport.”


Innovations & investments

Front runner in the sawmill industry

TIMO SORMUNEN, Photos: Metsä Fibre, Kristiina Hemminki / Studio Fotonokka & Seppo Samuli

Metsä Fibre is setting up a new continuous sawn timber production model together with its equipment suppliers, blazing a trail for the sawn timber industry.

Efficiency, quality, customer focus and a minimal carbon foot- print are recurring terms when Kaija Pehu-Lehtonen , Senior Vice President, Business Development of Metsä Fibre, describes the basis of the company’s sawmill technology concept. The Rauma sawmill investment is the cornerstone of the con- cept. It is playing a significant role in the introduction of new technology and production methods, as well as in their gradual deployment across the company’s other mills. “On the pulp business side, we have long experience of round- the-clock production, continuous improvement of quality and efficiency, and close cooperation with various technology sup- pliers. We are now bringing this same philosophy to our sawn timber production,” Pehu-Lehtonen says. New smart technology to replace manual work The concept of an entirely new Future Sawmill was put into ac- tion in 2016, when the sawmills owned by the parent company Metsäliitto Cooperative were transferred to Metsä Fibre. A vision soon developed of a sawmill where the production process is overseen from the control room and the work of pro- fessionals is largely similar to that in the process industry. Instead of traditional batch production, the mill will transition towards




24/7 production, which will only be halted for more extensive maintenance shutdowns. “Giving up manual production calls for completely new tech- nology throughout the production chain. What this means in practice is more measurements, a variety of cameras, robotics and artificial intelligence used in monitoring and controlling the production process as well as product quality. The goal is to au- tomatically remove any defective parts from the production line early in the process.” Material and energy efficiency are other important consider- ations. Thanks to new technology, use of the raw material will be increasingly efficient. Data collected at different points of the production chain will help develop the production process and the final quality of sawn timber. From the customers perspective, highly automated production based on the 24/7 approach will result in more consistent and se- cure sawn timber deliveries that meet their needs better than ever. “New technology is allowing us to increase sawing speed and production volumes, ensure consistent product quality and fur- ther improve our delivery reliability. In addition, it will enable the provision of increasingly detailed product data to customers. Other important aspects include energy efficiency, traceability of raw materials, and fossil-free operations.” Development spanning several years In previous years, individual improvements and development measures have been carried out at all Metsä Fibre sawmills. For example, Vilppula has already introduced many of the techno- logical solutions that are being used in Rauma – though Rauma is more advanced and on a different scale. “We monitor each of our sawmills with various production and quality indicators and key figures that also steer their development investments. This enables us to focus on the right things when de- veloping production, regardless of the sawmill’s age. Ultimately it amounts to improved delivery reliability and product consistency, wherever production takes place,” says Pehu-Lehtonen.

“New technology will further improve our delivery reliability.”


“We want to be at the forefront of this industry and work in close cooperation with technology suppliers in the field.”

The bidirectional nature of the sawmill concept is also high­ lighted by Matti Toivonen , Senior Vice President, Technology of Metsä Fibre. New things have been constructed in Rauma, but the experiences accumulated and technology adopted at other sawmills are also being used. In turn, the solutions introduced in Rauma – many of which are firsts for the sawmill industry – will be phased in at the company’s other sawmills in the next few years. “For example, the logs arriving at the sawmill are measured using X-ray technology, and machine vision is used in grading and dry sorting. The goal is for us to collect more and more data throughout the production chain and devise ways to use them in close cooper- ation with our customers. We can make increasingly efficient use of raw material as the customer gets exactly the right parts of the log.” The data is also used in the development of Metsä Fibre’s Timber Fox quality index. This index provides customers with more com- prehensive information about the quality of sawn timber, and the data helps customers boost their industrial efficiency. A more efficient and precise production process also enhances raw material use, as it reduces wastage in both sawn timber pro- duction and customer processes. “The chips generated in the process are an important side stream. They will form an increasingly important part of the whole, as they are upgraded into pulp – ideally at the same inte- grated mill,” says Pehu-Lehtonen. Safety at work is an indication of quality The Future Sawmill is also a safer workplace. As duties are moved from the immediate vicinity of production to the control room, similar to the process industry, the proportion of accident-prone manual work will also decrease. All Metsä Fibre sawmills comply with the same safety-at-work processes as other Metsä Group production units. Among other things, the sawmills use the 5S operating model familiar from the Lean quality development approach, in which each employee

assumes responsibility for their own work environment and its safety, notes any shortcomings and reports them when necessary. “We have continued to improve the level of personal protection. Part of our daily work includes the use of protective clothing, safety gloves, shoes and goggles, as well as hearing protection. Safety-at-work also means taking good care of our machinery and equipment. We carry out regular rounds on the shop floor, even though the process is steered from the control room,” says Toivonen. He adds that safety-at-work is an important part of reliable deliveries, which serve as an indicator of the quality of operations. “Safety is very important to us. It is something that customers also ask about and follow, because it says a lot about the company’s operating culture. When matters related to safety-at-work are in order, production is efficient and quality is good.” Aiming for top position in the industry Increasing demand paves the way for new and more efficient sawn timber production. As the popularity of wood construction con- tinues to increase, more and more uses are being identified for sawn timber as an ecological construction material that stores carbon over a long period of time. Nordic slow-growing wood is seeing particularly strong de- mand, as it is suitable for both traditional construction and in- terior decoration. “With our new production model, we are seeking the best technologies in the field, which will help us achieve increasingly efficient, clean, material-efficient and consistent production. We want to be at the forefront of our branch of industry and work in close development cooperation with technology suppliers in the field,” says Pehu-Lehtonen. “At the end of the day, it is all about our customers. We want to listen to them and serve them better by delivering products that are ideally suited to their processes.” •

Kaija Pehu-Lehtonen SVP, Business Development of Metsä Fibre, is in charge of the development of products and production processes.

Matti Toivonen SVP, Technology of Metsä Fibre, is in charge of the development of technology used at company’s sawmills and pulp mills.


In detail

This is a cone of the Baltic pine. Pines are among the oldest living conifer families. There are around 100 pine species in the world, and only one of them, the Baltic pine, occurs naturally in Finland. Finnish forests are dominated by pine trees, which account for 44 per cent of the growing stock. Baltic pine (Pinus sylvestris)

The cone of the Baltic pine has a stiff axis with scales attached to it. A single pine tree can have hundreds of cones, and a single cone contains on average 20–30 seeds.

Pine trees can grow to a height of nearly 40 metres and reach an age of hundreds of years. The trunk, branches and roots of a fully grown pine tree comprise approximately one cubic metre of wood, sequestering more than one thousand kilograms of atmospheric carbon dioxide during growth.

Lähteet: The Helsinki Term Bank for the Arts and Sciences, PuuProffa.fi, Forest Finland


Sustainable solutions

The renaissance of timber

MARJA BERISA, Photos: Ema Peter & MGA

Canadian architect Michael Green is a renowned advocate of timber as a building material. He believes engineered wood has a key role to play in combatting climate change all over the world.

Building 100-storey skyscrapers out of timber is not an issue of technology, know-how or even money, Michael Green states. “This does not mean we must have tall timber buildings, but we can and could. When people absorb the fact that a 100-storey skyscraper made of wood is a possibility, the notion of building ten or twenty storeys does not sound so daunting.” Back to nature and timber building If there is one positive thing about climate change, it is that it is bringing people closer to nature, Green says. Living organisms produced by solar energy and photosynthesis – plants, timber, hemp and bamboo – can provide not just food, but also materials for constructing homes and other buildings. “Humankind has all the skills and energy to feed and house the growing population. It is just a matter of putting those skills into action.” Some two hundred years ago, wood was the main mate- rial for building. During the industrial revolution, concrete

and steel started to replace it. They were viewed as sturdier and more fire-proof than timber. “Now of course we have ways to treat timber and make it flame-retardant. And anyone who has ever struggled to start an open fire at a camp knows that timber does not really catch fire – it is kindling that does.” Green emphasises that when we talk about timber as a building material, we are not talking about two-by-fours. “Engineered wood is the key, meaning cross-laminated timber and glulam. Timber is a very flexible material, and we can glue together almost any structures that we wish.” Timber from the ground up A 100-storey wooden structure, mentioned at the start, would have concrete foundations below the ground, while the superstructure would be primarily wood, including hollow vertical wood columns. Inside these columns would be steel cables, tied to the concrete base to provide adequate tension and stability. One of the most famous buildings designed by Michael Green Architecture is the T3 in Minneapolis, a structure


Green has advocated timber use for over a decade. Now the results are finally becoming visible. As the global pop- ulation continues to grow, the need for environmentally sound buildings and houses is undeniable. However, the mass use of timber in building has been slow to take off. “Developers and architects need to be incentivised to in- corporate timber into their projects,” Green says. “The problem is that there is more money to be made per project if it uses traditional materials and working methods. I think that if cities granted tax breaks or densi- ty bonuses for companies working with timber building, it would be an important incentive.” •

The many benefits of timber • Renewable, natural material • In wood engineering, the main part of the energy needed comes from side streams such as saw dust, wood chips and bark • Light yet strong – ideally suitable for urban construction

• Quick assembly with ready-made elements • Esthetically appealing, a natural carbon storage

that contains some 3,600 cubic metres of wood. This vol- ume of timber is mostly in the form of nail-laminated timber. The NLT will sequester about 3,200 tonnes of carbon for the life of the building. Another interesting feature of the building is that the NLT was made of wood from trees killed by the mountain pine beetle. After being infested with the insect the tree dies, but remains viable for use for many years, although its market value drops. The seven-storey 3T has over a thousand 8-by-20' NLT panels, which span the same space as nine ice hockey rinks.

Michael Green An award-winning architect, speaker, and author known for using design to create meaningful, sustainable built environments that benefit people and the planet.


Timber market

Price of sawn timber settling at a new normal


The record fluctuations in sawn timber prices have shown that predicting the future in global markets is becoming increasingly difficult. New price factors are changing the game.

China in turn boosted its imports of logs instead of sawn timber. “In China, the rise in sawn timber prices was more moderate. This may have been partly because the strong construction boom of recent years has slowed slightly there.” Knock-on effects of the US situation Tuomo Neuvonen says that developments in the US timber mar- ket especially have significantly affected price formation in oth- er markets. Neuvonen is Project Manager at Fastmarkets FOEX, which provides price indices for the forest industry. “2020 was a slow year because of the outbreak of the pandemic. There seemed to be only dark clouds ahead, but the market out- look changed completely in 2021.” After a downtick, construction started to grow faster than ex- pected, driven by the strong performance of the economy, the recovery of employment and low interest rates. House building has also been boosted by the increase in remote working during the pandemic and the need for more space in homes. “President Joe Biden’s record-breaking Covid-19 recovery package also affected construction, which increased the demand for sawn timber.”

Sawn timber prices traditionally fluctuate with business condi- tions, but the record-breaking price swings in 2021 surprised even experienced experts. Antti Koskinen , Manager at AFRY Management Consulting, says he has seen nothing like it in a career spanning more than two decades. “2021 was an unprecedented year for those who monitor the industry.” The price rally has been compared to the upswing caused by the Korean War in 1951, which also led to unprecedented growth in the Finnish sawmill industry. “The 2008 financial crisis also saw sawn timber prices rise sig- nificantly, but not as sharply as 2021,” Koskinen says. The greatest volatility was in the United States in 2021. In May, lumber futures rose above $1,600 per board foot. By late summer, the price had fallen below $500. There were also sharp fluctuations in sawn timber prices in Europe, though not quite as great as in North America. The peak was reached at the end of the summer, a few months after the spike in North America. There was a hard landing in the early autumn.


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