XLam Aussie CLT plant up and run­ning

New Zealand Logger - - Timber Focus -

THE MOST TECH­NO­LOG­I­CALLY ad­vanced Cross Lam­i­nated Tim­ber (CLT) plant in the world is now up and run­ning in Aus­tralia, with pro­duc­tion un­der­way at XLam’s new Wodonga fa­cil­ity.

CLT is part of a new wave of pre-build con­struc­tion tech­nolo­gies and is pro­duced from tim­ber, a re­new­able and sus­tain­able ma­te­rial. CLT is of­ten man­u­fac­tured as large­for­mat struc­tural build­ing el­e­ments, in­clud­ing walls, floors and roofs, cre­ated by bond­ing to­gether tim­ber boards in or­thog­o­nal lay­ers.

CLT is cur­rently part of a global phe­nom­e­non and is ex­pe­ri­enc­ing a high rate of up­take across Aus­tralia and New Zealand. Nel­son-head­quar­tered XLam has been man­u­fac­tur­ing the prod­uct since 2012, fill­ing a gap in an in­dus­try where de­mand for a sus­tain­able, easy-to-use and fast build­ing so­lu­tion has in­creased.

XLam, which is Aus­trala­sia’s largest man­u­fac­turer of CLT, has al­ready be­gun com­mer­cial pro­duc­tion at its new cus­tombuilt AU$30 mil­lion fac­tory across the Tas­man and CEO, Gary Caulfield, says the fa­cil­ity is al­ready ex­pe­ri­enc­ing de­mand for prod­uct.

A key to suc­cess in us­ing this new tech­nol­ogy is com­mu­ni­ca­tion, so that the ef­fi­ciency of all projects can be max­imised to their fullest po­ten­tial.

“We have seen a steady flow of or­ders for the new fa­cil­ity and pro­duc­tion is well un­der­way, how­ever, we are tak­ing more or­ders for projects of vary­ing sizes,” says Mr Caulfield.

“With project num­ber six now un­der­way, we are con­fi­dent of main­tain­ing more re­duced lead times when com­pared to Euro­pean sup­ply.”

Mr Caulfield says the open­ing of the 12,000m2 fa­cil­ity rep­re­sents a mile­stone for the com­pany and the in­dus­try, adding: “The Wodonga fa­cil­ity will pro­duce 60,000m3 of CLT each year, which is enough to con­struct the equiv­a­lent of Mel­bourne’s 10-storey Forte Liv­ing green apart­ment block ev­ery week.

“It’s a game changer for the lo­cal mar­ket and will en­able us to meet the sig­nif­i­cant de­mand for CLT. Our prod­uct is made in Aus­tralia, from Aus­tralian tim­ber, by Aus­tralians.”

The open­ing of the new fac­tory also has ben­e­fits for New Zealand, adds Mr Caulfield, with the plant able to sup­ply treated tim­ber to com­ply with New Zealand Build­ing Code re­quire­ments.

The fa­cil­ity is lo­cated in the Logic in­dus­trial es­tate north of Mel­bourne, en­abling XLam to de­liver prod­uct to 80% of Aus­tralia within 24 hours.

The fac­tory was sup­ported by the Aus­tralian gov­ern­ment, se­cur­ing a AU$2.5 mil­lion grant from the Com­mon­wealth Gov­ern­ment Next Gen­er­a­tion Aus­tralian In­dus­try Grants and a AU$450,000 grant from the Vic­to­rian Re­gional Devel­op­ment author­ity to sup­port job devel­op­ment. Fifty-four jobs have been cre­ated through the new fa­cil­ity, in­clud­ing 30 direct and 24 in­di­rect.

“The new plant is not only pro­vid­ing direct em­ploy­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties but hav­ing a knock-on ef­fect to sup­pli­ers and ser­vices providers, in­clud­ing the Aus­tralian for­est and wood prod­ucts in­dus­try and trans­port,” Mr Caulfield says.

At the same time, XLam has been up­grad­ing its orig­i­nal plant in Nel­son and Mr Caulfield says: “Our in­vest­ments sig­nal not only the de­mand we’re see­ing in the Aus­tralian and New Zealand mar­kets for CLT, but also our com­mit­ment to th­ese mar­kets and the ful­fil­ment of for­ward or­ders.”


Below left: The XLam Aus­tralia team in­side their new plant, be­fore the machin­ery was in­stalled.

Above: The new XLam man­u­fac­tur­ing plant in Aus­tralia.

Below right: The first ship­ment of CLT leaves XLam’s new Wodonga fa­cil­ity.

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