Timber rolling

Wood rolling may increase value of Swedish forest products

New research indicates that pine can be made as hard as oak through rolling. The method allows the refinement process to be automated, which contributes to an increase in value of Swedish forest products.

In a recently concluded research project, Swerea rolled wood with equipment used for steel rolling. The results show that pine can obtain a hardness comparable to oak, which is useful for e.g. flooring material and table tops. The technique has a huge potential for use in improving numerous other products.

Quick and effective processing

Wood is usually shaped via compression, which is both a slow process and sensitive to knots in the material. Rolling has proven to process the hard knots quickly and effectively, and creates a consistent thickness in the rolled product. The capability to compress knots lowers the quality requirements for raw materials.

"We achieved good results immediately, and the wood and forest products industry is very interested in the method," says Annika Nilsson, researcher at Swerea.

Increased value of forest products 

The method offers new ways to automate the refinement process, which open up possibilities for low-cost, automated manufacture of new forest products. It can also be applied to create many interesting products within, for example, the construction and furniture industries. The forestry industry benefits in that the value and demand for Swedish forest products will increase.

"The forest is important for Sweden, but production of refined timber products is low owing to competition from low-wage countries. Hopefully, the project will help strengthen our competitive power, reduce transportation costs, and create more jobs in timber regions," concludes Annika Nilsson.