TECNALIA built a wood-based panels and derivatives pilot plant

9 February 2024
Planta piloto para desarrollo de paneles de madera y derivados

“The aim of the plant is to have a facility at the service of companies in the wood and furniture sector”

TECNALIA set up a new pilot plant, the only one of its kind in Spain, to develop wood-based panels and derivatives

Aware of this need, TECNALIA built a pilot plant at its site in Azpeitia (Gipuzkoa) to develop and produce wood-based panels, in collaboration with the companies Andritz and Imal. The pilot plant has a surface area of 350 m2, and will be able to produce and evaluate samples of wood products and test them on a pilot scale on 500x500 mm panels. The wood and furniture sector is demanding new products and alternative raw materials that are more sustainable and have the same performance as the current ones. Therefore, it is essential to test and validate results before putting them on the market. The aim of the plant is to have fully equipped facility at the service of companies in the wood and furniture sector to treat wood, chip it, refine it and complete the entire production process to obtain wood fibre, and to manufacture insulation and panels, characterise them and evaluate their performance. As a result, TECNALIA will be a leader in Spain in this field, as it is a unique and pioneering facility.

Pilot plant – fibre refining

The plant will help companies carry out fibre refining processes to generate high quality raw materials from different sources: alternative lignocellulosic products, such as raw wood, recycled products and other agricultural products to obtain suitable fibres. A key focus of this pilot facility are the possibilities it can offer to producers of adhesives, flame retardant solutions, catalysts, other chemicals and ingredients to validate new trend technologies for the use of low-toxicity binders and fire retardants, as well as more efficient additives to improve the properties of natural products. Recycling technologies will also be explored to increase the circularity of products and reduce CO2 emissions throughout the process.

International collaboration with companies

In conjunction with Andritz and Imal, TECNALIA will offer the possibility of using unique tools for product validation. The Andritz refining equipment and the Imal gluing machine are unique and cutting-edge tools in the sector. More specifically, specially designed equipment will be fitted in this plant, such as the Imal gluing machine, the Labformer, which produces 500x500 mm samples, and the press designed exclusively for TECNALIA, as pilot equipment is not manufactured and can only be found for industrial productions. Due to its versatility, the Andritz refining equipment, enables different sources of raw material to be evaluated, with a low material demand and without the need to make large production batches to test new materials, such as plastics and textiles, which are to be introduced into the production processes in this industry.