New plant delivers innovative product – and jobs

The construction of a plant which produces an innovative product for the building sector looks set to create more than 200 jobs while delivering a host of environmental benefits.

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The factory is located in the Katowice Economic Zone in southern Poland and makes Oriented Strand Boards (OSBs). These boards can be used to finish interior walls, ceilings and other partitions. OSBs offer the stiffness of solid wood and the strength of plywood, but can be made using inferior quality timber. As a product, OSBs offer the builder a number of advantages over existing boarding panel products, including improved surface quality for painting and enhanced fire resistance.

Cutting-edge facility

The funding pays for the construction of the plant buildings and related infrastructure such as internal roads and manoeuvring areas. The unit contains an innovative processing line – including equipment, tools and machinery. Some of the equipment will be used for research and development. The investment also covers the purchasing of software for the plant and the cost of a marketing campaign, which will raise awareness about the new product.

The company Kronospan OSB Sp., which produces wood-based products and materials such as resins and laminates in several countries around the world, will run the new facility. As part of this project, the company is committed to cooperating with the Institute of Wood Technology, which is based in Poznan. The collaboration is for the development of innovative technologies and solutions relating to the production of wood-based panels, including OSBs. The two parties will test the quality of materials and components, while assessing the durability and surface quality of the boards.

In addition, checks will be made on the emission of volatile organic compounds in the production process. Certification of OSBs for the construction industry will help to introduce this innovative product to the marketplace. Within the project framework, Kronospan also intends to establish links with SMEs that belong to the Silesian Wood Cluster, which is based in nearby Opole.

Environmental benefits

The scheme offers a number of environmental benefits due to the fact that the plant uses a biomass boiler instead of a conventional coal-fire unit. This means lower outputs of pollutants, including a 100 % reduction in sulphur dioxide and a 79 % reduction in carbon dioxide. OSBs also use less adhesives than conventional boarding, which is also good for the environment.

In all, the project promises to improve the company’s competitiveness and profitability while improving its innovative capacity. It is estimated that 141 jobs will be created during the implementation of the project, with 60 jobs created during its operation. The project is further estimated to create 282 indirect jobs during construction and 120 during operation.

Total investment and EU funding

Total investment for the project “Construction of a plant based on an innovative technology of Oriented Strand Boards” is EUR 104 034 908, with the EU’s European Regional Development Fund contributing EUR 25 674 081 through the “Innovative Economy” Operational Programme under the priority "Investments in innovative projects" for the 2007 to 2013 programming period.

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