Oregon lumber provider unveils mass plywood panel for tall wood structures

Designed as an alternative for cross laminated timber (CLT), MPP is a large-scale plywood panel with maximum finished panel dimensions up to 12 feet wide by 48 feet long and up to 24 inches thick.

November 01, 2016 |
Oregon lumber provider unveils mass plywood panel for tall wood structures

Photo courtesy Freres Lumber

Freres Lumber of Lyons, Ore., announced the development of a new-to-market innovative wood product, Mass Plywood Panel (MPP). The veneer-based engineered wood product currently is being tested and refined through a partnership with Oregon State University (OSU). Patents are pending.

MPP is a massive, large-scale plywood panel with maximum finished panel dimensions up to 12 feet wide by 48 feet long and up to 24 inches thick. The panels may be customized to fit specific projects; constructed in one-inch thick increments that provide superior strength and performance.

MPP is an alternative to cross laminated timber (CLT), a recent engineered lumber panel that allows wood products to be used for multi-story buildings, while also increasing the speed of construction. While both are new wood product innovations, the MPP uses engineered veneer and custom plywood layups as a base material rather than lumber.

“We believe veneer is the most appropriate raw material for Mass Timber Panels in the Pacific Northwest. Our veneer plants can efficiently and responsibly use second and third growth timber with a minimum of a 5-inch block diameter to produce engineered panels. Natural defects within the log are engineered out of the raw material prior to constructing the mass panel by virtue of the traditional plywood laminating process. The compounded veneer layers, and the ability to engineer each individual layer means that we can customize the panels to specific engineering needs.

Studies conducted at Oregon State University show that by using veneer as a raw material for a Mass Timber Panel, we can potentially achieve the same structural attributes of a CLT panel with 20 to 30 percent less wood,” says Tyler Freres, Vice President of Sales for Freres Lumber Co., Inc.

The company cites several advantages of the MPP product, including the opportunity for these large format panels to be manufactured at the production facility to include window, door and all other required cut-outs, which will minimize waste and labor on the job site. The relative lightness of the panels can also help transportation costs and logistics when constructing buildings on the job site. That, plus the aesthetic appeal of wood makes MPP a competitive new option.

The development of this product was made possible through a partnership with researchers at Oregon State University College of Forestry and the new Center for Advanced Wood Products established to help drive new and innovative uses of wood in buildings. “The Center and OSU faculty provided affordable product testing, panel engineering expertise, and a clear avenue for future product development with potential clients. They will continue to be an important partner as we bring the product from concept to a marketable reality,” says Freres.

Resin supplier, Hexion, has not only provided expertise, but also provided the cold-press resin used for all preliminary panel testing. “They have been instrumental with the product development,” says Freres.

Freres says, “This product has the ability to dramatically change the West Coast veneer and panel products industry to produce high-quality, structurally superior homes and buildings at much more affordable prices. It can potentially alleviate current building constraints of labor and land availability by allowing contractors to build quicker and taller with fewer workers.”

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