Wood as good as steel: New method of full impregnation makes pine stronger than mahogany. A mix of vacuum, pressure, heat, and frequencies during the process makes wood more durable, dimensionally stable, and even fire-retardant. Armatec Denmark supplies valves and actuators for the plant, which treat wood to new heights.
A new, patented impregnation technology is on its way into commercial use. At the company Gaia Wood Technology, a prototype machinery is now ready to demonstrate the potential of the method to future customers. Armatec Denmark has been a sparring partner in the selection of the valves and actuators that handle the plant's extreme requirements for pressure and temperature.
"Our customers are companies that produce different products in wood, such as sawmills," explains Jeespeer Dalgaard, director of Gaia Wood Technology, which in collaboration with the company Danish Wood Technology has invented this.
“They come to us with a desire to produce some very specific types of wood with special requirements for use, durability and fire-retardant properties. At our plant, we can demonstrate that we can treat the wood so that it achieves the desired properties. "
The project was originally started to develop extra robust wooden floors for Maersk containers, so that they avoid being quarantined due to the risk of e.g., to transport unwanted insects around the world. Along the way, it has been supported by i.e. The Innovation Fund and the Ministry of the Environment and tested in collaboration with the Danish Technological Institute and DBI.
According to Jeespeer, the new method opens a wide range of new ways of using wood in construction. One can e.g., make spruce and pine or faster-growing woods more durable than precious and hard woods like mahogany.
By completely impregnating the wood, you can also give it fire-retardant properties that are significantly better than previous methods. In addition, you can prevent the wood from twisting when it dries out. And not least, with the new method you can use impregnation liquids that are much less toxic than common liquids.
Armatec has for a long time acted as an advisor, expert and partner during the development and optimization of the plant at Gaia.
Initially, Jacob Hemicke from Armatec was asked to find valves that could handle the plant's requirements of 25 bar pressure and a temperature of 250 ° C. According to Jacob, it is not often that a plant places high demands on both pressure and temperature at the same time. It therefore narrowed the options, but Jacob ended up recommending ball valves from Spanish JC Valves, with reinforced seats that can withstand up to 260 ° C, depending on the pressure.
Later, when the plant's pressure regulation had to be optimized, Jeespeer Dalgaard and Jacob Hemicke again had a close dialogue about the technical solutions. "I think we revised the offer list six or seven times before I was ready to order what I needed," Jeespeer Dalgaard explains.
“There were a lot of details that needed to be put in place. It was a relief, that I could lean on Jacob's expertise. Among other things, we talked a lot about an optimal solution for inflating and venting the system's pressure tanks. We thought that the pressure control was too slow and therefore we chose separate valves for on-venting and off-venting. "
Going forward, Gaia Wood's plan is to collaborate with European manufacturers of impregnation machines. With Gaia's prototype plant as a starting point, it will then be possible to custom-manufacture machines in industrial size for the individual customer's needs. Here, Jeespeer Dalgaard wants to continue to use Armatec as a partner and subcontractor for the new plants, not least because Armatec can deliver exactly the quality he demands.
“We do not want to trim the equipment down to the lowest price. On the other hand, we want to build machines with high operational reliability. We must not end up with unstable and service-heavy machines. It's way too risky. That is why we choose components in good quality. I would rather pay a little more and then in return be sure that I get proper quality, "says Jeespeer Dalgaard.
“We are very interested in scaling this project up with Gaia Wood Technology. We look forward to being involved when it really gets moving. We are interested in this, as this technology can help reduce the environmental impact and we would very much like to be a part of that development, "says Jacob Hemicke.