Latvijas Finieris opens new veneer mill in Kuldiga, Latvia

Latvijas Finieris‘ new veneer mill in Kuldīga, Latvia, started its test operation at the end of March. It is equipped with a unique technology that enables the maximum possible veneer yield to be obtained from each birch log.

The veneer mill in Kuldīga was established as a subdivision of the plywood mill Furniers of Latvijas Finieris. The construction of the new mill took about a year, and the investment in the production building, equipment, technology and landscaping amounted to Euro 16 million.

When fully operational, the mill will have 4–5 employees working in two shifts, which will enable the production of 40 m3 of wet veneer from 80 m3 of veneer logs in an eight-hour shift. The new veneer mill is headed by Rinalds Larsens, who previously worked at Furniers as head of the peeling department.

Initially, the peeled veneer from the Kuldīga mill will partly provide raw material for the production of plywood in the Lignums mill. As the Group continues to expand Verems RSEZ SIA in Rēzekne, it is planned that within a year to a year and a half, the Kuldīga mill will be switched over to supply raw material exclusively to the Furniers mill in Riga.

“To produce one cubic metre of plywood, approximately 2.5 m3 of birch veneer logs is needed. Therefore, it is important to get the maximum amount of veneer from each log,” says Arvis Švanks, Director of Furniers. To achieve this, a unique hybrid peeling machine has been built for the Kuldīga mill, combining two technologies traditionally used in veneer peeling – shaft and shaftless, enabling the peeling of veneer logs with a core of up to 25 mm.

“The Kuldīga mill with its unique machine is a major milestone in wood processing. Due to being able to provide the peeling of thin wood, we are now purchasing additional, new C-grade birch logs,” says Artis Podnieks, Director of the Birch Solid Wood Supply Service at Latvijas Finieris. Peeling smaller diameter and lower quality birch logs at current harvesting rates in Latvia means that an additional 300 000 m3 of birch wood per year could be diverted to plywood production. Previously, such wood was exported to Scandinavia for pulp production or processed into lower value-added products.

Latvijas Finieris is one of the largest birch plywood producing companies in the world with production in all Baltic countries and in Finland.

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