Segezha Group launches Russia’s first industrial production line for CLT panels

On 25 February 2021, Segezha Group President Mikhail Shamolin visited Sokol in Vologda Oblast to oversee the grand opening of Segezha Group’s cross-laminated timber (CLT) plant. The plant is the first industrial-scale production facility to manufacture the innovative building construction material. The factory is located at Sokol Woodworking Plant (S-DOK JSC), a leading producer of laminated wooden structures in Russia.

Segezha Group, a Sistema Company, has invested over RUB 3 billion in the new manufacturing facility. The production capacity of the new line is 50,000 cubic meters of finished products per year. The production line is equipped with machine tools from leading European manufacturers, including Ledinek, Imeas and SCM Group. The line is highly automated, and the processes are immaculately synchronised. The plant has created 50 new jobs.

Although relatively new, CLT is popular with Russian buyers. The large-scale rollout of high-quality CLT panels onto the construction market will contribute to the development of private residential construction with wood. This may also give rise to an entire sector of multi-storey wooden housing using hybrid technologies in Russia. The use of CLT panels as building blocks significantly accelerates the construction of buildings, which is expected to be a significant advantage in coping with the fallout from natural disasters, emergency relocation of people from dangerous structures and implementation of projects to renovate buildings and improve the urban environment. One of the key advantages of this material is its exceptional environmental qualities — it has a minimal carbon footprint. This new product is also fire resistant and demonstrates excellent physical and mechanical characteristics.

At the grand opening of the plant, the industrial site was visited by Yury L. Vorobyov, deputy chair of the Federation Council of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation; Oleg Kuvshinnikov, governor of Vologda Oblast; and Nikolai Shmatkov, director of Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) Russia. Viktor Evtukhov, state secretary and deputy minister of industry and trade of the Russian Federation, joined the opening ceremony via video link.

The guests were taken on a tour of the CLT panel production line. The grand finale of the ceremony was the moment the finished products came out from under the press.

“CLT panels have a tremendous advantage: they enable the urgent construction of accommodation in areas that have suffered from floods or fires. If a site has been adequately prepared, a house can be erected in two to three months,” explained Yury Vorobyov. “We are expanding the deep processing of wood. Russia ought to sell high value added products. CLT panels are the perfect fit for that. We have learned how to deep process sawn timber into high-quality panels fit for housing construction. That was the goal set for the forestry industry by the President and the government.”

“In order to build this plant, we provided the company with a rated timber harvest area and state support, a package of documents was reviewed by the investment council and priority investment project status was granted by the Ministry of Industry and Trade, providing federal tax incentives. We have gone through all these challenging steps together with Segezha Group, and today the plant is starting operations,” said Oleg Kuvshinnikov. “I am happy that the company decided to build its new enterprise in our forest region. Here, they will be engaged in deep processing of wood and manufacturing high-margin products, while also contributing to the development of the construction industry in Russia and other countries. These CLT panels can become daycares, schools, hotels and multi-storey residential buildings.”

Mikhail Shamolin highlighted that this project was completed with the solid support of the Vologda Oblast Government: “The plant in Sokol is one of the most cutting-edge facilities in the world. Thanks to this plant, Russia can now start building innovative and eco-friendly housing. The construction of multi-storey, wooden, CLT-based houses will enable the Russian construction industry to open a new chapter. The arrival of the first Russian CLT plant in Vologda Oblast is a very important and symbolic event.”

“The Ministry of Industry and Trade is pleased that the construction of the Sokol CLT plant, which began in 2019, is complete. We are finally establishing high-tech production of this very important building material. I think I am not exaggerating when I put it like that. CLT panels are already in active use in housing construction worldwide. One of our current goals is to develop wooden residential construction in Russia. We have to increase the volume of such construction. We are the leading power in forest resources, and yet in this regard, we are lagging behind many other countries. That includes those with far fewer resources for the forestry industry to bring into production. Our current goal is not only to develop privately owned low-rise housing construction but also enter the segment of multi-storey buildings using these solid wood materials. These materials are also very eco-friendly, which is particularly important today. They provide durability, fire resistance and many other important qualities. I should mention that this enterprise was built by Segezha Group, a leader and driver in the forestry industry. The company has its own facilities in Siberia and the North-West and Central Federal Districts of Russia. For us, the establishment of a plant like this here and now is a real milestone,” Viktor Evtukhov commented.