UPM Plywood

UPM Plywood has accumulated extensive knowledge about plywood and veneers over its long history
Plying its trade

UPM Plywood has accumulated extensive knowledge about plywood and veneers over its long history

UPM is one of the leading manufacturers of wood products in Europe and a forerunner in research and development in the area. The merger of Kymmene Corporation and Repola Ltd and its subsidiary United Paper Mills Ltd formed UPM in 1996 and today it is a leader in the integration of bio and forest industries into the new, combined sustainable and innovation-driven ‘biofore’ industry.

UPM Plywood Issue 107 bUPM’s structure consists of six business areas – UPM Biorefining, UPM Energy, UPM Raflatac, UPM Paper Asia, UPM Paper ENA (Europe and North America) and UPM Plywood – and in 2013, UPM’s sales exceeded ten billion euros. The organisation is present in 65 countries, with production plants in 14 and it employs approximately 21,000 people worldwide.

In the area of wood, UPM is one of the world’s leading forest industry groups, and through its three wood-based divisions, UPM offers high-quality product solutions for building and industrial applications..

When it comes to wood products, UPM Plywood has been working with this material for over a century, since the founder of UPM’s plywood business, Wilhelm Schauman launched his first mill in 1912. The company Schauman created was not the first producer of plywood, but it introduced large scale and up-to-date manufacturing processes to Finland. Schauman soon became the market leader and by 2014 UPM had become the largest plywood manufacturer in Europe, with its plywood and veneer products being sold across the world under the registered trademark WISA.

One of the foundation stones laid by Schauman was a dedication to research and development (R&D) and this has become part of UPM’s daily process. Innovation is at the core of its growth, and in order to ensure it is meeting the needs of the customer and predicting the needs of the future, some four decades ago a dedicated R&D department was established, and since that time its development work has been conducted systematically. By combining the latest scientific knowledge with its long experience in plywood and veneer panels the organisation is able to keep its product range up-to-date and ready to meet new challenges. This methodology is also a core part of its new product introduction programme.

One of the latest releases from this division is UPM Grada, a thermoformable wood material for the form pressing industry. Grada technology revitalises the forming of wood with heat and pressure and opens up new opportunities for designs not achievable with traditional methods. UPM Grada’s unique forming prop

This product has recently been further developed, with the launch of UPM Grada 2000, the newest member in the product family, which requires only 950C forming temperature and consequently further improves the form pressing process efficiency and saves energy simultaneously.

“At UPM we focus on developing Grada technology so that our customers can improve their competitiveness by making their manufacturing more efficient. The new development supports manufacturers, who are looking into possibilities to transfer manufacturing back to Europe from low cost countries. The improved product series has been tested by many of our customers and they are very pleased with the fact that their process cycle-time improves at least by 25 per cent,” explains Mikko Tilli from UPM.UPM Plywood Issue 107 c

The significantly lower forming temperature makes it possible to use more delicate coating materials on the panel. Since the material needs to be heated to lower temperature, there are more options on heating equipment than before. “I’m delighted that UPM Grada can now be used in more versatile ways and the technology can be easily accessed by many new customers,” added Mikko.

Given their pedigree, innovative nature and very high quality, it is not surprising that UPM’s plywood are very popular solutions in the construction industry. The company has extensive experience and deep insight in building and working with plywood and it offers a wide range of solutions from framework panels to exterior and interior building as well as a complete range for concrete castings. In addition to heavy construction, WISA products and solutions are suitable for smaller scale building and construction projects.

Although the company’s main market is Europe, WISA products have been utilised on a global basis and WISA plywood products’ reputation in China is quite literally built on the foundation of the country’s most iconic skyscrapers such as the Shanghai World Financial Centre, Shanghai International Financial Centre and the latest masterpiece, the world’s second tallest building, Shanghai Tower.

WISA-Form Birch plywood panels were used in all these prestigious buildings for casting the concrete. WISA-Form Birch was chosen by the contractors because of its strength and consistent performance, but also because of the high number of re-uses and long service life – both essential qualities for long-lasting, multimillion dollar construction projects led in critical weather conditions.

By taking advantage of the best characteristics of birch and coniferous raw material, modern production methods and the knowledge and experience of its people, UPM can offer hardwearing and ecological WISA solutions to not only partners in construction such as those mentioned above, but also those in transport and many other industries. UPM’s unique combination of WISA and wide range of professional services mean that its customers can improve their cost, material and energy efficiency easily, and it is these benefits that ensure customers return time and again.


Services: Wood products