Eastern Expansion Planned By CLT Manufacturer

The first manufacturer of cross-laminated timber (SmartLam) in the US, announced that it is expanding its operations to the East Coast by opening a new manufacturing facility in Maine.

The company recently received US$3 million from the Maine Technology Institute, a local non-profit organisation dedicated to growing innovation and employment opportunities within the state, to assist with this expansion. The total cost of the project will be US$23.5 million and is expected to create roughly 100 direct jobs and twice that amount in indirect jobs. Site selection for the facility is in process and will be completed within the next two months.  

“We are seeing considerable demand for CLT on the East Coast as architects, builders and developers seek durable, sustainable building materials,” said SmartLam President and GM Casey Malmquist. “Our new Maine facility will provide us with the perfect vantage point to supply customers with our premium CLT products while allowing us to lower the environmental impact and costs associated with shipping.”  

Customers of CLT products are not the only group that will benefit from this expansion. It will allow the compamny to generate employment opportunities, evolve their existing four-year relationship with the University of Maine, and aid the state’s forestry industry by utilising the significant softwood lumber resource it has to offer. 

The decision to expand to the East Coast comes just four months after the Montana-based company announced its plans to open another facility in Columbia Falls that will serve as their new headquarters. The CLT company currently produces more than one million board feet of CLT per month and employs 40 people in the Flathead Valley of Montana.

Expansion planning news comes shortly after Global, another manufacturer of CLT (LignaTerra), announced it will build a US$30 million, 300,000-sq-ft CLT plant - also in Maine. That plant will create 100 jobs with production beginning in one year.

 

The Role of CLT

Architects prefer to use cross-laminated timber (CLT) because the beauty of the wood surface can be showcased with no need for paint or drywall. Though the panels cost roughly the same as steel and concrete, they are far lighter and quicker to assemble on site. 

CLT can be used to construct buildings of equal strength and fire-resistance as those made of steel and concrete. It has fuelled the passions of architects and environmentalists, who believe it to be a much greener method for housing the world's growing population. 

Due to its benefits for carbon capture and reduced carbon dioxide emissions in construction, CLT has sparked interest worldwide. 

CLT, also known as mass timber, is a prefabricated engineered wood product which consists of several layers of dried lumber boards stacked in alternating directions. It is easier to assemble and more fire resistant, sustainable, and cost effective than conventional building materials. 

Since its invention, cross-laminated timber has been widely used in the construction sector for various household and industrial applications. 

A new research report by IMARC Group, titled “European Cross-Laminated Timber Market: Industry Trends, Share, Size, Growth, Opportunity and Forecast 2018-2023”, estimates that the market was around US$494 million in 2017. The report further anticipates the market to reach US$1,112 million by 2023, at a projected CAGR of nearly 15 percent over the forecast period.

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