On 25 February, the grand opening of Segezha Group’s cross-laminated timber (CLT) plant took place in the city of Sokol, Vologda region (Russia). 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.
"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 L. Vorobyov, deputy chair of the Federation Council of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation. "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, governor of Vologda region. "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."
Segezha Group President Mikhail Shamolin highlighted that this project was completed with the solid support of the Vologda regional 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, state secretary and deputy minister of industry and trade of the Russian Federation, commented.
In June 2019, the Ministry of Industry and Trade of Russia included the construction of Sokol CLT in the list of priority investment projects in the field of forestry development. In December 2019, the Investment Council under the Governor of Vologda Oblast assigned the project regional priority status. Ministries and departments of the Russian government, along with the All-Russian Scientific Research Institute for Fire Protection of EMERCOM of Russia, are undertaking a joint effort to improve the Russian legal framework governing wooden residential construction.
The first CLT panel was delivered in autumn 2019 and the product certification procedure commenced. The company is launching the production of CLT mouldings and custom panels with a thickness of 8 to 40 cm, width up to 3.6 m and length up to 16 m. The weight of a panel is about 500 kg per cubic m. During production, kiln-dried sawn timber is sorted and spliced into panels. Each panel consists of three to nine layers. The glue is formaldehyde free and is approved for indoor and outdoor use.
CLT panels are relatively fire- and earthquake-resistant, structurally strong and provide good heat and noise insulation. They allow construction to be significantly sped up and make buildings greener. The panels are suitable for any type of real estate development — from individual housing construction and multi-storey urban construction to large-scale social, transport and industrial infrastructure. When taking into account the entire lifecycle of buildings, CLT structures are highly cost-effective.
The site of Segezha Group’s new CLT plant is Sokol Woodworking Plant (S-DOK), the largest woodworking plant in the European part of Russia. It has been a part of Segezha Group since September 2014. In the late 1980s, S-DOK was the first manufacturing site in the country to start producing glued beams and prefabricated housing from that material. Today, S-DOK is a leading manufacturer of glued structural beams in Russia. S-DOK produces more prefabricated housing from glued beams than any other company in Russia. Its production capacity is about 90,000 cubic meters. Sokol CLT and S-DOK can now combine their efforts to fulfil a broad range of complex orders.
Even though a part of Sokol CLT’s production is already being reserved for foreign partners, Segezha Group intends to take an active role in developing the domestic market in Russia. Next year, the company plans to start the construction of Russia’s first multi-storey building using CLT panels together with Etalon Group (also a Sistema company) in Moscow (3 Zorge Street).