Optimized Flakes Improve Board Properties
Thailand-based Vanachai Group is one of the leading particleboard and MDF producers in Asia. Every year, the company processes about 3,000,000 t of rubberwood into approximately 2,000,000 m³ of wood-based panels. At its site in Surat Thani, the company will produce more than 1,000,000 m³ of MDF and 450,000 m³ of particleboard in 2018.
To improve particleboard quality at Surat Thani, Vanachai introduced at the start of 2018 a new concept in flake processing. The Dieffenbacher subsidiary Maier modified one of Vanachai’s standard knife ring flakers to produce longer, slender core layer flakes. Using these flakes in particleboard production helps to improve board quality. The quick and easy modification of the knife ring flaker mainly targets an adaptation of the cutting conditions. The first positive results were visible shortly after the modifications were implemented.
“Even the small portion of optimized slender flakes directly led to improved mechanical board properties as confirmed by the MOR values,” said Chullavallibha Phumsakdi, Assistant Managing Director at Vanachai. “The results were so convincing that we immediately ordered another modification kit from Maier for a second knife ring flaker.”
Maier Managing Director Alexander Hoffmann sees further optimization potential. “If the wood chips were fractionated in such a way that the modified flakers are fed with longer chips and the standard knife ring flakers with shorter wood chips, board quality could be optimized even more,” he said. According to Hoffmann, in addition to improved mechanical board properties, this concept could also enable raw material and glue savings.
Other Southeast Asian particleboard producers are also striving to optimize board quality. Increasing production volumes and a significant decline of the particleboard price in Southeast Asia require developing new markets such as Japan and South Korea. However, these markets have higher mechanical board property standards – demanding higher MOR values – so improved board quality is required.
Following Vanachai’s example of modified flakers could help the Southeast Asian particleboard industry successfully penetrate these new markets. Independent of the development of new markets, the concept also offers the potential to increase plant efficiency with comparatively little effort.
Image: Standard flakes (left) and optimized slender core layer flakes (rechts)
Image: Modified knife ring flaker