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Building on the first of its kind review of the global CLT industry published in 2017, this paper aims to provide insight into the global CLT industry. Based on two global CLT industry surveys, 46 plant tours, and supplemented with information obtained from other sources, we observed an increasing production trend of a complimentary cross-laminated panel products that use nails, wooden dowels and other alternative panel integration systems. In most countries outside the Alpine Region, the growth of the CLT industry has been encouraged by the governments motivated by the desire to find a stable, economically viable outlet for substantial volumes of domestic lumber of lesser quality. At the beginning of 2020, we estimated that, considering the number of high-capacity plants ready to go in line or reach full capacity in 2020, the global annual output might reach 2.0-2.5 million m 3 by the end of the year. However, this number does not reflect the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, something we will investigate in a third survey.
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GLOBAL CLT INDUSTRY SURVEY: THE 2020 UPDATES
Pipiet Larasatie1, Raquel Albee1, Lech Muszyński1,2, Jose Erlin Martinez Guerrero1, Eric
Hansen1
ABSTRACT: Building on the first of its kind review of the global CLT industry published in 2017, this paper aims to
provide insight into the global CLT industry. Based on two global CLT industry surveys, 46 plant tours, and supplemented
with information obtained from other sources, we observed an increasing production trend of a complimentary cross-
laminated panel products that use nails, wooden dowels and other alternative panel integration systems. In most countries
outside the Alpine Region, the growth of the CLT industry has been encouraged by the governments motivated by the
desire to find a stable, economically viable outlet for substantial volumes of domestic lumber of lesser quality. At the
beginning of 2020, we estimated that, considering the number of high-capacity plants ready to go in line or reach full
capacity in 2020, the global annual output might reach 2.0-2.5 million m3 by the end of the year. However, this number
does not reflect the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, something we will investigate in a third survey.
KEYWORDS: Cross-laminated timber, CLT, CLT industry, CLT business, CLT manufacturers, CLT plants, survey,
industry survey
1 INTRODUCTION
Organic development of the global CLT industry over the
last 25 years resulted in substantial diversity in
manufacturing processes, levels of automation, scales of
operation, products and services options as well as in
market strategies. The development has not followed
typical commodity-oriented forest products industry
models and it is difficult to point at an adequate precedent.
1.1 MOTIVATIONS & GOALS
The purpose of this presentation is to provide insight into
the global CLT industry, its basic production
characteristics, and business models. This publication is
building on the first of its kind review of the global CLT
industry published in 2017 [1].
The principle premise of this project is that the existing
CLT operations across the globe provide a living
laboratory for understanding the state-of-the-art and
trajectory of the future development of the CLT industry
and how it may function in emerging markets.
2 BACKGROUND
2.1 THE FIRST GLOBAL CLT INDUSTRY
SURVEY
A long-term market research project focused on global
CLT was initiated at Oregon State University in 2015 [1].
One of the primary tools of this project have been surveys
(first launched in 2016) targeted at manufacturing
companies and aimed at providing insights on the global
CLT industry, periodic snapshots of its mode of operation,
capacity, and innovativeness. In addition to the survey,
1
Department of Wood Science and Engineering, Oregon State University, United States
2
Corresponding author: lech.muszynski@oregonstate.edu
the publication utilized secondary sources such as three
comprehensive biannual reviews from Austrian trade
journal Holzkurier on the Alpine CLT industry as well as
other market reports related to the CLT industry. Data
were also supplemented with information collected via
personal communications during site tours to 22 CLT
operations in Europe and North America visited prior to
2017.
Information sought included company history and
structure (e.g., year started, ownership, employment),
production profiles (e.g., types of glue and presses,
production capacity, dimensions), market sectors (e.g.,
residential, multifamily, industrial, commercial, and
public), company innovativeness in terms of competitive
advantage, new product development, business systems,
perceived barriers, and future plans.
The key findings of the study were that compared to other
forest products sectors (e.g., sawmills), the CLT industry
was diverse in terms of ownership structure, mode of
operation, production size, and level of automation. In
addition, most buildings constructed with cross-laminated
timber were small to medium-size multi-family housing,
public, and industrial structures within the limits of
building codes implemented at the time when the survey
was conducted.
In the public domain, this first global CLT industry survey
remained unique in its global scope and depth, offering
insights into basic production characteristics and business
models. The objective of the second survey was to build
on the experience of the first and use the momentum to
capture the dynamic changes in the industry’s vital
metrics and timely gathering reliable information on
short-term trends and issues.
2.2 OTHER CLT INDUSTRY RESEARCH
In parallel, Espinoza et al. conducted a similar project
with a web-based survey focused exclusively on
European CLT and aimed at timber engineers, educators,
researchers, and cross-laminated timber professionals, but
not specifically manufacturers [2]. The responses, mostly
coming from researchers, educators, and engineers,
reflected a perception that the biggest barriers to CLT
growth were building codes and availability of technical
information. The biggest areas of research needs
identified by the respondents were market/customer
research and moisture performance.
Other studies into the CLT industry are more regionally
specific. One is a study investigating the main causes
hindering the development of domestic CLT in Japan and
the necessary tasks needed to improve its implementation
process [3]. Another two were: a mass timber construction
study investigating Australian builders, construction, and
forest industry professionals, with a section on CLT [4];
and a study analysing the current characteristics of the
North American market, as well as its resident companies
[5].
3 METHODOLOGY
3.1 SURVEY DESIGN AND DATA COLLECTION
In our second study of the sector we focused on the
emerging CLT operations outside the Alpine Region
cluster, and on dynamics of the changes in the industry’s
vital metrics.
The questionnaire was thoroughly revised and translated
into seven languages: German, Italian, French, Japanese,
Russian, Spanish and Chinese. The translators were native
speakers of the respective languages who were familiar
with the industry and terminology used. Each translation
to a foreign language was then translated back to English
by another person of similar background. Divergences
between original and back-translated version were then
discussed and corrected.
Each of these questionnaires was placed into Qualtrics, an
online survey platform, for appropriate delivery of each
language to the targeted manufacturer. Besides the
primary language, the English version was also included
as an option.
Table 1. Regional division applied in this study, numbers of
companies contacted, and numbers of responses per
region.
Region for analysis
No. of
countries
included
No. of CLT
companies
contacted
Europe, Central
5
34
Europe, others
7
15
Asia-Pacific
3
10
North America
2
7
Total
17
66
Our population was all global cross-laminated timber
manufacturers known to the research team at the time of
deploying the survey. The list of companies used in the
first survey was revised and expanded to include
companies who launched production in 2016 and 2017.
The information on new companies was acquired through
trade journals, online searches, personal contacts, and
regional trade associations. In total, we compiled a
database of 66 companies (Error! Reference source not
found.).
Whenever possible, the questionnaires were sent to
individual contacts, targeting company owners,
executives, sales managers, and production engineers.
General company emails were used when no personal
contact could be identified. The difference in the channels
of questionnaire distribution between this study and the
first survey [1], are shown in Figure 1.
Figure 1: Schematic illustrating differences in distribution
channels between the first survey [1] (top) and the
second survey (bottom) presented in this study.
Qualtrics has an advantage of allowing to store each
language in one location, make it easy for information
reception. The other advantage is there is a unique link
system for each company response.
It should be noted that the responding companies have not
always responded to all questions asked via survey or site
tours and, that for some of known CLT operations, no
reliable data could be obtained beyond the fact that they
exist.
3.2 DATA ANALYSIS
Responses from the 2019 survey were analysed in the
context of 1) the outcomes of the first survey in the
attempt to capture changes and progression of the
industry; and 2) the knowledge obtained from pooling all
data sources (surveys, site tours and trade literature) to
assess the representativeness of the survey responses for
the larger population of manufacturing companies. It is
important to stress that neither of the individual sources
nor all sources pooled/combined provide full coverage of
the population of CLT manufacturers. In addition, the
2019 survey was focused on development of the industry,
by region.
In the analysis, four major sources of information were
considered: 1) the 2019 online survey [7] (the second
survey) and 2) the 2016 survey (the first survey) were
used to investigate the state-of-the-art and the dynamics
of changes, while 3) targeted site tours of CLT
manufacturing lines performed in the USA, Japan,
Australia, New Zealand, France, Germany, Norway,
Sweden, Finland, and Estonia; and 4) review of trade
journals tracking the development of the CLT industry
(mainly within the Alpine region) were used to verify and
corroborate the survey responses and provide a wider
context. Overlaps in the coverage of these sources in the
combined data pool were carefully resolved using a “latest
data point” approach.
One of the methodological difficulties in reporting the
potential of a non-commodity, custom-project driven
industry is that the annual output is not necessarily the
best tool for gauging its potential. For some metrics
related to equipment type choices and modes of
manufacturing, the annual per-shift capacity of
production lines rather than the annual output was
selected as a more representative context referring to the
physical scale of the lines.
Following standard practices, respondents were
guaranteed anonymity and confidentiality. It was
important to aggregate data within regions rather than
countries, so the data could not be easily tracked to an
individual company, particularly when there is only one
CLT company operating in a country (Table 1). The
regions were decided based on geographic locations and
concentration of companies. Following Holzkurier
reports, we considered division of Europe into two CLT
producing regions: Central Europe (in Holzkurier CLT
summaries referred as Alpine Region or DACH which
includes Austria, Switzerland, Germany, Italy and,
notably, the Czech Republic) and other European
countries (generally not covered in Holzkurier
summaries). Outside Europe, the CLT producing
countries are divided in two large regions: Asia-Pacific
(including Japan, Australia and New Zealand) and North
America (including the US and Canada).
4 RESULTS
4.1 RESPONSE RATE
From 66 CLT manufacturers as the second survey
population, we obtained responses from 12 companies: 3
from Central Europe, 4 from other European countries, 2
from the Asia-Pacific Region and 3 from North America
(Table 1). With five undeliverable emails, the adjusted
response rate is 20% (12/61). The first survey was
conducted by a team over a 9-month period following
intensive identification of contacts and follow-up. The
second survey was time limited and conducted by one
individual, following a tailored survey research [6]. The
different approaches explain the difference in response
rate.
Although all respondents to the first survey were invited
to take part in the second survey, only 4 companies
responded to both. For two of the companies responding
to the second survey, we had no previous data from
alternative sources.
4.2 COMPANY STRUCTURE
All responding companies were privately held with
various company structures including family owned (6/12
or 50%), a few shareholders (2/12 or 16.7%), and holding
company type (4/12 or 33.3%). The family-owned
companies had various evolutionary histories leading
towards the production of CLT. Histories included
beginnings in lumber and/or glue-laminated beams. In
fact, 75% (8/12) of the responding companies
manufactured glue-laminated beams prior to CLT.
By comparison, in the first survey, 66.7% (12/18) of
respondents were privately held and 27.8% (5/18) were
publicly traded companies. The first survey did not ask
respondents to further elaborate on the nature of the
private ownership (e.g., holding company or family-
owned).
4.3 COMPANY EMPLOYMENT
Many of the responding companies have added CLT
manufacturing to an existing production of a different
type of wood products including glue-laminated beams
and/or lumber (75%). Therefore, the survey question
referred specifically to the number of the employees
within the CLT portion of their business. The number of
employees dedicated to CLT varied between 5 to 200,
with average employment of 44 employees (median: 28
employees).
Regionally, North American companies reported a lower
average number of employees per company in the CLT
section of the business, but higher median number of
employees (Table 2).
Table 2. Number of employees within CLT section of business
for each company by region.
Region
Number of employees
Average
(rounded)
Median
(rounded)
Europe, Central
68
68
Europe, others
46
8
Asia-Pacific
50
50
North America
23
30
Global
45
28
Based on site tours in France and Japan, the employment
of the entire company including production workers of
both CLT and non-CLT products, engineers, designers,
etc. was reported to range from 60 to 400 [8]. Companies
in Oceania have 25-100 workers. Each company had a
different internal structure with employees distributed
between production line, sales and marketing, design,
engineering, builders, and other roles. However, for
companies manufacturing other products in the same
plant, the proportion of employees dedicated to CLT
production was not always possible to identify.
The number of shifts run by each CLT manufacturing
facility varied. Seven responding companies (58.3%)
indicated they operated 1 shift per day, while 3 (25%)
operated 2 shifts per day, and 2 (16.7%) operated 3 shifts
per day. Regionally, North American respondents (3)
indicated running 1 shift, Pacific respondents indicated
running 1 shift (1) or 3 shifts (1), while of European
respondents 3 (42.9%) run 1 or 2 shifts, and 1 (14.3%)
runs 3 shifts. It should be noted that CLT is not a
commodity product and companies do add or reduce
number of shifts based on current load of projects.
Consistent employment of 3 shifts indicates “full”
production.
4.4 PRODUCTION VOLUME
The total annual production volume and the annual per-
shift production capacity varied greatly. The annual
production volumes ranging between 800 and 125,000
m3, an average of 18,144 m3 and median of 7,500 m3
(Table 3). Three quarters of respondents reported annual
CLT production volumes below 10,000 m3. This finding
is similar to the first survey where 71% of respondents had
annual volumes below 10,000 m3. However, when data
from all sources are combined, small-scale operations
constitute about 50% (30) of 60 CLT lines for which we
have annual production volume data.
Regionally, the range is the greatest in the two European
regions: Central Europe (or Alpine Region) and other
European CLT manufacturing countries (Table 3). The
median CLT production capacity was lowest in Europe
outside the Alpine Region at 3,800 m3 with the global
median of 7,500 m3. Therefore, we assume that three of
the five respondents from this region are small scale CLT
manufacturers.
Table 3. Mean and median annual CLT production for each
manufacturer by region.
Region
Average (m3)
Median (m3)
Europe, Central
66,000
66,000
Europe, others
3,720
3,000
Asia-Pacific
10,167
10,167
North America
15,600
10,000
Global
18,144
7,500
The per-shift capacities reported by companies
participating in the second survey ranged from 800 to
125,000 m3, though, the latter number resulted from the
responding company evidently misinterpreting the
question. Accordingly, we corrected by dividing by 2
shifts reported by the same company, to the annual per-
shift capacity of 62,000 m3.
When data obtained from all sources until March 2020 are
combined, the annual per-shift capacities of CLT plants
across the globe varied from less than 500 m3 to
75,000 m3, with the latter number reported for one of at
least three lines producing non-structural CLT panels
(Figure 2). There is an increasing number of new CLT
plants that opt for equipment solutions offered by
manufacturers specializing in machinery for CLT
production. These are characterized by high capacity,
high level of automation and an option for full integration
of entire lines.
Figure 2: Annual per-shift capacity allocated to CLT lines
representing a range of production capacity scale.
Number of lines in each category provided above
the bars (all sources combined).
4.5 PRODUCTION TECHNOLOGY
Press types used by the responding companies include
hydraulic (6/12 or 50%) and vacuum (6/12 or 50%)
(Error! Reference source not found.). Of these,
European respondents reported 4 vacuum and 3 hydraulic
presses, North American respondents reported 2 hydraulic
and 1 vacuum, and Pacific respondents reported 1
hydraulic and 1 vacuum press. By comparison, 59% of
respondents to the first survey used hydraulic press and
24 % used vacuum press.
Current data obtained from all sources show a distribution
much closer to the first survey and reveal an important
omission: the emergence of a class of highly automated
pneumatic presses installed in the newest production
lines. Together with pneumatic presses installed earlier
but not reported in the surveys, this class of presses is
installed in a quarter of production lines for which we
have such information (Error! Reference source not
found.).
Figure 3: Distribution of press types by number installed.
The perspective changes even further when the shares of
output volumes produced in lines equipped with different
press types are considered (Figure
3).
Figure
3: Distribution of press types by output volume produced.
The level of mechanization of the process and press varied
depending on the production facility and equipment
investment. All respondents of the 2019 survey indicated
they run just one production line for CLT, though the
pooled data indicate that at least 9 lines operate two
presses and one line operates three presses. Multiple
presses are most often found in lines pressing with
vacuum.
21 9 6
8
15
-
100
200
300
400
500
600
700
<= 5000 <= 10000<= 15000 <= 25000 > 25000
Annual per-shift volume in m3
Thousands
Annual per-shift capacity range in m3
Hydraulic
48%
Pneumatic
25%
Vacuum
27%
Hydraulic
62%
Pneumatic
26%
Vacuum
12%
Figure 5: Levels of automation of the lines vary greatly: a) DYI hydraulic press; b) press embedded in a turn-key automated line.
The automation of the presses varied greatly even among
the same types (Figure 5). Hydraulic presses could range
from high scale automated to small manually operated
hydraulic presses. The press capacity and level of
automation determined the ability to have large capacities
of production.
The median global production capacity reported by the
respondents to the 2019 survey was higher for hydraulic
presses (10,000 m3) compared to vacuum presses (5,400
m3), with a wide range in the production capacities.
Of 8 CLT manufacturers that reported annual production
capacity below 10,000 m3 per year, 62.5% used vacuum
presses.
Data pooled from all sources indicate that about 75% of
all presses installed are fabricated by one of just three
specialized European manufacturers (Figure 6).
Figure 6: Shares of known CLT lines equipped with presses
manufactured by three leading CLT equipment
producing companies marked here by A, B and C
to maintain data confidentiality.
Nearly 80% of all installed CNC centres we know about
are fabricated by one of three leading European
manufacturers. As a result, the new production lines
become more alike. That trend applies to the oldest and
largest CLT companies as they upgrade their lines to keep
up with the demand.
4.6 PANEL MAXIMUM SIZES
The maximum sizes of CLT panels that can be produced
depends press size. Press sizes reported by the
respondents varied in length, width, and thickness (Table
4). The width ranged between 2.74 and 3.66 m. The
findings are similar with the first survey. However, data
pooled from all sources reveals press widths ranging from
0.72 m to 4.8 m and lengths up to 24 m.
The thickness reported from companies in Europe and
North America is 27.3 and 29.9 cm maximum, on average.
This is notedly different with companies in Asia-Pacific
region that reported the thickness at 40.5 cm maximum,
on average. The maximum length reported is similar
across the region, however, the common sizes are not
(Table 4).
Although the length, width, and thickness varied, the most
common number of layers produced is reported the same
across all 3 regions (Table 4).
In practice, the size of panel is dictated by market
requirements and transportation infrastructure (e.g.,
roads) for the ability to handle a certain panel size.
Different projects require different panel configurations,
thus different sizes are always desired.
Table 4. Max and most common CLT panel dimensions
(averaged by region).
Region
Averages per region
Width
(m)
Length
(m)
Thick
ness
(cm)
No.
of
layers
Max
Com
mon
Max
Com
mon
Max
Com
mon
Europe, Central
3.3
3.0
14
12
23.4
5
Europe, others
4.2
2.7
15
8
28.8
5
Asia-Pacific
3.4
3.0
15
16
40.5
5
North America
3.1
2.6
14
13
29.9
5
Global
3.2
2.8
14
11
30.1
5
https://www.ledinek.com/clt-production-line-japan
b)
a)
A
25%
B
30%
C
20%
Other/Unknown
25%
4.7 PANEL FABRICATION & FINISHING
The final step in CLT production is panel fabrication and
finishing. Since almost all panels are produced for
specific projects, fabrication most commonly involves
trimming, cutting window and door openings, connection
nests and moulding ducts for electrical and plumbing
installations on large area CNC (computer numerical
control) centres. Very few panels are taken off site as
“blanks” with no machining beyond the production of the
panel. Finishing may involve final planning or sanding of
the surface for visual grades.
Survey respondents indicated that between 90 and 100%
of their panels were fabricated at the manufacturing line
for custom orders/projects. In the first survey, only one
respondent produced 100% blank/non-customized panels,
while the rest of the respondents indicated they were
custom order/project machined panels.
4.8 COMPANY INTEGRATION
Respondents reported various levels of vertical
integration within their companies. The simplest level of
vertical integration is CLT production along with CNC
machining of panels (Figure 7-top), and all respondents
reported having at least one CNC centre. The most
frequently reported level of vertical integration was CLT
production, CNC machining of panels, and transport of
finished CLT panels to job sites (Figure 7-middle). The
respondent with the highest level of vertical integration
controls the supply chain from ownership of forestlands
which supply the manufacturing plant with raw materials
all the way to employees who install the CLT facilities on
the job site (Figure 7-bottom). These results show a great
diversity in the level of vertical integration adopted by
companies around the world.
European respondents generally had a higher level of
integration than those located in the Pacific or North
America, with some companies having transportation of
panels and construction crews. Among the North
American respondents, the most common integration was
CLT manufacturing and CNC machining directly in the
production site.
The history and scale of operation are very diverse. Some
companies entered the industry expanding from existing
glulam or lumber production while others started their
CLT production from scratch. There is also substantial
diversity in the level of vertical integration: many
companies integrate elements of the supply chain, and
may own forestlands sawmills, transportation fleets,
engineering offices and construction crews (the bottom
chain in Figure 7).
4.9 MARKETS
CLT projects were reported in different types of buildings
including single family residential, multi-family
residential, medium-scale public buildings (1-7 stories),
medium-scale industrial/commercial buildings (1-7
stories), and large-scale (8+ stories) tall buildings.
Medium-scale public buildings include public schools,
sports facilities, libraries, and government buildings.
Regionally, CLT markets differed dramatically. Within
the Asia-Pacific region, no CLT entered the single-family
residential home market while within Europe, over one-
third (35.7%) of CLT projects went to this market (Table
5). It is important to note that the Pacific and North
American regions are historically light-frame wood
construction for single-family residential homes,
therefore, this should be interpreted with caution. Despite
all of the talk in popular media of building skyscrapers out
of mass timber, a very small percentage of the market
(5.4% globally) is focused on buildings larger than 8
stories tall. While this may change over time, the largest
market opportunities for these respondents is in low- to
mid-rise construction.
Table 5. CLT markets by region.
Europe
(all)
Asia
Pacific
North
America
Global
%
%
%
%
Single family
residential
35.7
0.0
10.0
23.3
Multi-family residential
24.3
22.5
10.0
20.4
Medium scale public
(1-7 stories)
18.6
47.5
21.7
24.2
Medium scale industrial
(1-7 stories)
20.0
22.5
45.0
26.7
Large scale tall
buildings (8+ stories)
1.4
7.5
13.3
5.4
The global average of this survey indicates that single
family residential, multi-family residential, medium-scale
public, and medium-scale industrial/commercial are the
main markets for CLT, as building codes inhibit large-
scale tall buildings from being built.
Historically, the primary market for CLT has been multi-
family residential construction, driven by the demand in
Central Europe, where CLT started. The largest market
for CLT in the Pacific region is within the medium-scale
public (1 to 7 stories) building sector at 47.5%, where it
will be used in public schools, government offices,
Figure 7: The least (top), average (middle), and most complex (bottom) levels of integration of CLT manufacturers.
libraries, and other public sector needs. The largest market
for CLT in the North American region is within medium-
scale industrial/commercial (1 to 7 stories) building sector
at 45 %, where it will be used for private office buildings,
retail space, and other uses.
In terms of market coverage, although 4 companies
(33.3%) indicated that their markets were only domestic,
no respondents indicated their market locations as being
only international. 75% (8/12) of the respondents
indicated that they are within domestic and international
markets. However, it was not always clear whether all
European respondents considered other European Union
members as foreign markets.
4.10 PERCEIVED BARRIERS
4.10.1 Building codes
Seventy-five percent of the respondents agreed that
inadequate building codes are a barrier to further growth
of the CLT industry. While research supports this
statement [1, 4], 25% of respondents neither agreed nor
disagreed about inadequate building codes being a barrier
to further growth of the cross-laminated timber industry.
This is in line with the responses to the first survey, where
building codes, were the most agreed upon barrier to
further growth of the cross-laminated timber global
industry. However, between 2017 and 2019 building
codes, notably the International Building Code (IBC),
2021 was updated to allow for more uses of mass timber
including CLT, so the opinion is likely to change.
4.10.2 Architects
Respondents had varying opinions on whether the lack of
interested architects might be a barrier to further growth
of the cross-laminated timber industry: Fifty percent of
respondents disagreed, 16.7% neither agreed nor
disagreed, and 25% agreed with that statement.
This question was not asked in the first survey.
4.10.3 Material costs
Seventy-five percent of respondents either agreed
(66.7%) or strongly agreed (8.33%) that high raw material
costs might be a barrier to further growth of the cross-
laminated timber industry. Regionally, the respondents
from Central Europe, Asia-Pacific, and North America
agreed that high material costs are a barrier to further
growth. Responses from the rest of Europe were quite
varied on opinions of high material costs to the further
growth of the CLT industry.
In contrast with these findings, the first survey found that
raw material costs were a relatively low barrier to the
further growth of the CLT industry.
4.10.4 Production cost
Respondents had varying opinions about high production
costs being a barrier to further growth of the CLT
industry, with two- thirds (66.7%) of respondents not
viewing it as a barrier or neither agreeing nor disagreeing
to it as barrier to further growth.
Regionally, respondents from both regions within Europe
were not unanimous on whether high production costs
were a barrier to further growth of the CLT industry. Asia-
Pacific region respondents disagreed with that statement,
while respondents from North America agreed on this
being a barrier to further growth of the CLT industry. This
indicates a difference in opinions on production costs,
which could be business and/or culturally driven within
industry.
4.10.5 Market demand
Respondents mostly disagreed that weak market demand
would be a barrier to further growth of the CLT industry.
Twenty-five percent of respondents were neither in
agreement nor disagreement with the statement.
Similarly, the first survey found that weak market demand
was the least significant barrier to further growth for the
CLT industry. This indicates that the prevailing optimism
surrounding CLT market demand is still there.
4.10.6 Competition
Seven of 12 (58.3%) respondents indicated that they had
other CLT manufacturers within their region, with 5 of the
7 (71.4%) indicating they are within 500 km of the other
manufacturer’s site and the other 2 have them farther than
500 km. Of the 5 of 12 (41.7%) who indicated they did
not have competition within their area, all indicated their
closest CLT manufacturer was over 500 km away.
Nearly ninety-two percent (11/12) were not concerned
that competition would have a negative impact on their
company. Respondents indicated that competition was
viewed as positive regarding public awareness,
marketing, and increased market size and interest to help
the future of the entire industry.
4.11 FUTURE PLANS
Ten of 12 (83.3%) respondents indicated that they
planned to increase CLT production, however, the
planned approach to increase production varied. Two of
12 (16.7%) respondents indicated they were not sure of
their future plans for CLT production, whether they would
increase, decrease, or maintain unchanged production
levels.
The plans to increase production were dependent on the
company, with some plans costing much more to
implement than others (e.g., building another CLT site vs.
adding a shift). The most common way indicated by 5 of
the 10 (50%) companies which plan to increase
production, is by increasing line efficiency and adding
new equipment to the current CLT production line. Three
of 10 (30%) companies plan to build another cross-
laminated timber facility within the next 2 to 5 years to
increase production.
4.12 MAJOR FINDINGS
Even as some companies operate more than one line under
the same roof, few decide to build another plant in
different location and even fewer build new production
lines in foreign markets (even though the major Alpine
Region players are very successful pursuing projects in
foreign markets).
One interesting dynamic on the fringe of the CLT industry
is the increase of complimentary cross-laminated panel
products that use nails, wooden dowels and other
alternative panel integration systems. In Europe, there are
about 30 licensed manufacturers of nailed cross laminated
panels marketed as MassivHolzMauer or MHM and no
less than 10 lines producing panels bonded with wooden
dowels. These manufacturers were not included in the
current survey.
In most countries outside the Alpine Region, the growth
of the CLT industry has been encouraged by governments
motivated by the desire to find a stable, economically
viable outlet for substantial volumes of domestic lumber
of lesser quality [8]. The incentive programs used as a tool
in these campaigns vary by country in terms of scale,
specific form and duration, and not all have been equally
successful.
Figure 8: Annual output and per-shift capacity of CLT lines
by region. DACH typically refers to Austria,
Germany, Switzerland, but here is extended to Italy
and Czech Republic.
The global annual output of the CLT industry in 2019 that
we can attribute to 60 specific production lines was about
1.44 million m3 [9]. The global annual per-shift capacity
in 2019 attributed to 58 specific production lines was
about 0.94 million m3. The Alpine Region still accounted
for over 70% of the output volume and nearly 62% of the
annual per-shift capacity. Considering known CLT
operations, for which the produced volumes or capacities
are outdated or currently not available, the total 2019
output may be estimated at the level of 1.6-1.8 million m3.
At the beginning of 2020 we estimated that, considering
the number of high-capacity plants ready to go online or
reach full capacity in 2020, the global annual output might
reach 2.0-2.5 million m3 by the end of the year. However,
this estimate could not envision the impact of the
pandemic.
5 DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION
Discrepancies are observed between the second survey
and all data sources combined, that may be explained as
the result of the small number of respondents. Although a
rate of 20% is quite normal in forest sector research [10],
our low number of responses could not properly reflect
the diversity of the CLT industry. By comparison, the
response rate to the first survey was 45 %, which was
achieved by collecting the responses over a 9-month
period, and intensive communication to the population of
company representatives. This approach was expensive
and labour intensive, and may be difficult to replicate with
the growing number of CLT producing companies.
The lesson learned from the first two survey iterations will
be applied to future surveys of this unique sector. The
survey being currently prepared (the third global CLT
survey) is focused on the impact of the COVID-19
pandemic. A combination of mixed delivery method,
moderately extended data collection period and carefully
weighed systematic communication efforts to the
population are considered to achieve a meaningful
response rate.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT
Project funded by USDA ARS program. Additional
support: Softwood Export Council, Linnaeus University,
Estonian Forest and Wood Industries Association. The
authors also acknowledge support of Dr. Chris Knowles
(OSU), Ms. Tomoko Igarashi (American Softwoods,
Japan), Jasmin Rainer and Günther Jauk (Holzkurier).
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DACH+I+C
Z
70%
Rest of EU
14%
N America
12%
Pacific
4%
Africa
0.13%
DACH+I+CZ
62%
Rest of EU
12%
N America
21%
Pacific
5%
Africa
0.16%
... Based on two global MTP industry surveys conducted in Year 2016 (the first survey) and 2019 (the second survey), 46 plant tours, and supplemented with information obtained from other sources, we observe increasing production of a complimentary set of cross-laminated, of mass timber panel products using glue, nails, wooden dowels and other alternative panel integration systems (Albee et al. 2018;Larasatie et al. 2020;Muszynski et al. 2017;2021;. In most countries outside the Alpine Region of Europe, growth of the MTP industry has been encouraged by governments motivated by the desire to find a stable, economically viable outlet for substantial volumes of domestic lumber of lesser quality. ...
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Global Overview of the Cross-Laminated Timber Industry. MS thesis
  • R R Albee
Albee RR: Global Overview of the Cross-Laminated Timber Industry. MS thesis. Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR. 114 pp, 2019.