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CLT Panels USA

The CLT Panel blog is an outreach function of a project conducted by NC State University and sponsored by the U.S. Forest Service Wood Innovations Program.  The goal of the blog is to keep stakeholders and interested parties abreast of project progress, inform them of CLT industry related news in North America, and allow them to network among themselves.

The proposed development of CLT panel systems in the US has focused on large lumber gluing and layup systems, presses and CNC machining centers that require high equipment and facility costs approaching $30 million. The result of such high investment requirements is that few US CLT operations exist. This project will develop an alternative strategy able to produce 80% of the output of a large size CLT plant at 2% of the cost.

It is possible to quickly develop a forest products industry niche for CLT panels using existing equipment resources once used by the casegoods furniture industry by using a small size batch process format. These presses are capable of manufacturing 4’x8’ panels for residential homes,
pressing multiple CLT panels per batch press cycle. These Residential CLT panels (RCLT) can be used for walls, floors, and roof decking for use by general contractors with the support of architects.

This project will demonstrate a manufacturing system by making samples of RCLTs in existing furniture cold presses, pressing a stack of multiple RCLTs in batches. The project includes the development of joinery types to connect the panels for assembly. The goal is to successfully manufacture RCLT panels that pass the APA PRG 320 Standard using the two lumber grades approved by the APA (#2 yellow pine for faces and #3 for the core and cross bands) and hardwood veneers using this low capital approach.