UPM opens €40m extension of Otepää plywood mill
An extension of the plywood mill of Finnish industrial group UPM in the Southern Estonian town of Otepää, built at a cost of approximately 40 million euros, was opened on Friday.
The extension increases the mill's production capacity to 90,000 cubic meters per year. A new biomass boiler plant opened together with the extension will enhance the mill's material efficiency and reduce fossil carbon dioxide emissions by 85 percent, UPM said in a press release.
"The investments now made bring the Otepää mill to the wrld class of plywood mills," said Mika Sillanpää, executive vice president of UPM Plywood. "As a result of the increased production capacity, the mill will be able to better respond to the growing demand for high-quality plywood products in our key customer industries in constrution, the transport equipment industry and LNG shipbuilding."
The mill is equipped with state-of-the-art veneer peeling and drying lines, extra veneer jointing and composing capacity as well as new gluing and pressing lines. In addition, log sorting and soaking capacity was increased to meet growing prodution volumes.
The new 18-megawatt biomass boiler plant fully meets the mill's thermal energy demand using production leftovers as fuel. As a result, all of the wood entering the mill is utilized either in plywood production, as raw material for other products or in energy production.
Founded in 2000, the Otepää mill is the largest plywood mill in Estonia. It manufactures uncoated and coated birch plywood mainly for construction, vehicle floors as well as LNG carriers. 95 percent of the plant's output is exported, mainly to Central Europe.
With the completion of the extension, the Otepää mill's workforce numbers grew by about 40; the mill now employs a total of 240 people, making it one of the biggest industrial employers in Valga County.
UPM Plywood's 2015 sales totaled 439 million euros. The group, which owns six plywood mills and a veneer mill in Finland in addition to plywood mills in Russia and Estonia, employs a total of approximately 2,400 people.