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Moelven acquired module factory in Hamar

The acquisition of Hedalm AS was concluded in order to cultivate Moelven's module concept and strengthen competitiveness in industrial building.

Combined with the remaining production structure, the acquisition secures Moelven a future-oriented module concept that serves the group's three market segments - building and construction, project and residential. 

“With the acquisition of Hedalm AS we have strengthened our position as the leading module manufacturer in the Nordic region. We have acquired specialization, capacity and the possibility to deliver large orders in a short time – in all of our three segments,” says CEO Morten Kristiansen of Moelven Industrier ASA.

Increased demand for housing

The CEO says that a particularly important aspect concerning the acquisition is that the group is experiencing and expects a significant increase in demand in the market for standardised and ready-to-use multi-storey apartment buildings.

“To meet the increasing need for ready-to-use housing concepts, there's a need to increase production capacity. At the production premises at Hjellum, Moelven can produce modules more than 12 metres in length. This is particularly important for Moelven's new housing concept,” Kristiansen says.

Retains expertise

Kristiansen was adamant that Moelven would take good care of the knowledge and expertise at Hedalm AS.

“Together we will exploit the synergies and competitive advantages we can in the shape of increased industrial knowledge, specialization, standardisation and capacity. The time really has come for industrialised wooden buildings,” Kristiansen says.

The new company is owned by Moelven Industrier ASA and will continue to operate as a separate company coordinated with other module production in the Moelven group.

Won the award with his first project

Portuguese Daniel Barroso found work with Moelven Limtre and brought his family to Norway in 2014. The following year his first project was named Wooden building of the year!

When Daniel Barroso moved to Norway and started working for Moelven Limtre, his first project was retail and office building Almenningstråkket that was to be erected at Gran at Hadeland. At the Building Days 2015 it was named Wooden building of the year.

"It's important for me to point out that my colleague, designer and project developer Harald Liven, has played an equally important part in this project. We worked together,” Daniel Barroso says.

The jury emphasized that the project is characterized by extensive use of wood with focus on varied use of wood, and that innovative processes have been used in relation to developing the project, and that it has effective solutions with regard to economy and materials and is robust with respect to use and lifetime.

Numerous challenges

The Portuguese constructor explains that the structure wasn't complicated, but did pose several challenges, especially in terms of resistance to wind and the fastenings between the trusses that were made from construction timber and and glulam columns.

“The special thing about Almenningstråkket is that it has a competitive, structural solution made from different wood products,” Daniel points out.

Several Moelven projects nominated

Moelven was well-represented in the awards: The two remaining nominated buildings were Kallerud student housing at Gjøvik and Multikomforthuset in Larvik. Additionally the Waterfront in Stavanger and Prøysenhuset in Ringsaker were among the contenders – and all of these include deliveries from Moelven.

“I'm very proud to have taken part in a project that has won such an award – in a country with so many excellent wooden structures.

Morten Kristiansen appointed CEO

Morten Kristiansen took up position in September 2015, after holding the position temporarily for a year.

In connection with his appointment, Moelven's chairman Olav Fjell said that the members of the board were very pleased that Kristiansen had agreed to take the position:

“The board is impressed with the results Kristiansen has achieved in the year he has been acting CEO. He has sound knowledge of Moelven's entire value chain, is energetic and has the ability to get the organization behind the changes needed to strengthen the enterprise,” Fjell concluded.

Morten Kristiansen feels the job represents an unusually interesting challenge:

“Moelven has a very good foundation, competent employees, a strong brand and every chance to succeed. Developing the group into a more profitable business in cooperation with my colleagues and the board is something I look forward to,” he stated.

Kristiansen is a construction engineer and graduate economist from the Norwegian Business School. He was employed by Moelven from 1981 to 1994 and subsequently from the year 2000. He was formerly a director at Moelven Industrier with responsibility for the Forestry area.

Morten Kristiansen took over after Hans Rindal, who stepped down in the autumn of 2014.

The Waterfront wins international award

In April 2015 the Waterfront housing project in Stavanger was named the world's best residential project by World Architecture News. The buildings are clad with thermo-pine from Moelven.

Twelve buildings were nominated in the residential category, and the Waterfront in Stavanger won together with a residential project in Hyde Park in London. According to World Architecture News, this is the world's largest architectural competition, and almost 1,400 projects from 72 countries compete in the 16 categories. 

One of the world's largest wood developments

The jury explains the choice of the Waterfront by stating that the project positions Stavanger as a pioneer city in the field of modern wooden architecture. Architect Atle Lenschow of Kraftværk AS said to Stavanger Aftenblad that the Waterfront was one of the largest wooden buildings ever realized. 

“Our inspiration was the old row of waterfront houses that has almost entirely disappeared in Stavanger. It is based on Stavanger's history with regard to wooden houses and waterfront houses, but interpreted in a new style,” Lenschow told the newspaper.

He is responsible for the Waterfront in cooperation with Danish AART Architects.

Tough demands on choice of material

The residential project has slanting façades, which makes choosing materials challenging. For the contractor, Kruse & Smith, it was important to find cladding that can withstand the tough climate by the sea, and the choice was thermo-pine from Moelven Wood Project, supplied by Partner Tre. It was also a requirement that the cladding was virtually maintenance-free and that it didn't need to be treated. 

The Waterfront was also one of four projects nominated in the World's Best Residential Project category in the Mipim awards, where 2,400 projects from 88 countries took part.

Swedish study: Wooden bridges have low environmental impact

A wooden bridge pollutes only half as much as a concrete bridge in the course of its lifetime, a new independent study shows.

“This independent study is an important tool in our and the industry's work going forwards,” says director Johan Åhlén with Moelven Töreboda AB.

The study takes as its point of departure the life cycle and CO2 footprint of a concrete bridge and a wooden bridge on the railway stretch from Åstorp to Kattarp in Skåne in Sverige. Materials and components needed in the lifetime of the two bridges have been compared, including the resources used to extract the raw materials. Considerations are also made for necessary maintenance work in the 80 years that is the bridges' technical lifetime. 

The figures speak for themselves

While the wooden bridge has emissions corresponding to 79 tons of CO2 equivalents from cradle to grave, the concrete bridge has emissions of 127 tons – around 40 per cent more.

The study further shows that it's the steel in the wooden bridges' railings that is responsible for a significant proportion of its CO2 footprint.

“The current climate debate often revolves around the environmental impact from the transport of materials and the actual construction process. Our study shows that these factors play a significantly smaller role than the environmental impact from the materials and maintenance. As a product, wood is way ahead in these areas,” says Peter Jacobsen, head of development at Martinsons Byggsystem.

The company contributed to the study in cooperation with Moelven Töreboda. The study was conducted by consultancy bureau Tyréns and SP Trä (Sweden's Research Institute). 

More positive view

The Swedish Transport Administration, which is responsible for all public road and rail construction in Sweden, builds approximately 150 road bridges annually. In addition bridges are built by municipalities and private parties. This means that bridge projects have a significant impact on the environment, and require a lot of knowledge on the environmental impact from all involved parties.

Åhlén believes it's important to remember that the willingness to build using wood is related to which generation one belongs to.

“For young people in the industry wood is a natural choice. I'm convinced that their attitude will gain foothold, and that it will have even greater impact in the future.

Hired architect to rationalize construction process

In February Christina started work at interior fittings company Moelven Modus AB. She was hired to meet the demand from customers wanting help in planning and visualizing when remodelling offices.

Christina Aponno (Architect SAR/MSA) has many years of experience with conceptual work – from idea to completed project.

Regional manager Magnus Johansson said of the appointment of an architect that it was to meet a demand for help in planning and visualization in remodelling projects.

“It's also a strategic measure intended to rationalize the building process and move toward an even greater degree of industrialised building,” Johansson says.

Added value for the customer

Aponno has previously worked with several of the stages that make up the building process, such as drafts, programmes, plans and building documents.

“Our customers can exploit this directly and thus gain added value,” Johansson says.

Aponno was previously employed at Mats & Arne Arkitektkontor AB.

“This is a strategically important drive to build smarter for our customers,” the regional manager concludes.

Reduced the volume of glue in glulam

When one applies glue to the surfaces and compresses the glulam components, excess glue is pressed out. Operator Tommy Kjellberg at Moelven Töreboda AB believed an unnecessary amount was wasted – and suggested an improvement.

“As the technique has developed over the years, and the lamella we apply with glue has such a smooth surface, I felt it should be possible to reduce the amount of glue without degrading quality,” he says.

“We got in touch with Casco, who supply glue to the factory, and they agreed. So we tried and discovered that we could reduce consumption by 9.7 per cent,” Tommy Kjellberg says.

Major gains

He says the result exceeded expectations. Quality controls show that the glue joint is just as strong as before. However, one also achieves financial and environmental gains, as well as better efficiency.

“The glulam beams were even better than before. Glue contains moisture, and that affects the wood. With less glue the effect is reduced, and beams become straighter. Environmental gains are significant, since we use more than eleven tons less glue per year than before. The company's costs are also reduced by SEK 237,000 a year,” Tommy Kjellberg says.

“I would think that one actually saves even more, since the power consumption of the microovens that heat the glue joints is lower,” he adds.

Suggestion of the year

Director Johan Åhlén agrees that Tommy Kjellberg's suggestion is valuable. It was named best suggestion of the year and rewarded with SEK 10,000. Tommy has worked for the company for 20 years and has presented numerous suggestions for improvements over the years.

“I'm not the inventor type,” he says.

“I just like to have things in order and contribute to smooth production.”

Saga in Nössemark leaves the Moelven family

At the turn of the year the Vida group took over Moelven's sawmill in Nössemark. Production will recommence in 2016 and be in full operation in the second half of the year.

Following negotiations, Vida AB, Sweden's largest privately-owned sawmill group, acquired the property including production equipment and movables at Moelven Nössemark Trä AB.

The new owners, represented by CEO Santhe Dahl of Vida AB, stated in December 2015 that it is a plant where the group will develop products that fit well Vida's current product range.

“Here products made exclusively from small timber will be developed. The plan is to modify the existing plant and invest in the current machinery. In stage two we will invest in processing. The combined investment will be up to SEK 250 million and will go on for approx. a year and a half. We expect to successively start production in Q3 2016 and to be fully operative in the second half of 2017. In full operation the plant will employ approx. 55 people,” Dahl explained. 

Satisfied employees

Union representative and employee representative on the company's board, Karl-Erik Andersson, was pleased with the news.

“It's very encouraging to us employees at Moelven Nössemark Trä AB that operations will continue at the sawmill. We have great hopes for the new concept. We employees are determined to do our best to create profitability in cooperation with the new owners,” Andersson concluded.

Failing profitability

CEO Morten Kristiansen of Moelven Industrier ASA reiterated the message that it is a regrettable fact, yet a correct assessment, that the board of Moelven Nössemark Trä AB earlier on in 2015 had to take the decision to discontinue operations in Dals-Ed municipality in Sweden due to failing profitability for several years.

“At the same time, we're very pleased and positive that we have reached a solution where other owners are willing to look on operations in Nössemark with a fresh pair of eyes,” the CEO commented.

Kristiansen pointed out that times have been difficult for the employees at Moelven Nössemark Trä.

“The situation has been regrettable for everyone, but worst of all for the employees at the sawmill who would have lost their jobs. We have also been aware that this process has taken its time. However, we have always worked hard at and focused on achieving an agreement with a serious industrial player who was willing to operate and develop the plant at Nössemark. Now we have achieved this,” Kristiansen said.