Australia’s largest particleboard manufacturer is expanding capacity, with Borg Manufacturing subsidiary Australian Panels investing in a new line that will produce 650,000 cubic metres per year from 2025.
To be located in Mount Gambier, the new facility will include a Siempelkamp continuous line and support previous investments, which in December 2018 saw the country’s largest continuous particleboard plant open in Oberon, NSW.
Significantly, it will be the fifth plant to use Siempelkamp‘s technology, with Samiron Mondal, Managing Director of Siempelkamp Group, pleased to complete “the Big Five” of its plant portfolio.
“Being involved in a project of this scale is a great compliment for everyone in our group,” he said overnight.
Particleboard, or chipboard, is a manufactured wood made from compressed wood particles – including wood residues, forest thinnings and wood waste from processing.
It is a low-cost and strongly bonded general-purpose board used in various applications, including furniture, cabinetry, flooring, and construction and is used in 50% of all IKEA furniture products.
Whilst upwards of 70% of Laminated Veneer Lumber, Plywood and Oriented Strand Board is imported from overseas, and more than 90% of particleboard is grown, manufactured and sold through Australian supply chains.
As reported last week, Australia has a shrinking forest plantation estate, with Australian Panels now working with Borg Manufacturing subsidiary Pine Plantation Products to boost available reforestation on private land.
Boosting capacity is also critical for future housing supply, with the Australian government grappling with housing shortages caused by increased population – which in some parts of the country has been described as a “population bomb.”
As the country’s leading manufacturer of board products for all joinery and structural flooring applications, the new plant will produce raw and decorative products, including shelving, components, doors, flooring, and pre-finished panels.
In 2018, Borg Manufacturing obtained the Mount Gambier particleboard facility from Cater Holt Harvey in an acquisition which allowed the company to produce particleboard for the first time – with a Melamine press line in the years after the acquisition.
In addition to Mount Gambier, Australian Panels manufactures Thermolamined cabinet doors, operates a warehouse and board facility, has an MDF and particleboard facility across three NSW sites and has a high-pressure laminate production facility in Malaysia.
The case for particleboard
Particleboard is a vital part of IKEA’s Forest Positive Agenda – which seeks to make responsible forest management the norm, halt deforestation and “drive innovation to use wood in smarter ways.”
For IKEA, particleboard is the primary driver of a greener and more sustainable furniture industry because “particleboard uses all the pieces of wood which are left over from the production line or are not suitable for solid wood products – even the sawdust – and turns them into a whole new wood-based material.”
“And the best part? When a particleboard-based product reaches the end of its life, it can be recycled and used all over again.”
Today, IKEA’s average share of recycled material in particleboard is 25-30%, “and some of our suppliers are already only producing particleboard made from recycled wood.”
By 2030, it aims to ensure that at least 80% of our particle board uses recycled wood.