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Cross Laminated Timber: Invented 100 Years Ago in the USA!

Early bird registrations for Timber Offsite Construction close Monday, 21st of August 2023.


Mon 21 Aug 23

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It is not readily known, but today marks the 100th anniversary of the cross laminated timber patent.

According to Andrew Dunn, host of the Timber Offsite Construction conference, “Cross laminated timber is often thought to be a modern technology.”

“But the patent describing the technology was published on this day, 100 years ago!”

Cross laminated timber, or CLT, is a mass timber product that uses layers of kiln-dried dimension wood oriented at right angles to one another and then glued to form structural panels. 

The panel delivers excellent structural rigidity in both directions by glueing layers of wood at right angles.

Footage courtesy of @WoodSolutionsAustralia.

The patent, from August 21, 1923, calls for the following:

“The strips or boards thus formed are then out into suitable lengths, and such lengths are then superimposed one above the other to form a plurality of layers, with the grain of the wood in one layer running at an angle to the grain of the wood in the adjacent layer.”

Also, contrary to popular belief, according to Mr Dunn, CLT was invented in the USA, not Europe!

Frank J Wars and Robert Watts were behind the patent, both citizens from Tacoma, Piece in Washington State. 

According to the archive, “they (had) invented a (certain) new and useful Improvement in Composite Lumber, of which the following is a specification.”

In June, Wood Central reported that the global CLT will triple over the next seven years, reaching USD 4.24 billion by 2030 from USD 1.66 billion, according to a report published by Quince Market Insights.

The report, which uses data from 12 leading CLT manufacturers, forecasts an acceleration in global demand in North America and Europe, with growing demand in the Asia Pacific region fuelled by Australia, Japan, China, and India.

Several CLT buildings are commissioned every day in every corner of the world.

According to the report, the market is growing at 14.3%, with capital investment in new production plants driving increased production.

Last week, Wood Central reported that NeXTimber would join Xlam, Cusp and more than 20 importers supplying the Australian market.

The Timberlink team holding the very first GLT beam produced on its newly commissioned GLT line. Left to right: Chief Marketing, Sales & Corporate Affairs Officer David Oliver, CEO Ian Tyson, CLT/GLT Operations Manager Patrick Dark, Major Strategic Projects Manager Ranabir Ghose, NeXTimber Project Manager David Gittins, Chief Manufacturing Officer Jodie Murdoch, Production Manager Brian Murphy.
The Timberlink team is holding the first GLT beam produced on its newly commissioned GLT line. It will start manufacturing CLT panels from October 2023. Left to right: Chief Marketing, Sales & Corporate Affairs Officer David Oliver, CEO Ian Tyson, CLT/GLT Operations Manager Patrick Dark, Major Strategic Projects Manager Ranabir Ghose, NeXTimber Project Manager David Gittins, Chief Manufacturing Officer Jodie Murdoch, Production Manager Brian Murphy.

New Zealand is already home to one of the world’s largest CLT plants; Red Stagg’s TimberLab and Oji Fibre Solutions Kinleith Mill are looking to install a CLT plant following an announcement by the NZ Government.

Now in its 24th year, Timber Offsite Construction is one of three international conferences focused on timber-based prefabrication and offsite construction.

Mr Dunn told Wood Central the program targets design professionals looking at the design and construction of timber buildings. 

Running from September 11 and 12 at the Crown Promenade in Melbourne, Mr Dunn said the conference promises to be bigger and better than ever!

“The primary focus is on commercial-ready applications of timber technology,” Mr Dunn said.

“The program and speakers are the most impressive of all previous TOC conferences,” he said. 

St Lukes Health's new Launceston headquarters is taking shape. After 'topping out' last month, it was recently featured by ABC News in a story looking at the adoption of mass timber in mid-rise and high-rise construction. (Supplied: Fairbrother)
St Lukes Health’s new Launceston headquarters is taking shape. After ‘topping out’ last month, the project features 961 cubic metres of Xlam CLT. (Supplied: Fairbrother)

Early bird registrations close Monday, August 21, so book quickly!

Amongst speakers include Andrew Ball, president of oWoW, the developer behind the USA’s first post and plate high-rise development. Mr Ball will present the use of post and plate (point-supported) high-rise timber buildings he is developing in California.

Rounding out the conference program are two iconic building case studies, Murdoch University Boola Katitjin building in Perth and Hines T3 Collingwood 15-storey timber building in Melbourne.

Author

  • Wood Central

    Wood Central is Australia’s first and only dedicated platform covering wood-based media across all digital platforms. Our vision is to develop an integrated platform for media, events, education, and products that connect, inform, and inspire the people and organisations who work in and promote forestry, timber, and fibre.

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