Plywood Manufacturing and Raw Materials
Plywood makes for one of the most common and widely used materials in the construction industry. Be it a commercial building, residential space, or interior designing, plywood has an important role to play. The varied features of plywood allow it to be used in different environments and make it highly desirable. Plywood has proven to have multiple benefits such as durability, strength, low prices, eco-friendly nature, and personalized usage that makes it popular raw material in houses and buildings. The rise in popularity and demand for plywood has led to plywood suppliers bringing new and innovative variations of the plywood to match the contemporary needs.
Plywood is prepared by joining three or more thin layers of wood bonded together. Each individual layer of wood or ply is placed in a manner to have its grain running at right angles to the next layer so that the shrinkage is minimum with extreme strength for the plywood. A major part of the plywood produced is pressed to form large flat sheets that are used in construction. Some of the other areas of application for plywood include furniture, boats, and aircraft.
The outermost layers of plywood are known as the face and back. The surface that is used or seen is known as the face while the back remains unused or hidden from sight. The center layer of the plywood is known as the core and the intermediate layers are known as crossbands in plywood that have five layers or more.
Plywood can be prepared from softwood, hardwood, or a combination of both. Some of the common hardwoods used as a raw material include ash, mahogany, maple, oak, and teak. On the other hand, the various types of softwoods used are pine, cedar, spruce, and redwood. The core of composite plywood composes of particleboard or solid pieces of lumber that are joined from one edge to another. The finishing includes the use of a plywood veneer as the face and back. Composite plywood is used in places that require thick plywood sheets.
Plywood is made from trees that are smaller in diameter as compared to the trees used to produce lumber. In most cases, these trees are planted and grown inland and compounds owned by the plywood companies. The areas are managed in a way to minimize damage due to insects and ensure full growth.
The process of manufacturing plywood involves the following steps:
1. Felling the trees: The trees are felled and cut into logs. Once they reach the plywood manufacturing unit they are stacked in the log decks.
2. Preparing the log: The logs are taken to the debarking machine to remove the bark. Post this they are cut into 8 ft-4 in long sections. These sections are known as peeler blocks.
3. Making the veneer: The peeler blocks undergo a number of procedures such as steaming or immersing in hot water before the veneer sheets are peeled off the blocks.
4. Forming the plywood sheets: With the appropriate layer of veneers finalized for particular plywood, the process of placing layers of wood and gluing them together begins. These glued sheets are then processed through a number of machines and techniques to increase their strength and durability.
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