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Timeless and beautiful in heartwood

13 new detached homes have recently been erected in an elevated position in Voksenkollen with breathtaking views of Oslo. All the homes have Malm100 façades, and this timeless, natural material brings a softness and vitality to the exteriors.

Linolim AS is the developer of the 13 detached houses in the Åsbrekka project, while the contracting and property company, Kvadrat AS, run by brothers Hans Krøvel and Dag Badendyck, is the construction supervisor. Dag Badendyck is also an architect and has designed the homes.

“Linolim purchased the 3.5-acre plot in 2010. The zoning process has taken quite some time. Originally, the plot was a long gorge with an old house in the centre. We have used the gorge to build a basement for parking, making use of the natural landscape,” he explains.

Kvadrat has used heartwood on other earlier projects, but this is the first time they have used it on a building's façade.

We have built a number of houses with eco-friendly and sustainable materials, and this project is in a way a continuation of this. We chose Malm100 for the façades mainly because we think it is a very attractive material. It looks great and harmonises with the slate on the roofs,” continues Dag Badendyck.

“Colours were a major consideration in the design. It is not always that easy to get different colours to match. But as long as you use natural materials, they will always work together, even as they change with time. We are convinced that Malm100 is a timeless material that will last for many, many years, and will even endure changing fashions,” confirms Hans Krøvel.

Increasing demand

The raw materials for Malm100 go through several rounds of sorting at Moelven Telemarksbruket, both in the raw material warehouse and in production. Telemarksbruket processes 50,000 pine logs a year, but only less than one percent are of good enough quality to be used as Malm100.

“Several years ago, heartwood was primarily used on the leisure market, but market demand has recently increased significantly for major projects such as detached housing, schools and nursing homes. We therefore decided to develop a product where we can guarantee a 100 percent content of heartwood, Malm100,” explains Product Manager Winfried Schaal at Moelven Wood Prosjekt.

The fact that pine trees with a high duramen content are a perfect material for façades has been known for thousands of years. Heartwood does not contain any heavy metals and therefore has a completely unique environmental profile. It has natural impregnation and can therefore be used without any form of treatment or chemical processing that may harm the environment. Heartwood can be treated with ferric sulphate to provide an even colour, and this process is also free of chemical substances.

“It is very encouraging for us to see Malm100 used in an increasing number of major projects, like the one in Voksenkollen. Even though we have special sorting for Malm100, it is still one of the most reasonably priced façade products we have,” confirms Winfried Schaal.

Beautiful interplay

The detached houses in Voksenkollen will be put on the market when they are completed after the summer.

“This is an exclusive project targeting the discerning buyer, and we are confident that those who choose to live here will be people who want to enjoy the open countryside in this area. I’m sure they will also be attracted by the natural material on the façades,” explains Dag Badendyck.

“We could have used normal panelling on the façades, but this always needs maintenance after a couple of years. The fact that Malm100 is maintenance-free is yet another good sales argument,” believes Hans Krøvel.

The construction supervisors are very happy with the choice of slate on the roofs and Malm100 on the façades.

“We wanted to find contemporary yet timeless materials that match the general aesthetic appearance of the houses. It’s wonderful to see the interaction between the slate and the heartwood. It really is beautiful,” says Dag Badendyck.

Joiner and foreman from 4You Entreprenør AS, Juris Grindulis, is also delighted with Malm100. The company is a subcontractor for property developer Follohus and is responsible for building eight of the detached houses.

“This is the first time we have worked with Malm100. It is an easy material to work with and the size of the planks is good. The result is very attractive,” he says.

World-class electric guitars made from Norwegian spruce

Guitar maker Øystein Husemoen only uses Norwegian wood in his guitars, which are increasingly popular with world-famous guitarists.

Photo: Cecilie Owren

Many guitars are currently made from endangered types of tropical wood.

“I started making guitars using only Norwegian wood in 2010. I wanted to show that you don't need to use wood from the rainforest to create quality guitars,” explains Øystein Husemoen.

He has created guitars for Little Steven and Mark Knopfler.

The Moelven guitar

Using raw materials from Moelven Mjøsbruket in Biri, the guitar maker has created a unique Moelven guitar.

“I really enjoyed walking along the production line and picking out the planks I felt were best for the guitar I wanted to make,” he says. He has his workshop in Lillehammer. All the materials he purchases from sawmills must be cut as locally as possible to protect the environment.

“This is an eco-friendly guitar with a great sound,” confirms a clearly proud Marketing Director at Moelven Timber, Lars Thorsrud. The guitar was launched during the Karlstad Market Conference (Trämarknaden) in Sweden, played for the first time by Björn Ling.

Scandinavian wood with a multitude of possibilities

The boards produced at Moelven’s sawmill can be used to build both the tallest timber building in the world and world-class guitars. But what is it that makes Scandinavian wood so unique?

“In our northern climate, the trees grow more slowly than in south and east Europe. This means that we get planks that are much stronger and can take more impact. You couldn't use French spruce for a stairway, for example, because it is too soft. But planks from Scandinavian spruce have a high enough quality for such use,” confirms Lars Thorsrud.

Good start on the property ladder

On her 25th birthday, Mathilde Hveding Langmo signed the contract that makes her owner of a spacious, brand new apartment in Nittedal. She is confident that this is a good purchase, as the apartment has low living expenses, is close to the open countryside but also to Oslo centre.

Mathilde Hveding Langmo is studying religion at the University of Oslo and plans to be a teacher. She has also studied in Bergen and Uppsala and played professional bandy in Stockholm. After four years, she decided to move home to a room in the basement of her parents’ house, so she could save up for her own home. Her father, Erik Langmo, is a project developer at Moelven Byggmodul, and has worked closely on two apartment projects on the site of the old powder mill in Nittedal.

Skiing trails on her doorstep

“My dad was the one to recommend that I buy a home here. I wanted to live close to the countryside, and now I can step outside my door, put on my skis and go skiing on trails through the forest nearby. Another huge advantage is that it's only 17 minutes by train to Nydalen and 23 minutes to Oslo central station. The journey I have now to the city centre on the Holmenkollen train is longer than that,” she says.

Mathilde can move in to her 59-square-metre apartment in November.

“I’ve already bought a new bed and sofa. I’m confident that this is a good investment for the future, and can't wait to move in. I’ve got a good gut feeling about it,” she says. Her father Erik Langmo explains that the apartment is a good purchase primarily because of the financial side.

“She has used her BSU account, which is a home savings scheme for young people, as part of her equity, and got a loan from Husbanken at a very reasonable interest rate.”

An investment

“Students in Oslo often have to pay NOK 14,000 a month to rent an old and worn apartment. Mathilde will be living in a spacious and comfortable apartment but only pay NOK 4,000 net per month in living expenses.

In other words, it’s an amazing investment,” her father confirms.

Moelven ByggModul was contacted by the developer Morthen Bakke AS to see what could be made of the two plots of land in Nittedal.

“They wanted a good mix of different apartment sizes. Based on their order, we contracted an architect to design five four-storey buildings for two projects, Skogtunet and Skoglia. The total number of apartments ended up as 132, and their size varies from 43 to 85 square metres,” explains Erik Langmo.

Made from modules

The apartment modules are built at Moelven ByggModul's factory and transported as complete to the building sites.

“The modules are 3.98 metres wide and can therefore be transported by road without the need for a police escort. This also keeps the sales price down,” he explains. “The foundations for building A in Skogtunet have now been laid, and the modules have been completed at the factory,” Erik Langmo confirms, and emphasises that Mathilde has not benefited in any way from having her father working for Moelven ByggModul.

Popular on the market

The need for rational and efficient homes in areas surrounding the major cities is on the rise. The huge pressure on the housing market, particularly in Oslo, has prompted many to look for homes outside the capital city. The apartments in Skogtunet and Skoglia in Nittedal sold out long before they were completed.

“These projects are designed so that the sales price can be kept relatively low. The price per square metre is much lower than in Oslo,” explains estate agent Tom Z. Bliksmark from Nyeboliger AS, the estate agent for both Skogtunet and Skoglia.

The projects have been adapted to fulfil Husbanken's requirements, so the home buyers can benefit from good financing solutions.

“When house prices are as high as they are now in central areas, it is natural for people to look for homes in less central areas. We believe that this type of project is a good response to demand, and the speed at which the apartments sold out is confirmation of this,” he says.

The new home owners in Nittedal are a mix of young students and older people who want to move in to a new apartment.

“As long as the market remains in its current state, I am confident there will be an increasing demand for this type of project,” says Tom Z. Bliksmark.

The tallest timber building in the world, built in Norway

Investor and building owner Arthur Buchardt believes that Mjøstårnet tower is the closest you can get to a skyscraper made of wood and will set a new standard for wooden buildings.

Mjøstårnet will be more than 80 metres tall, with 18 floors housing apartments, a swimming pool, a hotel, offices, a restaurant and common areas. When erected, it will be 30 metres taller than the building currently designated the world’s tallest wooden building.

“The construction and erection of the tower will be a world-class piece of engineering. Working at such heights makes the project very complex. Assembly will take place without external scaffolding. This requires construction work with cranes and lifts. At the time of writing, we have reached a height of 33 metres, and have 48 metres left,” confirms Arthur Buchardt.

Eco-friendly timber

Arthur Buchardt claims to have documentation showing that wooden buildings are kind to the environment:

“Studies conducted by a project group set up by the Norwegian road authorities to investigate the possibility of building the world’s longest wooden bridge over Mjøsa lake show that building with wood rather than concrete can provide a reduction in CO2 emissions of up to 30 percent. No specific figures have been compiled for Mjøstårnet, however.”

Local products are important

Arthur Buchardt also believes it is important to make use of local products sourced from the nearby forests.

“The timber we are using is cut locally and processed into wonderful construction materials. We also make use of local expertise. This combined with our goal to reduce the volume of CO2 in the air makes our project into a positive and valuable story. The story would not be the same if we were building the same building in Malmö. Local products and local expertise therefore represent a significant dimension for Mjøstårnet. All the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle fit,” he explains.

International standard

Arthur Buchardt believes that the developments in the automobile industry will soon be evident in the building industry.

“In 15 years’ time, it will be illegal to manufacture and sell cars that run on fossil fuels. Eco-friendly materials will become a statutory standard worldwide,” he claims.

Arthur Buchardt has found inspiration in the Paris Agreement.

“I suddenly saw the light. My aim with this project is to send an important message. By building with wood, we can help our planet breathe easier.”

Hoping to inspire others

Arthur Buchardt hopes that his ambition to build the world's tallest wooden building will inspire others.

“With Mjøstårnet, we can now demonstrate that it is possible to build large, complex buildings in wood. The new Norwegian Government Quarter in Oslo, still in its planning stages, could become an international landmark for wooden constructions,” he believes.

Transforming good ideas into reality

Whenever new Moelven products are launched by building material merchants, you are almost guaranteed that they have been developed by Tjalling Chaudron. He is responsible for product development and innovation at Moelven Wood AB.

Moelven Wood has its own development group to capture ideas and suggestions, and to choose where the company shall invest its development resources.

“Just now, I am working on a number of projects, including the development of a new type of film-coated plywood. We are currently inundated with cheap products from countries such as China. We are critical of the properties, environmental impact and production processes for such products, and are confident that there is room for a competitive plywood board from Sweden on the market. This is one important reason why we have to make developments to our own product, which has been around for a long time and has become a classic,” explains Tjalling Chaudron.

“We are working on around thirty different ideas right now, and I am involved in some of them. We receive suggestions from consumers, carpenters, building material merchants and Moelven's own production, our sales representatives and product managers. The development group is made up of employees who are in close contact with the market and who know which products are most in demand and which products need to be launched first. We work in close cooperation with production employees on development projects,” says Tjalling Chaudron.

Numerous requirements

One such new product, launched in the autumn of 2016 and previously absent from Moelven's product range, is panelling with secret nailing. Tjalling Chaudron was assigned the task of designing this panelling so that it would be strong, easy to use and inexpensive in production.

“After some deliberation, I ended up with panelling where you nail into the tongue. To keep the nails hidden, you make the groove shorter so the tongue penetrates farther into the next board and hides the head of the nail. This turned out to be the best solution,” he explains.

Computers and an advanced CAD program make the work much easier:

“The capacity to design everything in 3D is a great opportunity to investigate the details from different angles and make sure it all works. This panel was developed exclusively on a computer screen.

The new product is planed at Moelven Notnäs and painted at the factory in Säffle. It is sold under the Plain brand name (panelling with gap between boards) and is on sale in both Sweden and Norway.

Practical experience

Tjalling Chaudron is an innovation and design engineer and has also worked as a carpenter. Experience from manual carpentry, his education within design and a large portion of creativity enable him to capture good ideas and use them to further develop existing products or create new ones. Although I spend a lot of time working at the computer, products have to be tested in practice at Moelven's factories.

“We are also working on a project to test how different types of surface treatment work on cladding. The products all have different properties and vary in resistance to moisture. We have assembled a test wall that will be left standing for at least one year, so that we can see how well the different products protect the cladding.”

Right price

Tjalling Chaudron’s job also involves cooperating with Moelven’s key account managers to monitor new trends and the activities of competitors. When this type of work, combined with ideas the development group agree on, result in the development of a new product, Tjalling Chaudron has to keep numerous factors in mind:

“It’s not just a question of the product itself. We have to create packaging, plan production and delivery and find the right price. A product has to be reasonably priced if we are to launch it on the market,” he concludes.

The digital sawmill – technology for a new century

Moelven Valåsen AB is leading the way in the development of production technology for a new century in the sawmill industry. A two-year project has been initiated to increase the scope of digitalisation and shall result in an increased level of utilisation and reduced energy consumption.

“Ultimately, the project involves strengthening the competitiveness of the entire Swedish branch internationally,” explains Technical Director Peter Rockedahl in Moelven's Timber division.

Electronics have been an important part of modern sawmills for some time now. A large number of sensors and cameras record the work flow and, to a certain degree, control sawmill production. The project entitled “The smart digital sawmill” aims to interconnect these sensors, so that all the data collected by the sensors can be studied in correlation and better exploited than at present. There shall also be an increase in the number of sensors and senders installed.

Three objectives

The objective with the project is not digitalisation as it is traditionally understood – where computerisation replaces human resources. The benefits provided by this form of digitalisation will be realised differently, according to Peter Rockedahl.

“We have established three objectives. Firstly, we aim to increase availability at the sawmill by 15 percent. We plan to achieve this by minimising changeover time and non-scheduled shut-downs, partly by developing a system that sounds an alarm in plenty of time before a technical problem occurs. There are patterns to be found in the function of machines and if you receive an early warning from the system of a breach in these patterns, the employees can take action and prevent break-down. We hope that this will increase the amount of production time that creates value.

The second objective is to increase the level of utilisation by 10 percent. By collecting data from all the sensors on the production line and merging them into one system where they can be analysed in detail, we expect to make better use of our timber than at present. This will provide both higher quality products and increased profitability. The third objective is for analyses of data from production to result in measures that minimise energy consumption at the sawmills by around 10 percent.”

Improved traceability

Peter Rockedahl goes on to say that the data collected also helps improve traceability. The data shows exactly which log each plank comes from, also providing improvements to the efficiency of internal quality work. In the long term, this technology can be used to make advances in raw material sorting, thereby covering the end customer’s need for sawn timber with special properties.

“We will also be able to see how the saw line functions when sawing different types of logs, and the system will tell us if we are making optimal use of each log. This can help us make changes to production in the long term to provide further improvements to both efficiency and quality assurance. This is very positive for the sawmills – but also for the forest owners who supply our raw materials, and for the customer who buys sawn timber, as it will have a positive impact on their financial results and the quality of their operations,” confirms Peter Rockedahl. The key to achieving these goals is the capacity to collect and analyse vast volumes of data. A modern sawmill has many electronic support systems monitoring and controlling production flow. The next move is to get the different systems to communicate so that data from each part of the sawmill line can be utilised to the maximum. These measures will not have an impact on the tasks assigned to production personnel.

A boost for the entire industry

The objective for “The smart digital sawmill” project is primarily to increase efficiency at Moelven Valåsen AB and, in time, the other sawmills in the Group. In the long term however, the project aims to retain and boost the competitiveness of Swedish sawmills on the global market. The project has therefore received financial support from the governmental body Vinnova, which aims to help ensure that Sweden remains one of the leading nations within research and development. In addition to Moelven Valåsen AB, the project also comprises RISE (Research Institutes of Sweden, a business combination of the industrial research institutes Inventia, SP Sveriges Tekniska Forskningsinstitut and Swedish ICT) in addition to RemaSawco, involved in technical solutions for the sawmill industry, and the French company Schneider Electric. A group of ten persons from the different parties involved work directly on the two-year project. The project was launched in connection with the Wood Products and Technology trade fair (Trä & Teknik) in Gothenburg in 2016, and its results will be presented the next time the trade fair is arranged, in 2018.

We have closed the large energy gap

Moelven Valåsen AB has taken important action to prevent wasting energy and become as climate-smart as possible. This is not just a question of turning off the light when you leave a room but making changes where they really count. The most natural solution was to invest in a new and upgraded drier.

Text: Anne Wennberg  Photo: Fartein Rudjord

Valåsen has seen two major upheavals in recent years: the new construction and renovation of the driers, including a new control system for continuous maintenance, and a true revolution with the digitalisation of the sawmill.

“From 2009 to 2017, we have achieved a reduction in our consumption of thermal energy from 346 kW per m3 of finished goods, to 285 kW. With the knowledge that our driers represent approximately 80 percent of energy consumption, it was not that difficult to decide that this was where we have to make changes,” explains Peter Rockedahl, Technical Director in the Timber Division.

High goals for research collaboration

Peter Rockedahl emphasises how important these changes were, but also praises the skills of the company’s employees who work with the driers and now have to monitor the new maintenance requirements. With the new equipment, the company can now operate 24 hours a day, providing a substantial boost to production.

“We are studying the entire flow of energy in the company, but the driers had to come first. We can't just have policies with symbolic value,” underlines Moelven Valåsen's Director, Fredrik Wallenstad.

He firmly agrees with Peter Rockedahl in that major environmental gains are achieved when the action taken is also economically beneficial. A company cannot survive on idealism alone. The best incentive for a company to achieve climate-related goals is increased productivity combined with more earnings. For the CSR objective, “We have climate-smart products and services”, the most important goal is to reduce power consumption by eight percent by 2020. The company in Valåsen is well on its way to achieving this goal and has introduced even more ambitious targets.

“We aim to increase process efficiency by 15 percent and reduce power consumption by 10 percent by August of this year. We may not achieve these goals, but we shall be able to demonstrate action taken to achieve them. We have close collaboration with several research institutes in Sweden, as this is something we cannot manage on our own,” explains Fredrik Wallenstad.

Knowledge and culture for sharing

Moelven Valåsen has installed a total of 300 energy meters throughout the facility to measure energy savings. The digitalisation of Moelven's largest sawmill has also provided a number of other improvements, resulting in better process monitoring, quality control and, not least, better exploitation of materials.

“The more we know about the raw materials we source from forests, the more we can optimise the quality of the products we process and reduce power consumption during production,” explains Peter Rockedahl. A digitalised sawmill provides new and valuable information on raw materials, which we have to exploit as far as possible. A lot has been achieved, but there is still a lot to learn.

The company is collecting vast volumes of data that appear on the operators’ screens, and both Wallenstad and Rockedahl agree that it can be a bit too much, which is counter-productive. The company therefore plans to improve control of the data sent to each operator, ensuring that important information appears when something special occurs. The interaction between all the new technology and the employees is an important area for Moelven Valåsen AB:

“We want our employees to feel a sense of ownership over their work, and to learn from each other.  We have different forums where the professionals can meet to discuss issues, and management also participates in the meetings. A culture for sharing is something we want to promote,” confirms Peter Rockedahl.

Knowledge has to be shared not just within the company – Moelven's collaboration with major, important research institutes involves a commitment to share knowledge with the rest of the industry. Fredrik Wallenstad can confirm that they write articles and take part in seminars and trade shows to spread new knowledge.

A good start for engineers

The wood working industry is becoming increasingly high-tech, and Moelven is seeking to recruit engineers with expertise within production technology. They are therefore introducing a trainee programme for recently graduated engineers.

Text: Sissel Fantoft

Photo: Fartein Rudjord

As with most other industrial companies, Moelven has a strong focus on digitalisation and automation, or what is known as “Industry 4.0”.

“It is clear to us that we are going to need more engineers than before. We already have engineers who design and carry out calculations for us, but we will need more engineering expertise related to production,” explains Emma Østerbø, competencies consultant.

“People are our most important resource. No matter how much we invest in machinery and equipment, we will never be better than our employees. We have therefore decided to invest in training skilled workers and apprentices, in addition to engineers,” she adds.

Stiff competition for engineers

Moelven has already recruited several new engineers. From the autumn, we will be introducing eight to ten newly qualified engineers to a trainee programme that will last one and a half years.

“We are looking for engineers from both technical college and University. There is stiff competition for engineers on the current labour market. We therefore have to make sure that we are an attractive employer and workplace. This is one of the reasons behind our investment in the trainee programme,” explains Emma Østerbø.

The programme is part of the efforts to support Moelven's competencies strategy.

“The new engineers who will be accepted to the programme will work at Moelven's companies in both Sweden and Norway.  We plan to establish a customised programme for each candidate, and they will spend nine months each at two different locations,” she explains.

A young group and unique knowledge of the industry

Once the trainee programme has concluded, the plan is for the candidates to remain employees at Moelven.

“It is a huge advantage to gain work experience from two different workplaces over a period of 18 months. In addition, the candidates will be part of the competencies programme, comprising all the apprentices and trainees in Moelven, where they receive training covering the entire value chain, from Timber and Wood to Building Systems. They will gain an insight into different markets and customer segments – a unique bird’s eye perspective of the timber industry,” confirms Emma Østerbø.

Being part of a group of other new recruits, all at the same stage of life and age, is also a huge benefit.

“Every quarter, we will bring the trainees together, and I believe they will enjoy getting to know each other and sharing their experiences. Moelven has a wide geographical dispersion and it is great to get to know people you may be working with later on in different parts of the organisation,” she confirms.

An open organisation

Karoline Røste Omdahl (23) and Dennis Afonso Pettersen (23) are two of the new engineers who have made a good start on their careers, with Moelven Limtre. Both graduated from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) in Gjøvik and started working for Moelven Limtre two days after receiving their diplomas.

“I’ve always been interested in working with wood. Moelven visited us at the NTNU and I thought it seemed an exciting place to work. I have no regrets about applying to work for Moelven,” confirms Dennis Afonso Pettersen, who is currently working with dimensioning.

Karoline Røste Omdahl has been recruited as a sales engineer.

“We have been welcomed with open arms, and every day at work is very interesting. I can definitely see myself working for Moelven for many years to come,” she claims,

and Dennis agrees.

“The people here are great to work with and have so much knowledge. And the organisation is so open – you can just go straight to the Director’s office and ask him anything, and I like that,” he confirms.

An important workplace

Moelven Vänerply AB is located in Otterbäcken, in the tiny municipality of Gullspånge nearby Vänern Lake. Job satisfaction at the company is high, and many of the employees have worked there for years. The company's close ties with the local community are a major part of activities. Wherever possible, materials and services are purchased locally.

Text: Anne Wennberg 

Photo: Fartein Rudjord

The company has around 140 employees and is recruiting a further 12 in the spring. This will probably bring down the average age at the company and encourages young people to stay in their home village. The company’s plywood panels, produced in a range of dimensions, are very popular. Moelven Vänerply AB is the largest private employer in the municipality. Project manager and maintenance supervisor Arne Carlström is clearly proud of the factory where he has worked since 1975:

“This is an important workplace and a lot of people depend on it, not just the employees but the people who provide us with transport services and who benefit from our policy to purchase goods locally. We buy the ingredients used to make the glue for production in Kristinehamn, then mix the glue ourselves. We use the water for cleaning the machines to help mix the glue. Nothing goes to waste or is discharged as pollutants to our environment. We also generate our own energy from production and have minimal heat discharge. We do our utmost to purchase timber locally.”

Protecting Vänern Lake

The company's environmental strategy is a key part of activities and has close links with the employees, around 90 percent of whom live in the municipality. With such close ties to the local community, there is no point in taking shortcuts. The water pumped up from Vänern Lake and used to water the timber is collected, purified then transported back to the lake.

“We have to protect Vänern Lake,” confirms Arne Carlström.

The company has a very low turnaround in staff, and many employees have been awarded a gold watch for 30 years of service.

Part of the company’s culture is to allow people to grow within the system. In return, the company gains loyal employees. “I started working on the shop floor, was promoted to foreman then other positions before gaining my current job with the company. I am partly self-taught but have also been sent on a number of courses by the company,” explains Arne Carlström.

Supporting local sports

The company also applies its policy of supporting the local community to sponsorship. The management has decided that all sponsorship support will go to children and young people involved in sports in the local community.

Gyms and various sports clubs benefit from the company's generosity. In principle, the company provides financial support, but can also contribute with materials to help renovate or build new premises for sports clubs. Arne Carlström explains that this support frequently benefits the children and grandchildren of the company's employees. 

A quick tour of the production facility only serves to support the impression of a workplace where the employees are happy, and where the next generation is attracted to follow in their parents’ and grandparents’ footsteps. The company has a 30 percent ratio of female employees, an impressive statistic for this type of industry.

There can be no doubt that Moelven Vänerply AB creates local value – both in the present and for the future.

Why did you choose to work for Moelven Vänerply?

Juhani Perttula, lathe operator:

“I’ve been here since 1983 and enjoy my work. I live close by and have great colleagues. Having such an important employer in the community is important for encouraging young people to stay in the village. Both my son and wife work here too.”

Susann Johansson, forklift driver:

“I started working here 25 years ago, then took time off to have children and came back. I really enjoy my job. My husband used to work here, but he’s a lorry driver now and works for the transport company used by Moelven. I would strongly recommend the younger generation to apply for work here.”

Niklas Kjellberg, glue operator:

“I’ve been here for two years and really enjoy working here. The salary is good, and I have great colleagues. Both my mother and uncle work here too.”

Investing in smart recycling

Moelven Modus’ office designs provide office spaces that can be dismantled and re-assembled according to the users’ needs. With the rapid rate of change on the labour market, these solutions are both flexible and eco-friendly.

Text: Sissel Fantoft

Photo: Fartein Rudjord

Every year, Moelven Modus carries out approximately 2,000 office projects. Ever since the early 1960s, our office solutions have been designed so that they can be dismantled and reassembled.

“Recycling is an integral part of the products’ DNA. With the increasing focus on the environment in recent years, we have witnessed a stronger focus on recycling of materials,” explains Marketing Director Peder Welander in Moelven Modus.

Previously, when a company had to change office layout due to e.g. reorganisation, it was common to throw out the old office furnishings and buy new. Now, an increasing number of companies aim to recycle as much material and equipment as possible.

“From an environmental perspective, we basically can no longer afford to throw away something just because it has been used.  As long as the products have properties that allow them to be reused and people are aware of the advantages to be gained and are willing to recycle, then this market segment has vast potential,” he claims.

Circular scheme

Moelven Modus’ products are designed for a lifetime of 30 years. However, the working methods currently prevalent in a large number of companies are changing rapidly.

“It has now been established that the building industry represents 70 percent of all resource utilisation, and this is a clear indication that we all have to find new ways of thinking. Our contribution is to design office solutions that can easily be amended and adapted to new requirements, without the customer having to throw out existing furnishings and buy new,” explains Peder Welander.

For large companies, our designs allow for complete recycling of most of Moelven Modus’ products in new solutions. Smaller companies could for example join forces in a circular scheme, allowing them to exchange materials with each other.

“We are studying the potential for new business models that will allow us to cater even more for this demand,” explains Peder Welander.

Substantial change

In 2011, Moelven Modus fitted out a large office building in Uppsala centre, where Uppsala municipality rents 80 percent of the office space.

“We have been involved in several rounds of rebuilding and have been able to recycle the original materials and adapt them to new workspaces, from cellular offices to activity-based workspaces. Excess material has been used for sound insulation in the ceilings and walls,” explains Department Manager Lars Nyberg at Moelven Modus’ department in Uppsala.

Anna Malmquist is the project manager for governmental property management in Uppsala municipality, and is very happy with the result.

“Since we moved in to the building in 2012, we have been on a journey of substantial change, and have made major amendments to the way we work. It would be a terrible shame if we had to throw out the office furnishings every time we made a change, and bought new,” she confirms.

Energy and focus

Today, none of the municipal employees in the building have their own workspaces.

“Every morning when we get to work, we ask ourselves three questions: What do I have to do today? Who will I be working with? Which workspace is most suited to the work I have today? Our working method has changed drastically since we moved into the building six years ago. And as a result, we needed a different type of office furnishings. We have recycled as much as possible of the furnishings, office chairs, monitors and desks, and it has been more successful than we ever could have imagined,” confirms Anna Malmquist.

“There's no doubt that most companies are now taking steps towards workspaces that are more activity-based, as with Uppsala municipality. Flexible office solutions make it simple to create energy and provide focus at the workplace. This helps reduce costs and protects the environment at the same time,” states Peder Welander.