Strong Nano Tech Wood Nears Production
December 13, 2011 | 12:07 pm CST

MONTREAL - Nano technology will soon enter the wood products lexicon, as CelluForce starts up its first plant. Super wood products spun from NanoCrystallin Cellulose (NCC), could include jumbo jets, bridges as well as fabrics and electronics. 

CelluForce was formed as a joint venture by forestry and paper firm Domtar Corp. and FPInnovations. For the last eight weeks, CelluForce has been progressively starting up the equipment for the first ever large-scale production of NCC.

Nanomaterials consist of particles or fibers smaller in dimension than the width of a human hair, which combine to form extremely strong yet lightweight materials. 

The first CelluForce products, which go under the brand names of CelluForce Impact and CelluForce Allure, will be produced in state-of-the-art facilities located at Domtar's pulp and paper plant in Windsor, Quebec. Construction extended over a fourteen-month period. It required a total investment of $36M including the financial participation of both the Federal and Québec governments.

Strong Nano Tech Wood Nears Production"Wood pulp is being delivered to the plant to test the new equipment and we are making progress on a daily basis," says CEO Jean Moreau. While furniture and particleboard are not on the dawing boards, Moreau says nano-based materials could find their way into many markets.

Montreal-based CelluForce has a workforce of 30 employees operating the first manufacturing plant for NanoCrystalline Cellulose in the world. The 25 involved in production and development since June 2011 went through intensive training sessions, says Rene Goguen, VP manufacturing, "to ensure they were ready to start up the specialized equipment, most of which was custom-built." 

Trials integrating NanoCrystalline Cellulose into the manufacturing process of different products are currently taking place, says Moreau, who says he expects to sign initial contracts soon.

Recyclable and renewable, the cellulose derived nano materials improve strength, durability and toughness, and can reduce damage caused by wear, abrasion and light. It can be incorporated into systems to make structures that are light reflective (tunable from ultraviolet to infrared), impermeable to gas and stable over time. Moreau says the advanced material derived from wood fiber will lead to commercial applications largely exceeding those of traditional wood fibre products.


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About the author
Bill Esler | ConfSenior Editor

Bill wrote for, FDMC and Closets & Organized Storage magazines. 

Bill's background includes more than 10 years in print manufacturing management, followed by more than 30 years in business reporting on industrial manufacturing in the forest products industries, including printing and packaging at American Printer (Features Editor) and Graphic Arts Monthly (Editor in Chief) magazines; and in secondary wood manufacturing for

Bill was deeply involved with the launches of the Woodworking Network Leadership Forum, and the 40 Under 40 Awards programs. He currently reports on technology and business trends and develops conference programs.

In addition to his work as a journalist, Bill supports efforts to expand and improve educational opportunities in the manufacturing sectors, including 10 years on the Print & Graphics Scholarship Foundation; six years with the U.S. WoodLinks; and currently on the Woodwork Career Alliance Education Committee. He is also supports the Greater West Town Training Partnership Woodworking Program, which has trained more than 950 adults for industrial wood manufacturing careers. 

Bill volunteers for Foinse Research Station, a biological field station staddling the border of Ireland and Northern Ireland, one of more than 200 members of the Organization of Biological Field Stations.