ATLANTA - Arauco North America will invest $30 million to grow the particleboard and thermally fused laminate (TFL) capacity at its mill in Bennettsville, SC. The new technology is expected to be in place by the fourth quarter.

Arauco said increased dryer capacity will help it to improve its particleboard production by 60 million ft2, on a 3/4-inch basis annually. The company says the project also will "improve the plant's flexibility to source a broader range of raw material in response to regional changes in the wood supply mix."

Arauco also will add a high-tech fast-cycle press for TFL production. The company said the  installation will add to its three existing fast-cycle TFL presses in the region, while offering higher throughput, faster change-over capabilities, higher pressure for deep textures and paper alignment technology for registered emboss designs. 

News that the Arauco Board of Directors approved the capital projects was announced January 26.

"These capacity and value-add investments translate into improved product sourcing options for our customers, and in turn, generate additional long-term jobs for this manufacturing complex and the Bennettsville community at large," stated Mike Reardon, regional manufacturing director.

Based in Santiago Chile, Arauco manufactures composite wood and TFL panels,  plywood, millwork, lumber and pulp procured from company-owned and managed forests throughout South America. Arauco's North American headquarters are in Atlanta, GA. The company consolidated its Canadian and U.S. operations in July 2014.

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