Delignit, a composite panel material based on beechwood, is finding a broad range of applications, including a transportation flooring system for high speed rail cars being rolled out by Hitachi in the U.K.

The Blomberg, Germany firm Delignit AG develops, manufactures and sells ecological products and system solutions based on its natural wood material Delignit, selling a formable panel material that it says is lighter than metal and yet sufficiently strong for many uses. Versions of Delignit, which has been manufactured since the 1930s, are used in interiors of strucks, as fittings in the loading areas of transporters,

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wall paneling in opera houses, floors on rail vehicles, sound posts in pianos, and in security counters at banks.

On the Hitachi deal, the total order for Delignit AG spread out over the next few years is valued at a half-million Euros. The first three pre-series trains go into operation this year; a total 866 train cars will be converted.

The Delignit system floors made of beechwood fibers meets the high technical requirements for public transportation in high speed trains. In addition to its strength and weight advantages is also meets requirements for fire protection and sound insulation.

Delignit says its beech-based materials are characterized by special technical and mechanical properties (e.g. they are resistant to wear and abrasion, dimensionally stable and possess high breaking loads).

"Beech is one of the toughest and strongest types of wood," the company says. "Pound for pound, it only weighs 1/10 of construction steel but possesses 1/3 of its strength." As a wood product it also also sequesters CO2 (carbon dioxide). Delignit notes that one cubic meter of wood will absorb almost one ton of carbon dioxide.

Among the brands for Delignit:

Dunacore - honeycomb based composite solution - sandwich construction made from renewable raw materials for load-bearing applications. It is used in car boot flooring. The three-layered sandwich structure of this flooring is ultra lightweight, self-supporting, CO2-neutral and recyclable.

Panzerholz Protect 2.0 - This is a composite of steel, wood and GFK (plastic reinforced fiberglass) used on building exteriors, and is a lightweight alternative to steel.

Wood-CFRP - for moulded parts, a composite is made of beech wood and CFRP - carbon fiber reinforced plastic.  

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