Thermo-Treatment of Wood
State-of-Art Value-Added Technology
The Art of Thermo-Modification
Thermo-modification is a modern 100% “Green” alternative to pressure-treatment of lumber. Thermo-treatment of wood uses extremely high temperatures (400 degrees F) and water steam with no chemicals added. The thermo-treatment cycle includes preliminary drying under water-saturated conditions to reach residual stress relief, heating up to the temperatures of wood treatment (in an oxygen-free environment) exposure to the given temperatures, cooling down with condensation, and moisture saturation of the treated wood. Steam is used to prevent the wood from burning or cracking and creates the chemical changes which result in a durable, weather-resistant and stable wood product. The equilibrium moisture content (EMC) of thermo-treated wood products is reduced to 4-6% even outdoors. The thermo-treatment changes the color of wood to a gold-brown tint that is consistent beyond the surface and creates an exotic wood look.
As a new generation of wood material, thermo-treated wood has a lot of applications indoors and outdoors: decking, siding, fences, landscape design, flooring (especially for high humidity areas), sound barriers for autostradas, outdoor furniture, musical instruments, doors, windows, docks areas, boardwalks. and much more.
Westwood Thermo Plant in Macon, GA
Our thermo-treatment plant in Macon, GA is the biggest in the USA with three thermo-treatment chambers and a total capacity of about 15 TL's of treated wood a month. We use our own patented thermo-treatment process, which was developed more than 20 years ago. It is one of five patented thermo-treatment technologies in the world since the industry of thermo-modification started in the 1990th in Europe.
There are more than 30 thermo-treatment plants all around the world. The diagram shows a consistent growth of thermo-treatment production of plants belonging to the Finland Thermowood Association in the last two decades.
In the European Union, chemical additives usage in wood protection was prohibited in 2004. In the USA and Canada, no chemical wood protection additives are allowed in such sectors as children's playground production, decks for waterfront homes, pallets for transportation of foods since 2005. The "Green" alternative of chemically-treated wood is thermally-treated wood.