We use cookies to support your experience on our site. By continuing to use our site you agree to our use of cookies.
Read more

Have closed the main energy drain

At Moelven Valåsen AB they have taken important action to avoid wasting energy and to becoming as climate smart as possible. It’s not about just turning off the lights in the room you are leaving, but about doing something that really makes a difference. New and upgraded dryers was the obvious solution.

Two major upheavals have taken place at Valåsen in recent years: new construction and renovation of the dryers, including a new control system for continuous maintenance, and the revolution itself, digitalisation of the sawmill.

“From 2009 and up to 2017 we have reduced overall consumption of heat energy from 346 kw per m3 finished product to 285. When we know that the dryers are responsible for around 80 per cent of energy consumption, it wasn’t very difficult to decide what we should focus on,” explains Peter Rockedahl, technical director of the Timber division.

Lofty targets with research partnership

Rockedahl emphasises that the measures were important, but that they also have very skilled employees at the dryers, who follow up the new maintenance requirements. New equipment has also allowed round the clock operation, which has increased production significantly.

“We’re reviewing the entire flow of energy in the company, but it was of course the dryers that were given priority. We don’t involve ourselves in political symbolism,” Moelven Valåsen’s director, Fredrik Wallenstad, emphasises.

Wallenstad and Rockedahl completely agree that the major environmental gains are made when efforts also make financial sense. Idealism itself is not enough. The prospect of greater productivity and an improved result must be present to achieve climate goals.

And for the CSR goal “We have climate-smart products and services,” the key goal is to reduce electricity consumption by eight per cent by 2020. Here Valåsen is off to a very good start, and has set even higher goals than that.

“We aim to increase process efficiency by 15 per cent and reduce energy consumption by ten per cent by August of this year. We may not achieve this, but we will be able to show that we will get there. We collaborate closely with several research institutions in Sweden, and can’t manage everything by ourselves,” Wallenstad explains.

Knowledge and sharing culture

In order to measure the energy savings and see how improvements can be made, there are 300 energy meters in operation at the whole plant. And digitalisation of Moelven’s largest sawmill has also led to a large number of other improvements that entail greater process monitoring, quality management, and not least better material utilisation.

“The more we know about the forest’s raw materials, the more we can optimise the quality of the products we process, and also reduce energy consumption during production.”

A digitalised sawmill produces completely new and valuable information on the forest’s raw materials, which is important to exploit to the greatest possible extent. They’re on their way, but still have a lot to learn.

Huge volumes of data are collected that appear on the operators’ screens, and Wallenstad and Rockedahl agree that it can be a bit much. It can be counterproductive. The plan is therefore to better manage what is displayed to individuals, and that important information appears when something special happens.

The interaction between all the new technology and the employees is an important area for Moelven Valåsen AB:

“It means a lot to us that the employees acquire ownership in what they are doing and that they learn from each other. We have different forums where the specialists discuss matters, and management also takes part. A culture of sharing is something we want to stimulate,” Rockedahl says.

Sharing is not only internal. Collaboration with large, important research institutions involves a commitment to share with the rest of the industry. Wallenstad says that they write articles and attend seminars and trade fairs to disseminate new knowledge.

Moelven invests in climate-friendly pellet production

Moelven Industrier is building a new pellet factory and a new bioenergy plant at Sokna near Hønefoss. The effort is employing groundbreaking solutions, where energy and chip products from Moelven’s sawmills in the region will be used for pellet production. Enova is supporting the bioenergy investment with NOK 66 million.

When the factory is ready in early 2020, it will ensure that pellet production in Norway is doubled. Moelven expects that the factory will provide 8-10 new jobs, and the investment has an overall scope of NOK 270 million. The factory will be unique in that it is the first pellet factory in Norway that is fully integrated in a sawmill in terms of energy. A major proportion of the overall investment is a brand new bio-energy plant that will both supply the sawmill and the pellet factory with energy. This means that the energy that otherwise would go to waste from the sawmill is used in the production of white pellets. Estimates show that by doing this, one may reduce energy consumption in pellet production by up to 37 per cent.

“It’s exciting to be at the forefront of innovative and energy-smart production methods for bioenergy in Norway. Initially, pellets will be supplied to the international market. This is where demand is highest, but we believe that the Norwegian market will follow suit. For Moelven it is important to manage our timber optimally, and when half of the log is turned into fibre products, this is a very sustainable and profitable manner in which to exploit the residual raw material,” says CEO Morten Kristiansen of Moelven Industrier ASA.

In recent years, the wood processing industry in Norway has seen a significant decline. In light of this, Moelven and Enova’s investment is a strong step in a completely different direction for the Norwegian wood processing industry.

“Developing and using new climate solutions is urgent. A lot of work remains to replace fossil energy with renewable energy carriers. Residual products from Norwegian forests are a part of the solution. The technology demonstrated here makes the production of white wood pellets both cheaper and more energy efficient. This is green competitiveness in practice,” says state secretary Atle Hamar.

Innovation in a struggling industry

Enova is very pleased that Moelven is focusing on innovation in an industry that has struggled in recent years.

“We want to help businesses into the low emission society. Driving technology forwards is important in traditional industries too. Moelven’s energy concept has not been proven in cold climates, and it will be interesting to follow the project into the next phase, says CEO Nils Kristian Nakstad of Enova.

Market developments for wood pellets are expected to rise from an overall global volume of 28 million annual tons in 2016 to more than 65 million tons in 2025.

With this anticipated development in the pellet market and by establishing a concept that is competitive in terms of sales on the world market, Moelven emphasises that it will facilitate the establishment of new pellet production in Norway and the Nordic region.

Moelven Are AS to close down

The board of Moelven Are AS has today decided to discontinue operations in Spydeberg, and will move operations to other units in the Wood division.

Moelven Are AS is a distribution centre in Moelven Wood with the Oslo fjord region as its market, and also has a planing mill, in addition to a painting and impregnating facility. A total of 21 people work at the company.

“This is a sad day for the employees at Moelven Are. It’s with a heavy heart we are discontinuing operations in Spydeberg, but it is a necessary move in order to strengthen competitiveness. We will now have talks with the employees and their representatives in order to identify opportunities for work within the Moelven group. We will of course also do what we can for those entering the job market outside of the Moelven system,” says division manager of Moelven Wood, Bjarne Hønningstad.

The local labour and welfare administration office has been notified that Moelven Are AS will be discontinued, such that it may assist the affected workers.

Co-localisation of distribution centre

In the past year Moelven has invested NOK 30 million in a new distribution and logistics centre at Moelven Langmoen in Brumunddal. This is Moelven Wood’s main distribution centre, which is taking over customer service to a greater extent.

“If we are to remain competitive, we have to operate as efficiently as possible. This is the reason we are gathering production in fewer units and giving the modern logistics centre in Brumunddal the distribution tasks. Unfortunately, there is not a need for two distribution centres in eastern Norway,” Hønningstad says.

A plan will now be prepared for winding down activity in the company. It is assumed that discontinuation will be more or less completed by year end.

Mjøstårnet: A Sustainable Pilot Project

Constructing tall buildings in timber has great environmental benefits. "Using timber in the load-bearing structures can reduce emissions from material production by up to 85 percent," says environmental advisor and architect Bård S. Solem.

He works for Eggen Arkitekter AS, and has extensive experience of sustainable construction projects, greenhouse gas calculations and research. In Moelven's fifth film about the world record breaking project , Solem talks about the benefits of constructing tall buildings in timber.

“The Mjøstårnet is a pilot project that can pave the way for other sustainable projects that explore new boundary-breaking solutions around the use of materials. The environmental effects of using timber in tall buildings are substantial; this can reduce emissions in the production of materials for the load-bearing structures by 35 to 85 percent," says Solem.

"Using timber in the load-bearing structures can
reduce emissions from material production by
up to 85 percent," says environmental advisor
and architect Bård S. Solem. Photo: Anti Hamar

Solem has been strongly involved in the use of environmentally friendly building materials for several years. In the film, he praises the courage and enthusiasm behind the construction of the world's tallest timber building. The contractor is HENT AS and the building was designed by Voll Arkitekter.

“In the longer term, we need changes in our society. We must think completely differently. The Mjøstårnet shows that you can build big, tall buildings in timber, with sustainable materials that release low greenhouse gas emissions during production,” says Solem.

BÅRD S. SOLEM Environmental advisor and architect

When the final beam was put in place on the Mjøstårnet in September, the building reached a height of 85.4 meters, and is therefore the world's tallest timber building.  The tower, with its 18 floors, is helping to set new standards for both height and construction methods for timber buildings. Moelven has recently noticed a significant shift towards the use of timber in large constructions.

"In recent years, we’ve seen an increasing demand for renewable building materials, with their potential for storing carbon.  The international climate agreements have led to a greater focus on choice of materials. We don’t think the Mjøstårnet will be the record holder for very long.  But we, and especially the climate, can live with that," says Rune Abrahamsen, CEO of Moelven Limtre.

Moelven introduces “smart” maintenance system

“We want operations to be as sustainable as possible. This is why we are investing in a new digital maintenance system that enables big data analyses. The goal is to predict the maintenance needs, and save costs across the group. These are the words of IT director Even Rognan Lutnæs of Moelven.

Moelven Industrier ASA is now making a big investment in maintenance work, and has entered into a contract with OPTIWARE for the installation of API PRO. This will be a digitally coordinated maintenance system that Moelven is now staring to deploy, and in time this will become the standard for all units in the group.

“We are certain that this will lead to lower maintenance costs in the long term, fewer unexpected stops and higher efficiency in our units. This saves us money and we can operate more sustainably.” EVEN ROGNAN LUTNÆS IT Director of Moelven

The Moelven group has had different systems for maintenance, but by uniting around one system that applies to the entire group, Moelven may exploit the large amounts of data in a completely new way. 

Industry 4.0

“This will be economies of scale with ‘Big data’ and Industry 4.0 in practice. We perform a lot of identical operations at different units in Norway and Sweden. The goal of the new maintenance system is to obtain as much insight as possible into when our machines need maintenance, so that we can predict maintenance needs,” Lutnæs explains.

IT Director of Moelven, Even Rognan Lutnæs.

The chosen solution will also be a part of Moelven’s investment in the “smart digital sawmill,” where precisely machine learning and the analysis of big data are at the core of the project.

API PRO is supplied by OPTIWARE, who already supply the OEE/Stop time tool AXXOS OEE to Moelven’s units.

“Moelven has already come a long way in the work on production follow-up. With this solution, which includes both the OEE system and the maintenance system, they will be able to establish effective maintenance processes and benefit from real production data as a basis for preventive maintenance,” says Patrik Haldén, Director EAM Nordics, OPTIWARE.

Peab chooses sustainable office solution from Moelven Modus

Peab is taking yet another step in the direction of a circular economy as they are building a new office building for their businesses in Stockholm.

“We are serious when we say that we will build the sustainable society of the future, and for this reason we have chosen an office solution that satisfies our stringent requirements to flexibility and the environment,” says project manager with Peab, Jonas Sund.

When Peab now gathers its businesses in Stockholm in a new office in Ulriksdal, Solna, Moelven Modus has been awarded the contract to build the room solutions. The office will have nine storeys and office space amounting to approx. 12,500 square metres.

It is Moelven Modus’s flexible system interiors that will characterise the building’s interior.

“This allows for great flexibility and recycling, and is sustainability in practice. We are building all offices and most of the meeting rooms using flexible system interiors,” says Klas Sahlberg of Moelven Modus, who has worked on the project together with Peab.

“We are very pleased to have found a solution together with Moelven Modus that meets the sound, design and environmental requirements we have set.” JONAS SUND Project manager with Peab

In addition to corridor walls and dividers, Moelven Modus has also complemented with prefabricated screens to meet all of the customer’s requirements.

The building will be environmentally classified in accordance with the BREEAM environmental certification scheme. 
The new office will be ready for occupation in the fourth quarter of 2019.

Local wooden bridges for the E6 motorway

Moelven Limtre is to build two wooden bridges across the E6 in Innlandet. The bridges are made from timber that is produced in the district.

“It would be hard to be more local and sustainable than this,” says Rune Abrahamsen, director of Moelven Limtre AS.

The timber used for the bridges comes from the forests affiliated with Moelven’s sawmill in Våler and Løten. The timber is impregnated at Moelven Langmoen in Brumunddal, and is glued together and processed at Moelven Limtre in Moelv. Finally, the two bridges will be assembled on the section between the Nes intersection and the Økelsrud intersection across the E6.

“The pine logs are between 70 and 80 years old. Now they will have a new lease of life of at least 100 years as bridges across one of the most modern road projects in the country.”

It is Veidekke that has ordered the bridges, as a stage in their E6 development for Nye Veier. The bridges are scheduled for completion in 2019. The contract with Veidekke is valued at NOK 20 million, and Moelven Limtre has an option for a further two bridges.

“We’re very pleased to have local bridges, and with Moelven Limtre we know that quality will be good,” site manager Hans Petter Ytterbø of Veidekke stated to Ringsaker Blad when the contract was signed.

The bridges across the E6 join a number of bridges that Moelven will build in the years to come. It was recently announced that Moelven will deliver bridges for the new trunk road 3/25 through Løten and Elverum. It was recently announced that Moelven will deliver between eight and ten bridges for the new trunk road 3/25 through Løten and Elverum.

Mjøstårnet brought home gold from The New York Design Awards 2018

The record breaking project Mjøstårnet has been awarded the Gold accolade in the New York Design Awards 2018.

The world's tallest timber building is being built in Brumunddal of Norway, where the building reached its record breaking height of 85.4 meters in September. Mjøstårnet will have 18 floors and will include apartments, a hotel, offices, restaurants and common areas. It's due to open in March 2019.

The New York Design Award 2018 is handed out by The DRIVENxDESIGN Award Programs, where Mjøstårnet received the Gold accolade in the category "Architecture -Mixed Use – International".

This award celebrates the design process and product of planning, designing and constructing form, space and ambience that reflect functional, technical, social, and aesthetic considerations. Consideration is given for material selection, technology, light and shadow.

The DRIVENxDESIGN Award Programs have three nomination methods, Open Nominations, Supported Nominations and Curated Nominations. Mjøstårnet has been curated into the Chairman's selection. This project was selected as part of the Advisory panel industry review and put forward as an exemplary project.

The award winning project was initiated by AB Invest, where Hent AS is the turnkey contractor and Moelven Limtre AS the turnkey subcontractor for timber structures.. Voll Arkitekter AS has designed the building and the engineering company Sweco performs the structural design for Moelven.

Arthur Buchardt, owner and developer of Mjøstårnet says:
"We are very proud to receive the New York Design Awards 2018. To be honest, the award came as a big surprise, but we are of course delighted for winning it. It is fantastic that our project is getting international attention like this. Mjøstårnet is the result of a successful cooperation by local businesses from the county of Ringsaker, which now have proven their top international qualities."

The CEO of Moelven Limtre, Rune Abrahamsen says:
"This international award is a proof that the project partners' bold and sustainable ambitions for using more timber in advanced and complex constructions is being noticed far from the shore of the building site in the small town of Brumunddal. Hopefully this will inspire others to look into more sustainable solutions for high-rise buildings in the years to come."

Moelven Østerdalsbruket secures sale of chips

The company at Koppang has invested NOK 10 million in a new chip terminal. It contributes to ensure sales of chip products a sustainable wood industry and jobs in Stor-Elvdal municipality.

General manager Anders Grønli of Moelven Østerdalsbruket AS is crystal clear that the investment in a new chip terminal at Koppang is essential for future operations at one of the region’s cornerstone companies.

“Not only does the investment help ensure sales of our by-products such as sawdust, cutting chips and bark. The terminal also gives the company the opportunity to store more chips. Achieving both is critical to us in the wood industry. A viable industry and more secure jobs at Koppang also has socio-economic significance for the entire Østerdal region,” Grønli says.

Grønli also points out that the terminal enables the company to become more capable of maintaining quality in deliveries of by-products.

“The loading of chips has become more efficient, and in addition we also have a safer and cleaner entrance to Moelven Østerdalsbruket. It is also favourable that trains are a sustainable option to transport by road. The 56 train departures that collect chips at Koppang correspond to 1,750 lorries every year,” the sawmill manager at Koppang says.

Chips and bark from Moelven Østerdalsbruket is cargo that is well suited for bulk transport by rail. Photo: Moelven.

The official opening last week was also graced by rail manager Stig Moen of BaneNOR. His responsibilities include Rørosbanen.

“We greatly appreciate that a big effort is being put into environmentally friendly goods transport by rail. Unfortunately, the trend is slightly in the opposite direction in Norway. Chips and bark from Moelven Østerdalsbruket is cargo that is well suited for bulk transport by rail. There is a lot of focus on goods traffic via Dovrebanen and Nordlandsbanen. Moelven’s investment at Koppang demonstrates that there are opportunities for goods on Rørosbanen as well,” Moen says.

Mayor Terje Hoffstad of Stor-Elvdal municipality says that the chip terminal is an investment for the future, and proves that Moelven has a long-term approach. 

“The business in itself and the intake of timber at Moelven Østerdalsbruket is important for the municipality and the entire region. The company is the largest private player in the municipality, and created ripple effects many benefit from,” Hoffstad says.

VS Entreprenør, bygg og anlegg AS from Tynset has had the turnkey contract for building the chip terminal.

The new chip terminal at Moelven Østerdalsbruket AS. Photo: Moelven.

Sweden's smartest sawmill - patent pending

Digitisation makes it possible to greatly improve profitability in Moelven's largest sawmill. Moelven Valåsen AB is the smartest of its kind in Sweden For the operations in Karlskoga, the digitisation and introduction of TräIoT - or "The Smart Digital Sawmill" as the project is known - has been done to allow operators to observe critical data at any given time. So-called “industrial IoT” technology has been deployed - and the result is expected to lead to less unplanned downtime, higher quality and reduced energy consumption.

Patent pending system solutions

Peter Rockedahl, Technical Director of Moelven Industrier AB says that a patent is being sought for a system for sorting operational data that contributes to the synchronisation of various machine control systems

- In addition, a patent is also being sought for a system for image processing combined with real-time operating data. The workings titles of the two patent applications are DeltaTime and AugLog.

The systems are part of a project called “The Smart Digital sawmill”.

Easier to correct sawing

Peter Rockedahl says that in practice this means greater opportunities for the operators to control and correct the sawing of the logs.

- Our results and the fact that we can now apply for patents, underlines the fact that the project team has established a creative working environment. It is not commonplace to be able to apply for a patent in these types of projects, says Rockedahl.

Industry 4.0 technology

The project “The Digital Sawmill” at Moelven in Valåsen was started in January 2017. The aim was that by digitising and adapting the business to industry 4.0 technology, it would help to collect and analyse important data in order for the entire production process to be optimised, from log to plank, while at the same time reducing energy consumption.

- We wanted to see to what extent it was possible to streamline a sawmill, while at the same time keeping energy consumption down and getting as much value as possible out of every log, says Rockedahl.

Connecting data

Rockedahl who has participated in the project from the beginning says that a lot of information had already been gathered about the production flow. The problem was that this data existed in around 20 different locations that were not interconnected with each other.

- There have in-house administrative systems that have made it possible to collect and analyse the information, but then only afterwards and not in real time, he says.

Software collects data

Even Rognan Lutnäs, IT director of Moelven Industrier ASA says that one of the challenges is to gather all the important energy data into a common database Moelven therefore installed the software Wonderware from Schneider Electric where a History database gathers together all the energy data and makes it available for further analysis. Energy data is an important focus of Moelven's work to become even better in terms of energy economy, with ambitious sustainability goals in the group's strategy.

- Moelven also uses a solution to gather all data traffic in a uniform way to avoid cross-connections. It is about getting the different systems to communicate with each other in order to fully utilise the data from each individual part of the saw line. Moelven collects data from all the information sources via this middleware solution to a BigData store where the data is available for advanced analyses, and machine learning algorithms, which can work through massive datasets. In this way, data from the entire facility can be visualised and clarified in the manner you want, says Lutnäs.

Less downtime

Because Moelven has now created an interconnected information flow within the sawmill, it is easier to analyse, plan and optimise raw material deliveries, production, maintenance, energy consumption, distribution and sales.

- This means that it is possible to detect, among other things, whether a saw blade has shifted by one or two millimetres, which makes the sawing less accurate, says Rockedahl.

Installed energy meters will be able to be used to predict upcoming operational disruption, by giving advance warning of non-typical energy usage. This means that you can carry out maintenance and avoid breakdowns or unplanned stoppages in production.

X-rays, scanning and time tracking 
Peter Rockedahl explains that each log has a unique structure, just like the tree's growth rings.

- It is like a fingerprint and the fingerprint gets registered as soon as the log enters the facility. When the log has gone through sorting, sawing and drying and comes to be trimmed, the planks are scanned with laser technology that recognises which log they came from Then we can see if we achieved an optimal result based on the properties that the log had Even in the saw line itself, the fingerprint can be recognised.

The Project "The Digital sawmill" started almost two years ago and will finish at the end of November 2018. In short, the operations have been adapted to Industry 4.0 technology, which means that it is possible to connect all the sawmill's computer systems so that analyses and follow-up can be done in real time. Through tree structure recognition and the measurement of time differences, traceability throughout the entire production from log to plank is increased. Participants in the project include Moelven Valåsen AB, RISE (Research Institutes of Sweden) RemaSawco and Schneider Electric. A group of ten people representing the various stakeholders has been directly involved in the project. The “Digital sawmill” is part-financed by the Swedish government agency Vinnova.

Norway’s first sawmill with X-ray vision

Moelven Våler is the first in Norway with X-ray sorting of logs. This gives the sawmill unique insight into what the timber is best suited for.

“At the moment we are the sawmill in Norway that knows our logs best,” says director Knut Berg with Moelven Våler AS at Braskereidfoss.

The new timber sorting line at Moelven Våler is the first in the country to have X-ray scanning and a 3D frame. These ensure that the sawmill gains completely unique insight into what lies beneath the bark.

“Now we can saw the timber into what it is best suited for. This allows us to reduce waste and to exploit the natural resource to the greatest possible extent. It’s sustainability in practice,” says director Knut Berg with Moelven Våler AS at Braskereidfoss.

X-ray scanning provides the sawmill with information on the location and size of knots, the proportion of heartwood and the density of the log. This is information that is used to sort the logs, such that the timber is exploited in the best possible manner in further processing. 

X-rays of the logs provide information that allows us to exploit each log to the greatest possible extent. Photo: Hans Haug


Moelven Våler is Norway’s most modern timber sorting. Photo: Hans Haug


Photo: Hans Haug


Using X-ray scanning, one can see what hides beneath the bark. Photo: Hans Haug

58 million

At the moment the final tests are being carried out of the new timber sorting line at Norway’s largest sawmill, and the plant is just a few logs away from being able to call itself fully operational. The investment has a scope of NOK 58 million, and has been supported by Innovation Norway. Norwegian Wood Cluster has also been involved in the project.

“It is of course a source of pride to be the first in Norway with this kind of modernisation. In 2019 the sawmill will celebrate its 100th anniversary, and this is an investment that sets a new standard for sawmills for decades to come.”
KNUT BERG General Manager, Moelven Våler AS

“Here Moelven clearly demonstrates that they are paving the way in modernising and developing the industry with specific solutions. This project has an important sustainability aspect, while also strengthening value creation from Norwegian renewable resources,” says consultant Per Ottar Walderhaug from Innovation Norway.