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Wood Dust Research in Thuringia

Summary of Results

Within the project GATE it was the main objective to look for new opportunities and chances in the use of timber and wood. The processing of wood leads also to high amounts of waste such as wood dust. These must be deposited with a lot of effort.
This was an inefficient and unecological situation. The Thuringian project group looked therefore after support within the GATE project to search for possibilities of the use of wood dust.

GATE has exactly this goal, the increased use of timber and wood. A possible way is manufacturing of Wood Plastic Composites.

In the making of a very new WPC (wood plastic composite), it is not enough to produce it, because the customers and buyers needs characteristics of the new product. These properties must be described and documented very carefully.

At this time the project group needed assistance from a research facility and external experts. The right support was found by the well-known Fraunhofer Institute.
Through the unification of the advantages of wood and plastic arises an extremely strong product with outstanding properties. It was to prove that the new product has the following characteristics:

• high resistance against external environmental influences
• resistant to fungus and insect infestation
• long life
• Barefoot friendly, flawless and splinter proof
• Can be used on both sides with different surfaces
• Skid-proof even when wet
• Solid-coloured and ready to use, no painting or other treatment necessary
• Easy handling similar to wood
• Easy to lay with clamps
• Low maintenance
• 100% recyclable
• environmentally friendly, PVC-free

The Fraunhofer Institute has answered some of these requirements and tasks by our order. With support from GATE, we were able to ensure that this innovation can be implemented expeditiously. There are e.g. following environmental benefits achieved:

• Protection of the natural resources by omitting mineral oil and solid wood
• Energy efficiency as there are no drying processes for natural shavings
• Waste processing and recycling management (MDF dust is returned to the production processing)
• Avoidance of waste by extruded waste free manufacturing process
• Sustainability by using local renewable primary products in the MDF material