SterlingOSB Zero, from West Fraser, is the first and only OSB produced in the UK to be free from formaldehyde added during the manufacturing process: hence the ‘Zero’ moniker. It is also one of the most popular panel products employed here, widely used structurally for walls, roofs and applications such as shop-fitting and offsite fabrication.
How SterlingOSB Zero is manufactured is, in itself, a complex and fascinating process: beginning with the trees being harvested from UK or European forests, which are de-branched/cut to size and delivered as green timber to the wood storage area of the factory.
The bark is then removed, which is recycled for process heat, while the green timber then goes on to the cyclones to separate the steam and strands. Moisture is further reduced to less than 4% in rotary drum dryers, before the material is passed into a ring strander where 48 knives rotate at a flailing 400 rpm to shred the wood chips into strands – accurate to 0.8mm.
Screening separates the resulting material by size, determining which is to be used for the core and surface layers – while the strands are then coated with a mix of wax and resins before being arranged in three layers, perpendicular to each other, helping give the boards their strength.
Online quality control is undertaken at this stage, and the approved panels are trimmed, dated and certification stamped. Then a continuous, heated compression is applied to join the strands ever more tightly, before the emerging boards pass through metal detectors – if any ferrous material is found, the board is rejected.
The panels are then cooled in a star cooler before being sent to the finishing lines, where they are cut to size, the tongue and groove edges formed, and special coatings are applied. Ultimately, at the end of the line the boards are warehoused ready for distribution.
West Fraser’s sustainably managed operations from forest to factory gate contribute to SterlingOSB Zero’s manufacture being a net carbon negative process, and therefore another reason for its wide specification across the UK, as the construction industry tries to reduce its environmental impact.
To find out more about West Fraser’s products for housebuilders,
CLICK HERE TO EMAIL Dan Clarke
to download product brochures from the housebuilder page of the West Fraser website