LUMIN TRP – Our journey to a 21st century, sustainable plywood solution

Sustainability sits at the core of our business. In fact, Uruguay’s national forestry standards were originally modelled after our own forest management practices. Everything from the way we grow our plantations, fuel our mill, and harvest our trees, is done with the environment in mind.

We have a responsibility to ensure that our practices are sustainable now and in the future. Deforestation continues to sweep through tropical regions, at the same time as consumer demand increases for tropical species. The world is in the midst of a climate emergency and the race is on to control and reverse the impact of carbon emissions.

As a business, we have committed decades of research, development and investment to develop a long-term sustainable alternative to traditional tropical species. LUMIN TRP (tropical replacement panel) is the product of a committed journey that has seen us nurture seedlings into mature forests, monitor the needs of global markets, and invest in the development of operations to meet future demand.

With LUMIN TRP now being shipped to countries throughout Europe and many other global destinations, we look back at three milestones that helped us bring LUMIN TRP to market, and how at every step of the way, protecting the environment remained at the forefront of product development.

Sustainable forest management

In 1997 LUMIN (formerly the US company Weyerhaeuser) established Eucalyptus Grandis and Taeda Pine plantations in Uruguay to help combat the issue of demand and to provide a long-term and sustainable supply of wood products.

Back then in Uruguay, there were just a small number of native trees, and the majority of the landmass was grasslands. In the 30 years since then, our commercially managed plantations have gone from virtually nothing to over 65,000 HA.

Several factors contributed to this success in Uruguay including:

  • Superior tree growth made possible due to the soils and climate of the designated forestry zone.
  • A long-standing stable democracy with good socio-economic stability and a long history of respect for personal property rights.
  • Positive governmental support and incentives for forestry projects and foreign investments.
  • A well-educated population and an excellent skill base to support developing plantation forestry and wood products manufacturing which can be globally competitive.

With Uruguay firmly on the map as a reliable and consistent source of high quality, sustainable wood products, our next step was to develop a solution that would meet the current and future needs of our global customer base.

Research and development

While our plantations have been maturing, we’ve been working closely with our customers and leaders in the wood forest products industry to develop a sustainable product that would address the demands of a global market.

The versatility, high growth rates and excellent technical qualities of Eucalyptus Grandis make this species a viable and sustainable alternative to tropical wood products. Its rich pink/red colouring make it aesthetically similar to high end tropical species such as Meranti and Okoume.

We spent considerable time working with clients in the development stages which included having logs “thin peeled” and panels specially manufactured for market assessment. Client feedback from these trials was critical to developing and optimising the product we have today, as well as widening our product offering to meet their needs.

For example, while our standard production line is focused on 3.2mm and 3.8mm thick veneers, we have added 1.5mm as a main veneer thickness to the LUMIN TRP line. This additional thickness provides a sustainable panel which is comparative to tropical and temperate hardwood panels that have traditionally played a large role in global panel markets.

Continued investment

The recently launched LUMIN TRP, with thin peeled 1.5mm veneer thickness, has been made possible by major investment and the construction of a new manufacturing facility that includes a state-of-the-art ‘thin peel’ production facility. By utilising thin peel technology, we maximise the usage of each log by producing more high-quality veneer. This delivers a cost effective and wider product range whilst achieving environmental advantages.

Combined with its beautiful aesthetics, LUMIN TRP compares well in technical properties and features to many of the popular tropical species. LUMIN TRP is therefore an ideal choice for specifiers, contractors, and manufacturers looking for an environmentally friendly hardwood plywood that is structurally and environmentally certified, with a beautiful appearance.

Our target is to produce 34,000-36,000m3 of LUMIN TRP panels annually (and also an additional similar volume of veneer), which will provide global markets with a long term, sustainable solution which also contributes positively to the net zero agenda.

Learn more about LUMIN TRP and the net zero agenda – download the whitepaper now.