The new state-of-the-art pine sawmill in Rauma in Finland, owned by Metsä Fibre, part of Metsä Group, has moved from production test run to continuous sawn timber production. The sawmill is operating continuously in three shifts. Construction of the Rauma sawmill started in the spring of 2020, and the value of the investment is approximately EUR 260 million. This is the largest sawmill investment ever in Finland.
“The Rauma sawmill implements Metsä Group’s strategic goals of increasing the value of Finnish forests, growing profitably with our customers, enabling fossil free production and increasing the production of products that store carbon for a long time. The role of the mechanical forest industry is very important for our whole value chain, and I’m happy that new ways to significantly improve performance have been found also there,” says Ilkka Hämälä, President and CEO of Metsä Group.
The Rauma sawmill is a worldwide forerunner in technology, efficiency and operating models. Technological innovations such as machine vision, self-learning artificial intelligence and integrated information systems that control the sawline’s various functions provide improved conditions for the production of sawn timber of consistent quality and the sawmill’s industrial efficiency. With the aid of new technology, the Rauma sawmill’s operation is controlled from a single central control room, and sawn timber moves along the converting line without any manual work stages.
“Demand for high-quality, sustainably produced sawn timber is growing worldwide, particularly in demanding component and woodworking industry applications. The new sawing capacity helps us respond to this growth. Sawn timber is an excellent example of a responsible and sustainable product, since the carbon contained in trees is stored in buildings or in various wood products made from sawn timber throughout their life cycle. The sustainability of the sawn timber we produce is based on sustainably managed forests, certified and traceable wood raw material and low-carbon production,” says Ismo Nousiainen, CEO of Metsä Fibre.
A significant development leap for the whole industry
“The Rauma sawmill represents a significant leap in development for the whole sawmill industry, even from a global perspective, and the development work carried out with equipment suppliers benefits the whole industry. It’s therefore been particularly great that the degree of Finnish origin in the project is high. In Finland, we have high-quality wood raw material, excellent competence and the ability to renew operations,” Nousiainen says.
The new sawmill has directly created 100 new jobs in Rauma. The sawmill also provides work to approximately 500 people across its direct value chain. The sawmill’s employment impact during the construction phase was roughly 1,500 person-years.
The annual capacity of the Rauma sawmill is 750,000 cubic metres of pine sawn timber, and the annual use of pine logs sourced in Finland is around 1.5 million cubic metres. The sawn timber produced in Rauma is sold mainly to Europe and Asia. The sawmill’s location enables smooth logistics to transport the sawn timber to customers through the Port of Rauma. The new sawmill does not have its own warehouses. Instead, finished sawn timber is packaged and automatically loaded onto lorries, which transport it directly to the port.
The new sawmill has been built next to Metsä Fibre’s Rauma pulp mill. “The full utilisation of the wood raw material is central to our unique bioproduct concept. Log wood is used as raw material for the sawmill. The bark and sawdust generated during the production of sawn timber are used for bioenergy and the chips are used as raw material for pulp. Pulp production generates bioenergy for the sawmill, and the surplus energy is sold outside the integrated mill. In the future, this investment will enable both the Rauma sawmill and pulp mill to operate without using any fossil fuels,” says Nousiainen.