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Exploring the World of Mass Timber

Mass Timber is a revolutionary sustainable construction system that utilizes large-scale prefabricated wood components, offering a range of significant advantages. These components, including walls, floors, columns, and beams, are manufactured with high precision in a controlled environment, ensuring rapid and efficient construction. The strength and density of its components make Mass Timber structures ideal for high-rise buildings.

One of the elements in the Mass Timber product family is Cross-Laminated Timber (CLT), a product composed of multiple orthogonal layers of structural wood, bonded with high-performance adhesive. Its versatility allows for a variety of applications, from walls and floors to roofs in multi-story buildings. On the other hand, Glue-Laminated Timber (GLT), made by bonding structural wood sheets in a single direction, offers exceptional strength-to-weight ratio, making it ideal for beams, columns, and linear elements.

Both CLT and GLT have exceptional strength and stability, as well as effective thermal and acoustic insulation properties. Additionally, their sustainable manufacturing process and carbon storage capacity make these materials an environmentally friendly choice for construction.

CLT panels and GLT beams arrive at the construction site ready for installation, reducing construction time and cost. This is thanks to the power and precision of numerical control machines, capable of performing high-quality machining.

In Uruguay, the only Mass Timber plant capable of producing large-scale projects with GLT and CLT is Arboreal, located in Tacuarembó. It also has a Technical Office in Montevideo, staffed by a specialized team of engineers and architects.

Arboreal’s participation in the Mass Timber Conference not only showcased its capability and quality in Mass Timber production but also helped to position the local forestry industry on a global level.

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Facundo De Acevedo. “Exploring the World of Mass Timber.” Panorama Forestal, https://panoramaforestal.uy/explorando-el-mundo-del-mass-timber/.

From Tacuarembó to the USA: Uruguay’s Only Mass Timber Plant Participated in an International Conference

Arboreal was present at the world’s most prominent event in wood manufacturing and construction, with a large delegation of experts and a booth made from Uruguayan pine.

Uruguay made its mark at the International Mass Timber Conference, held from March 26-28 in Portland, United States. Arboreal’s participation in this prestigious international event highlights its role as a regional leader in the wood and sustainable construction sector. From its sawmill to the design of Mass Timber buildings (engineered wood products), Arboreal has established itself as a vertically integrated company committed to innovation and excellence at every step of its production process.

Arboreal representatives expressed their pride in representing Uruguay at the International Mass Timber Conference 2024 and contributing to sustainable construction. They added that the booth design is a testament to the quality of the company’s wood and the capabilities of the Mass Timber plant, the only one of its kind in Uruguay. This experience allowed the delegation to showcase the opportunities offered by Uruguay’s forestry industry in the global context of sustainable construction.

This edition of the International Mass Timber Conference featured over 3,000 participants and more than 180 exhibitors. The event is renowned for bringing together experts, professionals, and industry leaders in wood construction from around the world to share knowledge, experiences, and trends in the manufacturing and use of Mass Timber products in buildings.

Arboreal’s booth covered approximately 18 square meters and was constructed with over 45 wood pieces (Cross-Laminated Timber and Glue-Laminated Timber), representing a volume of nearly 9 cubic meters.

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“From Tacuarembó to the USA: Uruguay’s Only Mass Timber Plant Participated in an International Conference”. Tardaguila.uy,
https://tardaguila.uy/forestal/de-tacuarembo-a-eeuu-unica-planta-de-mass-timber-en-uruguay-participo-en-conferencia-internacional.

Building Better: CLT’s Role in Sustainable Urban Development

Matías Abergo spoke about his two projects that aim to revolutionize the way construction is done locally: Enkel Group and Arboreal.

Enkel Group is the first mass timber construction company in Uruguay, and Arboreal is a sawmill that provides wood solutions. Both projects are strongly oriented towards sustainability and the production and use of materials that have a positive impact on climate change. “We handle both fronts,” said Matías Abergo about these two companies he leads.

He argued that, although Uruguayans are very fond of brick construction, in the United States, large-scale wooden buildings are constructed in adverse climates and “there are no issues.”

“In 2017, with Enkel, we ventured into traditional construction, but dissatisfied with the execution, we explored alternatives,” he recounted during the first local edition of the Forbes Real Estate Summit. “We researched different construction models and fell in love with mass timber.”

They decided to train in wood construction in Europe, and then bring the system to Uruguay. “In 2020, we decided to acquire the largest sawmill in the country, investing 60 million dollars. We established a plant to produce 12-meter panels, revolutionizing the construction process and exporting more than 400 containers per month. Our plant is the seventh largest in the world,” he detailed.

“Basically, what you do is assemble an Ikea furniture in a house. They are automated lines that, after those panels, pillars, and beams are processed, a robot makes all those cuts with millimetric precision and it is totally customized,” he explained. This procedure, he added, reduced on-site problems by 90% and optimized construction time by 40%.

In the future, he spoke of two projects: the St. Catherine school and a 160-apartment building, along with other high-level developments. Regarding the construction method, he highlighted its efficiency compared to traditional methods: “We have managed to reduce on-site problems by 40% because they are resolved beforehand.”

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“Mass Timber: How the system works in Uruguay to create everything from buildings to schools in wood.”. Forbesuruguay.com,
https://www.forbesuruguay.com/summit/mass-timber-como-funciona-uruguay-sistema-permite-crear-edificios-colegios-madera-n48692.

Uruguay will have the tallest wooden building in Latin America

The building will have seven floors and will feature a construction system that promotes energy efficiency and speed in its construction.

In a year, Uruguay will have the tallest wooden building in Latin America, thanks to the company Arboreal, a project that required an investment of nearly 60 million dollars and that would position the country as a reference in both small and large-scale wooden construction.

With a height of seven floors and a construction system that promotes energy efficiency and speed in its construction, the company Arboreal – composed of a Uruguayan investor and an American one – will be in charge of carrying out this project. Arboreal decided to venture into the Mass Timber business (solid wood construction) in 2021 when it acquired a Uruguayan sawmill located in Tacuarembó.

The American investor Mark Crandall and the Uruguayan Matías Abergo, president of Arboreal and CEO of Enkel Group specialized in Mass Timber construction, bought the Frutifor Lumber Company sawmill for over 25 million dollars. They then invested around 12 million dollars in the installation of wood drying plants and automatic wood board sorting, and another 22 million dollars in a new CLT plant, reaching almost a total of 60 million dollars, as reported by Uruguay XXI.

This investment added to the transformation of Uruguay’s wood production matrix, positioning it in the global CLT market, and also contributed to increasing the sawmill’s drying capacity, doubling its production, and benefiting wood input exports for construction.
The construction will take place in the department of Durazno, will have seven floors, and is expected to be ready by next year, specifically by October 2024, with a construction duration of 290 days. The building is part of the 40 Mass Timber construction projects expected to be carried out in Uruguay between 2024 and 2025, as explained by the Uruguayan investor.

Faster and less polluting constructions

The Mass Timber wood processing system allows for the construction of tall buildings, houses, housing complexes, sports centers, medical institutions, schools, among others, using wood. Walls built with this process allow for walls to be made in a single panel of up to 30 centimeters thick, which has several advantages.

Firstly, it contributes to the decarbonization of construction – responsible for 40% of carbon emissions in the environment – and also allows for better thermal insulation compared to concrete and steel, while also acting as a natural moisture regulator. Furthermore, it allows for a “fitting” style system, which favors execution times. This system includes precision cutting robots, which allow the pieces to be quickly transported and assembled.

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“Uruguay will have the tallest wooden building in Latin America”. Ambito.com, https://www.ambito.com/uruguay/tendra-el-edificio-madera-mas-alto-latinoamerica-n5846577.