Acquired at the end of September 2008 from the Hong Leong Group, Hume Fibreboard Sdn Bhd joined the existing mills of the Evergreen Group in Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia and became known as Evergreen Fibreboard (Nilai) Sdn Bhd.
Evergreen, headed by the dynamic J C Kuo, paid RM213m (US$59m) for the factory, which brings two MDF lines in Nilai (40km from Kuala Lumpur International Airport to the south of the capital city) to his growing family of mills.
The two production lines comprise a 10-daylight Siempelkamp hot press line, which went into production in 1992, and a Siempelkamp ContiRoll continuous press line which started up in 1996.

“The multi-daylight line was the second MDF line in Malaysia and is very reliable, with very little downtime and glue consumption lower than on the continuous press line,said Mr Kuo. “The company had also been well run and financed by Hong Leong.”
Although the ContiRoll first started production in 1996, a major fire in late 2001 caused severe damage to the line and the replacement press re-started in 2003.
The multi-daylight line has an annual capacity of 90,000m3 from its 1.83×4.88m press, while the 8ftx23.6m ContiRoll can produce 160,000m3.
The wood supply for the Nilai mill is 50/50 rubberwood/acacia and mixed hardwoods from the locality and the mill is currently undergoing certification to FSC (Forest Stewardship Council)
standards for its wood supply.
All the production of the Malaysian and Thai mills of Evergreen Group have certification to CARB (California Air Resources Board) standard for formaldehyde emissions, inspected by PSI.
The Nilai site also has certification to ISO18000 (occupational safety & health), quality standard ISO9002 and environmental standard ISO14000. All Evergreen Group factories have ISO9002, except PT Hijau Lestari Jaya in Sumatra, and that was in the process of achieving certification last December.
In fact, talking of meeting standards, a rather special part of the former Hume Fibreboard operation which came with the MDF lines was its laboratory, extensively upgraded by the former owners in 2005. Hume always attached great importance to quality.
With all the appearance of a medical centre, the facility is equipped with a
laboratory press from Siempelkamp, designed to simulate the ContiRoll, and a mechanical fibre blender.
For measuring those all-important formaldehyde emissions, there is a perforator cabinet and a spectrophotometer. Dessicator tests are carried out in a
separate, air-conditioned, room.
Hume always supplied some of its
production to Japan and thus made good use of the laboratory in its product
development for that market, offering Super E0 panels.
A mixture of E1, E2 and E0 is produced on both lines at Nilai.
The resin is supplied from Evergreen’s own resin plant at Batu Pahat, further south on the peninsula.
Since the Nilai factory has three-stage forming on its production lines, it could in theory use pMDI resin in the core of the MDF.
“There is potential to increase capacity by adding another refiner and we could then, in theory, have a separate dosing system for pMDI,agreed Mr Kuo.
“However, it is only in the long term that we may try to increase the capacity. For the moment we are looking at minor improvements; there is some room for improvement in costs here, but the plant runs well and makes a good product. With integration into the group, there could be some streamlining to cut costs – for instance, using our own resin supply has already saved quite a lot of money and we are carrying out our own maintenance rather than sub-contracting it as Hume used to do; that was a high cost before.
“There are other synergies too. For example this factory is similar in terms of spare/wear parts requirements to our Hat Yai [Thailand] factory, which also has Siempelkamp ContiRolls.”
In fact the group, with its several acquisitions and own start-ups totalling one particleboard and 10 MDF lines, now has machinery from most of the world’s major suppliers, somewhere.

Bringing it all together
The headquarters of the Evergreen Group is at the original Batu Pahat plant, where it all began for this rapidly growing company.
“All data from all the factories is collated in Batu Pahat and eventually we will centralise purchasing for all the plants there,said Mr Kuo. “We have expanded the group a lot in recent years and we have a Hume culture, Takeuchi/Merbok culture and an Evergreen culture. We are selecting and keeping the best from each. We are a mix of all our plants in terms of people
and experience.”