This line was equipped with a 23.8m long ContiRoll press with a designed capacity of 135,000m3 a year. Today the line is running at around 200,000m3 annually. Three years later a second identical ContiRoll press line for MDF production was built, but this time it was located in Yangdong, Guangdong, a city famous throughout China for its stainless steel cutlery industry. One of these factories advertises under the slogan ‘Finest son’s wife knife’, which I think may be a mis-translation!
“Up to the end of 2007, we had a total of 11 production lines including domestically produced and imported,said Mr Lu, general manager of the Yangdong Luyuan operation. “This gave us a total capacity of one million cubic metres and a turnover of two billion yuan.The group’s lines are in Jiangxi, Fujian, Anhui, Zhejiang and Guangdong provinces and its head office is in Hangzhou, Zhejiang.
Mr Lu said that he had heard rumours that the group is planning another ContiRoll line in Shaowu in Fujian province but that this was only at a preliminary stage at the time of my visit (March 2008) and Mr Lu is not involved in that decision process. When the Luyuan group buys a ContiRoll line, it is effectively a turnkey project for Siempelkamp, which takes responsibility for erection and start-up of the line. Luyuan also imports the machinery for the green end of its continuous lines. The 220mu (15ha) Yangdong site commenced civil construction work in September 2006. The machinery began arriving from Europe in April 2007 and the first board was produced on September 29th 2007. Full commercial production followed towards the end of that year.
The wood supply comes mainly from a 200km radius and consists of branches, small logs and some residues from sawmills, although some supplies come from as far away as 500km. The government of the town of Yangdong is also organising the planting of fast-growing species such as eucalyptus, which is harvested after three to four years, said the general manager. “The market for our MDF is very big in this area and is not far away. Our customers are mainly in furniture, packaging and flooring production.”
The mill does not export any of its production.
Yangdong mainly produces MDF in thicknesses of under 4.5mm and to E2 grade. Resin for the panel production is manufactured on site. It is common in China to find scant regard being paid to environmental issues when panel mills are built, but Luyuan attaches some importance to this aspect of production. “About 10% of our total investment here was in dust cleaning with cyclones and bag filters and water treatment,said Mr Lu. “The Chinese government is paying increasing attention to environmental protection and farmers in the area are also concerned about this issue, so we had our dust cleaning system designed by specialists in this field. “There is a lot of pressure on China with regard to pollution and I expect that the industry will have to invest more in exhaust emission cleaning in the future.”

The Yangdong production line is almost identical to that built in Suichang in 2003 (WBPI issue 2, 2004, p14). “The Luyuan group has had a long cooperation with Siempelkamp and a good relationship – especially with this line where we had a deep cooperation and we find that the machinery is very well controlled,said Mr Lu. “The technical service during commissioning, and the after-sales service, have been very good and that is why we have got to full production so soon after commissioning the lines, so we intend to continue working with that supplier. “We have also had a long cooperation with Andritz for the supply and commissioning of refiners and, in addition to our continuous lines, we also have three of our domestically supplied lines equipped with Andritz refiners.”
The Yangdong site is not large by Chinese standards and Luyuan rents additional storage area for its wood supply on the other side of the road from the factory.
Around 200 people are employed on the site, with just over 60 working directly in production. A large number of temporary employees are also working there.

Ongoing improvements to the site include the roofing over of the gap between the two main factory buildings to provide an undercover area for loading finished panels onto the trucks for delivery. Logs are debarked in a Chinese-made machine and then pass to the Maier (of Germany) chippers. Debarking and chipping are all housed in the one building. There are two concrete chip silos, with one being used to separate the pine chips from the rest. The chips are washed before entering the digester and 54/60in refiner.
Energy for the process is supplied by GTS Energy of the US, with the plant supplying steam and thermal oil heating, while the flue gas is used for fibre drying. The glue kitchen and dosing system were supplied by Imal of Italy as part of the Siempelkamp scope of supply.

The forming head incorporates an equalising roller, thus avoiding the need for scalping of the mat and a CMC Texpan weigh scale monitors the mat roduced. GreCon mat density gauge, a Cassel metal detector and a Weko mat damping unit precede the 23.6mx8ft Siempelkamp ContiRoll press, which has a flexible infeed, enabling more efficient and faster production of thin board, at up to 1,300mm/second. Quality control on the line is handled by an array of GreCon equipment monitoring board density, thickness and blow detection. While a Steinemann sander is employed at the Suichang site, Luyuan opted for an Imeas six-head unit here at Yangdong. As thin board is produced here, there is less sanding required than at Suichang, which produces thicker panels as well.
The cut-to-size system was supplied by German saw manufacturer Anthon and produces standard 8x4ft panels. The standard density of Yangdong’s thin board production is 800-830kg/m3; this factory only makes thicker board to customer order. Many observers are expressing concern about the ability of the Chinese market to absorb the ever-increasing volumes of MDF being manufactured in the country, but Mr Lu is unconcerned. “According to our analysis, there is still room for expansion of this market. It is government policy to develop the rural areas and that means houses, which means furniture, which means MDF.