Andy Hodge from Lonza Wood Protection explores how innovation in timber protection technology, coupled with a deep rooted commitment to quality, is key to protecting the long-term reputation of timber.
Through independent studies, parliamentary positioning and fantastic industry campaigns, there is a growing awareness that using timber sourced from sustainable sources is one of the most effective ways to reduce carbon emissions across the construction sector. However, with a spotlight firmly on timber, education about timber protection technologies has never been so crucial.
First and foremost the timber used in construction needs to be properly protected from the threat of decay and insect attack. Without this, timber structures would be replaced more frequently owing to decay. This means that everyone in the industry has a role to play, from the companies supplying the timber protection technology, through to specifiers correctly selecting timbers treated to the appropriate Use Class.
Currently the Wood Protection Association (WPA) and the Timber Trade Federation (TTF) are engaging in a supply chain education programme that shines a spotlight on the specification and supply of treated timber products to the correct Use Class. At Lonza Wood Protection we fully support this campaign as awareness of Use Classes is crucial to protecting the long-term reputation of timber. However, at the same time we are embarking on our own education programme, focusing upon the need for the timber treatment market to evolve and work with specifiers to help ensure that correctly treated timber is the ‘go to’ construction material of the future.
In the design of new products we invest in assessing the whole-life carbon impact of the timber treatment being developed, looking beyond its performance characteristics to also consider how it is manufactured, transported and industrially applied and whether it can be reused or recycled at end of life.
A good example of this approach is the launch of Vacsol™ Aqua 6118, a water-based low pressure wood preservative that is both metal free and VOC free. More commonly known on the market as Vacsol™ 6118, the wood preservative has been designed to treat timbers in Use Class 1, 2 and 3 (coated). It provides an effective ‘envelope’ of long-term protection against fungal and insect attack around general building timbers and joinery components.
With Biocidal Products Regulation (BPR) authorisation, timber treated with Vacsol™ 6118 is non-hazardous to human health, animal health and to the environment, and at end of life can be re-used or recycled. In addition, whilst other low pressure wood preservatives are often transported as diluted solutions, Vacsol™ 6118 has been designed as an easy-to-use concentrate that can be diluted on-site to meet individual business requirements, thus cutting the carbon footprint of transportation.
Working with the supply chain to ensure wood protection technologies evolve with market trends is another key focus within our organisation. Over a decade ago we launched Tanatone™ brown colourants for use with our Tanalith™ high pressure preservative treatment, which have proved to be incredibly popular and successful with our customers to give their markets a different initial colour choice to their high pressure treated timbers. Building upon this, we have been increasingly asked for an improved longevity to the colours as well as the inclusion of a new grey colour option, which is very much in-vogue. After extensive testing of colour additive technologies, we have recently launched the Tanalith™ Lifestyle range to sit alongside the existing Tanatone™ range and provide a high performance colourant option.
The new Tanalith™ Lifestyle colours will have a typical colour life of up to two years, depending upon location and exposure to UV light, as well as still allowing the treated timbers to achieve the usual desired service life expectations from a preservative point of view.
For the complete Cover Story feature read the Summer 2021 Issue of Timber Trader UK