The sawmill in Malå has been running since 1946 and has had several different owners over the years. When AssiDomän and Mellanskog merged in 2003 to form Setra Group, the sawmill and planing operations in Malå became part of Setra. The main part of Setra's flooring production was previously in Valbo outside Gävle. When operations in Valbo were discontinued in 2016 it was decided to move production to Malå and invest in a new interiors concept.
"The raw material up here in the north has a better biological quality compared with central Sweden," says Hans Liljeström, new Mill Manager in Malå from 1 January this year. "Managing and processing it to flooring and cladding feels right and sustainable. It increases the quality and value of the products."
Setra Malå gets its raw material from the surrounding forest in the form of slow-growing Norrland pine. The sawmill's customers, not least the Japanese, demand high quality redwood products and appreciate the even structure of the annual rings and the real, genuine feeling which works especially well for products that need to stand up to close inspection.
"With this investment we have created a centre within Setra for design driven development of wooden floor and wall coverings. One of the advantages is that we can use the strength of our entire value chain," says Kaj Tönsberg, Sales Manager for Building Products.
Production of both flooring and cladding is a craft which makes the highest quality demands and combines both traditional and new technologies. The difference from the previous operation is that in Malå they see the entire flow and have control of everything from the growing tree to the finished product.
The heart of production
In the planing mill we meet Benny Grundberg who is the Production Manager. Together with his ten colleagues he has spent the first months of the year ensuring the high quality demands are met. This work is about further deepening craft skills and trimming and adjusting the machines.
"The planing machine is the very heart of production. If we do a bad job here then nothing else matters," says Benny Grundberg, who thinks that the biggest challenge has been to synchronise old and new technologies. To get three different systems to "talk" the same language to each other.
"As a base we have a really good flooring plane which we have now upgraded with new sanding components. Altogether it's an investment of about five million kronor in the plane."
Earlier this year the purchase of IKEA Industry's production facility in Malå was also completed. The facility is a stone's throw from Setra's unit and has a total area of 5,500 square metres. The property was used for edge-glued panel manufacture until IKEA ceased operations in autumn 2016. On 1 June Setra will take possession of the premises which have great potential for further processing of interior products.
"When we get access to the new premises we see great opportunities to both increase volumes and further develop the processing concept. This autumn we will increase production by 20% and hire some 15 new employees," says Hans Liljeström.
Three design concepts increase choice
The new collection of flooring and interior cladding is produced in three different design concepts: Classic, Rustic and Design. There is also an untreated version which opens possibilities for all those who want to use different colours to put their own unique stamp on the products. The products are treated with hardwax oil from Osmo which is one of the leading and well-known manufacturers of very high quality surface treatment products.
"The new interior concept is based on our fine raw material which is sawn, dried, trimmed, planed and surface treated as well as possible. Of course, this makes high demands on everyone involved. We do our utmost to ensure that the products maintain the highest quality at all stages and in the smallest detail," says Hans Liljeström.
Text: Katarina Brandt
Photo: Magnus Laupa