Henkel takes stake in recycled wood innovator 3RT

German chemical industry giant Henkel has announced an unspecified investment in 3RT, an Australian company that has developed a process to turn plantation residue into products that look and feel like high-quality hardwood.

In a statement on Tuesday (Düsseldorf time) Henkel said the investment came through its Henkel Tech Ventures division, and would strengthen the company’s Engineered Wood business.

Henkel supplies mass timber – which can offer a more sustainable option compared to steel and concrete in some applications – under its Loctite brand. The parent company’s revenues were about 20 billion EUR ($29.3 billion) in 2021.

Henkel, Bosch and Flinders University are long-time partners of 3RT, which was established in 2014 by Peter Torreele and Flinders’ Professor David Lewis and Associate Professor Jonathan Campbell.

“3RT is focused on continuous improvement both in the fields of new material properties and methods of production to help address the significant environmental and supply challenges relating to old growth forests,” said Managing Director Torreele. 

“In addition to our partnerships with Flinders University and Bosch, this partnership with Henkel will assist in turbocharging our technological advancements and global expansion.”

(Click here to read an @AuManufacturing interview with Torreele from December last year.) 

Christian Fild, Global Head of Engineered Wood at Henkel, said, ““In order to expand and promote the use of wood as a material in construction and in buildings, Henkel continuously looks for partners with innovative technologies. 3RTs technology allows a more sustainable and innovative production of hardwood products that have the potential for a wide range of structural and decorative applications.”

3RT has developed robotic units that take wood waste combined with a proprietary “Nano glue”, a water-based, formaldehyde-free substance that mimics the lignin in a tree.

The company’s wood product has won awards including a gold medal at the 2019 Good Design Awards competition. 

3RT was awarded an Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre Commercialisation Fund grant in February this year. 

The company intends to achieve exports of its machines this year, to be used under licence by plantation and other customers.

Main picture: credit 3rt.com.au

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