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The beauty of durable wood and eco-friendliness

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Thermal modification technology is an eco-friendly way to make wood durable since only heat and steam are used; no chemicals and no plastic composites. “It requires a lot of experience to keep the wood stable in this process,” says Andres Kangur, Group Marketing Director at Thermory AS. “We mastered this technology and secure a high end quality wood with a product life of 20 to 25 years; that is without any special treatment, so it is a low-maintenance product.”

Thermory originated in 1997 as a trading company, but its management soon realized the potential inherent in investing in sustainable technology to add more value and durability to their timber. In 2018 it merged with the other major player in the thermowood sector under the brand Thermory to create the leading player in this field .

With a turnover of 70 million EUR, Thermory is now the largest company in its market. “On a global scale it is a niche market, but our customers are interested in sustainable technologies and are prepared to pay for performance,” Mr.  Kangur adds.

Thermory has 550 employees, three factories and two sawmills located in Estonia and Finland. The largest sales team is located in the US, but the company has clients in over 50 countries around the world. Some 95% of its turnover is realized outside of Estonia.

The company sells its products to distributors and directly to clients. It distinguishes three customer segments. The first segment includes architects and designers; those who decide what a building or built area will look like and decide on the choice of materials.

The second segment are their clients, including real estate developers. The third segment are the parties who install the Thermory products: the contractors and construction companies. “Developing a well trained network of licenced installers is our target. For example we have developed an easy press-and-click system (PaCS), that significantly reduces time to install cladding materials – a much appreciated innovation by construction companies,” notes Mr. Kangur.

He adds that Thermory’s aim is to enhance people’s environment, because more and more people are living in urban areas and are separated from nature. Having wood in their living space is a beautiful way to bring nature closer to them. “We want to support people’s wellbeing with our products.”

Looking at the portfolio of strikingly beautiful projects that have been realized, it seems Thermory has definitely reached that goal. Its thermally modified timber is used for cladding and wall panelling, for both interior and exterior decking, and is perfect for use in saunas.

The raw materials like pine and ash are selected very carefully to ensure the highest quality, in longstanding relations with suppliers in Europe, North America and Asia. “We offer many different profiles to match the preferences of markets and customers, as well as customized profiles,” says Mr. Kangur. “Our factories are built modularly, so our production is very flexible.”

As some people just want the beauty of natural wood, and others prefer a creative design, Thermory also developed special finishings to suit market trends. Examples are “Ignite”, a reproduction of aesthetically burnt wood used in a Japanese tradition, and “Drift”, that recalls the old and exposed wood of an old farmhouse.

As for marketing, Thermory has a strong sales team and distributor network, and will invest more in digital strategies as well to support the export of its products. Thermory is the market leader in sauna materials in Finland, in a large market with a long tradition, as Finland is the birthplace of sauna tradition.

The company also developed the innovative concept-sauna brand Auroom, a modular concept that can easily be adapted to private homes, spas, and fitness or wellness areas. “In the wellness and sauna sector, the Scandinavian countries are important markets for us, and we want to expand our activities in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and France; we see a lot of potential in hotels and spa facilities,” Mr. Kangur explains. “As for cladding and decking, the US market is our main focus now; we just opened a third office and a second warehouse there. We try to learn from our operations in the US and extend those outcomes in other continents.”

Thermory products are also suited to the high temperatures in areas like the Middle East and Africa. He concludes: “This beautiful company is growing fast and has global ambitions. I have worked for multinationals before and lived abroad for 20 years, and it is great to apply this experience here. We are building a strong brand to accelerate our growth and increase our client base.”

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