European innovation award to Matti Kairi and Kerto wood

19 June 2007

European innovation award to Matti Kairi and Kerto wood

Professor Matti Kairi and the Kerto wood developed by him have been awarded the Schweighofer Prize of 100,000 euros in Vienna yesterday.

Mr. Matti Kairi, Professor of Wood Technology at the Helsinki University of Technology has committed 30 years of his career to Kerto. In 1975–2001 he worked for Metsäliitto in several different capacities, and in 2005 he successfully defended his doctoral thesis on the development process of Kerto.
Kerto is a form of laminated veneer timber. It is made from spruce by gluing rotary-peeled veneers to form broad panels, like gigantic plywood. The panel can be sawn into beams, columns and boards as desired. Compared to traditional wood materials, Kerto has better strength characteristics and a better load-carrying capacity. Kerto is stronger, straighter, lighter in weight and more stable than commercial sawn timber.
Significant Finnish construction projects using Kerto include the Oulu Sports Hall in Ostrobothnia, the Sibelius Hall in Lahti and the FMO building at the Metsäliitto headquarters in Espoo close to Helsinki. Kerto has also been used in restoring the concert hall of the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, Russia.
Kerto is used in construction when high strength is required of the supporting structures. Kerto is manufactured and sold by Finnforest. The production lines situated in Lohja and Punkaharju in Southern Finland produce 250,000 cubic metres of Kerto annually, and it is sold worldwide.

As a technical product Kerto was developed as early as in the 1970’s, but it took 24 years to create the market for it. Kairi considers his involvement in creating the demand for Kerto as his greatest and most labour-intensive achievement.
By Krista Kimmo