The Fantoni Italy, Plaxil 8 manufacturing building
Plaxil 8 is an industrial building housing a new MDF manufacturing line. The line consists of a fibre sorting and mat formation section, a continuous hot press section and an unloading and stacking section.
This plant replaces the previous Plaxil 4 and Plaxil 5 press lines, retaining however their existing defibrators and warehouses. The building covers an area of about 8500 square metres within the Osoppo production site of the Fantoni group. It is situated among other buildings north of the Plaxil 5 "Cathedral" building, originally designed by Gino Valle in 1985. The building is 300 m long and 28 m wide. Its west side is over 50 m high, while the rest of the structure has an average height of 14.50 m. It is the largest press in Europe and the second largest in the World for the production of MDF boards. The manufacturing plant housed in the building consists of three main areas: -The mat formation area, where the dried fibre and resin mixture enters the line and is conveyed through gravity sorters, cyclones, bunkers and forming heads by means of a complex system of pipes and blowers. In this section, stacks and cyclones reach heights in excess of 50 metres. -The continuous hot press, which is about 75 metres long and weighs over 3000 tonnes, presses the mat to the required thickness, while heating it to a temperature in the region of 240 °C by means of a heat transfer fluid system to cure the thermosetting resin mixed with the wood fibre and transform the mat into a board. This line is hosted in the linear section of the building, which has a constant height of 14.50 metres. -The unloading line, where the boards are first cut to size using a continuous-cycle diagonal cutting machine, and then cooled by natural convection on two large star-shaped coolers. The boards are then stacked and directed to the automated warehouses by means of a 400 m long overhead conveyor line or an induction-driven ground conveyor line as the case. The unloading line is located inside the 14.50 meter high section also. The conveyor lines are independent structures, joining the Plaxil 8 building to the other existing buildings across the separating spaces. The same structure supports both the building and the machinery. The challenge of the design was in specifying a load-bearing frame shared by both the plant and the architecture with overlapping erection times. In the resulting solution we have opted for a 28 metre wide, single span linear structure supported by lattice trusses, an internal concrete building housing the service areas, and a large metal fabrication castle supporting the various levels of the mat formation plant on the west side. On the long sides, two plenums intake air from the outside to create a natural convection cooling circuit, removing the heat generated by the machines and exhausting it as hot air to a vent located on the ridge of the roof of the 14.50 m high linear section. The design process of the building had to take a flexible, step-by-step approach, and be led by the gradual development and sizing of the machine, which had never been built before. The machinery, located mainly inside the building, is complemented by additional stacks, cyclones, and connection lines located outside the building envelope, mainly on its south side so as not to interfere with rail and lorry transport activities for the wood, which take place in the yard adjacent to the north side of the building. The building envelope interfaces therefore with the internal and external plant, while supporting a range of processing equipment which remains visible and connects the Plaxil 8 plant to the facilities nearby. For more information contact Mrs Rosita Venturini: