UPM's WISA plywood products are suitable for a wide range of demanding applications in construction, transport equipment and industrial applications due to their performance and properties. High-quality WISA plywood can only be produced with high-grade raw materials.
"The wood raw material must have the correct dimensions, meet the required quality standards, and be fresh. Without these elements, it is impossible to manufacture high-quality plywood," Aleksei Kiuru, Wood Quality Manager at UPM Plywood, points out.
As Wood Quality Manager, Aleksei supervises the quality of the raw material supplied to UPM Plywood’s mills and keeps measurement and quality requirements up to date. All spruce and birch used for producing WISA plywood are sourced from responsibly managed Finnish forests. The basis for obtaining the appropriate raw materials for plywood is set by the dimensional and quality specifications used in the timber trade, which outline log lengths, diameters, and quality standards.
"For example, only four per cent of all wood harvested by UPM meets the quality standards for birch plywood. That's why every log is important," Aleksei states.
Collaboration ensures raw material quality
Aleksei, who graduated with a degree in forestry engineering from the University of Applied Sciences of South-Eastern Finland, started his career at UPM Metsä's wood procurement in 2018. Since 2020, he has been working in UPM Plywood's wood processing department in Mikkeli.
"I wanted to move forward in my career without having to sit in front of a computer all the time. So today, I get to collaborate a lot with other people."
To ensure high-quality wood, Aleksei maintains close communication with the quality team and Wood Procurement Manager Pekka Pietilä, along with the mills' wood procurement managers and various stakeholders. His role also involves overseeing raw material deliveries, training staff from logging companies on quality standards, creating reports, and developing processes to maintain quality.
Aleksei states that the most challenging aspect of the job is managing the entire spectrum of responsibilities, as there are multiple mills, suppliers, and requirements for the final product.
"The job offers a diverse range of tasks, and as an added benefit, I have the opportunity to collaborate with colleagues from other countries," Aleksei concludes.
Our Behind the Scenes article series offers a glimpse into modern plywood production and introduces professionals across a variety of roles at UPM Plywood.
Text: Anu Ritvanen