European manufacturers of wooden construction products, specifically wooden doors, are presently struggling to compete in the market. The various reasons include EU legislation specifying noise thresholds, and cheaper options from abroad.Levelling the playing field was the SILENTWOOD project. The 11-member consortium ran for 3 years to April 2013, during which time it received nearly EUR 2 million. The project aimed to help European manufacturers comply with new EU building regulations while also helping with their market situation. The project set two broad objectives: to develop a new door structure for noise reduction, and to design and validate a complete door system. The project's resulting doors would be certified in terms of noise and fire resistance, and also be compliant with mechanical and thermal requirements. In addition, the products would be environmentally friendly, lightweight and inexpensive.First the project evaluated and selected options for an innovative multi-layered structure. The best of these was developed to manufacturing conditions. Various prototypes were evaluated and tested. Secondly, materials were compared, the best combinations of which were compounded into an engineered wood and processed into doors. Next, a customised computer-aided engineering software module was developed to simulate noise transmission through panels of the chosen material. The software also simulated mechanical and other properties. Together the simulations reduced the need for laboratory testing. Lastly, all the developments were combined into innovative multi-layered door prototypes made of composite wood and other materials, which were also tested. The resulting products meet the target requirements and are ready for commercialisation. The project devoted considerable effort to preparations for introducing the new products to market, including a funding and investment plan. Other work involved dissemination activities including participation at conferences and trade fairs, a project website, journal articles and popular publications, including newsletters and posters. As a result of SILENTWOOD, European manufacturers will regain their market share while also supplying Europe with the superior doors required by legislation.
Doors, wooden construction product, EU regulations, noise threshold, fire resistant