International Panel and Lumber (IPL) is one of only two plywood manufacturers in New Zealand and it has been making plywood on the West Coast for over 50 years.
IPL uses pine logs from forests around the South Island. Sheets of top quality wood are peeled off the logs and layered one on top of the other, with alternating layers being rotated 90 degrees so that the wood grain runs in different directions. This is what helps to make the plywood strong. IPL’s plywood products are used for construction and exterior cladding, as well as ceilings, floor or wall panelling and even window sills.
The company also makes a special type of plywood called SignPly, for indoor and outdoor signage. It has a smooth, paintable surface which is very tough, making it ideal for harsh outdoor climates. You’ve probably seen it if you’ve been out tramping – the Department of Conservation uses it for their green track signs.
Sustainability is important at IPL and nothing goes to waste during the manufacturing process. The central core of each log can’t be used for plywood, so these are turned into fence posts, and the wood chips generated during processing are used as biofuel to help run the factory.
Have a look at at this video to see how plywood is made at IPL: