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Industry Wood, manufacturing
Founded 1897
Products Processed wood
Revenue €3 billion (2011)
Number of employees
11,000 (2008)

Kronospan is an international company that manufactures and distributes wood-based panels which are used in many everyday products such as flooring, furniture and timber-framed houses.

The company manufactures Particleboard (PB), Medium density fibreboard (MDF), Laminate flooring, resins for wood-based panels, Oriented strand board (OSB). It also produces melamine-faced panels, worktops, wall panels, window sills, lacquered HDF and others and speciality and decorative paper. Its wood-based panels are manufactured in 29 locations across the world and is represented in 25 countries employing more than 11,000 people with sales in excess of €3 billion per annum.


Kronospan was established in 1897 in Lungötz, Austria, as a family business. In 1970 the company opened a UK manufacturing unit in the former coal mining town of Chirk, North Wales. It is now one of the top 10 manufacturing companies in Wales and employs more than 600 people with 90% of the workforce living within a 10-mile radius of the Chirk site.[1]


Kronospan manufactures a wide range of wood based panel products. The company claims to have a sustainability policy promoting the constant review and upgrade of its products and manufacturing processes.

As an example,[2] Kronospan chipboard has recently benefited from an investment in decontamination technology – derived from the gold mining industry and the only one of its kind in the UK – which ensures maximum recovery of non-ferrous metals such as aluminium, copper and brass, from recycled material. This helps ensure the company can continue to recycle landfill waste for use in its products.

Kronospan engineers core board and adds surface designs using its own in-house technology to produce melamine-faced chipboard and MDF as well as kitchen worktops and laminate flooring. This is all done at its Chirk site.

Health, safety and environmental[edit]

  • A subsidiary of the company, Kronospan Forestry Ltd., manages over 1000 hectares of sustainable forests in the south-west of Scotland. This includes both young forests as well as mid-age plantations offering greater wildlife diversity. In 1999 the company joined the Forest Stewardship Council scheme, which ensures that sustainable practices are used.[3]
  • Kronospan works with Business in the Community Wales (BICW) which aims to address key social issues in the most deprived rural and urban areas of Wales.[4]
  • In January 2002 Kronospan UK was fined £60,000 for discharging effluent into the River Bradley. The company admitted six offences between 29 March and 9 October 2001, with a further four offences taken into consideration.[5][6]
  • In March 2002, the company was fined £20,500 after 8,000 tonnes of waste timber caught fire at the Chirk plant and burned for several days. The fire was believed to have been caused by spontaneous combustion following a build up of heat in damp conditions.[7]
  • The plant caught fire again on 17 June 2002 and firefighters were drafted in from stations in North Wales, Cheshire and Shropshire to tackle the oil fire which had started in a boiler room.[8][9]
  • Between May 2002 and July 2003 Environment Agency Wales (EAW) tests showed Kronospan UK discharged pollutants including ammonia "far in excess of agreed levels" into waterways feeding the River Dee.
  • In 2003 Kronospan was one of the first organisations to sign up with the Carbon Trust in Wales for a pilot programme to manage carbon emissions.[10][11]
  • In January 2003 Kronospan UK were fined £15,000 after admitting failure to ensure the safety of an employee. While removing waste paper from between the rollers of a stopped machine, the employee was caught as the rollers closed and the machine started up. As the rollers were operating in a reverse direction, the worker's arm was extruded toward the man, rather than his body being dragged into the machine. An investigation found that another worker who was attempting to correct a fault on the machine had pressed a button "that, unknown to him or anyone else at the factory, was a delayed start button which set the machine rolling." Although the machine had been in use for three years the button had never been pressed before and not even the management knew what it was for.[12]
  • On 1 July 2003 the level of fuel oil pollutants from the Chirk plant were so high that they triggered a "pollution red alert" on the River Dee. To prevent the contamination of drinking water the water treatment plant at Bangor-on-Dee was shut down during the incident.[13][14] An EAW spokesman said: "This case and the level of fine imposed clearly demonstrates how seriously the agency and the courts view companies who fail to ensure their activities do not cause harm to the environment."[15]
  • In May 2005 Kronospan UK was fined £25,000 by Wrexham magistrates after pleading guilty to five offences of polluting local waterways.[16]
  • The plant suffered further industrial fires in April and September 2007 and September 2010.[17][18][19] In 2012 firefighters attended industrial blazes at the plant in June, twice in July and again in October.[20][21]
  • In July 2005 Kronospan UK invested £700,000 on an improved water recycling and filtration process.[22][23]
  • In 2010 Kronospan’s workforce took part in a symbolic two-hour shutdown in protest against Government subsidies paid to the biomass industry, which they say directly threaten their jobs, future wood manufacturing and associated industries.[24][25] Kronospan's shutdown supported the European Panel Federation's[26] Day of Action and the company has joined Green campaigners and the UK’s Wood Panel Industries Federation in lobbying Government through the Make Wood Work [27] campaign to reverse the consequences of the Renewables Obligation, which is a result of European Union Climate Change Directives.[28]


  1. ^ - Kronospan - about us
  2. ^ "Kronospan invests in gold award". Source Woodfloors [1]. 
  3. ^ Watson, Craig (22 June 1999). "Greenways". The Herald (Glasgow). p. 12. 
  4. ^ "Community initiative making major impact". Daily Post (Liverpool). 14 November 2001. p. 2. 
  5. ^ Roberts, Elwyn (9 March 2002). "Fines for pollution of river reduced". Liverpool Daily Post (Liverpool). p. 3. 
  6. ^ "Polluter fined £60,000". Western Mail (Cardiff). 11 January 2002. p. 1. 
  7. ^ "Company fined over blaze". Liverpool Daily Post (Liverpool). 1 March 2002. p. 8. 
  8. ^ "Chipboard factory fire". Liverpool Daily Post (Liverpool). 18 June 2002. p. 13. 
  9. ^ "70 firemen tackle blaze". Western Mail (Cardiff). 18 June 2002. p. 3. 
  10. ^ "Move to cut CO2 emissions". Western Mail (Cardiff). 3 December 2003. p. 3. 
  11. ^ "Climate concern". Daily Post (Liverpool). 14 January 2004. p. 7. 
  12. ^ Hall, John (24 January 2003). "Firm fined £15,000 after worker's arm got stuck in machine". Liverpool Daily Post (Liverpool). p. 18. 
  13. ^ Bagnall, Steve (12 November 2004). "Pollution shame of N. Wales factory". Liverpool Daily Post (Liverpool). p. 1. 
  14. ^ "Flooring company fined £60,000 for polluting River Dee tributary". Western Mail (Cardiff). 13 November 2004. p. 16. 
  15. ^ Evans, Derek (22 November 2004). "Grand Canal Basin suffers a pollution setback". Irish Times (Dublin). p. 23. 
  16. ^ "Bradley Factory fined". Liverpool Daily Post (Liverpool). 17 May 2005. p. 4. 
  17. ^ "Chipboard plant blaze". Liverpool Daily Post (Liverpool). 16 April 2007. p. 8. 
  18. ^ "Fire crew puts out factory blaze". Liverpool Daily Post (Liverpool). 17 September 2007. p. 7. 
  19. ^ Bagnall, Steve (11 September 2010). "Blaze at chip board factory". Liverpool Daily Post (Liverpool). p. 9. 
  20. ^ "Crews at third fire in weeks at Chirk Kronospan factory". BBC News. 8 July 2012. Retrieved 28 March 2013. 
  21. ^ "Kronospan: fire in wood products factory near Chirk". BBC News. 22 October 2012. Retrieved 28 March 2013. 
  22. ^ "Water system on trial". Liverpool Daily Post (Liverpool). 27 July 2005. p. 5. 
  23. ^ "Region's firms rack up hefty pollution fines". Liverpool Daily Post (Liverpool). 27 July 2006. p. 4. 
  24. ^ "Chirk factory workers protest over 'subsidy threat'". BBC Wales Today (North Wales). October 29, 2010 [2].  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  25. ^ "Kronospan workers urge Government to step in over subsidies". Liverpool Daily Post (North Wales). October 30, 2010 [3].  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  26. ^ European Panel Federation website
  27. ^ Make Wood Work Campaign website
  28. ^ "Biomass schemes will boost destructive timber imports, claims wood industry". The Guardian. September 11, 2011 [4].  Check date values in: |date= (help)

External links[edit]