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Wood in the lightweight construction industry

Until a few years ago, for me, wood as a material was a reminder of times long past, the beginnings of automobiles, railways and aviation. In the present it was associated with decoration. When I got to know today’s Weitzer Woodsolutions a few years ago, my perception of wood in mobility changed significantly.

Since then I have been following with great pleasure the progress made by wood as a material.

Source: Weitzer Woodsolutions GmbH

Since last year there have been all sorts of new fields of application and progress:

  • Wooden chassis for snowmobile “ARDENNER”
    In particular, the tough weather-related circumstances and falling rocks had to be mastered here.
  • Wooden city bus concept
    The main focus here was on modular construction but also on workability for designs.
  • Bus boarding stairs and side impact beams:
    These are no longer new, but have finally arrived in real use.

It’s always fascinating that wood can save between 10 and 40% in weight, with the same performance and reliability as fiber-reinforced plastics and metals.

I think it’s very nice that they only work with local hardwood, those parts that usually didn’t seem recyclable and therefore ended up in the incinerator.

I also find the 3D video glasses very innovative, so new colleagues at other locations can be trained from the headquarters without having to drive there.

Weitzer brought in various partners, for research the TU in Graz, for pre-development the W.E.I.Z. (Weizer Innovation Center) and the Styrian wood cluster. Especially at the beginning of new projects it is very important that people with different identities are at work, as an outsider you would never notice that the team members come from different organizations.

The Holzcluster Steiermark acts as an impetus to bring wood into new applications and bundles the competences of the Styrian companies as well as the W.E.I.Z. that it does on the part of the research institutions. In this way, Austria can show the world how even greener mobility can sustainably pick up speed.

The Weitzer Group not only stands for wood, but also for regionality. The family business began in 1831 with the manufacture and marketing of parquet floors, where the family business is still the market leader in Austria. The processed wood comes from the region. In 2005, Weitzer Energy was added, which uses district heating to heat regional households. One of the youngest subsidiaries is Woodsolutions, founded in 2022. With currently around 700 jobs, the Weitzer Group is one of the largest employers in the region, which was historically characterized by the timber industry.