BFH Centre for Wood – Resource and Material
An integrated view of the wood process chain is a characteristic feature of the BFH Centre for Wood – Resource and Material. Under a single roof, it pools interdisciplinary knowledge and expertise along the entire wood value chain. From the renewable resource, the centre generates products and processes which create economic, social and ecological benefits.
At the BFH Centre for Wood – Resource and Material, specialists from various disciplines adopt an integrated approach along the entire wood process chain. They develop technologies, processes and expertise for utilisation of wood – and make them available to end-users.
The BFH Centre pools expertise from industry and science for
- knowledge-based production and utilisation of the raw material
- intelligent application of the building material
- extended utilisation of wood as a natural raw material
Experts from forestry, planning, architecture, conservation and restoration, construction engineering, wood technology, timber construction, materials, chemistry, automation and IT are involved. Their inter-process collaboration and their complementary expertise make possible integrated needs-based solutions along the entire value added chain.
The interdisciplinary approach generates unique combinations for the production, operation and use of facilities and finished products through to conservation of works of art and cultural assets. The BFH Centre also creates added value as the result of innovative solutions for wood-based chemicals, materials, buildings, products and processes.
The BFH Centre for Wood – Resource and Material collaborates with forestry, finishing specialists and end-users, thus contributing to needs-based provision and refinement of wood as a raw material. The close collaboration with partners from industry and society links practice with state-of-the-art knowledge. Proximity to end-users and strong practical anchorage in the sub-sectors of construction and wood-based industries are the success factors of the BFH Centre.
The BFH Centre for Wood – Resource and Material is involved in numerous projects with partners from industry and other universities at home and abroad and is always open to new projects and collaborations.
The BFH Centre for Wood – Resource and Material brings together institutes from various faculties of the Bern University of Applied Sciences. Experts from forestry, planning, architecture, conservation and restoration, construction engineering, wood technology, timber construction, materials, chemistry, automation and IT work together in process-independent fashion.
Raw material – expertise in production and processing
From forest to timber – effective management processes
The BFH Centre develops solutions for effective harvesting and provision of wood for cascaded utilisation in closed systems:
- Collaboration models for strategic positioning of forestry operations
- Management processes and structures for efficient and effective provision of wood as a raw material
- Technologies and procedures for data transmission between the parties involved for intelligent and needs-based harvesting and utilisation of wood
From planning to product – the digital data chain
The BFH Centre creates consistency of information between the various planning and production processes involved in digital production by means of Building Information Modelling, (BIM):
- Solutions for integrated digital process control
- Interface optimisation for data transfer
- Complete applications with digitally controlled production units
Building material – intelligence for the built environment
From simple building to complex facility – well-conceived systems
The BFH Centre develops safe and efficient systems for high-density building from planning through to assembly:
- Modular wooden structures with a high degree of prefabrication
- Resource-efficient and production-optimised load-bearing systems
- Energy-efficient and permanent building shells
- Joining technologies and material combinations for hybrid structures with wood
- Needs-based decision criteria as the result of continuous construction monitoring
From existing buildings to new uses - building redevelopment
The BFH Centre combines innovation with tradition in the interplay between restoration and infill development – with a view to protecting cultural heritage and urban landscapes:
- Assessment and retrofitting of existing buildings
- Non-destructive examination and protection of building structures of cultural-historical value
- Structural and construction investigations of historic load-bearing structures
- Architectural restoration, urban upgrading and infill development in a cultural-historical context
Material – innovation for products and culture
From wood to natural material – intelligent material applications
The BFH Centre utilises the chemical and physical properties of wood for environmentally friendly products such as furniture, appliances and everyday objects:
- Nature-compatible multi-functional wood and composite materials
- Systems designed to protect wood-based materials
- Innovative and environmentally friendly adhesives and paint systems
- Wood extract substances as alternatives to crude-oil-based precursors and materials
From cultural heritage to cultural asset – understanding, preserving and using
Employing an interdisciplinary approach, the BFH Centre develops methods and procedures for conserving cultural assets made of wood on the basis of its knowledge of cultural history and technological expertise:
- Historical-cultural and technological classification and documentation of historic wooden objects
- Development and conception of damage-preventing and curative conservation measures
- De-restoration procedures
The BFH Centre for Wood – Resource and Material provides ready-for-use solutions for customers from the entire wood added-value chain and related sectors on the basis of state-of-the-art knowledge and practical experience. The following examples of projects provide an insight.
FOCUS: Advances in forestry control and automation systems in Europe
Forestry management and its associated sectors are among the most important economic sectors in the rural regions of Europe. One of the greatest difficulties in terms of improving forestry-based added-value chains is the lack of integrated control and planning mechanisms. The project shows how innovative sensor technologies and control methods can solve this problem with the aid of case studies carried out in various European countries.
Extraction of tannins from the bark of native softwoods
The objective of the project is to develop an extraction process for producing tannins from native softwoods for sawmills and the wood-processing industry. The researchers investigate the impact of individual extraction parameters on the chemical structure of the extracted tannins. On this basis, they formulate formaldehyde-free adhesives and analyse their physical and mechanical properties.
Additive robotic fabrication of complex timber structures
Robot-supported fabrication of complex timber load-bearing structures provides an approach for more efficient use of timber. The project generated a robot-supported fabrication process, and economical, fast timber joints were developed and tested. These three research results – fabrication process, load-bearing structural system and timber joints – were successfully combined and implemented in a 1:1 teaching aid.
Molecular modelling of sorption of small molecules on lignocellulosic wooden cell walls
An improved understanding of the chemical-physical interactions between active substance molecules and lignocellulosic substrates is required for optimisation of treatment and decontamination processes for wooden objects. In the current project, interaction models between chlorinated agents and modelling systems made of cellulose, hemicellulose and lignin are determined and tested with the aid of computer simulations (molecular dynamics).
Experts from the BFH Centre for Wood - Resource and Material generate holistic solutions with partners from industry and society. The close collaboration with end-users links practice with state-of-the-art knowledge. This is integrated in the degree and further training courses, thus ensuring transfer to industry.
The BFH Centre provides services in the following fields:
Research and development
The research projects of the BFH Centre for Wood are consistently aligned to practice. In close collaboration with partners from industry and society, researchers develop innovative solutions for new forest management systems, innovative materials, building optimisation, conservation of cultural assets with a view to serving the built environment.
Services and consultancy
Staff at the BFH Centre provide a wide range of services in terms of wood as a raw material, building material and material:
- Concept development, planning and expert opinions
- Measurement, evaluation and analyses
- Events designed to transfer knowledge and technologies
Teaching and further training courses
The research results generated by the BFH Centre are integrated in the bachelor and master degree courses and the further training courses offered by the BFH. This ensures that the range of courses is always in line with the current state of the art.
Bern University of Applied Sciences
BFH Centre for Wood - Resource and Material
CH-2500 Biel/Bienne 6
T +41 32 344 02 14
Head of the BFH Centre
Prof. Dr Ingo Mayer
Forestry and Wood Sciences
Prof. Dr Bernhard Pauli
T +41 31 910 21 07
Wood in Art and Culture
Prof. Karolina Soppa
T +41 31 848 38 97