Structural balsa cores
BALTEK® is the only structural core material made of a natural, renewable resource – balsa wood. The balsa tree combines various special features: quick growth, low to medium density and unparalleled weight-specific mechanical properties.
Our balsa wood core material comes from our own FSC®-certified plantations in Ecuador (FSC-C019065) and Papua New Guinea (FSC-C125018). For the production of BALTEK® 5-year old trees are felled, cut into timber or peeled as veneer, and dried. The balsa wood is then sorted by quality and density, and glued to blocks. These blocks are cut into end-grain sheets and then processed into one of the many available product sizes.
Availability and Plantations
3A Composites Core Materials manages over 13.000 ha of FSC®-certified plantations in two independent world regions to ensure a continuous global supply to industrial customers at any time.
3A Composites Core Materials is the only fully integrated balsa producer. Its forest companies in Ecuador and Papua New Guinea, control the production from selecting the best seeds, growing perfect seedlings to the tree planting and managing sustainable plantations. Thus, 3A Composites Core Materials is capable to adjust its balsa supply in terms of density and volume according to the customers’ requirements.
R&D and Innovation
BALTEK® has the strongest track record of innovation in balsa core material. 3A Composites Core Materials has continuously innovated its BALTEK® product line:
- Patent on production of flexible panels
- Genetic research to optimize quality, yield and density of balsa trees
- BALTEK® SBC
Plantation controlled structural balsa for infusion FSC®-certified
- BALTEK® VBC
Veneer based core with oriented veneer layers - a customized premium core material
- BALTEK® SBC.80
New weight optimized density grade with average sheet density of 132 kg/m3
Quality and Production
3A Composites Core Materials production facilities in Ecuador, Papua New Guinea, the US, and China produce BALTEK® balsa core in lean and automated processes using state-of-the-art quality management systems:
- BALTEK® production is highly industrialized: automated density control of each lumber and advanced peeling technology.
- BALTEK® paperless quality certificates
Online data access via a certificate website and QR code for fast readability during material inspection processes.
- Broad range of industry certificates for Quality (ISO 9001), Environment (ISO14001), Safety (OHSAS 18001) and Emission (CARB).
Sandwich structures with end-grain balsa result in a particularly lightweight and sturdy end product. As balsa wood is cut perpendicular to the grain direction it has optimum physical properties due to its honeycomb-like cell structure.
BALTEK® - like all our core materials - has the following properties:
- Extremely low specific weight
- High mechanical strength and stiffness
- Reduced use of raw materials
Depending on processing and in combination with other layers, BALTEK® core material has other superior properties, which make it suitable for use in many applications.
Some of the properties are as follows:
- Excellent fatigue resistance
- High impact resistance
- Excellent moisture resistance
- Operating temperature from -212°C to +163°C
- Good chemical resistance
- Compatibility with all types of resins and adhesives
- Excellent sound absorption and thermal insulation
Sandwich components with a BALTEK® balsa wood core are suitable for many areas of application:
- Renewable energy: wind
- Transportation: automotive / rail
- Building & Construction
Selected grade structural balsa
BALTEK® SB is balsa wood from controlled cultivation cut perpendicular to the grain direction. Balsa is a universal core material due to excellent styrene and chemical resistance, as well as neutral behavior in terms of temperature fluctuations. Balsa can be processed with all known resin systems and processes and has excellent laminate adhesion properties.
BALTEK® SB is an ideal, sustainable core material made from renewable resources with a very broad range of use.
FSC® certified selected grade structural balsa
BALTEK® SBC is our balsa wood core material from controlled cultivation. The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC®) certification ensures that all balsa wood comes from FSC®-certified plantations and all production steps are subjected to stringent monitoring. This guarantees highest-quality balsa core and full traceability from the end product back to the tree.
BALTEK® SBC is the only FSC®-certified balsa core material (FSC-C111102). SBC has excellent stiffness-to-weight ratio. It can be processed with all known resin systems and processes and has excellent laminate adhesion properties. Furthermore, it is resistant to temperature changes, fire and chemicals (e.g. styrene).
BALTEK® SBC is an ideal core material made from renewable resources with a very broad range of use.
Balsa wood veneer structural core material
BALTEK® VBC is an ideal, sustainable core material, based on balsa wood veneer from responsible sources (FSC-C127318) with a very broad range of use. Its unique mechanical properties are obtained by optimum alignment of various veneer layers and integration of other materials. This permits designers and engineers to “custom-build” the core material in keeping with requirements. VBC is lightweight and sustainable as a matter - like all BALTEK® products.