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: fast growth, low to medium density, and unique weight-specific mechanical properties.
3A Composites Core Materials owns and manages through its forest companies, Plantabal S.A. and 3A Composites PNG Ltd., several thousand hectares of FSC®-certified balsa wood 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 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.
Certificates for our FSC®-certified plantations
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
- 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.
- 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) and Safety (OHSAS 18001).
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.
Plantation controlled structural Balsa for Infusion
BALTEK® SBC is the balsa wood core material from controlled cultivation from 3A Composites Core Materials plantations. 3A Composites manages several thousand hectares of FSC®-certified balsa wood plantations. The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC®) certification acts as a catalyst for improving standards in forest management. It brings economic and social benefits to our employees and local people and facilitates environmental benefits for biodiversity and the ecosystem. For BALTEK® SBC, all production steps are subjected to stringent monitoring, especially offering a physical validation for time to kiln (T2K). Our monitoring process guarantees the highest-quality balsa core and full traceability from the end product back to the tree.
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.
Engineered Structural Balsa
BALTEK® VBC is an engineered core material produced from kiln-dried and oriented balsa wood layers coming from controlled cultivation from 3A Composites Core Materials balsa wood plantations. The optimal alignment of various layers obtains its unique mechanical properties and process ability. BALTEK® VBC is an ideal, sustainable core material made of renewable resources with an extensive range of use. VBC is lightweight and sustainable as a matter – like all BALTEK® products.