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Chemical Industry Innovation Award 2012: Wood composite revolutionalises casting

The wood composite developed by the Finnish Onbone Oy is the most significant innovation of the cast industry for decades. This young company is a great example of how the results of basic research can be turned into products and successful international business. Onbone Oy’s WOODCAST was awarded the Chemical Industry Innovation Award on 23 April 2012. The award was presented at an event hosted by the Chemical Industry Federation of Finland.

Superior to current cast products
The wooden cast is the first innovative product in the cast industry for decades. Onbone Oy has developed a new type of material, woodcast, from clean wood chips and biodegradable plastic. The WOODCAST product can be used for treatments requiring casts and for the manufacture of individual supportive devices for orthopaedics. Its properties are superior to current cast products: it’s environmentally friendly and easy to use.
The Scientific Advisory Board of the Chemical Industry Federation of Finland emphasised the importance of basic research for the innovation in its justifications for the award. Research related to the innovation was carried out in the department of chemistry at the University of Helsinki. Founder partners of Onbone Oy, CEO Petro Lahtinen and R&D Manager Antti Pärssinen, carried out the basic research leading to the innovation. Product development was carried out at Onbone Oy. Successful product development and commercialisation have brought the innovation to the market. The wooden cast was characterised as a revolutionary innovation with substantial international market potential.
Marketing enhanced through networks
The award-winning innovation is based on knowledge of materials and combining them in an open-minded way. The basic chemical finding is the development of the air durable catalyst, which is patented.
The wooden cast was targeted to the international market right from its inception and has the potential to replace current cast products. The first product WOODCAST was launched onto the Finnish market in 2010 and is now in industrial production. The global market potential is estimated at some 1.5 billion euros.
Onbone Oy works in cooperation with several Finnish hospitals in product development and productisation. Investors and cooperation partners have played a central role in the establishment of Onbone Oy and the product development of the wooden cast. The Centres for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment and the Foundation for Finnish Innovations have provided substantial support for the establishment of the company. Tekes, the Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation, has been involved in Onbone’s product development and globalisation projects.
CEO Petro Lahtinen thinks there are opportunities for new businesses based on basic research.
“There’s a lot of unused potential in the research carried out at universities. These jewels should be actively sought, productised and commercialised for the global market along with investors.”
Encouragement for innovative activities
The Chemical Industry Innovation Award encourages research scientists in the chemical fields to get involved in creative and innovative activities. The sum awarded is EUR 20,000.
The award winner is selected by the Scientific Advisory Board of the Chemical Industry Federation of Finland, and the award is presented by the Chemical Industry Federation. This year is the twelfth time the prize has been awarded.


Carmela Kantor-Aaltonen, advisor, Chemical Industry Federation of Finland. Tel. +358 9 1728 4308.
Petro Lahtinen, CEO, Onbone Oy. Tel. +358 50 581 1033.
Pictures of award-winners and innovations: