John Deere introduces the new M-Series tracked feller bunchers and harvesters.
Joey Nelson from JoeScan explains what sawmill owners should ask before purchasing scan heads for sawmill optimization.
Learn more about the new technology in the rebuilt Lakeland Mills sawmill from Operations Manager Bruce McLean.
On February 26, 2014, truck drivers who haul containers to and from shipping terminals at Port Metro Vancouver stopped work.
The Lakeland Mills sawmill is set to re-open for the first time since the deadly explosion in April of 2012.
Inside the new Lakeland Mills...
CFI Editor Andrew Macklin provides a look inside the rebuilt Lakeland Mills sawmill in Prince George.
Efficient profiling for primary breakdown...
Comact's Simon Potvin talks about how efficiencies found through new technology are speeding up the sawline without sacrificing the quality of the lumber.
USNR at the Timber Processing and Energy Expo...
Sonia Perrine from USNR discusses the company's newest innovation and the impact of the Canadian market on the show floor of the Timber Processing and Energy Expo in Portland.
Komatsu has a new harvesting head...
The new harvesting head is designed to be highly productive in thinning applications.
January 20, 2015 – Komatsu America Corp introduces its next generation XT-3 Series Track Feller-Bunchers & Harvesters which provide significant improvements in operator comfort, ease of operation, productivity and reliability. Komatsu’s purpose-built XT-3 Series machines carry a lineage of solid maneuverability, multi-function capability and high-production in demanding forest environments. Models include the XT430-3 (non-leveling), XT430L-3, XT445L-3 and the larger new XT460L-3 ranging in operating weight from 61,300 lbs. (27,805 kg) to 72,000 lbs. (32,659 kg), and each model features a powerful 300 peak HP (224kW) Cummins 8.3 liter engine and 58,400 lb-ft (79.1k/Nm) of swing torque. With Komatsu’s continued focus on improving operator productivity, the XT-3 has a totally new cab that was designed with an “Attention to the Details” focus. Changes include a sloped roofline that increases headroom above and forward of the seat, and reduces debris buildup. A 10% larger floor-to-ceiling front window, larger side windows with up to 90% greater viewing depth, and a 60% larger skylight window provide a widescreen field of view. For night operation, eleven brilliant white LED lights deliver 2-3 times more illumination in all directions. The XT-3 cab design is more spacious and quieter. It is pressurized with fresh, filtered air for the new automatic heating, cooling and defrosting system. The ergonomic seat and easy-to-reach instrumentation add convenience, and provides easier access to new integrated storage areas including a cooler lunch box and thermos bottle. The XT-3 Series features the new IQAN-MD4 programmable digital control system which is one of the most advanced systems on the market. All former analog gauges and warning lights are now prominently displayed on the highly visible and durable 7-inch (18 cm) LED color touchscreen monitor. The system accommodates individual preference settings for multiple operators, records harvest data and provides advanced diagnostic reports. Highly intuitive Komatsu programming makes the system very easy to use. Undercarriage and Hydraulic Improvements The XT-3 series machines include the latest Komatsu undercarriage and hydraulic improvements for greater reliability and durability, including: Undercarriage: - 1-2 additional bottom rollers improve track chain support and load distribution - Upgraded chain guide (rock guard) material extends service life - Track chain alignment has been optimized by utilizing: - A continuous straight-line chain guide profile - Lengthened chain guide profiles at the idlers and sprockets - Removable track roller guards for easier access on XT445L & XT460L models Hydraulic System: - Upgraded Implement Pump bearings provide longer service life - Lift capacity at full reach has increased by 37% on the XT460L-3 model Versatile Application Flexibility The X-3 series can be equipped to meet a wide range of customer applications. There are up to nine hydraulic system arrangement, two heavy duty boom and four heavy duty arm options that accept a broad range of disc saw, bar saw and processing head cutting attachments. Komatsu’s advanced parallel boom geometry allows fast boom movement and smooth control which increases operator productivity and reduces fatigue. Convenient Maintenance and Serviceability Three (3) rugged swing-out service doors, featuring triple-hinged and positive dove-tailed lever latch designs, provide easy service access to all service and maintenance points including all fluid fill points, filters, batteries, hydraulic pressure checkpoints, and hydraulic hoses and pumps. Easy access to grease fittings provides simple maintenance which helps extend bearing life. *All comparisons and performance claims are made to previous Komatsu XT-2 models.
Jan. 20, 2015 - The Government of Saskatchewan will work to keep the province’s northern pine forests free of mountain pine beetle through a recently renewed agreement with Alberta. The Saskatchewan and Alberta governments have reaffirmed their long-standing co-operation on forest insects and disease, signing a three-year agreement to work together on mountain pine beetle management. Saskatchewan will provide $1.25 million this year to help control the outbreak in Alberta, and to prevent or significantly slow the spread into Saskatchewan’s northern forest. “Through this agreement, we are addressing an issue of mutual importance to our two provinces,” Environment Minister Scott Moe said. “By continuing to support Alberta’s effort to combat mountain pine beetles, we make the best use of our resources by protecting areas of Saskatchewan’s forests that are most at risk.” The funding will be used to support mountain pine beetle control actions in northern Alberta. Actions include enhanced surveillance and monitoring, removal of infested trees, and research and modelling to effectively direct program efforts. Saskatchewan and Alberta’s original agreement was signed in 2011. “Alberta appreciates the support we receive from Saskatchewan in our shared effort to protect western Canada’s pine forests from mountain pine beetle infestations,” Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development Minister Kyle Fawcett said. “Together, we continue to make progress in managing this threat to our natural resource values.” The mountain pine beetle outbreak has killed more than 18 million hectares of lodgepole pine forest (about five times the size of Vancouver Island) in British Columbia and spread across Alberta, to within about 120 kilometres of the Saskatchewan border. Research has confirmed that the beetle can survive in jack pine, putting forests in northern Saskatchewan at risk. While surveys conducted in the fall of 2014 found no mountain pine beetles in Saskatchewan’s northwest, there is already an established beetle population in Cypress Hills, in the province’s southwest. The Ministry of Environment tracks this population and collaborates with the Ministry of Parks, Culture and Sport on its management.
When your sawmill decides it’s time to install or upgrade an optimization system, give careful consideration to the scan head component. Scan heads are an integral part of every optimization system, and it’s crucial that you ask questions about the scan heads before you select an optimization system. The technical specifications and capabilities are obvious factors in selecting a scanner; however, you should look beyond the tech specs and ask both scanner manufacturers and their end users these five key questions before you purchase any scan heads. 1. Many scan heads will require additional proprietary hardware to operate within your optimization system. Consider the investment required to purchase dedicated hardware, and whether your mill will also need to buy spare hardware as a backup. Proprietary hardware can create obsolescence issues, so ask about the useful life of the hardware, and how long the manufacturer will commit to supporting it. There’s no industry standard for hardware requirements – they vary by scanner manufacturer, so it’s important for you to research these factors ahead of time.2. Talk to end users and the system integrator about how easy the scan heads are to use. Remember: Once you’ve installed the system, the system integrator goes home and you’re responsible for the day-to-day operations and maintenance. For example, calibration is a critical aspect of scanner operation. Consider the process involved to calibrate the scan heads, the skill level involved, and how often they require recalibration. Does recalibration require an engineer or an electrician, or can an operator do it? The answers to these questions make a big impact on your day-to-day ownership experience.3. Troubleshooting is time-consuming, which ultimately impacts your mill’s bottom line. Inquire about the level of support the scanner manufacturer offers, as well as who within the company provides that support. The manufacturer’s depth of knowledge is also important – does the company have specific expertise in the sawmill industry?4. Consider whether the manufacturer offers a warranty, and the length of that warranty. Warranty coverage differs significantly between manufacturers, so carefully review the terms of the warranty and what it covers. And don’t forget to ask for historical data regarding turnaround times for shipping back repaired or replacement scan heads.5. In the harsh environment of a sawmill, sometimes equipment gets broken. Consider how long the manufacturer supports its product, and the time frame before that product becomes obsolete. Investigate a scanner manufacturer’s average turnaround time on repairs. Ask whether the manufacturer has a minimum repair cost, and whether it caps the maximum repair cost. These considerations factor into the overall cost of ownership and the longevity of your mill’s investment in scan heads. Product offerings vary widely across the scanner industry. You should look beyond the technical specifications to the value-added benefits of the equipment and manufacturer. Talk thoroughly with scanner manufacturers, and their end users, to make an informed decision. Ultimately this approach lowers your overall cost of ownership. Best of all, it boosts your mill’s productivity and increases its bottom line. ---------------------------------- Joey Nelson is the president and founder of JoeScan, which is headquartered in Vancouver, Wash. You can contact Joey at email@example.com or 360.993.0069.
Jan. 2, 2015 - Wood-Mizer LLC introduces the LT70 Super Hydraulic sawmill, the fastest portable sawmill ever offered by Wood-Mizer. The SUPER70 combines the rugged power of a 55HP diesel engine with the functionality of engine-powered hydraulics, fully-proportional joystick controls, and an enhanced operator interface. The compact and efficient hydraulic system integrates directly into the engine’s power for the ability to withstand rugged and mobile environments, even in harsh, below zero climates. Serious sawyers will also benefit from an increased production rating of up to 1,050 board feet per hour. Main Features Engine-powered hydraulic system for peak performance 40% faster head positioning and up to 50% faster bed functions Increased 1,050 board feet per hour production rating Enhanced operator interface for optimal control 55HP diesel power “Wood-Mizer has always been committed to constant innovation to provide the most advanced and reliable sawmills on the market,” said Wood-Mizer National Sales Manager Dave Mann. “The SUPER70 continues this dedication by offering powerful sawing faster than ever to meet the demands of portable and high production sawyers around the world.”
Jan. 22, 2015 — After meeting with Unifor and other truck driver representatives, BC Transportation Minister Todd Stone has committed to taking another look at the regulations introduced for the Container Trucking Act. "There has been a lot of progress towards standardizing the sector work for truckers and their clients," said Jerry Dias, National President of Unifor. "But without the implementation of the wage rates signed off by Premier Clark last spring, that progress threatens to come to a halt." Minister Stone and federal Transportation Minister Lisa Raitt met with Unifor and other driver representatives at the Port Metro Vancouver head offices last week in an attempt to find an agreement that would keep the ports open. Container truckers shut down Port Metro Vancouver for nearly four weeks in March 2014 as a result of undercutting by trucking companies and long wait times at the Port. Truckers went back to work after a Joint Action Plan was signed with the truckers, the Port, the BC government, and the federal government. But truck drivers say that proposals for pay cuts tabled on December 15 by the BC government threaten to undo the agreement that has kept the Port open since April. At Thursday's meeting, Unifor representatives made a detailed presentation about the implications of the pay cuts. Minister Stone said that he would review the regulations before the new Truck Licencing System is scheduled to be implemented on February 1st. "As it stands, the government's pay schedule takes money out of truckers' pockets and violates the deal that I watched the Premier sign last spring," said Paul Johal, President of Unifor's container truck drivers local and a driver himself. "We simply want what was promised when we ended the 2014 port protests."
Jan. 20, 2015 - Residential remodeling is set for modest growth in 2015, according to experts at a press conference hosted by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) Remodelers at the International Builders' Show (IBS) in Las Vegas. Remodelers appearing on the panel agreed with the forecast, citing homeowners' changing demographics and increased financial security. NAHB projects that residential remodeling spending on owner-occupied single-family homes will increase a modest 3 percent in 2015 over 2014, and another 1.5 percent in 2016. "Remodelers are responding to calls from home owners on steadier financial footing than recent years," said 2015 NAHB Remodelers Chairman Robert Criner, GMR, GMB, CAPS, CGP, a remodeler from Newport News, Va. "From major kitchen remodels and bath facelifts to room additions, the members of NAHB Remodelers look forward to providing professional remodeling services in 2015." "Among our clientele, a demographic shift towards remodeling urban homes is taking place," said Mike Nagel, CGR, CAPS, a remodeler from Chicago. "Our recent jobs tend to be in the city and the projects have increased in size." "Existing homes sales and house prices both hit soft spots in 2014 that dealt a glancing blow to residential remodeling businesses," said Paul Emrath, NAHB's vice president for survey and housing policy research. "We expect those drags are behind us in 2015, an outlook consistent with the optimism expressed by remodeler members in our recent Remodeling Market Index (RMI) survey."
Jan. 20, 2015 –Western Forest Products has announced that it will reopen its sawmill in Ladysmith, B.C., bringing back 85 workers originally let go when the mill shut down. According to an article in the Vancouver Sun, WFP’s decision to reopen the mill is based on new orders received by buyers in the Chinese market. The mill was originally closed in December of 2014 when decreasing demand from export markets caused WFP to reduce the scale of its sawmill operations. For more on this story, CLICK HERE
Jan. 20, 2015 - Western Forest Products Inc. announced the appointment of J. Barrie Shineton to its Board of Directors. Mr. Shineton is the past President and Chief Executive Officer of Norbord Inc., and currently serves as the Vice Chair of the Board of Directors at Norbord Inc., and as a Director of Stella-Jones Inc. “It is a pleasure to welcome Barrie to our Board of Directors,” said Lee Doney, Chairman of the Board of Western. “Barrie’s extensive executive management experience in the forest industry will be a great asset to our Board.” Mr. Shineton brings to his board position more than 30 years of experience in the forest products industry, having held executive-level marketing, sales and operations positions for companies in North America and Europe.
Dec. 8, 2014, Vancouver – Norbord Inc. and Ainsworth Lumber Co. Ltd. announced that they have signed a definitive agreement under which they will merge to create a leading global wood products company focused on oriented strand board across North America, Europe and Asia. The all-stock deal is valued at $762.6 million. “This transaction unites two complementary businesses behind a common vision of enhanced service to our customers and growth in North America, Europe and Asia,” said Peter Wijnbergen, Norbord’s President and Chief Executive Officer. “Norbord and Ainsworth are each low-cost producers in their respective regions, and with our complementary operations and a more diverse range of specialty products, we will be better able to serve our customers across the globe. Ainsworth has excellent mills, a proven track record of innovation in value-added product development, and we look forward to working together. The growth potential we see in the combined company also offers significant value to our shareholders.” Under the terms of the arrangement agreement announced today, Norbord has agreed to acquire all of the outstanding common shares of Ainsworth in an all-share transaction in which Ainsworth shareholders will receive 0.1321 of a Norbord share for each Ainsworth share pursuant to a plan of arrangement under the British Columbia Business Corporations Act. Brookfield Asset Management Inc. and its affiliated entities, which control approximately 55% and 52% of the outstanding common shares of Ainsworth and Norbord respectively, have entered into a binding agreement in which they have committed to vote in favour of the transaction. Upon closing, the Brookfield entities will control approximately 53% of the outstanding common shares of the combined company. Said Jim Lake, Ainsworth’s President and Chief Executive Officer: “The combination of the two companies will mean tremendous opportunities for our people and our customers. By joining with Norbord we will be able to leverage its commitment to low-cost operational excellence to expand and improve our existing range of products and enhance our customer relationships. For our shareholders, this transaction offers significant potential for continued value creation as investors in a larger and better-capitalized company with ongoing participation in the current U.S. housing recovery. This is an exciting transaction for Ainsworth and its stakeholders.” On a pro forma basis, the combined company generated USD $1.63 billion in sales and USD $143 million in Adjusted EBITDA for the 12 months ended September 27, 2014. The transaction is expected to be accretive to earnings and cash flow in the first year.
Dec. 4, 2014 - On February 26, 2014, truck drivers who haul containers to and from shipping terminals at Port Metro Vancouver and who are members of the United Truckers Association of British Columbia stopped work. They were joined two weeks later by members of Unifor – Vancouver Container Truckers’ Association. The drivers were protesting low wages and long wait times at port terminals. Because the economy of British Columbia is dependent on commodity exports, the reaction to the work stoppage was one of great concern. “If we cannot deliver coastal forest products in a timely and dependable manner through Port Metro Vancouver, we will lose our customers to offshore competitors,” said Coast Forest Products Association president and CEO Rick Jeffery. “This will have a disastrous ripple effect that will reverberate through our companies, impacting thousands of jobs and lives as well as the stability and economies of our communities and the province.” The work stoppage, which cost an estimated $885 million per week, went on for almost a month, with drivers and their employers trading accusations and threats. The other players – Port Metro Vancouver, terminal operators, ocean carriers, freight forwarders and customers – called on the truckers and the trucking companies to settle so that everyone could get back to work. After the B.C. government threatened back-to-work legislation, there was a last-minute flurry of negotiations, and on March 27, Premier Christy Clark announced a settlement. And with that, the estimated 1,800 striking truckers got behind the wheel again and headed back to the port. The news of the settlement was met with both a sigh of relief and a sense of resignation. The 2014 disruption followed similar walkouts in 1999 and 2005, and some people believe there could be more of the same in the future. Critical portPort Metro Vancouver, where the container truckers ply their trade, is huge in area and in importance to the local, provincial and national economies. Port jurisdiction covers more than 600 kilometres of shoreline, which border 16 municipalities, one treaty First Nation and 28 marine cargo terminals. It is Canada’s largest port and is tied for second place (after Los Angeles-Long Beach) on the west coast of North America. In 2013, the port handled a record 135 million tonnes of cargo, an increase of nine per cent over 2012. Port Metro Vancouver is served by a small army of licensed trucks, most of which are owner-operated. The trucks move thousands of containers throughout the Lower Mainland, the port’s hinterland. Trucks account for about one-half of the traffic in and out of the port, the other half moving by rail. Trucks move approximately 1.3 million TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units) per year through Port Metro Vancouver. Based on 2011 economic impact study figures, the value of those goods is approximately $46 billion. Specialty grains, animal feed and such forest products as pulp, paper and lumber are the main commodities exported in containers from Port Metro Vancouver. Truckers’ strike hurt forest industry“Exports of Canadian softwood lumber to Asia – Japan, China, Taiwan and South Korea – increased dramatically beginning in 2008,” Council of Forest Industries (COFI) president and CEO James Gorman said. “But then they fell in the first quarter of 2014 due to the Vancouver port strike.” According to COFI’s estimates, softwood lumber exports from B.C. to Japan and from B.C. to China each fell by almost 40 per cent between the third quarter of 2013 and the first quarter of 2014. The negative impact is not surprising because of the symbiotic relationship between Port Metro Vancouver and the forest industry. Softwood lumber is a big player at port terminals, says Gorman. “The export of wood products is critical to the successful economics of the port,” he said. “Measured by tonnage, 32 per cent of outbound shipments come from the forest industry. No other economic sector is close to that.” In addition, Gorman says, almost two-thirds of total container exports carry forest products. Eight years ago, five out of six containers that were shipped to Port Metro Vancouver from China returned empty. “Now it’s less than one in three,” Gorman says. “The difference is forest product exports to China.” What caused the strike?There were two main causes of the work stoppage at Port Metro Vancouver, says Gordon Payne, chairman of Harbour Link Container Services Inc. in the Vancouver suburb of Delta, B.C. For several years the truckers have had long waits to gain access to the port, and, once inside to complete a transaction. “Before the work stoppage was called, some truckers had been waiting three to four hours for a single pick-up or delivery,” Payne said. “Because most of the truckers are owner-operators and are paid by the job, the lengthy waiting times reduce the money they earn. It’s no surprise they were upset.” Severe winter weather in eastern North America had made the congestion worse; there was a shortage of intermodal rail cars, which caused containers to back up at Port Metro Vancouver’s terminals. New technology to clear the airThe work disruption ended with the adoption of a 14-point Joint Action Plan to address the truckers’ concerns. The Plan was developed by the federal and provincial governments and Port Metro Vancouver, all of which have jurisdiction over different parts of the port’s operations. According to the terms of the Plan, the federal government agreed to boost the trip rates paid by truckers by 12 per cent over 2006 rates. There is also a new escalating fee arrangement to compensate truckers for excessive wait times. The fees – which are in fact penalties – will be paid by the terminal operators to the truckers. Drivers will be paid $50 after 90 minutes of waiting. After two hours that fee will go up by another $25. Also part of the Plan is the Common Data Interface (CDI) project, which will collect digital records of truck entries and departures at gates and terminals. After the data has been collected and crunched, it will be used to help co-ordinate multi-shift operations and develop a centralized appointment scheduler for container trucks. The CDI will also complete the installation of GPS technology in container trucks at the port. According to Transport Canada, which is helping to finance the initiative, GPS in every truck will provide a complete, accurate and real-time base of data which will provide routing and operational information to help manage congestion and wait times. Is the settlement a solution?Although the truckers have been back at work for six months, not all of them are pleased with the settlement and some of them have been making noises about going off the job again. The forest industry has its fingers crossed. “Port Metro Vancouver is a vital link to the world economy for B.C. and for Canada,” said COFI’s James Gorman. “It is critical to have a lasting solution.” There is certainly some reason for optimism. “Turn-times have gone down a lot since early July, between eight and 15 per cent,” said Philip Davies, principal of Davies Transportation Consulting Inc. in Vancouver. “That’s a significant decrease.” On the other hand, says Darryl Anderson, managing director of Wave Point Consulting Ltd. in Victoria, B.C., a return to work does not necessarily mean a lasting solution. “Since trucking operations are so complex, it will take significant leadership and time for industry to define exactly what the Plan will mean in practical operational terms,” Anderson said. “I’m confident that everybody involved knows what’s at stake. The question is, can they put aside their individual short-term commercial interests and act for the benefit of the long-term health of Port Metro Vancouver? It’s uncertain.” What will happen next? “It’s an ongoing adventure,” said Davies.
Jan. 13, 2015 –A Newfoundland couple is taking a hardwood flooring retailer and a flooring manufacturer to court after their flooring was found to have a rare infestation of powderpost beetle. According to a report from the CBC, the couple from Paradise believe that the infestation of powderpost beetle must have been caused Mercier Wood Flooring of Quebec, who manufactured the flooring, or Atlantic Home Furnishings, the Newfoundland and Labrador retailer who sold them the flooring. However, both company have stated that, based on treatments and storage methods used by the company, they are not to blame for the infestation. Also, no complaints have come forward from other homeowners who are experiencing the same issue with their flooring. For more on this story, CLICK HERE
Nov. 13, 2014, Woodstock, NB – Garant GP, a leading Canadian manufacturer of snow removal and gardening tools, has modernized its value-added mill to help increase yield from the wood supply and improve the plant's efficiency, thanks to support from the Government of Canada. The Woodstock operation has been manufacturing handles for Garant GP's specialty lawn, garden and snow removal tools since its opening in 1961 and was later acquired by the company in 1968. Mike Allen, Member of Parliament for Tobique-Mactaquac, on behalf of the Honourable Rob Moore, Regional Minister for New Brunswick and Minister of State (Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency), joined Garant GP officials at the sawmill to tour the facility. "With the current market conditions, the Canadian manufacturing industry is more than ever challenged to maintain a high efficiency level to remain competitive in the North American marketplace. With ACOA's involvement in the funding of this project, this will enable Garant GP and its employees to maintain employment in New Brunswick. Having been part of the Woodstock community for over 50 years, carrying out this project will help to ensure the continuity of our operations for many years to come," says Jean Gaudreault, President, Garant GP. The project involved a building expansion and the installation of advanced technology to improve the plant's productivity. An obsolete circular saw and carriage were replaced with a new high efficiency band saw and carriage. A new scanner technology system was also added to improve wood usage. These upgrades will increase the profitability of the various lines of wooden dowels that are manufactured at the Garant GP sawmill, and help the plant remain competitive. "Our Government is pleased to work with businesses like Garant GP to help strengthen the economy of our region. The expansion and new equipment at Garant's Woodstock sawmill will increase productivity and improve overall efficiency and will boost the sustainability and competitive edge of this business," says Mike Allen, Member of Parliament for Tobique-Mactaquac, on behalf of the Honourable Rob Moore, Regional Minister for New Brunswick and Minister of State (Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency). The Government of Canada is investing $473,300 in the project, through ACOA's Business Development Program. Garant GP is a national leader in the manufacturing of non-motorized winter snow removal and summer gardening tools, thanks to its continuous investment in new technologies and the development of a highly skilled and experienced workforce. Founded in 1895 in Saint-François, Quebec, Garant GP was originally a small family operation that offered hand fashioned and forged tools.