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May 6, 2015 - The Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC) is pleased that the Canadian forest sector continues to score well in comparison to other countries in the most recent international sustainability report. The 2015 report by the International Council of Forest and Paper Associations (ICFPA) shows that global sustainability is improving and that Canada is doing especially well. The report notes that Canada has 161 million hectares of certified forest, by far the most in the world with more than 40 per cent of the global total. Certification is an independent assessment that a company follows sustainable forest management practices. The international report also mentions the importance of the Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement, the world's largest conservation agreement, which sets a world precedent for boreal forest preservation and forest sector competitiveness. Canada's forest sector continued to reduce its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and has cut its GHG intensity by 20 per cent since 2008 while the average in the rest of the world was a 17 per cent drop since 2004, a longer time period. Another measure shows that Canada has a 70 per cent recycling rate, higher than the global average of 58 per cent. Canada is also a global leader in waste to landfill with 98 per cent of wood residue in 2013 being used for either energy generation or composting. “This report is the yet another indication of the impressive world-leading environmental credentials of Canada's forest products industry,” says FPAC president and CEO David Lindsay. “However we are not resting on our laurels but are on a journey of continual improvement.”The ICFPA report notes how the Canadian forest sector's Vision2020 has set the goal of a further 35 per cent decrease in the environmental footprint of the industry by the end of the decade. About FPACFPAC provides a voice for Canada's wood, pulp, and paper producers nationally and internationally in government, trade, and environmental affairs. The $58-billion-a-year forest products industry represents 2 per cent of Canada's GDP and is one of Canada's largest employers operating in hundreds of communities and providing 230,000 direct jobs across the country.
May 5, 2015 - The forest industry is changing, and with more forest cover than almost any other country, how Canada keeps pace is a global concern.A new report by the Public Policy Forum identifies the need for greater collaboration among sectors to help improve the forest industry for generations to come. #FutureofForestry: Sustainable Solutions, developed in partnership with the Forest Products Association of Canada and Natural Resources Canada, explores new technologies, markets and practices that are impacting our environment and economy.“In an era of limited resources, the policy challenges are daunting,” says David Mitchell, president and CEO of Canada's Public Policy Forum. “By engaging diverse leaders who see the industry from different perspectives, it's our aim to help guide solutions that reflect our responsibility to Canadians and to the world.”The report synthesizes the findings from a policy dialogue convened by the Public Policy Forum and project partners that brought together corporate, environmental and First Nations leaders, academics and policymakers from across Canada. This culminated in the recommendations concluded in the report.The Public Policy Forum is an independent, not-for-profit organization dedicated to improving the quality of government in Canada through enhanced dialogue among the public, private, academic and nonprofit sectors.
May 5, 2015 - Ontario is investing in the forest roads which connect industry to Ontario's natural resources, as part of the largest infrastructure investment in Ontario's history. The provincial govement is committing $60 million to the program in 2015-16.The government is also making the province's forestry sector eligible for the $2.7 billion Jobs and Prosperity Fund to help increase production capacity and expand into new markets, while ensuring resources are managed sustainably. This will also help modernize the forestry sector and facilitate the production of value-added products by supporting new technologies.The government will continue with reduced stumpage rates for 2015-16 for poplar and white birch trees to further assist the competitiveness of Ontario’s forest sector.“I am very pleased with our government’s unprecedented support to the forestry industry in Ontario," said Bill Mauro, Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry. "The $60-million investment to the forest access roads program, the continued reduction in stumpage for poplar and white birch, and the fact that the forest industry will now have access to the Jobs and Prosperity fund, are a huge win for an industry that generates $11 billion in economic activity in 260 communities across Ontario.” Over the past ten years, $605.2 million has been provided toward the forest industry’s expenditures on the construction and maintenance of public forest access roads that support forest harvest activity.Annually, Ontario invests in the construction and maintenance of over 21,000 km of forest access road infrastructure. This is equivalent to travelling across Canada and back.
May 5, 2015 – Camoplast Solideal Inc. recently acquired Eastwood Tyres to strengthen its position in the Asia-Pacific market. The business will assume immediate responsibility of the Eastwood facility in Auckland, New Zealand including all staff, inventory, receivables, and equipment. “We are committed to being the global reference in delivering enhanced mobility solutions for the off-the-road market,’’ says Gregory Fossey, vice-president and CEO of Asia-Pacific at Camoplast Solideal. “We are always on the look out for businesses willing to join us and help achieve this goal.” The Eastwood acquisition marks Camoplast Solideal’s first true brick and mortar venture into the New Zealand market. Building off Eastwood’s established network, the business will continue to grow its material handling and construction tire distribution business by providing the right tire, for the right application at the right time.  Eastwood’s existing material handling service footprint will also help grow the Camoplast Solideal service network throughout the country.  “We look forward to continuing a strong relationship with Eastwood. As one team, we will deliver superior, reliable products and services for real needs and applications for our clients,” said Fossey. Camoplast Solideal and Eastwood Tyres have enjoyed a 25-year manufacturing and distribution partnership. Together, they will be ideally placed to improve upon the already-strong relationship with tire dealers and distributors in the region.  The acquisition further demonstrates the organization’s unyielding commitment to maintain their leadership position in the market by growing their footprint to provide excellence in both product delivery and mobile tire service. About Camoplast Solideal Camoplast Solideal is a world leader in the design, manufacture, and distribution of off-road tires, wheels, rubber tracks and undercarriage systems to serve the material handling, construction, agricultural and powersports industries. It employs more than 7,500 dedicated employees and operates advanced R&D centres and manufacturing plants in North and South America, Europe and Asia. Camoplast Solideal is a supplier to leading original equipment manufacturers (OEM) and distributes its products in the replacement market through its global distribution network. 
May 1, 2015 - Fecon’s Depth Control Rotor system (DCR) is now available on all six excavator Bull Hog models.  The DCR system is an evolution that builds on Fecon’s reversible Samurai Knife Tool. The depth control rings of the DCR system work with the Samurai Knife to enable more cutting with less horsepower. The shape of the Samurai knife edge is designed to slice as it chips, to provide forgiveness on rock. The depth control rings offer impact protection to the tool body, and reduce shock loading to the mechanical or hydraulic drive line.    About Fecon:Fecon, Inc. was established in 1992 near Cincinnati, Ohio. Fecon provides track carriers and other equipment for vegetation management, geothermal, seismic, and wood to energy biomass industries.
April 30, 2015 - Canadian Forest Industries’ first resource roads management maintenance webinar drew approximately 25 attendees interested in learning how to extend the lifetimes of the roads they maintain and build. Glen Legere, research leader of the resource roads group for FPInnovations, kicked off the presentation by discussing road surface distress and failure modes. In B.C. alone, at least 450,000 km of road are unpaved.“The conditions of the roads are directly related to transportations efficiencies,” he said.  This includes transportation efficiency factors such as cycle time and speed, safety, and user costs – like fuel consumption and vehicle maintenance costs.  He said dust, corrugation, ravelling, potholes and ruts are the most common distresses. “Dust is very often caused by lack of fines, prolonged dry conditions and excessive winter sands,” he said. Legere offered causes and solutions for each of the distresses, and added that one of the most destructive forces that cause potholes on resource roads is poor drainage, which often comes from poor crown. To prevent potholes, his recommendations included maintaining crown at four to six per cent, offering additional training for grader operators and having slope meters in graders. He then discussed cost-benefits and life-cycle cost analysis (LCCA). “Life-cycle cost analysis is about looking at roads as long-term investments,” said Legere.LCCA can effectively combine and quantify the costs and benefits that are expected to occur over time. By using “discounting,” it is possible to evaluate the tradeoffs between initial rehabilitation costs and future maintenance costs, including all anticipated costs and benefits over the life of a road network, he explained.  “The objective is to find the most cost-effective solutions,” said Legere. Maintenance costs that should be incorporated into an LCCA include routine grading, snow removal, winter sanding, annual reshaping, dust control, repairs, stabilization and resurfacing. Legere also shared a few of FPInnovations’ latest technologies, introducing the crowd to various tools for planning, monitoring and managing resource road maintenance, including its FPDat Grader and FP Trak, which are currently available for purchase. FPInnovations is also currently reviewing use of existing smartphone road roughness apps for research purposes. If each member of the crowd could only take away one lesson learned from the webinar, it should be LCCA-related, according to Legere. “Use the LCCA approach to make strategic decisions. This is the key message today,” he said.
April 29, 2015 - Seppi recently introduced the Seppi M line of small and medium hydraulically driven forestry mulchers for skid steers, and compact and crawler loaders. The new line features a low, compact design, CL designates “compact loader.”  The Seppi M is equipped with a standard SAE interface, and is suitable for any skid steer with available hydraulic flow between 50 and 140 l/min. This mulcher is available with several hydraulic motor options. The most powerful and efficient of which, the variable displacement M-Boost motor, offers 40 per cent more torque than standard motors. A high-flow circuit is recommended.With a new generation, patented, aggressive rotor, and efficient Mini Duo tungsten carbide tipped hammers, the Miniforst can mulch wood and brush up to 15 cm in diameter, at working speeds up to 5 km/hr. Additional features include a wear-resistant steel frame, heavy-duty belt cover, protected hydraulic cylinder and protection chains. The Seppi M is available with a mechanical guard frame for felling operations and other optional features, and is offered with working widths of 150, 175 and 200 cm (59”, 69”, 79”). They are suitable for various applications in forestry, agriculture and green space maintenance.  The stronger, more powerful Seppi M Midiforst MT is suitable for hydraulic systems with 110 to 200 l/min oil flow. Fitted with efficient Mini Duo tungsten carbide tipped hammers, the Seppi M is designed to efficiently mulch and shred wood up to 30 cm in diameter.  Available with mechanical and hydraulic guard frames for felling operations, and to protect the tractor, it is available in working widths of 150 and 175 cm [59”, 69”].  Standard with universal attachment interface, other optional features available. Applications: •land clearing in the oil and gas industry  •maintaining of power and communication lines •improve arable fields and other land •vegetation management •clearing forests after harvesting wood •right-of-way clearing and much more.
April 29, 2015 – STIHL recently announced two new chain saws designed for arborists and forestry professionals, the STIHL MS 201 T C-M and the MS 201 C-M.  “Whether you’re working in the tree tops or on the ground, the compact design, optimal handling and low weight make these chain saws very easy to use,” said Greg Quigg, president of STIHL Limited. “Time and effort is also saved thanks to the STIHL M-Tronic technology. There’s no manual carburetor adjustment needed and electronic fuel metering delivers fast and responsive acceleration even from a cold start.” MS 201 C-M                       MS 201 T C-M Displacement 35.2 cc           Displacement 35.2 cc Power Output1.8 kW            Power Output1.8 kW Weight *3.9 kg/8.6 lb            Weight *3.7 kg/8.2 lb* Excluding fuel, guide bar and saw chain STIHL M-Tronic technology is designed to offer the following benefits:  An easy start Thanks to electronic cold/warm start recognition there is now only one start position on the Master Control Lever. M-Tronic calculates electronically the exact fuel dosage. The engine starts after fewer pulls and with no change of position, the chain saws immediately accelerate up to speed. No manual carburetor adjustments M-Tronic electronically adjusts the fuel dosage in the carburetor: whatever the operating status, whether starting, idling, partial or full-load. And it always takes account of external conditions. Optimal engine performance at all times The control unit uses engine temperature and speed to continually monitor the operating status of the chain saws, feeding in the correct amount of fuel so that you always benefit from optimal engine performance. Superb acceleration Electronic ignition timing management and fuel dosage ensure fast and responsive acceleration – even from a cold start. Memory function M-Tronic remembers your previous settings indefinitely and restores them when you restart the chain saw. So when external conditions are the same, full engine performance is immediately at your disposal every time you start. Only available at STIHL Authorized Dealers, the MSRP for the MS 201 T C-M is $749.95 and the MS 201C-M is $789.95. About STIHL Limited STIHL Limited, headquartered in London, ON, is a subsidiary of ANDREAS STIHL AG & Co. KG. STIHL is the number one selling brand of handheld outdoor power equipment in Canada. STIHL manufactures a full line of powerful, lightweight and versatile handheld outdoor power equipment for homeowners and professional users. STIHL products are only sold through servicing power equipment dealers from coast to coast – not mass merchants. For more information or the name of the closest STIHL Dealer visit the STIHL website at www.stihl.ca.
April 28, 2015 - Available for Doosan DX225LL and DX300LL-3 log loaders, Doosan log grapple attachments are an efficient way to move and load logs. Forestry professionals can choose between two models, one with a 52-inch opening and a second with a 58-inch opening. The LG52 is approved for use with the DX225LL, while the LG58 is approved for use with the DX300LL-3. Doosan log grapples are made with tough T1 steel for extra durability in harsh forestry environments. For additional durability, the log grapples feature large diameter induction-hardened pins and easy-to-replace steel bushings to increase wear life with a larger surface area. High-pressure, bolted-head hydraulic cylinders are built to withstand severe column and lateral log loading. Load-holding valves feature a counter-balanced style to automatically hold payload securely until intentionally released.     Additional features include: •Rotation motor: Delivers high torque and exceptional service life •Slewing ring: Features large diameter and removable guards for excellent life and serviceability •Lugged grapple arms: Adds versatility for optional bolt-on brush rakes LG52 specs •Height: 70 inches •Weight: 2,200 pounds •Open: 52 inches •Closed: 6 inches •Rotation: 10 rpm LG55 specs •Height: 74 inches •Weight: 2,280 pounds •Open: 58 inches •Closed: 6 inches •Rotation: 10 rpmFor more information, visit www.doosanequipment.com.
April 28, 2015 - Fecon recently introduced the Stumpex stump grinder for skid steers which features as little as 20 GPM hydraulic output.  Low RPM and as much as 33,600 ft-lbs of torque at 4,000 psi, enables the 1,500-lb Stumpex to draw itself down into any species of stump ranging from 10” to 28” in diameter and up to 20” deep in a single pass. Larger diameter stumps are processed by making additional passes.   A threaded cone and staggered AR500 cutting blades grind out stump and root material with minimal discharge without requiring any fast-wearing carbide cutting tools. Stump chips stay mostly in the hole traditional stump grinders create, making clean-up after grinding with a Stumpex faster and easier.   Low maintenance costs, high production, less clean-up, and increased safety make the Stumpex a great opportunity for stump grinding contractors in land clearing, tree care, and municipal applications.  For more information, visit http://www.fecon.com.
April 28, 2015 – Kenworth now offers the Meritor Front Steer (MFS) non-drive axle family rated from 12,000 to 14,600 pounds in standard and wide track options for selected Class 8 trucks and the Class 7 Kenworth T370. The axles, which are fully compatible with both disc and drum brakes, are available for applications such as linehaul, pickup and delivery, construction, refuse, logging and mining. According to Meritor, the new MFS axles offer up to a 55-degree turn angle for excellent maneuverability and vehicle stability. Unique Easy Steer bushing technology helps reduce steering effort and provide longer life. Durability, low maintenance and ease of service are provided by a combination of low-friction bushings, double draw keys, and integral thrust bearing and seal designs. Easy Steer king pin bushings, computer-designed and optimized I-beam construction, and stiff axle assembly combine to deliver tight turning radius along with superior vehicle control and longer tire life. “Meritor’s Front Steer non-drive axles provide a great wheel cut for added maneuverability and are designed for long-life with minimal maintenance required,” said Kurt Swihart, Kenworth marketing director. “It’s a nice addition to the Kenworth product offering that will benefit our customers.”
April 24, 2015 – Tigercat's innovative new low-wide bunk system combined with the reshaped F195T85 hooked crane provides a host of benefits for Tigercat's high capacity forwarders.
May 5, 2015 - WorkSafeBC has approved amendments to the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation (OHSR) relating to the Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS) 2015. Proposed amendments were subject to public consultation and a hearing in February 2015.  These changes will harmonize with the Government of Canada’s implementation of the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS). The existing WHMIS requirements will align with the GHS elements and will be called WHMIS 2015.  The approved amendments affect: • Part 1, Definitions  • Part 4, General Conditions  • Part 5, Chemical Agents  • Part 6, Substance Specific Requirements  • Part 9, Confined Spaces  • Part 12, Tools, Machinery and Equipment  • Part 24, Diving, Fishing and Other Marine Operations  Strikethrough versions and explanatory notes of the approved amendment may be accessed here. The Province of British Columbia, along with other provinces and territories, has committed to working towards amending the WHMIS sections in the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation by June 1, 2015. These regulatory amendments will come into force on the date sections 5 and 6 of the Workers Compensation Amendment Act, 2015, Bill 9, come into force. It is anticipated that this will happen later this year, with roll-out at a later date.  Questions about this regulation may be directed via email to WorkSafeBC at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or call 1-888-621- 7233 toll-free or 604-276-3100 in the lower mainland.  The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety has also provided free information and training resources as well as a free poster download (or paid print orders) of WHMIS pictograms.
April 30, 2015 - To get a glimpse of the future of sawmilling you could do worse than cruise down U.S. Highway195 to Lewiston, Idaho. There, Idaho Forest Group (IFG) is in the midst of a US$60 million plus upgrade that includes the first HewSaw SL250 3.4 sawline in North America, among the finest operating stations this side of the Atlantic, and a Springer Microtec CT scanning system that may take some of the guess work out of log optimization. 
April 27, 2015 - With the purchase of the Swedish lumber-scanner producer WoodEye, the Springer Group is expanding their product portfolio for camera-based image-processing systems for the lumber industry. 
April 17, 2015 - Many sections of the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation and Workers Compensation Act ("Act") have associated guidelines.
April 15, 2015 - Planer upgrade kits from Murray Latta Progressive Machine are designed to help mills optimize their operations while increasing safety.
March 31, 2015 - The shortage of saw filers in the forestry industry is a big problem, especially in Western Canada. Putting all the reasons for the shortage aside for a moment, let’s focus on solutions. One way to take some of the strain off the filers who are still in the mills is through the use of automation systems. Equipment companies have recognized this and have been hard at work developing new automated systems, many of which are either currently available or will be very soon.  One company that has experienced a surge in interest and demand for new automated sharpening solutions is Vollmer. Shannon Fox, manager of sawing technology for Vollmer, says that his firm offers a wide variety of automated machines for the servicing of cutting tools, such as circular saw blades, band saw blades and polycrystalline diamond (PCD) tooling. Different levels of technology are also available within the Vollmer line-up, from cam-driven sharpeners up to field-proven fully automatic service centres. A sharp increase in salesCut Technologies of Penticton, B.C., has seen interest in automatic sharpening machines increase significantly in recent years. Mike Weckel, vice-president of operations and sales manager for Cut Technologies, says sales have increased by 200 per cent on Vollmer automated products in both 2013 and 2014, and he expects 2015 to be a record year. The Vollmer CHD 270/CHF 270-ND 340 Service Center – an automatic computer-controlled cutting (CNC) machine that loads and sharpens all the sawmill saws, and will run “lights out” is one of the company’s top sellers. These machines feature four loading carriages and a data input station, are extremely reliable, and offer excellent repeatability on saw geometry angles and kerf, says Weckel. One of these units is going to be installed at a West Fraser mill in Quesnel, B.C., in the near future. Cut Technologies has also experienced an uptick in sales of the Sawmill Kahny round saw tipping (tip-brazing) machine. “These machines are fully automatic and allow the labour for re-tipping saws to be allocated to a different task in the filing room,” Weckel explains. The Sawmill Kahny possesses extreme precision and speed, he notes, and has been recently redesigned. There are 40 of these units now running in major Canadian sawmills. Robo-cutsWilliams & White of Burnaby, B.C., will be rolling out an automated saw filing machine in the near future, the patent-pending RoboSharp Multi-Function Saw Sharpening Center. The unit is the result of two years of development and is able to top and face, dual side and plunge grind a circular saw blade with a single setup. The Robosharp’s robotic loader retrieves the saw blades from the carts magnetically and can retrieve two blades at a time, explains Riley Kufta, director of marketing for Williams and White. “The saws are then loaded into the machine, where they are fed into the grinding area,” he adds. The automated tool changing system is a combination of a large tool bay, where grinding wheels are stored, and advanced probing technology. This technology monitors the grinding wheels in use, and when wheel wear reaches a specific level or wheel damage occurs, a new wheel is automatically retrieved from the tool bay. “The entire process, from detecting the need for replacement to completing the change, is done automatically with no human intervention,” says Kufta. Tension techPennsylvania-based Oleson Saw Technology also offers an automatic bandsaw leveller and tensioning centre. The computer-controlled Iseli RZ-1 is programmable by the operator to automatically produce consistently levelled and tensioned band saws. “The computer touchscreen and technology are user-friendly and make inputting instructions straightforward and uncomplicated,” says Mat Harris, Oleson product manager. “Tension, levelling and back are adjusted as the saw is fed through levelling rolls controlled by the feedback from the electronic non-contact sensors connected to the RZ-1’s computer.” The sensors control the proportional hydraulic rolls quickly and quietly, notes Harris, and the end result is a finished saw, benched completely to customer specifications. The RZ-1 will accommodate saws that are three to 16 inches in width, and 20 Ga. to 14 Ga. in thickness. Tuning up the bandSimonds International, which has Canadian offices in Granby, Que., and Langley, B.C., also has a new automated product, the 090 Automated Bench (090 AB). This unit replaces the original 980 model and is designed for processing bandsaws used in high-production softwood mills, high-production hardwood mills and mid-sized hardwood mills. Simonds has sold over 100 Automated Benches all over the world since they were first introduced in 2013. “The Automated Bench has allowed current staff to keep up with their duties in the filing room – even with the staff shortages,’’ notes Simonds product manager Ray Eluskie. The 090 AB follows the success of the original Simonds Automated Bench, says Eluskie. It simultaneously levels and tensions the bandsaw blade while measuring to .0004 inches across the entire area of the saw – length and width. The machine performs all scanning via a contact sensor. The measurements made via the sensor are fed into the computer, and the machine performs all calculations, and adds the appropriate back, tension and tire line to the band. The 090 AB features a touchscreen control panel that can be operated even while saw filers are wearing gloves. “It has a unique ‘Learn’ mode feature that allows the filer to load a ‘Best Practice’ saw,” adds Eluskie. “When instructed, the machine will scan the saw and record all the measurements in memory. Using the memory function, the filer can recall a stored saw and duplicate the specifications from the stored saw on all saws in the future.” The 090 AB has the capacity to store up to 999 different saws. Watch a CFI video of Simond’s Russell Barrett explaining this machine on our video carousel at www.woodbusiness.ca. Big tipperIn Charny, Que., B.G.R. Saws says the Kirschner L1 automated tipping process machine highlights its automated line-up. B.G.R.’s president, Sylvain St-Hilaire, says the unit’s perfectly centred tip brazing maximizes grinding accuracy, as well as workload on the grinding centre. The L1 also provides consistency in the brazing quality because of the pyrometer, which precisely controls when the proper temperature for brazing and annealing is reached. Another benefit is found in the high-frequency generator that does not affect steel structures. This technology is available in a semi-automatic version as well as a fully-automated version with automatic loading and unloading.  Automation for safetyIn addition to speeding up saw filing tasks and allowing saw filers to focus on other duties, automation is also being used to create safer saw filing environments. Williams and White has created a robotic Babbitt pouring machine. “The concept of the Auto Babbitt is quite simple,” says Kufta. “It is to end the days of manually pouring Babbitt in the filing room. Handling molten metal, regardless of cautions taken and experience of the operator, is an unsafe task. Our hope is that with the help of the Auto Babbitt, burns and fume exposure will be things of the past.” The fully enclosed robotic machine replaces having an employee for the task of Babbitt pouring, which is used in most saw mills to create Babbitt pads that are bolted to saw guides. Babbitt wears quickly and needs to be melted down and moulded and reshaped regularly. “Much like the RoboSharp, we do not yet have an estimate on how much time the Auto-Babbitt will save, although it will be considerable,” says Kufta. “The main selling point for the Auto Babbitt is safety, as it eliminates Babbitt burns, which are quite common, and fires, which are less common but still happen.” To complement the Auto Babbitt, Williams and White has developed a tabletop robotic screw-fastening machine, which is designed to decrease repetitive motion injury caused by fastening Babbitt pads to saw guides, while speeding up the task. Automation in the saw filing room has come a long way, and companies are continuing to innovate. This automation is making various tasks quicker and freeing up saw filers to do other things, allowing fewer people to handle the workload. Automation is also making things safer and preventing injury. Stay tuned for more automation innovation to come.    
March 31, 2015 - A small rough cut mill in Mackenzie, B.C., has taken safety to a new level. Rather than housing the sawline in the mill and equipping the building with fans and vacuums to keep the dust from settling, the Duz Cho sawmill is built outside, where the elements keep dust levels down and only the finished lumber is stored inside. But that’s not the only way Duz Cho sawmill thinks outside of the box – this sawmill boasts a full line of fresh ideas. Duz Cho sawmill is owned by the McLeod Lake Indian Band and began ramping up production in July 2014. It had only been up and running for a few months when Canadian Forest Industries got to peek behind the curtain – in fact, the curtain hadn’t been hung yet (more to follow). Planned to be a cant mill and designed to use the four-inch tops other sawmills reject, it’s a rough cut mill that cuts to order. On the day of the tour, it had a number of orders of furniture-grade ready and another 10 containers worth of economy grade  all bound for China. Not bad for a mill in its third month. More of a co-op than a traditional sawmill, all the workers have matching coveralls, including management, to show that they’re all in it together. The employees are all trained in each position and they get paid a flat rate once they’ve done their time on the broom. “It’s a real team atmosphere,” mill operations manager Bill Barwise says. “If there are knives to be changed, the operator is in with the millright changing. Or if a sprocket needs to be changed out, the operator is assisting with the whole process.” The mill has 20 employees and runs four 12-hour days on and four days off with maintenance on graveyard. Two shifts keep the mill running daily. Barwise demonstrates how the mill is designed to make use of off-the-shelf technology to save money. “From a safety perspective, what I really like is that any of us can log on and see who is onsite at any given time.” When workers clock in, they scan a card over an iPad that is equipped with an app to log payroll. Combined learningBarwise has learned a lot from his career at different sawmills. He and maintenance superintendent Steve Holdstock have taken best practices from their experiences and come up with efficiencies and safety protocols that make a lot of sense. One of these safety details is the lockout board in the staff room. A set of locks and a spot on the board has been assigned to each worker. Everyone collects his or her locks at the start of the shift and keeps them until the end of the day before retiring the locks to the board. Managers can take a quick look at the board to check for any missing locks – a red flag. The mill has been designed to consume underutilized log tops, rather than the status quo, which sees them burned in the woods. Instead, Duz Cho has gone back to full tree logging and log yard processing. Logs are brought in by truck from Duz Cho Logging, which is also owned by the McLeod Lake Indian Band, but works with Canfor, Conifex and Mackenzie Fibre. Logs are merchandized on a deck, and sorted so that the small logs are kept for the sawmill, larger logs are sold to neighbouring mills, and the biomass from the merchandizing deck is sold to a local pulpmill. The long-term goal is to consume over a half a million cubic metres, but ramping up to that number will take some time. Managing riskAbout 70 per cent of the logs processed at the Duz Cho sawmill are beetle kill so dust management has taken priority in the mill’s design. “We’re eliminating one of the elements of a dust explosion right off the bat by not having any containment,” Barwise explains, while walking through the outdoor mill. Lights have been changed to LED to keep them from generating heat, ceiling beams were filled in with spray foam and a Hurricane 300 vacuum sucks up dust produced by the trimmer. “We perform dust audits daily at each job station to monitor accumulations and coordinate cleanup,” he adds. “Everyone’s been educated on our dust management policy and what we can and cannot do.” On the day Barwise took Canadian Forest Industries through the mill, it was shut down and the maintenance crew was doing a blow down. “We’ve assessed the ignition sources, use the vacuum where possible and use air in short bursts as a last resort,” he notes. The sawmill itself was purchased piece-by-piece from sawmills across Canada. The HewSaw line came from Alberta, while the tray sorter, stacker and debarkers came from Quebec. Much of the remaining equipment was manufactured to fit. A wheel loader drops the logs onto the infeed deck and they’re fed into the 12-inch Nicholson A5A debarker before being sent through the HewSaw line. The HewSaw processes the log into a cant and feeds it to a trimmer grader line. Because the mill is working with such small wood that is sold unfinished, the graders only have a few things to look for. “Bark and wane are the main thing,” Barwise says. “We make sure the length grades are tailored to customer requirements.” Graders decide whether to trim the boards to optimize the grade. Anything that doesn’t at least make economy is sent to the chipper. The lumber is then brought up to the trays and sorted by length, grade and moisture. The mill is equipped with a tray sorter with eight trays that can hold approximately 500 pieces each. The tray sorter is easy on the brittle beetle-kill wood and suits the mill’s needs. “Our prime product is a furniture grade. It’s pretty nice for a rough cut sawmill,” Barwise says. Container shippingA bander/forklift operator bands the rough cut lumber in a Signode bander for eventual loading into containers. He creates the sticker label and weighs the packages to maximize volume to the allowable weight of the container. “The reason we chose to stuff the containers here is that the truck backs right in, we put the material in the can, we put the seal on it and they open it up right in China,” Barwise says. “Our first container that we stuffed took an hour and 20 minutes just trying to figure out how everything was. Our last one took nine minutes and 50 seconds.” Overall, the mill could easily operate on as few as five people, including the operator loading logs on to the deck. But it’s the people who operate the machines that bring life to the operation – and that’s how the business was conceived. The sawline operator has a prominent indoor seat with a view of the mountain behind the saws. He brings much of the experience that’s being passed down to workers. “[He] can see the whole yard, the chip bin, and his monitors tell him everything that’s going on right now. The fellow that sits in this chair is our lead guy. Our whole design was to protect people from the elements and have machines exposed to the elements.” There is a significant number of band members and other First Nations working in the mill. Though the crew was fairly inexperienced, Barwise says they decided that a good attitude, willingness to learn and safe work ethic were more important than experience alone. Rather than simply recruit the most experienced workers in the region, management wanted a fresh start. “We thought it was imperative not to inherit a culture, we want to establish one as our own group,” he says. “So it meant that we brought in a little bit less skill.” But as long as a worker has the desire to learn, skills can be taught. With fresh thinking and a focus on safety, Duz Cho sawmill is a smooth addition to the forest industry in Mackenzie.  
March 25, 2015 – More than 50 people registered across Canada, U.S. and the U.K. to hear successful drying expert and consultant, Peter Garrahan, present Canadian Forest Industries’ inaugural webinar, “Ten Steps Toward Successful Drying,” sponsored by Innovated Control Solutions (ICS) and hosted by edtor Andrew Macklin.
March 25, 2015 – USNR announced today that it has acquired Söderhamn Eriksson and all of its subsidiaries from Cellwoodgruppen AB. USNR is the world’s largest supplier of equipment and technologies for the sawmill industry, and the addition of Söderhamn Eriksson further cements USNR’s leadership position.
March 25, 2015 - Cut Technologies line of Predator Series carbide saw tips are designed to offer resistance to chips and breakage due to foreign materials, abrasion resistance for longer run times, and are treated to resist chemical dulling from wet lumber.  Predator series tips feature high quality pre-tinning, treated carbide and sorting and designs made for today’s auto brazers. The saw tips are treated to provide excellent flow and the high bond strength. This coupled with silver solder yields a high bond strength to keep the carbide tips in place for the whole life of the tip, stated Steve Braun, engineer for Cut Technologies’ carbide division. The company’s group of carbide tips is designed specifically for high-production sawmills. For more information, visit www.cuttech.com.
March 24, 2015 - Following the recent roof collapse of the Whiley sawmaill in Upper Hammonds Plains, N.S., the Whiley family are asking for help to find ways to preserve their family’s mill, according to a recent CBC report.
March 20, 2015 – The PICO Central Lubrication Pump from Beka-Lube Products Inc. is an all-season lubrication solution designed to provide trucks, compact wheel loaders, track and skid steer loaders and compact equipment including mini excavators, forklifts and telehandlers, longer life with no unscheduled downtime due to lubrication issues. The pump is rated to operate in temperatures from -13°F to 158°F (-25°C to 70°C). It comes with metered grease servicing for up to eight grease points and distribution blocks are available. A built-in shutdown protects the pump and user’s equipment in case the grease reservoir runs low. The pump also features a drive that fits into spaces up to 60 per cent smaller than comparable pumps and is easily installed in the engine compartment, according to the manufacturer. It is electronically-driven and is available in 24V or 12V models and comes with or without integrated controls. For more information, visit www.beka-lube.com.
April 20, 2015 - MTS Sensors, a division of MTS Systems Corporation, has introduced a high performance magnetostrictive position sensor, using its innovative Temposonics technology. The ET sensor is very well suited to deployment in applications with high temperature environments. It can deliver up to 0.005mm resolution when used in combination with a suitable controller. Industrial facilities dedicated to pressboard production or the processing of steel/iron need instrumentation that provides maximum safety and reliability, regardless of difficult working conditions. The new ET product offering significantly extends the supported temperature range of the MTS E-Series, with the ability to precisely determine exact positions even at 105°C temperature levels. This small rod sensor can be integrated directly into a cylinder, with rod length options covering 50mm to 3000mm. It exhibits linearity deviation of less than 0.02 per cent (full scale). ET sensors have liquid ingress protection in accordance with IP68. Furthermore, ATEX certification for hazardous areas is available. These devices are equipped with a start/stop interface. They also have the capacity for sensor parameters to be automatically uploaded. A 316L stainless steel variant can be specified if needed. "The ET sensor is designed to be reliable and operationally effective in industry sectors where elevated temperatures are a major concern,” said Robert Luong, MTS Sensors’ industrial technical marketing manager. “The magnetostrictive technology it utilizes provides a wear-free sensing mechanism that has significant value in heavy industrial settings.” The proprietary Temposonics magnetostrictive sensing technology developed by MTS Sensors is designed to offer a non-contact method for accurately measuring position, which permits its implementation into the most demanding of application environments. Sensors based on this technology are highly resilient to shock, vibrations and extreme temperatures.
April 2, 2015 - Norbord Inc. and Ainsworth Lumber Co. Ltd. announced the completion of their merger on April 1, 2015. 
March 24, 2015 - Globally traded hardwood chips for the manufacturing of pulp and wood-based panels have trended downward for much of the past three and a half years. However, this trend broke in late 2014 and early 2015 when prices slowly started to increase.
Feb. 27, 2015 – Lower OSB prices, a slower recovery of the U.S. housing market and higher overall unit costs contributed to weaker-than-expected fourth quarter and year end financial results for Ainsworth in 2014. Sales of $102.5 million in the fourth quarter of 2014 were $1.9 million lower than sales of $104.4 million for the same period in 2013. The decrease in sales was mainly due to a 4% decrease in realized pricing. Sales volumes increased by 2% due to the ongoing ramp up of High Level notwithstanding downtime taken during the fourth quarter. The impact of the U.S. benchmark declines on realized pricing was moderated by factors including the effect of a weaker Canadian dollar relative to the fourth quarter of 2013 combined with stable export pricing in Japan. Sales were $444.0 million in 2014 compared to $488.0 million in 2013. The $44.0 million decrease was primarily related to a 17% decrease in realized pricing, partially offset by a 9% increase in sales volumes. The impact of the U.S. benchmark declines on realized pricing was again moderated by factors including the effect of a weaker Canadian dollar relative to 2013 combined with stable export pricing in Japan. The increase in volume from High Level was partially offset by the downtime taken at the various mills to complete maintenance and other projects during the year. Ainsworth President and Chief Executive Officer, Jim Lake said, "North American OSB market conditions continued to drift throughout the year as the pace of demand growth did not materialize as expected. However, we remain optimistic that U.S. housing starts will return to more historical levels within the next several years, with various indicators pointing towards strong growth in 2015 versus 2014. "We maintained the strong performance we saw in 2013 in our key export market in Japan and also made progress in China as we began commercial shipments of our industrial core stock products. Additionally, we progressed in the ongoing ramp up of our High Level mill, including the completion of a number of strategic capital projects that will further position the mill to efficiently manufacture an enhanced range of products for North American and Asian customers." While the pace of improvement in U.S. housing starts in 2014 was more gradual than anticipated, Ainsworth expects that the U.S. housing recovery will gain further traction in 2015. The company remains optimistic that U.S. housing starts will return to more historical levels within the next several years. The restart of the High Level mill will allow them to meet the growing requirements of its existing customer base in North America and Asia as well as service new market segments. Ainsworth expects the merger with Norbord will allow the combined company to capitalize on the ongoing recovery in the U.S. housing market and growth opportunities in our traditional and emerging markets in Asia.
Feb. 19, 2015 – River Bend Wood Products, a hardwood flooring business based in Nova Scotia’s Antigonish County, is shutting down due to a lack of locally-sourced hardwood. According to an article from The Chronicle Herald, the struggles are not new in the region. River Bend may be the newest company to go out of business due to the hardwood shortage, but it certainly isn’t the first and is not likely to be the last. Groupe Savoie, which operates a hardwood sawmill in nearby Westville, could be next due to a lack of available logs. It was expected that the hardwood consumed at the Nova Scotia Power biomass boiler would be low-value hardwood, leaving the higher value stems to companies like Groupe Savoie. However, to this point, that has yet to materialize. For more on this story, CLICK HERE
Feb. 3, 2015 - How would you feel about saving $1.57/m³ on your delivered wood costs? How about having access to better-defined cutblock boundary lines, a fully optimized road network or dealing with reduced mill-yard inventory? Sounds good, right? These appear to be just a few of the benefits related to the use of Enhanced Forest Inventory (EFI), yet not many companies seem interested in investing in EFI-allowing technologies such as aerial LiDAR. A formidable laser-based remote sensing technology, LiDAR measures distance by sending thousands of pulses of light with a laser from an aircraft and analyzing what reflects back (http://tinyurl.com/pe8ayfh). Only a handful of cases of documented cost/benefit analyses actually exist to guide the decision-making process when choosing from all the available technologies designed to significantly improve inventory knowledge. Hence, EFI technologies still remain a marginal practice among forestry technology and service providers. Confident in its capacity to transform the forest sector, FPInnovations set out to find out what EFI is really about. Partnering with Tembec and the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources (OMNR) allowed researchers from FPInnovations’ Value Maximisation research program to evaluate the monetary impact of EFI on forest operations and primary wood products manufacturing. The results have turned out convincingly in favour of EFI: great return on investment, better knowledge of forest inventory, smaller road network, efficient harvesting operations and increased forest machine productivity. With smaller mill yard inventories of greater value, sawing cost can be reduced and lumber value increased, mostly due to the increased size of timber. The big question now is: why haven’t more companies picked up on the new generation of technologies designed to help them be more profitable? Innovation in the field of forest inventory is no science-fiction. Today, there are very real cost-competitive technologies that allow accurate data gathering about forest stand attributes. Using these tools, foresters can truly maximize the value of forest products by lowering production costs and increasing the value of processed forest products. However, one obvious barrier in justifying the investment relates to the complexity of validating the benefits. Testing EFI processes and technologies involves getting access to data collected along the entire forest sector value chain. Since FPInnovations is all about value chain integration, researchers were able to gather the relevant information to compare the volumes as well as the wood net value resulting from two inventory data sets (traditional vs LiDAR-EFI). Very promising advancesIn addition to being costly, traditional forest inventories are difficult to update. In terms of stands, they produce a lack of volume precision in the area of 20 to 40 per cent, often making it necessary to obtain additional data in order to make informed decisions. There is a lack of data on variability of dendrometric characteristics within forest stands which limits harvest-planning decisions. Accuracy of inventory data is very important since many decisions and actions are taken along the wood value chain based primarily on forestry inventory data. Inaccuracies result in costs for forest stakeholders at various levels and also mean that landowners run the risk of not maximizing benefits or value from resources (wood fibre, habitat, tourism, etc.). Aerial LiDAROne of the challenges met by the Enhanced Forest Inventory process is to provide foresters with precise and detailed information, both on a large and operational scale for each block to be processed. The arrival of aerial LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) has allowed foresters to meet this challenge head on. The quality of the information can now exceed expectations and an entire forest can now be inventoried at resolution as high as 400 m2. Furthermore, major steps have been taken toward posting the internal attributes of the wood’s fibre on forest maps using the EvaluTree program (a joint collaboration by FPInnovations and the University of Northern British Columbia). Aerial LiDAR generates measurements in 3D space that provide a good description of the forest canopy and stand structure, which can be used to accurately predict tree crown dimensions, height, volume canopy density and biomass. Measurements made at the ground surface can be used to accurately map waterways (creeks, bogs, rivers, lakes) and topography across an entire forest (figure 1). While limited plot data are needed to calibrate LiDAR predictions, field sampling is no longer required for stand-, block-, and forest-level estimates. The wall-to-wall precision provided by LiDAR leads to better growth projections, product recovery models, taper models, biomass models, as well as silvicultural optimization and operational planning. Maps created with LiDAR also provide valuable information for road construction by identifying optimized log extraction routes. Block contours are also better defined, impacting the precision of performance calculations (m³/stem/ha). Furthermore, a more detailed knowledge of forest structure makes silvicultural prescriptions easier. Combined with FPInterface software, LiDAR obtained cartographic and georeferenced data allow better prediction of operational costs for harvesting, transportation, road construction and silviculture. Field testing EFI technologyBy comparing two inventory data sets (traditional versus LiDAR-EFI), FPInnovations researchers were able to estimate costs and benefits of each method. To ensure the accuracy of LiDAR inventories, actual volumes harvested (scaled) were compared to yield estimates derived from the traditional inventory (OMNR provincial inventory) and to the LiDAR-enhanced inventory. The study focused on 14 cutblocks from Tembec’s 2009 forest management plan. Ultimately, in this study, the cost of $0.10/m³ for the LiDAR-EFI was largely offset by reduced wood costs. FPInnovations observed a net gain of $1.57/m³ when compared with the actual harvest as planned from traditional forest inventory. Watch FPInnovations’ video on EFI: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-VmAy6rxt-U For more information, please contact Francis Charette at 514-782-4608 or
Jan. 28, 2015 - Norbord Inc. and Ainsworth Lumber Co. Ltd. announced that Norbord shareholders and Ainsworth shareholders and optionholders approved the previously announced proposed combination of Norbord and Ainsworth by way of a plan of arrangement. The transaction remains subject to customary conditions to closing, including approval of the plan of arrangement by the Supreme Court of British Columbia. Subject to receipt of court approval and the satisfaction or waiver of all closing conditions, the transaction is expected to close by the end of the first quarter of 2015. Norbord and Ainsworth also provided the following general update in connection with the transaction. While the transaction is not reportable under the U.S. Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvement Act of 1976 or the Canadian Competition Act because Norbord and Ainsworth share a common controlling shareholder, the U.S. Department of Justice has requested information about the transaction and the companies, as it is entitled to do. Norbord and Ainsworth are providing the DOJ with the information it has requested and are working proactively with the DOJ to ensure an expedited review process. Norbord and Ainsworth are confident this review will have a satisfactory outcome and that it will not impact the companies' ability to close the transaction by the end of the first quarter of 2015.
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.
Nov. 25, 2014, Mississauga – Weston Forest Products Inc. has purchased an interest in Toronto-based Bramwood Forest Products, effective December 1, 2014. "Bramwood has been a strong competitor of ours for many years," said Ekstein. "They are an excellent company, with great remanufacturing capabilities, great people and a loyal customer base. We look forward to a long and prosperous relationship." Bramwood owner and President Nir Meltzer will remain as a partner. He will continue as President – and will operate Bramwood as a fully independent entity. That means for customers, suppliers, and employees of both entities, it will be business as usual. "Weston recognizes that Bramwood's growth over the past 25 years has been based on our culture and our unique approach to business," said Meltzer. "We want to ensure that continues, which is why both businesses will continue to maintain independent operations, locations and brands." Weston Forest is one of North America's leading full service distributors and remanufacturers of softwood & hardwood lumber and specialty panel products. Weston maintains an extensive inventory of industrial and commodity lumber and panels to provide just-in-time service to the crating and industrial packaging industry, construction and infrastructure sector, and Lumber and Building Materials dealers, including MSR lumber for truss manufacturers. Weston also acts as an exclusive sales agent for a group of SPF sawmills in northern Ontario, producing mostly rough lumber in dimensions up to 12x12x32'. Weston Forest operates a distribution and remanufacturing facility at the head office in Mississauga, Ontario, and uses several distribution and remanufacturing facilities in Quebec, Ontario, Michigan, New York and Maryland. Bramwood Forest Products was established in 1990 by the Meltzer family and has grown to become one of Ontario's leading suppliers to the Industrial marketplace as well as several specialty markets. Bramwood remanufactures lumber & panels at their facility in Toronto providing a variety of value added products. Bramwood has also positioned itself as a major player in the Premium Strapping market, in addition to being a leading supplier of Framestock to furniture manufacturers as well as Lagging and Shoring to the construction industry.
Nov. 11, 2014 – After a six-year closure, the MDF plant in Pembroke, Ont. is once again producing particleboard. The re-opening of the mill means 160 full-time jobs in the plant with ripple effects throughout the region. A partnership of Chilean investers pruchased the plant, according to The Daily Observer. Inversiones Pathfinder Chile told the paper it had faith the market would bounce back after the housing market crash in 2008 so it maintained the facility through the closure. The company has plans to "branch into more value-added, sophisticated products for the market in months to come." For more information, go to http://www.thedailyobserver.ca/2014/11/03/a-relaunch-for-the-pembroke-fibreboard-plant
Oct. 30, 2014 - West Fraser Timber reported earnings of $70 million or $0.83 per share on sales of $1,030 million in the third quarter of 2014. Operational Results In the quarter our lumber operations generated operating earnings of $101 million (Q2 - $81 million) and EBITDA of $131 million (Q2- $106 million). The increased earnings were largely the result of reduced costs and certain manufacturing productivity improvements related to capital investments. Our panel segment generated operating earnings of $25 million (Q2 - $10 million) and EBITDA of $29 million (Q2 - $13 million), the result of substantially improved plywood prices. Our pulp and paper operations generated an operating loss of $2 million compared to operating earnings of $19 million in the previous quarter and EBITDA of $9 million (Q2 - $30 million). The loss was largely the result of scheduled maintenance downtime at our Hinton pulp mill followed by a difficult startup. Outlook We have seen gradual recovery in U.S. home construction and expect the recovery to continue. Log costs are expected to trend higher in Canada as competition for purchased wood increases in certain areas of B.C. and contractor costs increase. However, as we complete our capital projects, we expect productivity improvements and cost reductions to continue. "The largest capital program in our Company's history is currently underway and I expect combined capital expenditures for 2013 and 2014 to exceed $700 million," said Ted Seraphim, our President and CEO. "I'm excited about what these investments are doing to improve the competitiveness of the Company and how we are positioning our operations to succeed as U.S. housing continues its slow recovery."
Oct. 29, 2014, Edmonton – The Alberta Forest Products Association (AFPA) commends the City of Calgary for being the first city in Canada to adopt the 2015 National Building Code recommendation to allow buildings of up to 6 storeys to be constructed from wood. Calgary's leadership role facilitates better affordability of housing and increased opportunities for densification. "This is a win-win for the City and for the forest industry," said AFPA President and CEO Paul Whittaker. "Midrise buildings framed with wood are less expensive to construct, have a much lower carbon footprint, and make use of Alberta's only renewable building material. Using wood also benefits the thousands of Albertans who work in the forest industry and the 50 communities where the industry is a major social and economic contributor. Congratulations to Mayor Nenshi and the city for their leadership." In Alberta, wood-framed buildings are currently limited to 9 metres (3 or 4 storeys depending on building design). British Columbia permits wood buildings of up to 6 storeys, with a potential for taller buildings to be approved through a special permit process. Ontario has amended their legislation to allow 6 storey wood buildings as of January 1, 2015. The lower costs associated with wood mid-rise buildings allow for increased densification of urban spaces and additional flexibility for developers. The Alberta Forest Products Association is advocating for 6 storey wood buildings to be permitted throughout Alberta. For more information on the City of Calgary's announcement, please visit tinyurl.com/mw44f58 . The Alberta Forest Products Association is a private, non-profit industry organization, representing forest products companies operating in Alberta. For more information about the Association or Alberta's forest products industry, please visit www.albertaforestproducts.ca.
May 4, 2015 - Norbord Inc. reported Adjusted EBITDA of $10 million in the first quarter of 2015 compared to $15 million in the fourth quarter of 2014 and $27 million in the first quarter of 2014. The change versus both comparative periods is primarily due to lower North American benchmark oriented strand board (OSB) prices. North American operations generated Adjusted EBITDA of $6 million in the quarter, unchanged from the prior quarter and compared to $17 million in the same quarter last year. European operations delivered Adjusted EBITDA of $7 million in the quarter versus $11 million in the prior quarter and $13 million in the same quarter last year. "Our first quarter results reflect continued weak North American OSB prices and another severe winter that held back homebuilding activity and OSB demand," said Peter Wijnbergen, Norbord's president and CEO. "Still, our operations continued to deliver manufacturing cost reductions and margin improvement program gains, even as we curtailed production at several mills in response to lower-than-expected demand. In spite of the slower start to the year, U.S. housing starts are forecasted to reach the 1.15 million range for 2015, supporting my belief that OSB demand will continue to increase as the year unfolds. The impact of lower oil prices on resin and the benefit of a weaker Canadian dollar for our now larger portfolio of Canadian mills will provide a cost advantage in the quarters ahead. "In Europe, our financial results were impacted by continued pressure on OSB prices and the weaker Euro. However, the lower prices are accelerating substitution against plywood and we continue to increase our sales volumes in our key markets such as the UK where housing starts and home sales are improving. "Finally, we are pleased to have completed the merger with Ainsworth, making Norbord a leading global wood products company active on three continents. Our integration efforts are well underway and we are implementing our plan to realize the annual synergies target of $45 million." Norbord recorded a loss of $6 million or $0.11 per share (basic and diluted) in the first quarter of 2015 compared to earnings of $3 million or$0.06 per share (basic and diluted) in the prior quarter and earnings of $7 million or $0.13 per share (basic and diluted) in the first quarter of 2014. Reported earnings in the current and comparative quarters included the following one-time items: $ millions                                         Q1-2015  Q4-2014  Q1-2014 Earnings before one-time items             (2)             1             7 Costs related to Ainsworth merger         (4)            (5)            - Non-recurring income tax recoveries       -               7             - Earnings, as reported                            (6)            3             7 Market conditions In North America, March year-to-date U.S. housing starts were up four per cent versus the same period in 2014. Permits were eight per cent higher year-over-year. Single family starts, which use approximately three times more OSB than multi-family, increased by five per cent. The consensus forecast from U.S. housing economists stands at 1.15 million starts for 2015, which would be a 14 per cent improvement over last year. New home construction activity was held back during the quarter by the extreme cold weather conditions experienced across much of the continent this winter, driving softer OSB demand. As a result, benchmark OSB prices remained under pressure in the first quarter. The North Central benchmark OSB price averaged $193 per thousand square feet (Msf) (7/16-inch basis) for the quarter compared to $216 per Msf in the previous quarter and $219 per Msf in the same quarter last year. In the South East region, where more than half of Norbord's North American OSB capacity is located, benchmark prices averaged $175 per Msf compared to $181 per Msf in the prior quarter and $193 per Msf in the same quarter last year. In Europe, panel markets continued to experience demand growth in the first quarter, reflecting improving housing markets and continued OSB substitution in the Company's core geographies, particularly the UK andGermany. However, OSB prices remain under pressure and were down 9% quarter-over-quarter and 18 per cent year-over-year as eastern European supply was redirected toward the west due to the ongoing conflict in the Ukraineand the collapse of the Russian ruble. Prices for the Company's other products remained steady. As a result, first quarter average panel prices were down four per cent from the prior quarter and nine per cent lower than the same quarter last year. Performance North American OSB shipments decreased by eight per cent quarter-over-quarter, primarily due to fewer fiscal days versus the prior quarter. First quarter shipments were in line with the same quarter last year as improved mill productivity offset a reduced production schedule. Norbord's operating North American OSB mills produced at approximately 100% of stated capacity (excluding the two curtailed mills in Huguley, Alabama and Val-d'Or, Quebec) compared to 95% in the prior quarter and 100% in the same quarter last year. Year-over-year, capacity utilization was unchanged as improved productivity was offset by additional production curtailments. Norbord's North American OSB cash production costs per unit (before mill profit share) decreased by three per cent compared to the prior quarter. Lower resin prices and fewer maintenance shutdown days were partially offset by the impact of fewer fiscal days in the quarter. Unit costs decreased by four per cent versus the same quarter last year as increased productivity, lower resin prices and improved raw material usages more than offset the impact of a reduced production schedule. In Europe, Norbord's shipments were six per cent higher versus the prior quarter and in line with the same quarter last year. The European mills produced at approximately 95 per cent of stated capacity in the quarter compared to 105 per cent in the prior quarter and 110 per cent in the same quarter last year. Capacity utilization declined compared to both comparative quarters primarily due to the previously reported restatement of the 2015 annual capacity at three of the four mills by an aggregate increase of 170 MMsf (3⁄8-inch basis) to reflect recent capital investments and improved efficiency. Norbord's mills delivered Margin Improvement Program (MIP) gains of $7 million in the quarter from improved productivity and raw material use. Capital investments totalled $10 million in the first quarter and are currently targeted at $70 million for the full year 2015 for the combined company. This year's planned capital expenditures include further debottlenecking and cost reduction projects under the Company's multi-year capital reinvestment strategy. Operating working capital was $100 million at quarter-end compared to $65 million at year-end and $93 million at the end of the same quarter last year. Working capital increased quarter-over-quarter for the usual seasonal reasons, including log inventory builds in North America. At quarter-end, Norbord had unutilized liquidity of $298 million, consisting of $4 million in cash and $294 million in unused credit lines. At quarter-end, $45 million was drawn under the accounts receivable securitization program. The Company's tangible net worth was $388 million and net debt to total capitalization on a book basis was 53 per cent. Both ratios remain well within bank covenants. Dividend The Board of Directors declared a quarterly dividend of CAD $0.25 per common share, payable on June 21, 2015 to shareholders of record on June 1, 2015. The amount of future dividends under the company's dividend policy, and the declaration and payment thereof, will be based upon the company's financial position, results of operations, cash flow, capital requirements and restrictions under the company's existing revolving bank lines and senior notes, as well as broader market and economic conditions, among other factors, and shall be in compliance with applicable law. The board retains the discretion to amend the company's dividend policy in any manner and at any time as it may deem necessary or appropriate in the future. For these reasons, as well as others, there can be no assurance that dividends in the future will be equal or similar to the amount described above or that the Board will not decide to suspend or discontinue the payment of cash dividends in the future. Developments On March 31, 2015, subsequent to quarter-end, Norbord completed its merger with Ainsworth Lumber Co. Ltd. (Ainsworth). Under the terms of the all-share transaction, Norbord acquired all of the outstanding common shares of Ainsworth and Ainsworth shareholders received 0.1321 of a share of Norbord for each Ainsworth share. Consequently, 31.8 million Norbord common shares were issued to Ainsworth shareholders, bringing the combined company's total number of shares outstanding to 85.3 million. Ainsworth is now a wholly-owned subsidiary of Norbord. Subsequent to quarter-end, Norbord amended its $245 million in revolving bank lines to reset the tangible net worth covenant to $450 million to reflect the Ainsworth merger and extend the maturity date for $225 million of the total aggregate commitment to May 2018. The remaining $20 million commitment matures in May 2016. Norbord also increased its accounts receivable securitization program commitment limit from $100 million to $125 million to reflect the Ainsworth merger. Annual meeting of shareholders Norbord's annual meeting of shareholders will be held on Tuesday, May 12, 2015 at 10:00 a.m. A live webcast of the meeting will be available and can be accessed via www.norbord.com or www.newswire.ca. Additional information Norbord's Q1 2015 letter to shareholders, news release, management's discussion and analysis, consolidated unaudited interim financial statements and notes to the financial statements have been filed on SEDAR (www.sedar.com) and are available in the investor section of the Company's website at www.norbord.com. Shareholders are encouraged to read this material. Since the Norbord-Ainsworth merger was completed subsequent to quarter-end, Ainsworth's Q1 2015 management's discussion and analysis, consolidated unaudited interim financial statements and notes to the financial statements have also been filed under Ainsworth's profile on SEDAR (www.sedar.com) and are available in the investor section of the Norbord website at www.norbord.com.
April 29, 2015 - Stella-Jones Inc. today announced financial results for its first quarter ended March 31, 2015. "We are pleased with these results that show healthy demand in our core markets as well as the strong contribution of our recent acquisition. Furthermore, adjustments in our selling prices in response to higher input costs for untreated railway ties helped us to improve our gross profit margin when compared to recent quarters," said Brian McManus, President and Chief Executive Officer.  ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- Financial highlights   (in millions of Canadian dollars, except per share data)                                                                                                        Quarters ended March 31, 2015        2014---------------------------------------------------------------------------- Sales                                                        340.7       257.5 Operating income                                       47.6        34.7 Net income for the period                            30.1        22.5   Per share - basic ($)                                 0.44        0.33   Per share - diluted ($)                               0.43        0.33 Weighted average shares outstanding  (basic, in '000s)                                      68,953      68,737 ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- First quarter results Sales reached $340.7 million, up 32.3 per cent from $257.5 million a year ago. The wood treating facilities acquired from Boatright Railroad Products, Inc. ("Boatright") on May 22, 2014 generated sales of $21.1 million, while the conversion effect from fluctuations in the value of the Canadian dollar, Stella-Jones' reporting currency, versus the U.S. dollar, increased the value of U.S. dollar denominated sales by about $29.4 million when compared with last year. Excluding these factors, sales increased approximately $32.7 million, or 12.7 per cent. Railway tie sales amounted to $166.8 million, up 53.5 per cent from $108.6 million last year. Excluding sales from Boatright and the foreign currency conversion effect, railway tie sales rose approximately 21.7 per cent, primarily as a result of adjusted selling prices.  Sales of utility poles reached $119.2 million, an increase of 10.9 per cent compared with $107.5 million last year. Factoring out the foreign currency conversion effect, sales increased 1.9 per cent, as a steady rise in sales of distribution poles stemming from regular maintenance projects, was partially offset by slightly lower sales of transmission poles due to the timing of orders for special projects.  Sales of residential lumber totalled $28.4 million, up from $17.3 million last year, reflecting higher sales in the United States due to a strong economy as well as in Western Canada where the Company increased its market reach in British Columbia. Industrial product sales increased to $19.9 million, compared with $15.8 million a year ago, mainly due to the contribution of the Boatright assets and the foreign currency conversion effect. Finally, non-pole-quality log sales were $6.4 million, versus $8.3 million last year, due to the timing of timber harvesting.  Gross profit reached $66.4 million, or 19.5 per cent of sales, up from $50.3 million, or 19.5% of sales, last year. The increase in absolute dollars essentially stems from higher business activity, the addition of the Boatright assets and the effect of currency translation. As a percentage of sales, gross profit was stable year-over-year, as adjusted pricing for railway has matched the 2014 cost increases of untreated railway ties. As a result of higher gross profit, operating income increased 37.2 per cent to $47.6 million, or 14.0 per cent of sales, versus $34.7 million, or 13.5 per cent of sales, last year.  Net income for the first quarter of 2015 increased 33.7 per cent to $30.1 million or $0.43 per share, fully diluted, compared with $22.5 million or $0.33 per share, fully diluted, in the first quarter of 2014.  Solid financial position As at March 31, 2015, the Company's long-term debt, including the current portion, stood at $517.2 million compared with $444.6 million three months earlier. The increase essentially reflects higher working capital requirements, as per normal seasonal demand patterns, and the effect of local currency translation on U.S. dollar denominated long-term debt. As at March 31, 2015 Stella-Jones, total debt to total capitalization ratio was 0.40:1, compared with 0.39:1 as at December 31, 2014. Working capital requirements included the normal seasonal inventory build-up ahead of peak demand in the second and third quarters. The seasonal inventory build-up was more accentuated in the first quarter of 2015 due to untreated railway tie availability returning to normal levels, which enabled Stella-Jones to start rebuilding inventory levels. As a result, the value of inventories stood at $611.5 million as at March 31, 2015, versus $487.7 million as at December 31, 2014. Letter of intent to acquire Ram Forest Group Inc. and Ramfor Lumber Inc. During the quarter, the Company signed a non-binding letter of intent to purchase the shares of Ram Forest Group Inc. and Ramfor Lumber Inc. Through its wholly-owned subsidiaries, Ram Forest Products Inc. and Trent Timber Treating Ltd., Ram Forest Group manufactures and sells pressure treated wood products and accessories to the retail building materials industry. Ramfor Lumber is a lumber purchasing entity serving Ram Forest Products and Trent Timber Treating.  Ram Forest Products operates a wood treating facility in Gormley, Ontario and Trent Timber Treating operates a wood treating facility in Peterborough, Ontario. The wood milling plant operated by Ram Forest Products in Uxbridge, Ontario is not part of the transaction, and existing Ram Forest Group shareholders will continue to own this plant. Consolidated sales of the acquired facilities for the fiscal year ended September 30, 2014 reached approximately $90.2 million. The transaction, if finalized, is expected to close in October 2015 and is subject to customary conditions, including satisfactory due diligence, signature of a definitive share purchase agreement and regulatory clearance. Stella-Jones plans to finance the transaction through its existing revolving credit facility. "This transaction will expand Stella-Jones' wood treating capabilities in the residential lumber market and allow us to build upon Ram Forest Group's longstanding relationships with key customers. The proposed timetable for the transaction has been carefully designed to minimize disruption of Ram Forest Group's operations and ensure a seamless transition for its customers, suppliers and employees," added Mr. McManus. Quarterly dividend of $0.08 per share On April 28, 2015, the Board of Directors declared a quarterly dividend of $0.08 per common share, payable on June 26, 2015 to shareholders of record at the close of business on June 2, 2015. Outlook "As we believe the momentum in the North American economy will continue, demand for our core products should remain solid in 2015. Stella-Jones remains focussed on enhancing shareholder value by optimizing the efficiency of its continental network, while seeking selective and accretive opportunities to further expand its presence in the wood treating industry, as evidenced by the proposed acquisition in Ontario," concluded Mr. McManus. Conference call Stella-Jones will hold a conference call to discuss these results on April 29, 2015, at 1:30 PM Eastern Time. Interested parties can join the call by dialing 647-788-4922 (Toronto or overseas) or 1-877-223-4471 (elsewhere in North America). Parties unable to call in at this time may access a tape recording of the meeting by calling 1-800-585-8367 and entering the passcode 17072554. This tape recording will be available on Wednesday, April 29, 2015 as of 5:30 PM Eastern Time until 11:59 PM Eastern Time on Wednesday, May 6, 2015.  Non-IFRS financial measures Operating income and cash flow from operating activities before changes in non-cash working capital components and interest and income tax paid are financial measures not prescribed by IFRS and are not likely to be comparable to similar measures presented by other issuers. Management considers these non-IFRS measures to be useful information to assist knowledgeable investors regarding the Company's financial condition and results of operations as they provide additional measures of its performance.  About Stella-Jones Stella-Jones Inc. (TSX:SJ) is a leading producer and marketer of pressure treated wood products. The Company supplies North America's railroad operators with railway ties and timbers, and the continent's electrical utilities and telecommunication companies with utility poles. Stella-Jones also provides residential lumber to retailers and wholesalers for outdoor applications, as well as industrial products for construction and marine applications. The Company's common shares are listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange. Except for historical information provided herein, this press release may contain information and statements of a forward-looking nature concerning the future performance of the Company. These statements are based on suppositions and uncertainties as well as on management's best possible evaluation of future events. Such factors may include, without excluding other considerations, fluctuations in quarterly results, evolution in customer demand for the Company's products and services, the impact of price pressures exerted by competitors, the ability of the Company to raise the capital required for acquisitions, and general market trends or economic changes. As a result, readers are advised that actual results may differ from expected results.  Note to readers: Condensed interim unaudited consolidated financial statements for the first quarter ended March 31, 2015 are available on Stella-Jones' website at www.stella-jones.com
March 26, 2015 — Stella-Jones Inc. (TSX:SJ) ("Stella-Jones" or the "Company") today announced financial results for its fourth quarter and fiscal year ended December 31, 2014.
Feb. 24, 2015 – The UCS Forest Group of Companies (UCS) announced that they have reached an agreement to acquire the assets and ongoing business activities of the British Columbia business unit of White-Wood Distributors Ltd. UCS does business in Canada as Upper Canada Forest Products Ltd. “We are delighted with the opportunity to service the customers and support the suppliers that have been dealing with White-Wood throughout British Columbia,” stated Warren Spitz, President & CEO of UCS. “I would like to offer my thanks to Mark Yusishen for choosing us as White-Wood’s successor in this market. Our corporate strategy to grow in key markets continues across North America and we are very excited about this most recent opportunity.” “Our decision to complete this transaction with Upper Canada was based in part on our shared values and commitment to excellence in customer service’” commented Mark Yusishen, President & CEO of White-Wood. “We are confident that our valued customers in B.C. will continue to be well-served.” This is the third acquisition in the past 10 months for the UCS Forest Group, which recently acquired Reimer Hardwoods operations in Alberta and the Atlas Lumber Company in Los Angeles, California. Upper Canada Forest Products has serviced the British Columbia market for over 20 years and operates from an 80,000 sq. ft. warehouse in Burnaby and a second facility in Kelowna. In a timely manner, White-Wood’s operations will be integrated into Upper Canada’s facilities.
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.    
Nov. 7, 2014, Hannover, Germany - Under the slogan "Surprisingly versatile," machine tool manufacturers at LIGNA (11–14 May, Hannover) are showcasing their machines' potential for uses beyond conventional wood processing. Established machine tool manufacturers are increasingly developing products for everything from metalworking to high-tech processing for companies in the automotive, facade, yacht building and aerospace industries. Interest is high wherever machining, sawing, drilling and sanding is needed. Solutions for processing plastic and composite materials are particularly widespread, with their rising popularity driven by today's highly developed CNC 5-axis machining technology. Today's woodworking machines can do everything that is required of modern manufacturing in other sectors, and very efficiently. These days nearly every market leader offers industrial solutions for processing plastics and composite materials. The product spectrum ranges from preconfigured machines for various applications all the way to customized solutions. Machine manufacturers have their own teams of specialists for both wood composites and solid wood. The resulting manufacturing technologies offer outstanding potential for processing plastics and composites as well as other materials: Heavy stands that absorb vibrations guarantee the necessary precision in handling workpieces. High quality table coatings – initially developed to withstand abrasive materials – prevent more delicate materials from being scratched. Manufacturers of woodworking machines can bring to bear extensive experience and skill with suction systems to remove dust and fumes. Innovative 5-axis technology with rotation and swivel axes make it possible to work at any angle and position – including freeform parts. Applications range from filigree milling and high-frequency machining to optimized interleaving and fine engraving. Facilities with vertical ranges of 50 meters or more are required for manufacturing very large components such as wind turbine blades or boat hulls. All processes can be carried out in a single workflow. Rapid tool-change systems minimize setup times. Individualized clamping devices provide the perfect fit for every individual requirement. High performance, efficiency and cost-effectiveness are ensured right down to single-unit batches with these CNC processing systems. The leading providers also offer the invaluable advantage of expertise across the manufacturing process, including in particular blank cutting, along with CNC processing. Today's panel saws process plastic materials just as precisely. Add to this a comprehensive portfolio of ancillary machines and automation systems, and the wide range of highly specialized machines, tools and services that plastic-working operations often need for manufacturing can usually be provided by a single supplier. Lastly, networking these different machines significantly boosts productivity and efficiency. When processing solid wood, it is chiefly automated planers and profilers that form the basis of innovative solutions – and they also offer excellent performance with plastics and foams. Undercuts such as dovetails and T-grooves are often needed when processing these types of materials. Universal spindles combined with a compact fast-turning hollow shank taper provide the ideal solution for processing during manufacturing. Tool manufacturers play a central role as system partners. One trend stands out in particular: saw blades, mills and drills are increasingly being adapted to machines, applications and materials, which delivers significant benefits to the final industrial solutions. Optimized cutting shapes and innovative coatings result in break-resistant drills and saws that offer excellent service life. Whether plastics, composite materials or non-ferrous metals, modern woodworking machines and tools can master any material without any major adjustments. Existing 5-axis technology offers full processing in shorter times and with fewer work steps, because a reduced number of processing assemblies carry out the production task and eliminate setup periods. And there is almost no limit to the possible shapes and sizes. Reason enough to take a look at the bigger picture – at LIGNA 2015, the flagship fair for machines and systems for woodworking and wood processing, which offers a lot of added reasons to be in Hannover from 11 to 15 May.
Nov. 7, 2014, Montreal - Stella-Jones Inc. is reporting positive financial results for its third quarter ended September 30, 2014. Sales reached $357.3 million, up 25.2% from $285.3 million in the same period last year. The operating assets acquired from The Pacific Wood Preserving Companies ("PWP") on November 15, 2013 and from Boatright Railroad Products, Inc. ("Boatright") on May 22, 2014 contributed sales of $11.2 million and $12.0 million, respectively. The conversion effect from fluctuations in the value of the Canadian dollar, Stella-Jones' reporting currency, versus the U.S. dollar, increased the value of U.S.-dollar denominated sales by about $8.9 million when compared with the previous year. Excluding these factors, sales increased approximately $39.9 million, or 14.0%. "We are pleased with Stella-Jones' solid sales growth in the third quarter, which reflects our expanding presence in our core markets and healthy industry demand. While margins remained affected by higher year-over-year costs for untreated railway ties, we have initiated certain selling price adjustments permitted in the majority of our multi-year contracts. Our focus on operating efficiency led to further growth in operating income, while a solid cash flow generation allowed Stella-Jones to substantially reduce its long-term debt," said Brian McManus, President and Chief Executive Officer. Railway tie sales amounted to $148.8 million, up 49.7% from $99.4 million a year earlier. Excluding sales from acquired assets and the conversion effect, railway tie sales rose approximately 34.7%. Further adjusting for the approximately $15.0 million negative effect on last year's third-quarter railway tie sales as a result of the transition of a Class 1 railroad customer from a "treating services only" program to a "black-tie" program, year-over-year sales increased $19.5 million, or 17.0%. This increase reflects solid market demand for tie replacement programs as well as increased pricing. Sales of utility poles reached $127.6 million, up from $112.8 million last year. Excluding sales from acquisitions and the conversion effect, utility pole sales increased $4.0 million, or 3.5%, as a result of higher sales of distribution poles stemming from increased demand from replacement programs, partially offset by slightly lower sales of transmission poles due to the timing of certain special projects. Sales in the residential lumber category totalled $43.5 million, up 10.6% from $39.3 million a year ago, mainly reflecting solid demand in Western Canada and the United States. Industrial product sales reached $29.7 million, versus $16.5 million last year due to the contribution from acquisitions and increased sales of rail-related products. Finally, non-pole-quality log sales amounted to $7.7 million, down from $17.2 million a year ago, as a result of the timing of timber harvesting. Operating income stood at $45.5 million, or 12.7% of sales, versus $38.6 million, or 13.5% of sales, last year. The decrease as a percentage of sales is mainly due to higher year-over-year costs for untreated railway ties, partially offset by greater efficiencies throughout the Company's plant network. As the Company is gradually able to adjust its selling prices, as per provisions in most of its multi-year contracts, the year-over-year negative variation of operating income as a percentage of sales due to higher costs was less in the third quarter of 2014 than in the previous quarter. Net income for the third quarter of 2014 increased 6.8% to $29.5 million or $0.43 per share, fully diluted, compared with $27.7 million or $0.40 per share, fully diluted, in the third quarter of 2013. NINE-MONTH RESULTS For the nine-month period ended September 30, 2014, sales amounted to $959.6 million, versus $788.8 million for the same period in 2013. Acquisitions accounted for total sales of $52.0 million, while the conversion effect from fluctuations in the value of the Canadian dollar versus the U.S. dollar had a positive year-over-year impact of $43.2 million on the value of U.S. dollar denominated sales. Excluding these factors, sales increased approximately $75.6 million, or 9.6%. Operating income was $121.8 million, or 12.7% of sales, up from $109.2 million, or 13.8% of sales, last year. Net income reached $80.9 million, or $1.17 per share, fully diluted, compared with $72.8 million, or $1.05 per share, fully diluted, a year ago. FINANCIAL POSITION As at September 30, 2014, the Company's long-term debt, including the current portion, stood at $433.6 million down from $456.8 million three months earlier. The reduction reflects the repayment of approximately $44.0 million in long-term debt during the quarter, driven by a strong cash flow generation, partially offset by the effect of currency conversion on U.S.-dollar denominated debt. As at September 30, 2014, an amount of $365.9 million had been drawn against the Company's committed revolving credit facility of $450.0 million. As a result of this lower debt, Stella-Jones' total debt to total capitalization ratio was 0.40:1 as at September 30, 2014, down from 0.43:1 three months earlier. OUTLOOK "Driven by continuing economic growth and sound fundamentals, we expect demand for Stella-Jones' core products to remain healthy for the remainder of 2014 and through 2015. For this reason, our established reputation as a reliable provider of high-quality treated wood products should allow the Company to gain further momentum in its core markets across North America. In the short-term, we continue to adjust selling prices in response to higher untreated railway tie costs and we are pleased with the progress achieved so far. Over the longer term, a continuous focus on enhancing efficiency and productivity across our continental network should allow Stella-Jones to sustain profitability and cash flow growth to the benefit of its shareholders," concluded Mr. McManus.
Sept. 9, 2014 – Lewis Mouldings and Wood Specialities Ltd. received $430,500 from the federal and provincial governments to boost its wood briquette production, according to the Chrionical Herald. The family business based in Weymouth, Nova Scotia launched Fiber Fuel to make wood briquettes using residual sawdust and chips from its wood trim business in 2008. The company has not been able to keep up with demand for the fuel. The new funding will help the company add a second wood fibre compressing machine and a biomass dryer, which should be up and running in November. The new equipment is expected to boost the company's briquette production by 400 per cent. The briquette business will take over the extra waste wood that was formerly consumed by the Resolute Forest Products' Queens County paper mill that closed in 2012. For more information, go to http://thechronicleherald.ca/business/1234854-lewis-mouldings-gets-cash-for-wood-waste-fuel-business
Aug. 13, 2014 - A wave of demand is coming and so are higher prices, concludes Peter Butzelaar the Vice President of International Wood Markets Group in his U.S. Clear Pine Lumber and Moulding Market Outlook: 2014-2018.  After enduring four years of declining demand of epic proportions, underlying demand is beginning to re-emerge. "Although not the strong start the industry was anticipating for 2014, the results in the second half of this year should build on the demand gains made in 2013," comments co-author Russell Taylor. WOOD MARKETS is projecting U.S. housing starts to surpass 1 million starts in 2014 followed by an additional 125,000 starts in 2015. As the labour market and income levels improves, housing demand will see accelerating growth as will residential repair and remodelling (R&R) - the two main drivers of moulding demand. However, due to mill closures, supply chain consolidation, and limited supplies of domestic clear pine fiber, traditional moulding supply in North America is forecast to struggle to keep up with demand. For more information on the report, go to www.woodmarkets.com.
Aug. 11, 2014, Montreal - Stella-Jones announced financial results for its second quarter ended June 30, 2014. Sales reached $344.8 million, up 22.7% from $280.9 million in the same period last year. "Solid industry demand for Stella-Jones' core products and the contribution from recent acquisitions led to a strong sales growth in the second quarter of 2014. As railway tie and utility pole replacement programs continue to gain momentum, our proven ability to respond to product and service requirements enables us to further penetrate our markets. As anticipated, higher costs for untreated railway ties had a negative effect on profitability. However, strong sales growth and our continued focus on optimizing our plant network resulted in a year-over-year increase in net income," said Brian McManus, President and Chief Executive Officer. SECOND QUARTER RESULTS Sales reached $344.8 million, up 22.7% from $280.9 million in the same period last year. The operating assets acquired from The Pacific Wood Preserving Companies ("PWP") on November 15, 2013 and from Boatright Railroad Products, Inc. ("Boatright") on May 22, 2014 contributed sales of $12.0 million and $3.7 million, respectively. The conversion effect from fluctuations in the value of the Canadian dollar, Stella-Jones' reporting currency, versus the U.S. dollar, increased the value of U.S.-dollar denominated sales by about $18.0 million when compared with the previous year. Excluding these factors, sales increased approximately $30.2 million, or 10.8%. Railway tie sales amounted to $141.5 million, up 18.1% from $119.8 million a year earlier. Excluding sales from the PWP and Boatright assets, as well as the conversion effect, railway tie sales rose approximately $7.7 million, or 6.4%, reflecting solid market demand from replacement programs. Sales of utility poles reached $121.6 million, up from $95.1 million last year. Excluding sales from the PWP assets and the conversion effect, utility pole sales increased $14.0 million, or 14.7%, as a result of larger customer orders for distribution and transmission poles stemming from increased demand from replacement programs and certain special projects. Sales in the residential lumber category totalled $49.4 million, versus $41.3 million a year ago, mainly reflecting solid demand in Western Canada and the United States. Industrial product sales reached $25.1 million, up from $17.0 million last year due to the contribution of the PWP and Boatright assets as well as increased sales of rail-related products. Finally, non-pole-quality log sales amounted to $7.2 million, versus $7.7 million a year ago, as a result of the timing of timber harvesting. Operating income stood at $41.6 million, or 12.1% of sales, versus $41.0 million, or 14.6% of sales, last year. The decrease as a percentage of sales is mainly due to higher year-over-year costs for untreated railway ties, partially offset by greater efficiencies throughout the company's plant network. Results for the second quarter of 2014 also include a $1.6 million write-off of certain property, plant and equipment in the United States and acquisition-related costs of $616,000 in connection with the Boatright transaction. Net income for the second quarter of 2014 increased 9.1% to $28.8 million or $0.42 per share, fully diluted, compared with $26.4 million or $0.38 per share, fully diluted, in the second quarter of 2013. SIX-MONTH RESULTSFor the six-month period ended June 30, 2014, sales amounted to $602.3 million, versus $503.5 million for the same period in 2013. Acquisitions accounted for total sales of $28.9 million, while the conversion effect from fluctuations in the value of the Canadian dollar versus the U.S. dollar had a positive year-over-year impact of $34.3 million on the value of U.S. dollar denominated sales. Excluding these factors, sales increased approximately $35.7 million, or 7.1%. Operating income was $76.4 million, or 12.7% of sales, up from $70.6 million, or 14.0% of sales, last year. Net income reached $51.3 million, or $0.74 per share, fully diluted, compared with $45.2 million, or $0.65 per share, fully diluted, a year ago. FINANCIAL POSITIONAs at June 30, 2014, the company's long-term debt, including the current portion, stood at $456.8 million compared with $407.0 million three months earlier. The variation essentially reflects working capital requirements and the acquisition of Boatright. To partially finance this acquisition, the company's committed revolving credit facility was increased from $400.0 million to $450.0 million. As at June 30, 2014, an amount of $391.7 million had been drawn against this facility. As a result of this higher debt, Stella-Jones' total debt to total capitalization ratio was 0.43:1 as at June 30, 2014, versus 0.40:1 three months earlier. OUTLOOK"We expect healthy demand for our core products for the remainder of the year driven by a better economy and sound fundamentals in our main sectors of activity. With regards to higher cost for untreated railway ties, margins will be impacted in the short term, until we are able to adjust selling prices as per provisions in most of Stella-Jones' multi-year contracts. Further profitability improvements will also be driven by sustained initiatives to optimize efficiency across our expanded North American network following recent acquisitions," concluded Mr. McManus.
July 16, 2014, Edmonton – Since its 1999 start in Calgary, under the leadership of Jeff Floyd (Alberta Division Manager) Upper Canada Forest Products has continually grown its market presence and scope in Alberta. In 2007 it acquired Cambium Forest Products, doubled the size of its Calgary warehouse in 2013, acquired Reimer Hardwoods of Alberta earlier this year, and now has opened of a new LEED certified warehouse facility in NW Edmonton. Edmonton has a vibrant and established millwork and cabinet industry and is a growing metropolis of almost 1.2 million people. Edmonton is also the stepping off point to many northern Alberta communities. UCS Forest Group is North America's premier importer, exporter, and distributor of specialty products serving discerning customers in the architectural woodworking, commercial and residential furniture, and cabinet-making industries. UCS does business as Sierra Forest Products in the United States, Upper Canada Forest Products in Canada, UCS Global internationally and A&M Wood Specialty.
July 2, 2014  - While the Stella-Jones pole processing plants in Prince George and Galloway, British Columbia both report to North America's leading provider of utility poles and railway ties, each facility is responsible for managing its own operation independently. When it came to choosing a replacement for their aging log-handling equipment, the two site managers, working 500 miles apart, came to the same conclusion. Today, the Prince George and Galloway facilities are both running new purpose-built SENNEBOGEN 830 M-T material handlers. Bob Stewart was the Plant Manager in Prince George when the purchase of their 830 M-T was proposed to head office. "We looked at 3 or 4 different makes of machines last year, made our decision on Sennebogen and put together the business plan to acquire it." In Galloway, meanwhile, Richard Harkies was also shopping for new equipment. "We had already looked at the other two big names in material handlers," he recalls. "Then Tom Truman (from the Sennebogen dealer, Great West Equipment) came by and took us to see a Sennebogen demonstration in Lavington. We hadn't actually heard of Sennebogen before then!" Before the year was out, Galloway had become a Stella-Jones operation and the purchase of the machine went ahead. Great West Equipment delivered the first one of its 830 M-T's to Prince George in January, and the second was delivered to the Galloway Mill in June. The 830 M-T is a purpose-built material handler for trailer pulling. It has an undercarriage and transmission configuration that's specially built to pull over 100,000 lb. log trailers. The two material handlers were then fitted with Rotobec log grapples. They were also customized to widen out the tines and the tips to minimize damage to the wood. Each was then equipped with a live heel. While the two sites differ in some ways in their specific application, their managers are equally satisfied that the 830 M-T was the right way to go. The Prince George plant processes both utility poles and railway ties, so its log handler has to manage moving and loading square timber as well as round wood. "We stack the ties in packs of 25 for air seasoning," says Bob Stewart. "Then we load the bundles onto gondolas for delivery. The 830 M-T pulls a tridem trailer loaded up to 75,000 lbs. It could be a larger sized machine than we really need, but we wanted to be prepared for future demands, too. We anticipate that we'll get 10 to 15 years of service from this unit." "It has a lot of hydraulic power," he continues. "It takes a fine touch to grab a large load without damaging the wood. These controls are very user-friendly and the hydraulics are very responsive. We also find that the stance of the machine, with its wide wheelbase, is much better for getting around even in soft ground than what we experienced before." Richard Harkies also cites improvements in mobility among the advantages of the 830 M-T. "We have to drive a half-a-mile from one end of the yard to the other. With a separate transmission on each axle, it pulls smoother and it doesn't shift as hard and it's more stable." Harkies notes that the extra stability is especially helpful when the operator's cab is elevated. "The high-lift cab is way better for loading rail cars, because you can see the top of the load. The operators can set it at the best height, for comfort, for whatever they are doing. In the spring, after the snow, you can get potholes, which can make it a little rough up there! The wide stance and pneumatic tires smooth out the ride for them." Stewart and Harkies are both confident that their concerns about the future reliability of their equipment have been answered. Sennebogen's 100,000 sq. ft. headquarters near Charlotte, NC maintains the largest inventory of material handling parts in North America. Great West Equipment, their Sennebogen distributor, also keeps a large stock of off-the-shelf parts for their customers. And Stewart acknowledges the importance of Great West's experience in the industry. "We have been dealing with (Great West representative) Dillon Healey for 8 or 9 years. We always feel that we get a good deal and they're always very helpful making sure that our equipment is perfectly suited to our application." The stability and smooth pulling power of the 830 M-T is well suited to the 1/2 mile circuits in the log yard.

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