QFIC unveiled a study at its recent annual meeting showing the province has the highest log costs in North America.
Having survived more than seven years of nasty markets, veteran sawmiller Real Arsenault, from Manning Diversified, is upgrading his small-log technology.
Both single-family and multifamily housing starts are expected to post double-digit gains over last year. However, headwinds continue to hold back even stronger.
High tech reaches new heights at planer operations across Canada and beyond.
Canadian Forest Industries looks at the options available to cut trees and process the logs.
What's Happening in our Forest?...
What's Happening in our Forest?
New VAB Lineal Grading Optimizer at Sexton Lumber...
New VAB Lineal Grading Optimizer at Sexton Lumber
Eltec harvester at work in the Quebec forest...
Eltec harvester at work in the Quebec forest
USNR log loader minds log gap, improves throughput...
USNR log loader minds log gap, improves throughput
May 7, 2013 – Christer Lennartsson is ready to demonstate his harwarder (a combined harvester and forwarder), at the 2013 Elmia Forestry Fair. He calls the machine, "The Beauty", and it is a ten-wheeler that reduces ground pressure and damage with its specially designed weight distribution system. The Beauty is a machine for final felling and also direct loading and unloading at the roadside without any intermediate unloading of the logs onto the ground. It can do this because of its super tyres and patented quick release mechanism, which means that the machine can alternate between using its crane as a harvester and as a forwarder. Switching to having a grapple on the crane takes 10 seconds. “We wanted to create a machine that is always horizontal for the operator and the load," Lennartsson said. "The result is less stress on the machine, it runs more smoothly and the ground pressure is always the same whatever the gradient.” The harwarder was designed by Lennartsson and his colleague Andreas Andersson, it has 10 wheels instead of the usual six or eight, and has a rear pair of wheels made of solid rubber. The rubber wheels have transverse grooves that fit into the shape of the steel bands and allows for powerful and safe machine operation. The steel bands help to distribute the weight over a larger area, reducing the ground pressure and giving the machine ideal accessibility. The wheels also have a motor in four of the ten wheel hubs, so their speed can be individually controlled. He explains that using solid rubber has many advantages in the forest environment. “You avoid punctures, which are a major problem in the forest. The wheels also have some resilience – they aren’t rigid, and the vibrations are distributed.” He casts the wheels in his own mould at home in his workshop, and can customize tread designed, and widths up to one metre. “I wouldn’t say it’s fully developed – the design could be further refined and be a bit more flexible. And then I’d like a business partner of course who could manufacture the machine,” Lennartsson concludes.
May 2, 2013 - Lebanon, Ohio – Fecon Inc.'s new FMA8039 hydraulic powered milling attachment can process roots, stumps and soil up to 20" below grade, and is rated at 260 to 550 horse power. The weight of the machine (approximately 11,000 lbs) keeps the attachment engaged as carbide tools cut through an 80" wide path of material. The 8039 is suited for treating land already cleared of standing vegetation, often through logging, mulching, or traditional land clearing methods. Applications include pipeline construction, commercial tree farm construction and preparation planting, converting land into tillable acreage, or land clearing for new construction. A 39” x 80” large diameter rotor in the attachment has abrasion resistant steel for durability and performance across a wide range of soil conditions. Sixty-four carbide cutting tools provide a balance of performance, wear life, and impact strength in sub-soil applications. Dual hydraulic motors deliver power to the belt-over-gear box driveline to slow the rotor speed, reduce abrasion, and multiply torque to power through material. The standard trap door can be used to help contain and direct material downward, or an optional compacting roller can smooth out and compact the finely milled material. The FMA8039 milling attachment can be configured with custom mounts, hydraulic motors, and belt ratios to fit many brands of track or wheeled carriers including Fecon’s FTX400 and FTX600 track carriers.
May 22, 2013 – “It keeps me up at night.” That’s how Brian Nicks, senior vice-president, forest management and operations, explains the looming staffing issues facing EACOM, and the forest industry at large. With Ontario sawmilling operations ramping back up to meet growing demand (see more on its integrated Ontario operations here), and the company’s Timmins sawmill slated to restart later this year, finding people to get the job done has become a full-time job in itself. “Right now, you have to work at it but we have it under control,” says Nicks, at the company’s Nairn Centre complex. “We try to hang on to tradespeople, and overall it’s a competitive market with mining and other resources. Every one of our Ontario mills is near a mining operation of some kind.” Nicks notes that the market is also changing, with people looking for more stable, stationary work. Not only are people less willing to move any great distance for work, but they have also changed the way they look for work, using the Internet and third-party agencies rather than simply sending in resumés. Nicks admits that on the logging side, recruiting has been tough, but to date they have managed by encouraging their existing contractors to grow, or by recruiting contractors from other regions where business has not yet recovered. “It’s no surprise that with a 60 per cent drop in actual harvest volume in Ontario over the past few years, a number have left the business. With the rebound comes an opportunity for those still here to grow,” says Nicks. “We’ve had some success with some really good local contractors that want to grow, but it will continue to be a challenge as we ramp up province wide. We went from a peak annual harvest of 24 million m3 across Ontario to under 10 million m3. Now we’re back at 13 million m3 and heading to 16 million m3 in the next couple of years.” With loggers, and especially truckers, in tight supply, Nicks says finding new contractors to enter the business is a priority. It’s also a challenge, as he sees less than half of existing contractors succeeding to the next generation, numbers that can be seen across the country. Stable supply One area of less concern is EACOM’s Ontario fibre supply, which Nicks describes as “among the most stable in Ontario.” Not only does the company’s wood basket have a relatively low fire risk, but it has seen increased planting activity in the past and the vast majority is outside the caribou zone, so not subject to the sharp cuts seen by operators further north. The four sawmills’ fibre basket also has FSC chain of custody certification. “The way we have it organized also means we have limited haul distances for the most part. For example, the Nairn Centre supply is within a reasonable 160 km average distance from the mill.” Also, the resource in this part of Ontario is of good quality and decent size compared to most of the east. “In forestry we still think the log profile is pretty nice here,” Nicks concludes with a smile.
May 22, 2013 – The Nairn Centre sawmill is part of EACOM's Ontario operations, an integrated fibre basket of 2.8 million m3 per year of softwood capable of producing more than 680 million bdft of lumber and feeding a variety of other forest products operations. The operations include: Nairn Centre: A single-line mill with access to more than 600,000 m3 of timber producing more than 150 million bdft annually. Recent investments include a USNR optimized three-saw board edger, Porter scanning/optimization for the Optimil DBL infeed, an FEI-Wellons track kiln, and VAB Solutions auto-grading on both stud and random planer mill lines. Gogama: This stud mill was formerly a joint venture between Day Forest Products and Domtar and is now wholly owned by EACOM. It takes the smaller stems from the Timmins wood basket, with a small amount from the northern part of the Nairn Centre supply, for a total volume of 400,000 m3. Its logs are mostly in the 5-in range, and are processed through two HewSaw 200 lines for a simple, efficient mill flow. In 2011 a HewSaw log positioner with ProLogic+ scanning was added to the newest line to improve recovery. Most of the 100 million bdft are shipped green to Nairn Centre for drying and dressing. Elk Lake: This mill can process up to 670,000 m3/year and produce 165 million bdft/year on two recently added Comact DDM6 and DDM12 machines. The planer mill was rebuilt in 2005 after a fire, with the resulting mill a "wonderful operation" according to Mel Lemky, vice-president of Ontario sawmill operations. It features a Gilbert 2500 pull thru planer that has excelled, followed by an Autolog linear grade optimizer and UV printer, and two human graders. The line is completed by a Samuel bar code system, which applies bar codes for the mill's box store customers; a Carbotech grade stamper and 75-bin double bundle push sorter; a Carbotech double lift lumber stacker; a Samuel strapper; and a Pelliko automated wrapping station. Timmins: The mill has access to 600,000 m3 per year of timber, and following a fire will be a brand new breakdown system. The rebuild is a USNR turnkey project that includes the supplier's shape sawing system. The mill will also sport two Nicholson debarkers and a used 33-bin sorter that USNR will install and start up. The latter will eliminate some of the issues the old mill had with its 14-bin sorter. The new mill is slated to make approximately 150 million bdft annually.
Despite cantankerous exits by key ENGOs and the public targeting of one of its members and a founding signatory, FPAC remains committed to the CBFA.
May 21, 2013 – The Quebec Forest Industry Council (QFIC) unveiled a study at its recent annual meeting showing the province has the highest log costs in North America. The exclusive study on the competitiveness of the Quebec forest industry within the North American context was commissioned by QFIC and presented by Peter Barynin, chief economist for wood products at RISI. "This study clearly shows that Quebec's forestry industry has a serious competitiveness problem that badly needs fixing,” says André Tremblay, association CEO. “It is proof that despite repeated promises by various natural resource ministers since Claude Bechard, the new forest regime that came into force last April 1 has not been able to reduce the cost of wood. On the contrary, there has even been an increase. " Investors give notice Barynin's study was also discussed by a panel of experts from various financial institutions, including Louis Vachon, president and CEO of the National Bank of Canada, Jacques Daoust, president and CEO of Investment Québec and Gaétan Morin, senior corporate and investment vice president of Quebec’s unique Solidarity Fund (FTQ). Clément Gignac, senior vice president and chief economist at Industrial Alliance and former Minister of Natural Resources, acted as panel moderator. While each plays a different role in forest industry financing, the three experts, however, agreed on one thing: they are willing to invest in forest projects as long as the industry is able to remain competitive and business plans hold up over time. In light of the RISI study by Barynin, panelists agreed it was necessary for Quebec’s forest industry to find ways to reduce procurement costs to remain competitive.
May 21, 2013 - Despite turmoil within the CBFA, Resolute says it will continue its leading role in forest sustainability.
May 19, 2013 – The Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement's (CBFA) three-year term came to a theoretical conclusion on Saturday, May 18, but may be continuing thanks to funding from Ottawa.Peter Foster, in an article from the Financial Post, says that it's unfortunate that a deal in which the federal government played no part, and which was designed to impose "private" political regulation, is now being supported by the people's tax dollars. For the full article by Peter Foster visit, www.financialpost.com.
A wireless grapple scale improves wood recovery program at Norbord OSB mill.
The recovering U.S. housing market has pushed profit margins up to stratospheric heights for oriented strand board (OSB) producers, whose engineered wood panels are outperforming lumber in the red-hot forest products sector.
Truckloads of raw lumber arrive daily at the Turuss (Canada) Industry Co. Ltd. facility in Chesley, Ont., which opened last summer as part of the China-based hardwood floor manufacturer.
The increasing use of robotics in the manufacturing sector is now being incorporated into the wood products industry.