Inside Lakeland Mills

Inside Lakeland Mills

Learn more about the new technology in the rebuilt Lakeland Mills sawmill from Operations Manager Bruce McLean.

Is the truckers' dispute over?

Is the truckers' dispute over?

On February 26, 2014, truck drivers who haul containers to and from shipping terminals at Port Metro Vancouver stopped work.

New beginning at Lakeland Mills

New beginning at Lakeland Mills

The Lakeland Mills sawmill is set to re-open for the first time since the deadly explosion in April of 2012.

Global sawlog on upward trend

Global sawlog on upward trend

Global trade of softwood logs is up about nine per cent during the first nine months of the year compared to the same nine month period in 2013.

Fibre swap produces win-win-win

Fibre swap produces win-win-win

In the heightened competitive market for logs, only the sawmills with the most efficient recovery rates will make it through the mid-term.

video
Efficient profiling for primary breakdown...
Comact's Simon Potvin talks about how efficiencies found through new technology are speeding up the sawline without sacrificing the quality of the lumber.
video
USNR at the Timber Processing and Energy Expo...
Sonia Perrine from USNR discusses the company's newest innovation and the impact of the Canadian market on the show floor of the Timber Processing and Energy Expo in Portland.
video
Komatsu has a new harvesting head...
The new harvesting head is designed to be highly productive in thinning applications.
video
Some environmentalists exaggerate...
Quebec’s forests are not threatened, according to a new documentary and an Economic Note from the Montreal Economic Institute.Video location: QuebecRecording date: August 2014

Harvesting

Mayor: freeze Resolute's wood supply

Dec. 18, 2014 – The mayor of Fort Frances is asking the Natural Resources and Forestry minister Bill Mauro to put Resolute Forest Products' local wood supply on hold until a solution is found for the sale of the Fort Frances pulp and paper mill. According to The Fort Frances Times, the mayor told the minister that he understands that the asset is owned by Resolute but he wants the minister to use his power to influence the company's decisions. The mayor is accusing the forest company of wanting to have the mill torn down and then be allocated the wood supply by default. He believes that if the wood supply should be taken away from the company and rather tied directly to the pulp mill. For more information, go to http://fftimes.com/node/275652

N.B. forestry plan to be re-evaluated

Dec. 8, 2014, Fredericton – Newly-elected New Brunswick Premier Brian Gallant has announced that his Liberal government will re-evaluate the province’s forestry plan. The announcement, made as part of Gallant’s Throne Speech, made note of the fact that the current plan has received criticism from throughout the industry, specifically from smaller logging operations and contractors. The re-evaluation of the plan, Putting our Resources to Work, a Strategy for Crown Lands Forest Management, will involve taking a look at the documentation used to support the decisions made within the plan. That will help the government decide whether or not the plan was devised based on proper scientific evaluation. No timeline for the review of the plan has been provided at this time.

Sawmilling

Inside Lakeland Mills

Dec. 17, 2014, Prince George - Building a mill that meets the highest standards in safety and dust control without sacrificing mill efficiency involves working with a team of dedicated manufacturers, distributors and contractors willing to work closely with you. The team at Sinclar Group Forest Products Ltd. worked closely with a group of familiar faces to design, build and execute their plan for the development of the new Lakeland Mills. In doing so, they created a mill that looks and feels like one of the safest operations in Canada while improving the efficiency of the mill. Following a tour of the new mill, I caught up with Lakeland Mills Operations Manager Bruce McLean to learn more about some of the technical refinements that went in to build the new mill. Who was involved in the design of the new mill? What set parameters had you already established in regards to safety? The design was the result of a collaborative effort by a team of Sinclar and Lakeland staff with the help of experienced sawmill vendors and engineers. The safety standard was to meet new expected standards in sawmill safety, including dust management and guarding. Methane mitigation was also a new safety issue that had to be incorporated into the new design. A comprehensive fire alarm system was supplied by Siemens. The system includes pull stations at every exit to the plant, heat & smoke detectors in MCC & HPU rooms and 25 gas monitors in the basement of the plant. The entire system is monitored 24 x 7 by a ULC certified fire alarm monitoring company. Several regulatory authorities consulted on safety standards – including Worksafe BC, BC Safety Authority, City of Prince George, Prince George Fire Department. The two Nicolson debarkers have modifications with the ignition sources that heighten their safety rating. Can you explain more about these modifications?           The barkers were identified as Class II, Div II under the NFPA 499 standard and they were certified in the Nicholson shop by Intertek. The upgrades were with the electrical components. In addition, we added a dust collection system designed to minimize dust in and adjacent to the machine. The piping system that integrates the Allied Blower vacuum system is very strategically placed to help minimize dust collection at key points throughout the sawline. How did Allied Blower’s solution provide you with the best option for dust collection? How does it differ from a “typical” mill system. What other detection/suppression technology is built into the system? Allied Blower provided a solution that would aggressively remove much of the wood dust from all the sources; saws, chipping heads, chippers, transfers, hog and barkers. In addition, three of the six baghouses currently installed, have air returning to the plant to mainly retain heat, and keep the buildings from too great a negative pressure. These baghouse have GreCon spark detect and abort gates both before and after the baghouse. Make up roof air fans throughout the building provide positive pressure with air flow general from top to bottom. The air permit limits required the use of baghouses as there is seven times the air flow than previous. What scanning and optimization equipment was incroporated into the design?  LogPro log merchandiser is designed to add scanning & optimization in the future to make 9’ & 10’ logs. Pacificon supplied a system for log scanning & sorting after the log merchandiser. The USNR line has their optimization equipment and program. The other optimization is the Wane Shear, which uses Microtec scanning. Microtec also supplied a scanner at the infeed to the bin sorter. This is a combination scanner, and a moisture sensor. The scanner has both geometric & vision capability. The moisture sensor has the ability to detect moisture content above fiber saturation point (with low level X-rays), and moisture content below fiber saturation point (with capacitance sensors). You added a methane mitigation system to the new mill. What facilitated that need? Methane mitigation is a big part of the project. The site is an old fluvial area where the Nechako River meets the Fraser River with some old landfill areas, old petroleum from adjacent industrial areas, and organic layers buried. We became aware of the possibility of methane shortly after the tragedy in 2012, and test wells throughout the site confirmed its presence. HDR Engineering designed an extraction system for the sawmill and all other buildings on site. There are monitors throughout the plant tied in to the emergency alarm system. You worked with K2 Electric and Salem Contracting on the design and installation of the USNR sawline. What did both of these companies bring to the table to help meet your safety and production requirements for the mill? The main construction contractors were K2 Electric and Salem Contracting. They have done mill installations with other companies and with Sinclar and were able to bring their experience to help modify specific designs to meet safety requirements. Both K2 Electric and Salem Contracting have had a long history of working with the Sinclar Group on previous projects. Salem and K2 are strong local contractors with experience in building sawmills and have done projects for the Sinclar Group for decades. There is a strong synergy with our project manager, Roy McCaig. Watch our exclusive video from Inside Lakeland Mills at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BbdzDIoayD4&feature=youtu.be. Watch for our full-length feature on the new Lakeland Mills sawmill in the January/February edition of Canadian Forest Industries. For the latest news on sawmills across Canada, visit us online at woodbusiness.ca or follow us on Twitter @CFIMag.

Wood-Mizer releases the BMST50

Wood-Mizer LLC introduced the new BMST50 Blade Sharpener and Tooth Setter. The BMST50 will join Wood-Mizer’s extensive line of blade maintenance equipment ranging from personal to professional blade sharpeners and tooth setters. The Wood-Mizer BMST50 enables blade sharpening and setting with a single machine. Manually operated, this space saving unit provides a complete blade ready for sawing. With a capacity of 1” to 1.5” blades, the BMST50 offers many adjustable features to maintain blade precision and accuracy. Main Features 1” to 1.5” wide blade compatibility 4,7, Turbo 7, 9, 10, 13 degree with 7/8” tooth spacing supported blade profiles Tooth Setter Gauge included for consistent and accurate setting CBN full profile technology used for precise sharpening “Wood-Mizer has always focused on providing a variety of blade maintenance solutions for the industry,” said Wood-Mizer Blades Manager John Storm. “The BMST50 gives individuals and small business owners an affordable opportunity to sharpen and set their own blades, eliminate downtime, and continue sawing with the precision and performance Wood-Mizer blades are known for.” The BMST50 is currently available for purchase worldwide.

Industry news

Catalyst curtails paper machine

Dec. 15, 2014, Richmond, B.C. - Catalyst Paper announced the decision to indefinitely curtail the No. 9 paper machine, one of three machines at its Powell River operation. This decision is fully market-related as the company is facing a lack of orders and a declining market for the paper manufactured on paper machine No. 9, which was temporarily curtailed on October 27. "This is a difficult, but necessary decision that supports Catalyst's commitment to align mill operations and production with market demand," said Joe Nemeth, President and Chief Executive Officer. "We are committed to making the Powell River operation successful for the long term, and will be working with our employees, leadership and the unions on a plan to make improvements to secure our sustainability." It is anticipated that this change will result in the loss of 50 jobs at the Power River operations and the Surrey Distribution Centre, Catalyst's product distribution hub. The company will be working with employees and the Union locals on a transition plan to mitigate the impact of this decision.

CWF opens award nominations

Dec. 16, 2014, Truro – The Canadian Woodlands Forum has opened nominations for its annual Atlantic Outstanding Logging Contractor awards. The awards recognize outstanding work done by logging contractors in each of Canada’s Atlantic provinces: Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island. This year, the team at CWF has made some program changes and simplified the nomination process. The awards will be presented at the Canadian Woodlands Forum’s annual spring meeting. The date and location will be announced shortly. For more information, or to nominate someone for the award, visit www.cwfcof.org. To download acopy of the nomination form, CLICK HERE

Sawlog prices see global decline

Dec. 16, 2014, Seattle - Sawlog prices were lower in the 3Q in most of the 20 regions that are the basis for the Global Sawlog Price Index (GSPI). The Index fell by 4.6% from the 2Q to $85.56/m3, with the biggest price drops occurring in the Nordic countries and Eastern Europe. The decline came after three consecutive quarters of increases and the GSPI reaching a three-year high in the 2Q/14. Sawlog prices fell in both the local currencies and in US dollar terms, as the dollar was strengthening against most currencies during the third quarter. In US dollar terms there were some countries where prices fell quite substantially quarter-over-quarter, including Russia (-14%), Western Canada (-10%), Sweden (-9%), the Czech Republic (-9%) and Brazil (-9%), according to the Wood Resource Quarterly. In addition to the stronger US dollar, there was also a slightly weaker demand for lumber in Japan, the US, Canada and several other major markets in Western Europe, resulting in downward price pressure on sawlogs in the third quarter. With a few exceptions, current sawlog prices are between 5-15% higher than the 10-year averages. Eastern and Central Europe are currently the regions with the highest current log costs as compared to the average costs for the past decade. In the Nordic countries, the trend has been the reverse, with recent prices being below the ten-year averages. In Western US, weaker demand for logs in the export market has resulted in lower log export prices during the summer and fall, which was welcome news for domestic consumers of sawlogs. Prices for sawlogs have come down nine percent from their eight-year high early in 2014. Despite the recent decline, current price levels are still 15-20% higher than the ten-year price averages, according to the WRQ. In the US South, sawlog prices have been fairly stable for over five years and sawmills in this region have some of the lowest wood raw-material costs in all of North America.

HFPI reaches five-year low

Dec. 16, 2014, Seattle - Reduced pulpwood prices in Sweden, Russia, Brazil and Australia in the 3Q/14 resulted in the lowest Hardwood Fiber Price Index (HFPI) since 2009, according to the Wood Resource Quarterly. With mixed price trends for softwood fiber, the Softwood Fiber Price Index (SFPI) has been fairly stable the past two years. The costs of hardwood fiber for the manufacturing of pulp have trended downward for over three years. The global Hardwood Fiber Price Index (HFPI), which tracks prices for pulplogs and wood chips in 14 regions around the world, reached its lowest level since 2009 in the 3Q/14 when it fell to $96.76 per oven-dry metric ton (odmt). The biggest declines in prices from the 2Q/14 occurred in Sweden, Russia, Brazil and Australia mainly as the result of a stronger US dollar. The HFPI index has trended downward for over three years when the all-time high of $117.90/odmt was reached. The largest consumption of hardwood fiber in the world is in Brazil where the pulp production has been on an upward trend for over two decades. Despite the continued increase in pulp production and the accompanying rise in wood fiber consumption, prices for Eucalyptus logs have not changed much in Brazilian Real terms, according to the Wood Resource Quarterly (WRQ). In US dollar terms the picture is somewhat different, with prices having fallen as the Brazilian Real has depreciated. The Softwood Fiber Price Index (SFPI), which tracks global prices of softwood chips and pulplogs, has been fairly steady over the past two years, fluctuating between $98-100/odmt. The major changes in softwood prices in 2014 occurred in sawmill residuals in Western US and Western Canada where prices increased, and in Germany and Brazil where prices have fallen this year. In Western Canada, chip prices have gone up mainly because of higher prices for softwood market pulp (NBSK), to which they often are linked, while recent price increases in Western US have been driven by a rise in the volume of exported chips to Japan. Although wood raw-material costs for the Russian forest industry have not changed much in Ruble terms, the costs in US dollars for pulplogs have fallen dramatically from the 2Q to the 3Q this year because of the weakening Russian currency. Pulpwood prices have come down to levels not seen in more than six years. Currently, both softwood and hardwood pulplog prices are lower in Russia than in any of the 17 other regions covered by the WRQ.

Wood Panels

Norbord, Ainsworth announce merger

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.

Is the truckers' dispute over?

Dec. 4, 2014 - On February 26, 2014, truck drivers who haul containers to and from shipping terminals at Port Metro Vancouver and who are members of the United Truckers Association of British Columbia stopped work. They were joined two weeks later by members of Unifor – Vancouver Container Truckers’ Association. The drivers were protesting low wages and long wait times at port terminals. Because the economy of British Columbia is dependent on commodity exports, the reaction to the work stoppage was one of great concern. “If we cannot deliver coastal forest products in a timely and dependable manner through Port Metro Vancouver, we will lose our customers to offshore competitors,” said Coast Forest Products Association president and CEO Rick Jeffery. “This will have a disastrous ripple effect that will reverberate through our companies, impacting thousands of jobs and lives as well as the stability and economies of our communities and the province.” The work stoppage, which cost an estimated $885 million per week, went on for almost a month, with drivers and their employers trading accusations and threats. The other players – Port Metro Vancouver, terminal operators, ocean carriers, freight forwarders and customers – called on the truckers and the trucking companies to settle so that everyone could get back to work. After the B.C. government threatened back-to-work legislation, there was a last-minute flurry of negotiations, and on March 27, Premier Christy Clark announced a settlement. And with that, the estimated 1,800 striking truckers got behind the wheel again and headed back to the port. The news of the settlement was met with both a sigh of relief and a sense of resignation. The 2014 disruption followed similar walkouts in 1999 and 2005, and some people believe there could be more of the same in the future. Critical portPort Metro Vancouver, where the container truckers ply their trade, is huge in area and in importance to the local, provincial and national economies. Port jurisdiction covers more than 600 kilometres of shoreline, which border 16 municipalities, one treaty First Nation and 28 marine cargo terminals. It is Canada’s largest port and is tied for second place (after Los Angeles-Long Beach) on the west coast of North America. In 2013, the port handled a record 135 million tonnes of cargo, an increase of nine per cent over 2012. Port Metro Vancouver is served by a small army of licensed trucks, most of which are owner-operated. The trucks move thousands of containers throughout the Lower Mainland, the port’s hinterland. Trucks account for about one-half of the traffic in and out of the port, the other half moving by rail. Trucks move approximately 1.3 million TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units) per year through Port Metro Vancouver. Based on 2011 economic impact study figures, the value of those goods is approximately $46 billion. Specialty grains, animal feed and such forest products as pulp, paper and lumber are the main commodities exported in containers from Port Metro Vancouver. Truckers’ strike hurt forest industry“Exports of Canadian softwood lumber to Asia – Japan, China, Taiwan and South Korea – increased dramatically beginning in 2008,” Council of Forest Industries (COFI) president and CEO James Gorman said. “But then they fell in the first quarter of 2014 due to the Vancouver port strike.” According to COFI’s estimates, softwood lumber exports from B.C. to Japan and from B.C. to China each fell by almost 40 per cent between the third quarter of 2013 and the first quarter of 2014. The negative impact is not surprising because of the symbiotic relationship between Port Metro Vancouver and the forest industry. Softwood lumber is a big player at port terminals, says Gorman. “The export of wood products is critical to the successful economics of the port,” he said. “Measured by tonnage, 32 per cent of outbound shipments come from the forest industry. No other economic sector is close to that.” In addition, Gorman says, almost two-thirds of total container exports carry forest products. Eight years ago, five out of six containers that were shipped to Port Metro Vancouver from China returned empty. “Now it’s less than one in three,” Gorman says. “The difference is forest product exports to China.” What caused the strike?There were two main causes of the work stoppage at Port Metro Vancouver, says Gordon Payne, chairman of Harbour Link Container Services Inc. in the Vancouver suburb of Delta, B.C. For several years the truckers have had long waits to gain access to the port, and, once inside to complete a transaction. “Before the work stoppage was called, some truckers had been waiting three to four hours for a single pick-up or delivery,” Payne said. “Because most of the truckers are owner-operators and are paid by the job, the lengthy waiting times reduce the money they earn. It’s no surprise they were upset.” Severe winter weather in eastern North America had made the congestion worse; there was a shortage of intermodal rail cars, which caused containers to back up at Port Metro Vancouver’s terminals. New technology to clear the airThe work disruption ended with the adoption of a 14-point Joint Action Plan to address the truckers’ concerns. The Plan was developed by the federal and provincial governments and Port Metro Vancouver, all of which have jurisdiction over different parts of the port’s operations. According to the terms of the Plan, the federal government agreed to boost the trip rates paid by truckers by 12 per cent over 2006 rates. There is also a new escalating fee arrangement to compensate truckers for excessive wait times. The fees – which are in fact penalties – will be paid by the terminal operators to the truckers. Drivers will be paid $50 after 90 minutes of waiting. After two hours that fee will go up by another $25. Also part of the Plan is the Common Data Interface (CDI) project, which will collect digital records of truck entries and departures at gates and terminals. After the data has been collected and crunched, it will be used to help co-ordinate multi-shift operations and develop a centralized appointment scheduler for container trucks. The CDI will also complete the installation of GPS technology in container trucks at the port. According to Transport Canada, which is helping to finance the initiative, GPS in every truck will provide a complete, accurate and real-time base of data which will provide routing and operational information to help manage congestion and wait times. Is the settlement a solution?Although the truckers have been back at work for six months, not all of them are pleased with the settlement and some of them have been making noises about going off the job again. The forest industry has its fingers crossed. “Port Metro Vancouver is a vital link to the world economy for B.C. and for Canada,” said COFI’s James Gorman. “It is critical to have a lasting solution.” There is certainly some reason for optimism. “Turn-times have gone down a lot since early July, between eight and 15 per cent,” said Philip Davies, principal of Davies Transportation Consulting Inc. in Vancouver. “That’s a significant decrease.” On the other hand, says Darryl Anderson, managing director of Wave Point Consulting Ltd. in Victoria, B.C., a return to work does not necessarily mean a lasting solution. “Since trucking operations are so complex, it will take significant leadership and time for industry to define exactly what the Plan will mean in practical operational terms,” Anderson said. “I’m confident that everybody involved knows what’s at stake. The question is, can they put aside their individual short-term commercial interests and act for the benefit of the long-term health of Port Metro Vancouver? It’s uncertain.” What will happen next? “It’s an ongoing adventure,” said Davies.  

Remanufacturing

Fed invests in Garant GP Sawmill

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.    

Seeing the bigger picture

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.

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