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.

Banking on volume

Banking on volume

When it comes to processing dead pine, it's all about speed.

Aspen Planers blows dust away

Aspen Planers blows dust away

As a means to prevent fugitive dust build-up, Aspen Planers of Merritt B.C. has installed a number of powerful fans to dislodge wood dust.

Seeing the bigger picture

Seeing the bigger picture

Under the slogan "Surprisingly versatile," machine tool manufacturers at LIGNA are showcasing their machines' potential for uses beyond wood processing.

Markets inch toward full recovery

Markets inch toward full recovery

Markets in 59 of the approximately 350 metro areas nationwide returned to or exceeded their last normal levels of economic and housing activity in Q3.

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.
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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
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FPAC on innovation in forestry...
Catherine Cobden explains what is meant by innovation in forestry

Harvesting

Fibre swap produces win-win-win

Nov. 21, 2014, Quesnel - In the BC Interior where West Fraser and Canfor made the surprising move of swapping tenures and closing a mill each in Quesnel and Houston, the dead pine is retreating from reasonably accessible regions and the AAC is going to shrink. In the heightened competitive market for logs, only the sawmills with the most efficient recovery rates will make it through the mid-term. Tolko's Questwood, a sawmill in Quesnel that doesn't fit the criteria, saw the writing on the wall. At the same time, the provincial government was looking to give pellet producers access to the mountain pine beetle fibre they need as sawmills shut and the fibre basket gets increasingly strained. Pacific Bioenergy, a pellet mill based in nearby Prince George, was able to secure a forestry licence in the Quesnel Timber Supply Area that would change everything. The pellet manufacturer signed a deal with a local First Nations band that has experience and equipment to do the logging, Nazko First Nation, and Tolko's Questwood sawmill where the logs would provide the necessary security to keep the mill in operation for at least another five years. Part of the deal was that they would build a merchandizing deck that would take wood that wasn't sawlog quality and chip them. These additional chips Tolko will produce for Pacific Bioenergy gives the pellet manufacturer much needed leverage when the fibre basket tightens further. As fewer sawmills produce less of the residuals the pellet mill requires, it has signed a back-up plan that has proven to be a win-win situation between Pacific Bioenergy, Tolko and Nazko First Nation. The biomass logs are piled high and most of the equipment has now been set up. It looks like this game-changing plan will be in operation in the coming weeks. Updates, including a full feature, to come.

Banking on volume

Nov. 19, 2014, Williams Lake – When it comes to processing dead pine, it's all about speed. And if you can pick up a few stems at a time, it will make the job a lot quicker. That's what was on display today a short drive from Williams Lake, BC. Tolko's Fibre Flow Manager for the Cariboo Woodlands, Eric Pascas, took Canadian Forest Industries to a logging site where a contractor was using a Southstar harvesting head for multi-stem processing in a region where the mountain pine beetle had devestated the forest. The trees in the region are small and if the processor can pick up a few stems at a time, it has proven to be much more efficient. The Ilnicki Brothers' Logging has been working in the same region for decades. The family's third generation has joined the team with both sons and daughters now operating the heavy equipment. Over the past few years, the size and quality of the logs have been deteriorating quickly – which has made the multi-stem processing a good fit. It may not be as precise as single-stem harvesting but when dealing with small, low quality logs, it's important to grow the pile quickly. Watch Canadian Forest Industries for a full profile on the Ilnicki Brothers' Logging Ltd.

Sawmilling

Tembec Q4 results 'better than anticipated'

November 21, 2014, Montreal, Que. – Tembec posted positive results in its fourth quarter financial results, with improved consolidated sales over the same quarter in 2013. Consolidated sales for the three-month period ended September 27, 2014, were $371 million, as compared to $352 million in the same quarter a year ago. The Company generated net earnings of $5 million or $0.05 per share in the September 2014 quarter compared to net earnings of $14 million or $0.14 per share in the September 2013 quarter. Operating earnings before depreciation, amortization and other items (adjusted EBITDA) was $29 million for the three-month period ended September 27, 2014, as compared to adjusted EBITDA of $24 million a year ago and adjusted EBITDA of $30 million in the prior quarter. Overall, the September 2014 quarterly results were better than anticipated. Higher lumber prices accounted for a significant portion of the outperformance. The Specialty Cellulose segment results were as expected. The recovery in specialty grade volumes has been relatively slow, increasing by approximately 4% year-over-year. The Company has had to place greater reliance on the less profitable viscose grade market, which is negatively impacting segment results. Similar market conditions are expected in the coming quarter. The improved results in the Forest Products segment were driven by higher prices for lumber. Stud lumber prices increased by a larger margin, closing the gap with random lumber. We anticipate seasonally weaker prices in the coming quarter. The Paper Pulp segment results declined as a result of lower high-yield pulp prices. The new South American hardwood paper pulp capacity is impacting prices and we anticipate marginal profitability from this segment until the market absorbs this new capacity. The Paper segment results were relatively unchanged. The coated bleached board market is stable, but the export market for newsprint, on which North American producers are placing greater reliance, is under pressure. The Company is looking forward to completing the construction of the Temiscaming, QC, specialty cellulose Cogen project in the coming quarter. While the total estimated cost has increased, the project remains a critical element that will materially improve the mill's cost structure and margins. The Company has placed significant emphasis on training and commissioning in order to ensure a successful start-up of the boiler and turbine. 

L-M Equipment introduces I-CUT

Nov. 11, 2014 - The I-CUT Model 30-HM package cross cut system from L-M Equipment encompasses the latest technology to achieve consistent accuracy with a cutting tolerance of +- 1/32" working with packaged dimension lumber, I-joists, structural components, studs, pallet stock, fencing and more. Its flexible design accomodates cutting capacity from 20 to 60 feet and longer with multiple package loading for increased production. It has a precision linear bearing guide system to ensure longevity and accuracy; 15HP heavy duty engineered saw drive assembly; a positive package hold down mechanism, with built in saw guard; industry standard .404 pitch saw chain with 5/16" kerf; and cutting capabilities 48" high x 52" wide and unlimited length; plus maximum guarding and weather protection for Operators. Options include laser light; electronic length measuring; FACT cutting technology; auto cut cycle; fully automatic PLC controls; and built in waste conveyors. For more information, visit www.lmsaws.com or call 800-455-8807.

Industry news

Tembec Q4 results 'better than anticipated'

November 21, 2014, Montreal, Que. – Tembec posted positive results in its fourth quarter financial results, with improved consolidated sales over the same quarter in 2013. Consolidated sales for the three-month period ended September 27, 2014, were $371 million, as compared to $352 million in the same quarter a year ago. The Company generated net earnings of $5 million or $0.05 per share in the September 2014 quarter compared to net earnings of $14 million or $0.14 per share in the September 2013 quarter. Operating earnings before depreciation, amortization and other items (adjusted EBITDA) was $29 million for the three-month period ended September 27, 2014, as compared to adjusted EBITDA of $24 million a year ago and adjusted EBITDA of $30 million in the prior quarter. Overall, the September 2014 quarterly results were better than anticipated. Higher lumber prices accounted for a significant portion of the outperformance. The Specialty Cellulose segment results were as expected. The recovery in specialty grade volumes has been relatively slow, increasing by approximately 4% year-over-year. The Company has had to place greater reliance on the less profitable viscose grade market, which is negatively impacting segment results. Similar market conditions are expected in the coming quarter. The improved results in the Forest Products segment were driven by higher prices for lumber. Stud lumber prices increased by a larger margin, closing the gap with random lumber. We anticipate seasonally weaker prices in the coming quarter. The Paper Pulp segment results declined as a result of lower high-yield pulp prices. The new South American hardwood paper pulp capacity is impacting prices and we anticipate marginal profitability from this segment until the market absorbs this new capacity. The Paper segment results were relatively unchanged. The coated bleached board market is stable, but the export market for newsprint, on which North American producers are placing greater reliance, is under pressure. The Company is looking forward to completing the construction of the Temiscaming, QC, specialty cellulose Cogen project in the coming quarter. While the total estimated cost has increased, the project remains a critical element that will materially improve the mill's cost structure and margins. The Company has placed significant emphasis on training and commissioning in order to ensure a successful start-up of the boiler and turbine. 

Trade mission to China boasts Canadian forest industry technology

November 18, 2014, Montreal, Que. –The Canadian forest industry is poised to benefit from a trade mission to China that added momentum to a strategic push to promote Canadian technology and forest products companies. FPInnovations and three other Quebec-based organizations have signed a memorandum of understanding to participate in a feasibility study for the construction of a six-storey wood-frame building and a 12- to 15-storey research and testing tower out of wood or hybrid systems, to be built in Shanghai, China. The MOU was signed on October 26 in Shanghai with China’s Shanghai Research Institute of Building Sciences Group (SRIBS) and Quebec-based companies FPInnovations, GIGABASE, Quebec Wood Export Bureau (QWEB), and Coarchitecture. “Thanks to years of intensive multidisciplinary research, FPInnovations has the innovative know-how in building tall with wood, which resulted in innovative wood construction systems such as the Midply Shear Wall System, and novel products like the Technical Guide for the Design and Construction of Tall Wood Buildings in Canada, the Cross-laminated Timber Handbook, and the Guide for Designing Energy-Efficient Building Enclosures,” said Pierre Lapointe, President and CEO of FPInnovations. FPInnovations will provide scientific and technical support on the design of medium to tall wood structures and application of the Quebec building code in China. FPInnovations has been leading the way in providing better understanding and knowledge related to the performance of wooden and hybrid structural components and systems under various loads and environmental conditions. The accord was signed during the weeklong trade mission that started on October 25, led by the premiers of Quebec, Ontario and Prince Edward Island. Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard was present at the signing, along with Quebec’s Minister of Economy, Innovation and Exports, Jacques Daoust. The planned building is envisioned to be designed and constructed to be carbon neutral, aiming towards carbon negativity. The feasibility study aims to analyze the strategies to achieve this goal. The building will be constructed on the SRIBS campus in Xinzhuang, a town located in Shanghai’s Minhang District. “The Canadian wood industry is at the crossroad of a new market trend where we will see more and more value added wood products being sold in China,” said Alain Boulet, Manager, Wood Construction, QWEB. “A six-storey wood frame building project in Shanghai will open doors for the main markets of China’s residential five- to six-storey buildings, which represents the biggest share of the residential market. The use of wood frame structures will also allow China to reduce their environmental footprint for future housing developments. QWEB is honored to be part of this project that will not only help China reduce its environmental footprint but will also have a positive impact on the Canadian wood industry.” FPInnovations has been active in China for the past decade, with its Advanced Building Systems group significantly contributing to the development of the Chinese Timber Structural Design Building Code in 2004. It also has a long history of collaborating with partner university networks in Canada and overseas, including China’s Nanjing Forestry University, Tongji University and the Chinese Academy of Forestry. FPInnovations’ international collaboration on research, codes and standards and participation on technical committees help the Canadian industry maintain markets and develop new ones for Canadian wood products by ensuring that building standards are consistent with Canadian products and building approaches, as well as promoting the use of Canadian-designed wood construction systems in world markets.

B.C. Aboriginal Business wins Forest Products Award

November 18, 2014, Vancouver, B.C. - The Forest Products Association of Canada has announced that Stuwix Resources Joint Venture from the interior of British Columbia has won the FPAC-CCAB Aboriginal Business Leadership Award. The company, represented by Chief David Walkem, RP F, was honoured at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. The award celebrates Aboriginal entrepreneurs for their success in a forest products business that exemplifies business leadership, exceptional environmental and safety performance and the delivery of high-quality products and services. The award recipient must also demonstrate a long-term commitment to the Aboriginal community and Aboriginal employment. Stuwix Resources Joint Venture is a tenure holder and forest management company wholly owned by eight First Nations Bands: Cooks Ferry, Coldwater, Lower Nicola, Nooaitch, Shackan, Siska, Upper Similkameen, and Upper Nicola. The venture employs six fulltime staff, of which five are Aboriginal, and works alongside 89 local businesses across its supply chain, of which 23 are local Aboriginal entrepreneurs. "FPAC is excited to recognize Stuwix Resources for their outstanding business leadership. They are committed to their local community and understand the value and contribution that Aboriginal businesses make in the sector," said David Lindsay, President and CEO of FPAC. "Their commitment to full-fibre utilization and value-added products is the future of forestry. Business innovation, sustainable forest management and community engagement are what make Stuwix Resources an ex emplary employer." "CCAB is thrilled that Stuwix Resources has won this prestigious award. They understand the value of partnering and contributing to local Aboriginal business within their community," said JP Gladu, President and CEO of CCAB. "Stuwix Resources also incorporates First Nations cultural and traditional practices within their forestry operations, meaning that local values are imbedded into Stuwix's strategic forest management plans. Stuwix Resources leads with integrity, and that is why they deserve this honour." Stuwix Resources has generated gross revenue of $97 million from 2005 to 2012, and all of their tenure lands are third-party certified to the Sustainable Forestry Imitative (SFI) standard. Stuwix Resources financially contributes to several Aboriginal community events, causes and charities. "On behalf of Stuwix Resources, it is incredibly rewarding to see our company, and the dedication of our staff and Board, being recognized for our commitment to sustainable management of the land, while working with our customers to find innovative ways to utilize a renewable resource," said Chief David Walkem. "With our commitment to incorporating our cultural values into forest management practices, we see a profitable and sustainable future for our communities and membership in the revitalized forest products industry." The forest products industry in Canada is one of the largest employers of Aboriginal workers. This is the fifth time the FPAC/CCAB Aboriginal Forest Products Business Leadership Award has been presented. The Skills Award for Aboriginal Youth was recently announced, and the winner will be awarded in the fall of 2014.

AEM updates its Log Skidder Safety Manual

November 18, 2014, Milwaukee, Wis. - The Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) Log Skidder Safety Manual has been updated with content provided and reviewed by manufacturer members of the Association's Forestry Equipment Council (FoEC) to ensure it provides end-users with the latest industry-consensus best practices for safe machine operation. AEM safety manuals are industry-consensus safety documents written in clear language presented in an easy-to-follow format. They are a convenient and cost-effective way to provide safety information to operators. (The AEM safety manuals are not a substitute for manufacturer manuals.) Clearly illustrated with new pictorials, the AEM log skidder manual describes preparing for safe equipment operation, safe operation guidelines, and important equipment maintenance. 
Key revisions include:• Added information on grapple skidding as well as cable skidding• Increased focus on common hazards, such as back overs and falls• Inclusion of new safety devices available for log skidders "The AEM equipment manuals are valuable companion documents used in conjunction with our Operation and Maintenance Manuals," stated Chuck Crowell, a member of the FoEC and international standards & regulations technical steward at Caterpillar Inc. "They reinforce safety messages in a slightly different presentation style to provide operators information on safe practices to use when operating and maintaining machinery; it is an example of industry working together to enhance safety on our machinery."

Wood Panels

Japan chooses Canadian wood

Nov. 13, 2014, Vancouver –FPInnovations' high performance Midply Wall System is featured in the winning design for the construction of a five-storey, 9,023m2 elderly care facility in Tokyo's Adachi Ward. Upon completion the building will be the largest wooden building ever built in Japan. The Midply Wall System, an innovative redesign of standard shear walls used in construction, was selected because of its outstanding resilience to severe earthquakes and extreme winds. Midply Wall System shear walls sandwich wood-based structural panels between 2x4s that are positioned on their flattest side. Sandwiching the panel results in Midply shear walls having greater structural integrity and dissipating seismic energy. According to a 2008 test conducted on the world's largest shake table in Japan, a six-storey structure using Midply withstood a one-in-2,500 year seismic event with only minor damage. Council of Forest Industries of BC and FPInnovations have long been involved in the implementation of wood-frame construction in Japan. The Midply Wall System was developed by scientists from FPInnovations and the Department of Civil Engineering at the University of British Columbia under funding from Natural Resources Canada and Forest Innovations Investment. Canada Wood staff worked collaboratively with FPInnovations and 2x4 Association in Japan in the development of a guide for use of Midply in Japan. Japan's 2x4 wood frame construction building code is expected to be revised to include Midply in fiscal year 2015. Construction of the elderly care facility will begin in February 2015. "Thanks to the research that has gone into verifying the resilience of FPInnovations' Midply Wall System during earthquakes, there is a compelling case for mid-rise wood frame buildings abroad and in Canada. Japan's decision to use Midply in the construction of the largest wooden building the country has ever seen validates this technology's high performance capabilities in areas where significant earthquakes are regular events," says Pierre Lapointe, President and CEO of FPInnovations. The Midply Wall System has recently been implemented in the Canadian Design Code for Wood.

Pembroke MDF back in operation

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

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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