Dec. 1, 2016 - As contractors increasingly use 3D digital models and GPS technology when grading a job site, John Deere is joining forces with AGTEK — one of the civil construction industry’s providers of takeoff and 3D modeling software — to increase efficiency and ease the takeoff and modeling process across job sites of all shapes and sizes. The data integration simplifies the process of utilizing 3D design files when grading, enabling John Deere dealers everywhere to support customers implementing grade-control software into machinery. “Collaborating with AGTEK allows our dealers to work closely with their customers to support the whole grade control workflow process. This includes cut and fill maps, demo models and state-of-the-art 3D views of their project,” said BJ Bauman, instructor of John Deere WorkSight. “John Deere customers can simply contact their dealer to support the takeoff process, which allows the customer to be more competitive. File conversions are also easily formatted to support SmartGrade demos with existing Trimble or Leica users. The AGTEK solution aligns with our open architecture approach to grade control management as it’s capable of ingesting any 3D environment format.” AGTEK’s takeoff and site modeling solution, Earthwork 4D, quantifies and provides field documentation across a wide variety of machinery. The technology isn’t only accessible on construction equipment. Earthwork 4D uses Internet keys, which let customers work from their office, truck or kitchen table, further enhancing the power of John Deere WorkSight™. In addition, with John Deere and AGTEK working together, contractors can have a simplified process to plan everything, from moving dirt to estimating how much equipment is needed for a project. With AGTEK’s WorkSight integration, contractors everywhere can reduce equipment and labour costs with a streamlined grade-control process that requires less manpower and less machinery when tackling a job site. With added support from the John Deere network of dealers, contractors everywhere are capable of quickly adjusting 3D maps to keep construction projects moving forward, quickly. “Every contractor is looking for a competitive edge, and utilizing AGTEK is an eye-opening experience for our customers. It’s empowering them to use the latest and greatest in technology to attack the job the best way possible and give them a full grasp of the GPS experience,” said Mike Burns, grade control specialist, JESCO Inc. “We believe in the future of GPS technology as it allows us to put our customers in the best position to succeed; and John Deere working with AGTEK does just that.” To learn more, contact your local John Deere dealer.
Nov. 29, 2016 - The power of fungi to replenish forests following clear-cut logging is knowledge that's spreading.Motherboard took a closer look at this natural phenomenon by talking to mycologist Paul Stamets on Cortes Island in B.C.“33,000 trees were planted and tagged,” Stamets told Motherboard. “We [selected] 1,100 of them that we're tracking, and we’ve been labouriously measuring them. This is a labour of love."Here's the full story. Motherboard is a division of Vice Media.
Nov. 24, 2016 - The United Steelworkers (USW) is launching a new campaign to highlight the importance of B.C. forests to workers, local communities and the provincial economy.
Nov. 25, 2016 -Bandit (1) Bandit Industries now offers new options and designs for the Model 2680XP, 3680XP and 4680XP Beast Recyclers that allow the machines to excel in processing dense, stringy green waste like palms, vines and coastal vegetation. The cuttermill features a 30-tooth setup with two-inch wide teeth. The mill RPM has been increased to help clear the mill faster, while the mill housing itself is opened up.
Nov. 25, 2016 - In September, Canadian Forest Industries was on location at 2016 DEMO International, the flagship event of the Canadian Woodlands Forum, held in Maple Ridge, B.C. Thousands flocked to the 3.4-kilometre loop of the University of British Columbia Malcolm Knapp Research Forest, where more than 100 exhibitors showcased their latest and greatest equipment for the logging industry.
Nov. 25, 2016 - In October 2015, a month after I started as President and CEO of the Council of Forest Industries (COFI) and President of the BC Lumber Trade Council, the 2006 Softwood Lumber Agreement between Canada and the U.S. expired. Now, a year later, the standstill period also passed which means the U.S. industry can initiate trade action at any time.
Nov. 25, 2016 - The Kalesnikoff Lumber Company has come a long way since brothers Sam and Peter Kalesnikoff started up the company in 1939 as a way to work their way out of poverty caused by The Great Depression.
Nov. 25, 2016 - When the crew behind Teal Jones’ small log sawmill in Surrey, B.C., went shopping for a transverse trimmer optimizer two years ago to replace aging equipment, they had hefty demands. The mill has a product inventory of more than 50,000 and ships to markets all around the world. Much of the lumber is shipped out rough, so it has to be almost perfect coming off the line.
Nov. 25, 2016 - By building up new equipment and a solid succession plan, operator Bertrand Tremblay built a growing forestry company.
Nov. 25, 2016 - As a way to learn more about the latest technologies and research underway to improve Canada’s forest industry, Canadian Forest Industries sat down with FPInnovations’ executive vice-president Dr. Trevor Stuthridge, to discuss the organization’s latest projects. In the second of a three-part series of interviews, we discussed some of FPInnovations’ current work related to developing innovative manufacturing processes and products.
Nov. 25, 2016 - Randy Janzen wanted to become a logger ever since he was a teenager. Growing up in the northern B.C. Interior in Fort St. James, he still remembers watching all the successful logging contractors driving around town in brand-new pickups when he was a kid, and thinking that was the life for him.
Nov. 25, 2016 - Change is an inevitable part of any business. Companies frequently make changes to meet flighty consumer demands. But it’s not often the federal government warns an entire sector to change – or else.
Dec. 7, 2016 - Wagner’s new L90 and L490 are the safest and most productive log loaders on the market with the same durability that the Wagner brand is well known for. The new models have much faster hydraulics, hoisting twice as fast as its predecessors. The models include dual stairways for safe egress, and ground level service bays for easy and safe maintenance. www.alliedsystems.com
Dec. 7, 2016 - The new Rough Terrain Carrier (RTC) loader package is the most maneuverable and powerful log loading machine in the Barko product line-up. Providing increased productivity through a sharp turning radius and impressive pulling capacity, the RTC is ideal for safely and efficiently navigating around log yards, sawmills and other tight jobsites. The 4-wheel-drive RTC loader package features a stable rigid frame that provides 2-wheel, 4-wheel and crab steering capabilities. The RTC also includes front and rear planetary drive axles. Additionally, the RTC delivers approximately 21,000 pounds of drawbar pull. This raw power is enough to pull a small log trailer, move easily through muddy conditions, and climb steep grades of up to 45 per cent. www.barko.com
Dec. 7, 2016 - Finning now offers the all-new Cat 558 log loader which is redefining the conventional forestry machine. The C7.1ACERT Tier 4 Final engine with increased horsepower helps maintain maximum performance under load. Increased swing torque, cooling, and an improved hydraulic system translate to an impressive boost in performance. We understand how important efficiency, reliability and safety are to your bottom line. Cat’s new premium rear entry cabs offer an unparalleled operator experience. Safer access, an air-ride cab seat with heating and cooling capability for improved comfort, optimized visibility and technology that allows for remote location and tracking fuel consumption. www.finning.ca
Dec. 7, 2016 - Westerra Equipment introduced the Doosan DX380 log loader at Demo 2016 in Maple Ridge. Though new to B.C., this is a proven machine on logging sites along the Pacific Northwest south of the border. Designed specifically for forestry applications, the fast, powerful and efficient Doosan log loaders make every phase of the job more productive. The 115,000-pound machine is equipped with dual swing motors to provide 130,000 pounds of swing torque well suited for coastal logging. The DX380 provides 100,000 pounds worth of draw bar pull making it ideal for steep terrain. The Doosan log loader comes in many configurations all designed to improve productivity and cost-to-performance ratio. www.westerraequipment.com
Dec. 6, 2016 - According to recent numbers from Statistics Canada, capacity utilization is up over 2015 among both wood products and paper manufacturers, while declining for forestry and logging operations. In all cases, however, utilization fell from Q1 2016 to Q2 2016. Comparing capacity utilization between Q2 2015 and Q2 2016, wood products manufacturers saw a 5.9 per cent increase from 89.2 per cent to 95.1 per cent. This was a 2.4 per cent drop from Q1 2016’s rate of 97.5 per cent. In the case of paper manufacturing, there was a 3.6 per cent increase in capacity utilization between Q2 2015 and Q2 2016 from 91.4 per cent to 95 per cent, but a 2.5 per cent drop from Q1 2016 (97.5 per cent). In the forestry and logging sector, capacity utilization fell from 93.3 per cent to 87.0 per cent (-6.3 per cent) from Q2 2015 to Q2 2016, and 2.1 per cent from Q1 2016.In all cases, the capacity utilization rates for the forest industry in general are currently significantly higher than most other sectors in Canada’s economy. Full stats for all sectors are available here.
Dec. 1, 2016 - Interfor Corporation announced Wednesday that it has completed the final step in the monetization of its former sawmill in Tacoma, Wash., with the closing of the sale of the Tacoma sawmill property for gross proceeds of US$32.4 million. Net cash proceeds from the sale of the property are estimated to be US$21 million after taking into account transaction costs, potential post-closing adjustments and the US$10 million payment to be made to Simpson Lumber Company. The net proceeds will be used to further reduce net debt.
Nov. 30, 2016 - Fortress Paper Ltd. has announced a strategic supplement to the already announced birch usage project at the Fortress Specialty Cellulose Mill aimed at extracting hemicellulose from underutilized species such as birch. The Hemicellulose Project will allow the company to advance its research and development in hemicellulose derivative products. Hemicellulose is a cellulosic sugar, which when extracted and processed, has high value-added by-product potential such as for biofuel and biomaterial feedstock. The company anticipates that its development in hemicellulose products will provide it with an opportunity to enter the growing renewable raw materials market. "Extracting hemicellulose is the first step to entering the emerging renewable raw materials space which is an appealing new market opportunity with significant upside potential,” said president and chief executive officer of Fortress Paper Yvon Pelletier. “The two planned projects at the Fortress Specialty Cellulose Mill demonstrate our continued commitment to developing new revenue streams that increase long-term shareholder value. Fortress Paper would like to thank the provincial Government of Québec for their support and confidence in the projects," he said. As part of the Hemicellulose Project, the company plans to install a new accumulator at the Fortress Specialty Cellulose Mill which will allow for the collection of hydrolysate. By separating the hydrolysate from the liquor stream it can be further processed to produce a number of bio-products, including xylose and furfural. Currently, the hydrolysate is neutralized and mixed with weak black liquor, sent to the evaporators and then fired in the recovery boilers. If the hydrolysate is removed from the liquor cycle and processed separately it will offload the evaporators and recovery boilers. It is expected that by offloading the evaporators and recovery boilers the Fortress Specialty Cellulose Mill will able to utilize more of its incremental digester capacity The Birch Project and Hemicellulose Project are expected to cost approximately $23.4 million in aggregate, of which $3.65 million is in respect of the Hemicellulose Project. The Ministry of Forests, Wildlife, and Parks of Québec has agreed to assist with funding the projects. The ministry has committed to provide the Company with a $2.5 million non-repayable contribution from the budgetary measure for innovation announced in the 2016-2017 Québec budget to support the forestry industry. As well, the Low Quality Hardwood Consumption Program has committed to provide an additional $1 million non-repayable contribution to assist with funding the projects. The company expects to finance the remainder of the Hemicellulose Project's total cost with cash on hand.
Nov. 30, 2016 - Eganville, Ont., sawmill Laverne Heideman & Sons is expanding its operations. The $16.9 million expansion project includes modernizing infrastructure, purchasing new equipment and consolidating operations. The project will also create 18 new jobs at the mill in addition to sustaining 90 existing ones. The company’s first sawmill became operational in 1976. “This is an important investment to secure jobs for employees in our region both at the sawmill and in the sustainable management of Ontario’s renewable resource, forests,” said vice-president of Lavern Heideman & Sons Kris Heideman. “Working with the province to expand advanced manufacturing at our Eganville mill demonstrates our confidence in the future of forestry,” he said. The $16.9 million dollar project is being partially funded by the Ontario government, which is contributing $4 million over a period of five years. The Laverne Heideman & Sons sawmill in Eganville, Ont.Photo//Goverment of Ontario
Nov. 29, 2016 - Supporting innovation in the forest sector will result in more renewable options in the production of a range of consumer items – from the cars we drive to the clothes we wear. This will help address climate change, create new opportunities and markets for Canadian forest companies and sustain good middle-class jobs for Canadians. The governments of Canada and Quebec will provide $12.5 million to Fortress Specialty Cellulose (FSC) Inc., in Thurso, Que., to install a new system designed to use birch wood to produce dissolving pulp, an ingredient that is used in many everyday products, including clothing, car parts and medical equipment. “In addition to having a positive impact on regional forestry operations and facilitating access to timber, this project will help grow the entire regional forestry sector,” said Luc Blanchette, Quebec Minister of Forests, Wildlife and Parks. "Technology and innovation have placed our forest sector at the threshold of a new era of material science. Adopting new ways of using renewable forest materials will help ensure that Canada's forest sector continues to play a key role in our economy and contributes to efforts to address climate change," said Jim Carr, Canada's Minister of Natural Resources. The federal government is providing $9 million and the Quebec government is providing $3.5 million for this project, which will help secure more than 300 local jobs and provide additional labour and investment for the local economy. Funding is provided through Natural Resources Canada's Investments in the Forest Industry Transformation program and Quebec's Ministry of Forests, Wildlife and Parks. "We are delighted by the support of the federal and provincial governments. These investments highlight the innovative and transformative potential of producing dissolving pulp using birch as the first step to entering the emerging renewable raw materials space. The planned projects at the Fortress Specialty Cellulose Mill demonstrate our continued commitment to developing new revenue streams and transforming our industry" said Yvon Pelletier, president and CEO of Fortress Paper Ltd. The FSC mill will be the first of its kind in Canada to produce dissolving pulp from birch wood. Processing birch using current systems is difficult and uses more energy because it is a hardwood. This project will result in a system that can draw from a greater fibre supply, with lower production and energy costs. Stéphane Lauzon, parliamentary secretary to the Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities and MP for Argenteuil–La Petite-Nation, on behalf of Canada's Minister of Natural Resources, the Honourable Jim Carr, and Luc Blanchette, Quebec's Minister of Forests, Wildlife and Parks, made the announcement Tuesday at FSC.
Nov. 25, 2016 - Automation in mills means more accuracy, fewer mistakes and, eventually, a large return on investment. That was a clear message touted at many booths at the Timber Processing & Energy Expo (TP&EE) in Portland, Ore., Sept. 28 to 30.Close to 2,700 people descended on the Portland Exposition Center, including more than 500 Canadian show-goers from six provinces. The number of attendees was a good sign for the industry, says show director Rich Donnell.“We were very pleased to not only maintain the attendance numbers of two years ago, but to show some growth in numbers, especially given the number of mill closures and consolidations in the Northwest during the past two years,” he says.“We worked very hard to bring the veneer and plywood companies and technologies into the show, in addition to the strong base of lumber manufacturing that always participates, and it was great to see the number of veneer and plywood firms who did attend. I also heard several comments from exhibitors who were pleased at the geographical range of attendees who attended from Maine to the deep South.”This year’s event was the third TP&EE put on by Hatton-Brown Expositions, LLC, an affiliate of Timber Processing and Panel World magazines. Donnell, who is also editor-in-chief of Hatton-Brown Publishers, says attendance increased about 10 per cent from the 2014 show, which was also held at the Portland Exposition Center.Dozens of Canadian companies were among the 220 exhibitor booths showcasing their products in the 61,000 square foot show space.Peter Allen, president of Vollmer, says from his perspective, while there are few mills opening, older mills are seriously investing in automation and technology that makes it easier for employees to work.“We all know that the biggest hassle for all companies, myself included, is staff,” he says. Automation helps companies keep the right employees, and maintain a high standard of accuracy and efficiency. Vollmer creates automatic saw filers and grinders, and featured several products at TP&EE, including its GPA 200 stellite tipping machine, the RC 110 benching centre, and its CHC 840 and 1300 and CHF 840 and 1300 model sharpening machines.For Vollmer, the Canadian market for automated machinery is stable, Allen says. “It’s not breaking any records, but it’s stable.”BID Group’s vice president of operations, Simon Potvin, agrees that eastern Canada is stable, but that the West is slowing.“The western Canadian market for sure has been slowing down a lot. As a company, doing cap-ex projects for our customers, it has been a lot slower. The East has been steady for us. Not great, but the equipment there is old, most of the sawmills were built in the ’80s and ’90s and some of them are two generations out in technology. They have to invest. So we’ve been upgrading a lot of mills; smaller projects, but a lot of them going on all the time.”Automation aside, another interesting machinery trend seen at TP&EE is a move to electric or pneumonic. Hydraulics, it seems, are going out of fashion. USNR’s new ElectraTong lug loader is a new all-electric option for random width and thickness, and the company has already sold seven across North America, four in Canada and three in the U.S.“The big key feature is that it’s all electric,” Thomas Congdon, engineering manager for USNR Salmon Arm, explains. “No hydraulics, no air, and with that we can do a lot of special things with timing and how hard we pinch the board.” The electric design is powered by five servos, one for each tong shaft, which allows the machine to go well over 250 lugs a minute in all applications and all grades.Miller’s new high-speed ribbon feeding planer, too, is almost entirely electric and pneumonic, with only hydraulic locks. The planer has electric servo top roll positioning, electric servo setworks on the top and both side heads, and electric servo setworks on the bedplate.Canadian Forest Industries interviewed Congdon on the ElectraTong Lug Loader, along with three other product managers at TP&EE who highlighted the features of their equipment, including Comact’s GradExpert, USNR/Soderhamn Eriksson’s CamShift Modular Debarker, and Autolog’s Prograder Linear Planer Optimizer. Watch those videos – and read a Q&A with BID Group’s vice-president of operations and former communications manager about their outlook on the Canadian and U.S. markets.Scan head for carriage headrigsJoeScan has released the newest scan head in its JS-25 X-Series, the JS-25 X6B. The JS-25 X6B is a high-performance, six-laser scanner, specifically designed for high-density, snapshot-scanning of logs on carriage headrigs. Each JS-25 X6B scan head can be mounted end-to-end to scan any length of log on six-inch spacing.The JS-25 X6B was designed to make it easy for optimizers and sawmills to upgrade obsolete carriage scanning systems, often reusing the existing scan frame. The JS-25 X6B requires only 24VDC and an Ethernet connection for operation. The scanner’s Ethernet interface allows the optimizer to communicate directly with the scanner without special hardware. As with all scanner models, the JS-25 X6B is backed by a five-year warranty and a 10-year support life policy to protect against obsolescence.www.joescan.comSawmill lug loaderCarbotech’s rotary lug loader uses pneumatic rotors to activate a variety of clamps without using any hydraulic. In 2007, Carbotech acquired the know-how and patents of Gemofor. Based on that well proven mechanical technology, Carbotech has been R&D a revolutionary upgrade focusing on skew control. Thanks to Cognex reading capacity, Carbotech has modified its lug loader operation so all clamps, all stop gates and all wheels are now activated independently. This means only the infeed lengths of timber will dictate which clamps and stop gates need to be activated. That new system is now supported by the latest version of M12 connectors to ensure the quickest and most reliable Ethernet communication to an integrated PLC on the lug loader 2.0.www.carbotech.caVirtual board numberingVAB Solutions showcased its Air Board Tracker technology at TPEE, which has 100 per cent reading efficiency. The tech allows for virtual board numbering, which does not require printing on boards. The technology is easily integrated for quality purpose. A recent confidential installation of the Air Board Tracker found the technology allows for speeds of 1,550 feet per minute, and 145 millions of board feet of timber. Estimated gains from replacing marking guns and reading system with the technology is about $20,000 a year, and, with 100 per cent reading efficiency, the quality gains are estimated at $200,000.www.vab-solutions.comModular debarkerUSNR/Soderhamn Eriksson introduced its CamShift Modular Debarker at the show. The module-designed CamShift system can be delivered with or without flare reducing, and with one or two debarking rotors. CamShift comes with three rotor size options for feed speeds up to 130 m/min. (425 feet/min.) with one debarking rotor, and up to 150 m/min. (490 feet/min.) with two debarking rotors. The CamShift 600 offers both log-releasing tools and tool pressure adjustment during operation. The manually adjusted flare reducer rotor is infinitely adjustable for reduced diameters up to 560 mm (22 inches). The modular, pull-out design makes for easy set-up and tool changes. Variations are available to accommodate minimum log length and top or butt-end feeding.www.usnr.comElectric Lug loaderThe all-electric ElectraTong Lug Loader from USNR was also on display at the show. The new lug loader offers excellent board control at high speeds, and excels in random thickness applications. It does not require incoming backlog pressure to deal the board. Instead it has the ability to pick a piece off the infeed belts with no backlog forces. Because no backlog pressure is required it handles feathered edge material well, and is coupled with a MillTrak backlog sensor for backlog control. All-electric design allows increased tuning for batch configuration capabilities. Operating speed is 250 plus lugs/min. in planer mill (dry) applications.www.usnr.comCircle saw tip and profile sharpenerThe new Armstrong 25 CNC circle saw tip and profile sharpener from Simonds was on display at TPEE, showing off its easy user interface. The machine is programmable for tooth shape, feed speed and grinding amount. Simple controls make for easy operation and set up for profile grinding or tip grinding. The sharpener is used for carbide seat gumming, sharpening with conventional abrasive, carbide tip sharpening and PM12 sharpening with super abrasive.Other features include integrated dust collection chute for a cleaner operating environment, retip mode or fine sharpening grind, linear rails and bearings for extreme accuracy and smooth grinding, and swingarm clamp for precision grinding. www.simondsint.comHigh-speed ribbon feeding planerMiller introduced an innovative high-speed ribbon feeding planer that is 95 per cent electric and pneumatic with the exception of hydraulic locks. The planer has electric servo top roll positioning, electric servo setworks on the top and both side heads, and electric servo setworks on the bedplate. Other features include removable top and bottom heads, integrated side head lift off crane, electric actuated slide out bottom rolls for easy maintenance, pneumatic quick-open side head holddowns, hydraulic locks and quick open pressure plate, water cooled bedplate and guidebar with closed loop cooling system and efficient TEFC electric drive models.www.millermfginc.comAutomated graderComact brought its newly launched generation of its automated grader for lumber, the GradExpert, to the show. The new GradExpert generation offers improved features designed to increase productivity and user-friendliness, in addition to its new modern look. New tested and proven technologies feature 100 per cent vision of the board, high-definition colour images, LED lighting, latest-generation electronics, in addition to the same knowledgeable and experimented team that lead our projects to success. The Comact team has made sure that all of these new technological developments are available to first-generation GradExpert owners, so that they can also benefit from the enhanced capabilities. www.comact.comLinear planer optimizerAutolog’s Prograder Linear Planer Optimizer was featured at TPEE. The optimizer is a complete optimization system for automatic lumber grading, and has a new colour camera with a higher resolution and better colour sensitivity. The system uses tracheid data to detect knots, works on low contrast knots (blond knots) and reduces false detection to almost none. Geometric, vision and tracheid sensor scanning improves precision of the system, which can significantly increase value and production to realize packback in less than a year. The compact machine is reliable and fast to identify difficult to detect defects and improve high-grade ratios. www.autolog.comStellite tippingVollmer showcased its GPA 200 CNC machine for automatic stellite tipping for circular, band, gange and mini gang saw blades has a compact design with integrated components. The machine tips blades using the plasma welding technique with inert gas that guarantees a strong and homogenous fusion between the stellite and the substrate. The GPA 200 has a robust design, simple operation and cost-performance ratio. The diameter of stellite is adaptable according to type of application, which makes this machine the economic. A sold central block makes the GPA 200 robust, precise and resistant to vibration. The cooling system, welding apparatus and annealing station unit are fully integrated in the machine. www.vollmer-group.com View the embedded image gallery online at: http://www.woodbusiness.ca/index.php?option=com_k2&view=latest&layout=latest&Itemid=1#sigProGalleriabf39b0304e
Nov. 25, 2016 - In the 1970s, building a sawmill in Sacré-Cœur, Que. – a village of 2,000 residents in the Cote-Nord region – seemed like a good idea to create jobs and develop the local economy. But it took three bankruptcies before a group of visionaries made it work.
Nov. 25, 2016 - Tolko pressed its first board at its oriented strand board (OSB) mill in Meadow Lake, Sask., in the fall of 2003, and for the most part has been pressing boards 24 hours a day, seven days a week ever since.
Nov. 28, 2016 - A new massive plywood building panel developed by an Oregon company and tested at Oregon State University may be the largest such product ever manufactured. Builders are familiar with standard plywood sheets that measure 4-feet wide, 8-feet long and between a quarter-inch and more than one-inch thick. The new panels made by the Freres Lumber Company of Lyons, Oregon, can be as much 12-feet wide, 48-feet long and 2-feet thick. The company announced its new panels in October, capping more than a year of development and performance testing at Oregon State’s Advanced Wood Products Laboratory. “The results look very promising,” said Ari Sinha, assistant professor in OSU’s College of Forestry, who oversaw the tests. “This is a unique product with the potential for creating jobs in rural Oregon.” Versatility is one of the benefits of the product known as a Mass Plywood Panel (MPP). “These panels can be customized for different applications. Because they have very good compression qualities, they could be used for columns as well as panels,” said Sinha. The veneer manufacturing process enables manufacturers to orient wood grain and to distribute the defects found in smaller trees, such as knots, in a way that maintains the strength of the final product, Sinha added. Tests in Sinha’s lab focused on the panels’ structural and physical properties such as density, adhesive bonding and resistance to the kinds of vertical and horizontal stresses experienced in an earthquake. Additional tests are planned after the first of the year. Mass Plywood Panels can achieve the performance characteristics of a similar product known as Cross Laminated Timber panels with 20 to 30 per cent less wood. “The market is wide enough that this product can compete in niche applications,” said Sinha. “MPP can be made to order.” Sinha’s lab conducts wood-product testing year-around for companies in Oregon, Washington and other states. He evaluates connections between building components as well as component stresses stemming from wind, earthquakes and other forces. With support from businesses, Oregon BEST and the U.S. Economic Development Administration, the new National Center for Advanced Wood Products Manufacturing and Design will continue to conduct tests on Mass Plywood Panels and on Cross Laminated Timber panels manufactured by companies in the Northwest and elsewhere. Housed at the OSU College of Forestry, the center is a collaboration between the college, the OSU College of Engineering and the University of Oregon School of Architecture and Allied Arts.
Nov. 9, 2016 - USNR has acquired the business of Ventek, Inc., the industry leader in veneer scanning, grading, and handling systems for the plywood industry.
Oct. 28, 2016 - Two OSB mills in Quebec will swap ownership after a mill exchange agreement was reached today between Norbord Inc. and Louisiana-Pacific Corporation (LP).
Sept. 27, 2016 - Mauro Calabrese, a planning forester for West Fraser in Williams Lake, contributed an article about Williams Lake Plywood for the Williams Lake Tribune's National Forest Week Celebrating Forestry 2016 supplement."Williams Lake Plywood has been operating at its Williams Lake location since 1953, but it didn’t start out as a West Fraser owned plant and it didn’t always make plywood. It was originally known as “All Fir”- finishing rough lumber from the surrounding bush mills."Read the full story.
Sept. 15, 2016 - You won’t read about it in the sports section any time soon, but a number of Canadian cities are competing in a high-stakes global race that will directly affect more than 200 of our communities.
Sept. 2, 2016 - Columbia Forest Products’ veneer plant, Rutherglen mill, east of North Bay, Ont., is ramping up towards full-production after restarting operations in April.
Aug. 12, 2016 - Higher demand and strong sales to construction accounts are reasons behind Hardwoods Distribution Inc.'s increase in sales in the second quarter. The company reports that total sales increased by 9.5% to $157.0 million from $143.4 million in Q2 2015. Hardwoods' U.S. operations increased sales by 3.7% to $95.5 million (USD).
July 26, 2016 - Norbord Inc. reported Adjusted EBITDA of $94 million for the second quarter of 2016 versus $19 million in the second quarter of 2015 and $61 million in the first quarter of 2016. The improvement versus both comparative periods is primarily due to higher North American oriented strand board (OSB) prices and shipment volumes. North American operations generated Adjusted EBITDA of $85 million in the quarter compared to $11 million in the same quarter last year and $53 million in the prior quarter. European operations delivered Adjusted EBITDA of $11 million compared to $10 million in both comparative quarters. "Our financial and operational performance continued to improve in the second quarter. Our Adjusted EBITDA has increased for six consecutive quarters and so far in 2016, we have generated $120 million more in Adjusted EBITDA than this time last year. Further, our Adjusted earnings were more than double the first quarter," said Peter Wijnbergen, Norbord's President and CEO. "Our North American mills produced at 96% of stated capacity during the quarter. The benchmark OSB spot price is currently up 44% since its February low, the highest level in over three years. We see further upside to our performance as recovering US housing starts, particularly single-family, continue to drive increasing OSB demand." "In Europe, our panel business delivered a 10% improvement in Adjusted EBITDA. The underlying fundamentals of our European business remain favourable in spite of the political uncertainty following the Brexit referendum. The UK is a net importer of panelboard and as a primarily UK-based producer, the recent pressure on the Pound Sterling makes Norbord's domestically-produced panels more competitive than imports. Our modernization project at Inverness will lower our manufacturing costs and is underpinned by growing European OSB demand, largely driven by increasing substitution of OSB for higher cost plywood." Market Conditions In North America, year-to-date US housing starts were up 7% versus the same period last year. Single-family starts, which use approximately three times more OSB than multi-family, increased by 13% and single-family permits were 10% higher. The seasonally-adjusted annualized rate was 1.19 million in June. The consensus forecast from US housing economists is for approximately 1.20 million starts in 2016, which suggests an 8% year-over-year improvement. Second quarter North American benchmark OSB prices increased significantly from both the same quarter last year and the previous quarter as new home construction activity and OSB demand continue to improve. OSB prices increased rapidly during the month of May before pulling back in June, and the North Central benchmark price finished the quarter at $275 per thousand square feet (Msf) (7/16-inch basis). The North Central benchmark price averaged $264 per Msf for the quarter, compared to $193 per Msf in the same quarter last year and $226 per Msf in the previous quarter. In the South East region, where approximately 35% of Norbord's North American OSB capacity is located, benchmark prices averaged $245 per Msf in the quarter, compared to $174 in the same quarter last year and $215 in the prior quarter. In the Western Canada region, where approximately 30% of Norbord's North American capacity is located, benchmark prices averaged $242 per Msf in the quarter, compared to $152 in the same quarter last year and $191 in the previous quarter. In Europe, Norbord's core panel markets in the UK and Germany continued to experience strong demand growth in the quarter. Second quarter average panel prices were in line with both the same quarter last year and the previous quarter. OSB prices were stable in the UK and continued to rise on the continent, resulting in average prices that were 4% higher year-over-year and 2% higher quarter-over-quarter. Medium density fibreboard (MDF) and particleboard prices were 5% lower year-over-year due to increased import competition when the Pound Sterling was stronger earlier this year, but were in line with the previous quarter. Performance Norbord's North American OSB shipments increased 8% year-over-year and 11% quarter-over-quarter due to fewer maintenance and market shuts and improved mill productivity. Norbord's operating North American OSB mills produced at 96% of stated capacity (excluding the two curtailed mills in Huguley, Alabama and Val-d'Or, Quebec), up from 89% in the same quarter last year and 92% in the prior quarter. Capacity utilization increased versus both comparative periods due to improved productivity, as well as fewer maintenance shuts and production curtailments, partially offset by approximately three weeks of lost production due to the fire at the High Level, Alberta mill. Three of Norbord's North American mills achieved quarterly production records. Norbord's North American OSB cash production costs per unit (before mill profit share) decreased 6% year-to-date due to improved productivity, lower resin prices, improved raw material usages, fewer maintenance shuts and production curtailments and the weaker Canadian dollar, which were partially offset by higher supplies and maintenance costs. In Europe, Norbord's shipments were 5% higher than the same quarter last year and 6% higher than the prior quarter. The European mills produced at 104% of stated capacity in the quarter compared to 101% in the same quarter last year and 100% in the prior quarter due to improved productivity. One of Norbord's European mills achieved a quarterly production record. Norbord's mills delivered Margin Improvement Program (MIP) gains of $14 million year-to-date from improved productivity and lower raw material use as well as merger synergies and returns on recent capital investments. MIP gains are measured relative to the prior year at constant prices and exchange rates. In the 15 months since the merger with Ainsworth, Norbord has captured $32 million in cumulative merger synergies ($39 million annualized), or 87% of the $45 million total commitment. The Company remains on track to deliver its full $45 million target by the end of 2016. In addition to these synergies, the merger has enabled the Company to avoid significant cash outlays it would otherwise have had to incur. Norbord estimates this capital and operating cost avoidance at $18 million, which includes transferring formerly idle assets, maintaining lower inventory levels and optimizing the timing of supplier payments. In January 2016, the Board of Directors approved a $135 million investment over the next two years to modernize and expand the Company's Inverness, Scotland OSB mill. During the quarter, on-site construction work commenced and work began to move the unused second press from the Grande Prairie, Alberta mill to Inverness. Capital investments year-to-date were $34 million (including $6 million related to the Inverness project) compared to $28 million in the first half of last year. Norbord's 2016 regular capital expenditure budget is $75 million. In addition, the Company expects to spend $45 million on the Inverness project in 2016. Operating working capital was $163 million at quarter-end compared to $151 million at the end of the same quarter last year and $172 million at the end of the prior quarter. Working capital increased year-over-year primarily due to the impact of higher North American OSB prices on accounts receivable and the insurance receivable related to the High Level fire. Working capital decreased quarter-over-quarter primarily due to the seasonal inventory drawdown at the northern mills and the loss of log inventory due to the High Level fire (which is covered by insurance). Due to improved Adjusted EBITDA, cash generated from operations for the first six months of 2016 was $86 million compared with $55 million of cash consumed in the same period of 2015. At quarter-end, Norbord's unutilized liquidity improved by $50 million to $374 million and consisted of $12 million in cash and $362 million in unused credit lines. During the quarter, the Company repaid $55 million that had previously been drawn under the accounts receivable securitization program. In June 2016, the Company amended its bank lines to reset the tangible net worth covenant to $500 million and extend the maturity date for $225 million of the total aggregate commitment to May 2019. The remaining $20 million commitment matures in May 2018. The Company's tangible net worth was $799 million and net debt to total capitalization on a book basis was 48%. Both ratios remain well within bank covenants. Norbord has $200 million senior secured notes that are due in February 2017, which the Company intends to permanently repay at maturity using cash on hand, cash generated from operations and if necessary, by drawing upon the accounts receivable securitization program. Quarterly highlights On the back of strong North American pricing, we delivered Adjusted EBITDA of $94 million during the quarter (Adjusted earnings per share of $0.49) – over 50% more than the previous quarter. Across our global operations, manufacturing costs declined 4% year-over-year and we had record quarterly production at four mills. Our improved mill productivity enabled a 7% increase in sales volume year-over-year, consistent with the demand increases we had been forecasting. While still a small part of our revenues, sales to Asia are also improving, with exports to both Japan and China up over last year. We continue to make progress on the synergies from our merger with Ainsworth. To-date we have captured $39 million (annualized) in cumulative synergies, or 87% of our overall $45 million target. In addition to these synergies, our now larger post-merger operations have enabled us to avoid significant cash outlays we would otherwise have had to incur. We estimate this capital and operating cost avoidance at $18 million, which includes transferring and putting formerly idle assets to productive use, maintaining lower inventory levels and optimizing the timing of supplier payments. While we continue to allocate capital toward optimizing and growing our operations, we are also reducing our debt. During the second quarter we completely paid down our $55 million in accounts receivable securitization drawings, improving our liquidity position by more than $50 million to $374 million. Deleveraging remains a priority and we are committed to using our free cash flow and this liquidity to pay down our $200 million 2017 bonds when they come due next February. Well positioned to navigate political uncertainty in the UK While Norbord, like all companies active in the UK, is affected by the prevailing political environment following the referendum result, the underlying fundamentals and market dynamics that relate to our specific industry continue to be favourable. For context, our European business represents 24% of our shipments volume (of which about two-thirds remains in the UK) and contributed 12% of our Adjusted EBITDA this quarter. We are are well positioned to navigate the current economic uncertainties and this perspective is founded on two principal facts. First, OSB represents only about 45% of structural panel consumption in Europe compared to over 65% in North America. Substitution of OSB for higher cost plywood has been driving double-digit demand growth for the past several years. Since the vast majority of competing plywood is imported from outside Europe and denominated in US dollars, it has become 10% more expensive in the UK market since the referendum. Further, the UK is a net importer of OSB, MDF and particleboard, and Norbord is the largest domestic panelboard producer. The Pound Sterling has also devalued almost 10% versus the Euro, making our domestically produced panels even more appealing for UK customers. Second, there is a chronic undersupply of new housing in the UK. The UK government acknowledges that the number of new homes built annually needs to double from its current level. Over the past few years, a number of measures have been legislated to debottleneck the cumbersome planning process. This new supply may not be built out as quickly now as before the referendum, but the fact remains there is a housing gap that needs to be filled. While new home construction drives only about one-quarter of UK OSB demand, this continues to represent a significant opportunity for Norbord. We are confident the underlying fundamentals are positive and that we have the right strategy and operational approach in place. Our Inverness project is a unique and low-risk way to further strengthen our European business. Our $135 million project budget translates to $190 per thousand square feet of capacity. This is half the cost of greenfield and represents the new low water mark for capacity cost in our industry. The referendum has not changed the project economics and the benefits will be driven by significantly lowering the mill's manufacturing cost through the installation of larger scale, modern press technology that has been sitting idle at our Grande Prairie, Alberta mill. The opportunity is further underpinned by the site's access to a growing and low-cost wood basket in Europe.
July 25, 2016 - Toronto-based Norbord Inc. is positioned to profit from the rise in the OSB benchmark price after years of carefully building its presence in the OSB space. According to a feature in the Globe & Mail, North American OSB prices in the first quarter of 2016 were 17 per cent higher than last year. That, and Norbord's acquisitions in the OSB sector position it for solid growth and profitability after years of challenges.Chris Damas, an analyst and editor of BCMI Report, says the benchmark OSB price is now in the range of $306 (U.S.) per thousand square feet, well above the $229 15-year average.Once a diversified forestry company, Norbord shed assets over the years to focus on OSB. Now boasting annual sales in the $1.5-billion range and a market capitalization of about $2.4-billion (Canadian), it bills itself as the world’s largest producer of OSB. Read the complete feature here.
June 28, 2016 – The U.S. Court of International Trade released its public decision upholding the International Trade Commission’s (ITC) core findings that Chinese and domestic plywood differ so significantly the ITC was correct to conclude imports from China had no impact on the domestic industry’s competitive and financial position.
June 23, 2016 – Weyerhaeuser plans to close its lumber and plywood mill in Columbia Falls, Montana, this summer due to a “chronic” log shortage.
June 22, 2016 – Demand for cost-effective and environmentally friendly wood products is expected to drive the global engineered wood products market through 2020, according to a new forecast from Technavio.
Nov. 17, 2016 - A fire at the Tolko Industries remanufacturing plant in Lake Country, B.C. prompted an evacuation Tuesday night. Castanet reports the fire was small and got put out quickly. “The workers ... managed to put a fire hose on it and got it knocked down before our engine arrived on scene,” Lake Country Fire Chief Steve Windsor told Castanet. Read more here.
Nov. 8, 2016 - Stella-Jones is profiting from acquisitions and a greater reach in the residential lumber product category, reporting a sales jump of 18.4 per cent from one year ago.
Oct. 5, 2016 - Damage from a fire that burned through DAG-Wood Products in Osler, Sask., on the weekend is estimated at $1 million.
Sept. 14, 2016 - The federal government is investing close to $4.5 million in an East Coast startup working to commercialize a technology that uses rejected wood fibers to make high-strength, lightweight composite building materials, packaging and furniture.Corruven Canada Inc. plans to use the investments, as well as about $2 million in private funds, to install its first industrial-scale corrugating line and build a market for its products in the U.S. and Canada. The company’s technology allows it to process and press veneer rejects into usable products such as packaging and bed platforms. The company says its materials are approximately 75 per cent lighter and six-time strong than traditional building materials.Supporting the Canadian forestry industry, the Canadian government’s Investments in Forest Industry Transformation Program provided Corruven $2.5 million in funding for the project, while the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency contributed the remaining $2 million in government funding.The startup expects the corrugating line and associated research will create 10 new jobs at its base in Saint-Basile, N.B., as well as an additional 14 if the project proves successful.
Aug. 26, 2016 - Brink Forest Products Ltd. has entered into an agreement with the BID Group of Companies to purchase Vanderhoof Specialty Wood Products Ltd.
Aug. 11, 2016 - With the recent closing of manufacturing plants in the North Bay, Ont., area, one can assume that most people living in the region were relieved to witness the reopening of Columbia Forest Product’s hardwood veneer plant in Rutherglen, Ont. The plant was reopened this past April with USD$1.5 million invested into the facility.
Aug. 10, 2016 - Acquisitions and high demand for residential lumber and railway ties accounts for Stella-Jones' strong second quarter sales results, up 31.5 per cent from one year ago. The company's sales reached $563.1 million, up from $428.1 million in the second quarter last year.
June 9, 2016 – Stella-Jones Inc. announced that its wholly-owned subsidiary, McFarland Cascade Holdings, Inc., has completed the acquisition of the equity interests of 440 Investments, LLC, the parent company of Kisatchie Treating, LLC, Kisatchie Pole & Piling, LLC, Kisatchie Trucking, LLC and Kisatchie Midnight Express, LLC (collectively, “Kisatchie”). Kisatchie produces treated poles, pilings and timbers, with two wood treating facilities in Noble and Pineville, La. Kisatchie’s consolidated sales for the year ended December 31, 2015 reached approximately US$51.8 million. The purchase price was US$42.5 million, including US$10.0 million of working capital, and is subject to post-closing adjustments. Stella-Jones has financed the transaction through a combination of debt financing and a vendor note. “The acquisition of Kisatchie allows Stella-Jones to further enhance its offerings in the North American wood treating industry. It is also consistent with our objective of steadily increasing shareholder value through selective acquisitions. We expect this transaction to yield synergies and to be immediately accretive to earnings, as we continue to optimize the overall efficiency of our continental network,” said Brian McManus, president and CEO of StellaJones. 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 manufactures and distributes residential lumber and accessories to retailers 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.
May 13, 2016 - Stella-Jones Inc. announced that its wholly-owned subsidiary, McFarland Cascade Holdings, Inc., has signed a definitive agreement to purchase the shares of Lufkin Creosoting Co., Inc. The signature of a non-binding letter of intent in respect of the proposed acquisition was announced by Stella-Jones on Feb. 3, 2016. Lufkin Creosoting produces treated poles and timbers at its wood treating facility in Lufkin, Texas. Its consolidated sales for the year ended December 31, 2015 reached approximately US$34.2 million. The definitive share purchase agreement provides for a purchase price of US$37.5 million which includes US$5.0 million of working capital and is subject to adjustments. The transaction is expected to close during the second quarter of 2016 and is subject to customary closing conditions. Stella-Jones plans to finance the transaction through a combination of debt financing and a vendor note. About Stella-Jones Stella-Jones Inc. 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 manufactures and distributes residential lumber and accessories to retailers 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 contains information and statements of a forward-looking nature concerning the proposed acquisition described herein. These statements are based on suppositions, risks and uncertainties as well as on management's best possible evaluation of future events. Such risks and uncertainties include, without excluding other considerations, the failure to satisfy closing conditions and the failure to complete or delay in completing th e proposed acquisition for any other reason. As a result, readers are advised that actual results may differ from expected results and should not place undue reliance on forward-looking information.
May 9, 2016 - Monterra Lumber Mills Ltd., a remanufacturer of softwood lumber, pleaded guilty and has been fined $80,000 in the death of a delivery driver who was killed while lumber was being unloaded from the truck he had been driving. On November 12, 2013, a driver working for a shipping company was delivering a tractor trailer of bundles of lumber to Monterra's facility at 12833 Highway 50 South in Bolton. Upon arrival the driver was instructed to drive to the back of the yard; a lumber company worker would then unload the lumber. The driver drove to the back of the yard, then stood on the passenger side of the trailer, rolling up the straps that were securing the bundles of lumber. Each bundle consisted of 189 pieces of board measuring 16 feet long and weighing about 6,000 pounds. The lumber company worker drove a forklift to the tractor trailer and started to unload the bundles from the driver's side of the trailer. While removing the first bundle, an adjacent bundle on the passenger's side fell off the trailer and landed on the driver, causing fatal injuries. The driver was pronounced dead at the scene by emergency workers called to the scene. At the time of the incident, there were no measures in place such as barriers, warning signs or other safeguards for the protection of all workers in the yard where vehicle or pedestrian traffic may endanger the safety of any worker. The lumber company failed as an employer to ensure compliance with Section 20 of Ontario's Industrial Establishments Regulation, which states that "barrier, warning signs or other safeguard for the protection of all workers in an area shall be used where vehicle or pedestrian traffic may endanger the safety of any worker." Monterra Lumber Mills was fined $80,000 for the death by Justice of the Peace Samantha Burton in Caledon court on May 9, 2016. In addition to the fine, the court imposed a 25-per-cent victim fine surcharge as required by the Provincial Offences Act. The surcharge is credited to a special provincial government fund to assist victims of crime.
April 29, 2016 - Stella-Jones Inc. has announced its director election results following its annual meeting of shareholders
April 28, 2016 - Stella-Jones Inc. announced strong financial results for the first quarter ended March 31, 2016 thanks to solid growth in sales in the railway tie market.
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