Sawmilling

Oct. 23, 2018 – Ethan Martin is in the business of myth busting. As a licensed structural engineer and regional director for WoodWorks in the U.S., Martin educates architects and engineers about the use of wood as a replacement for concrete and steel. “I show people step by step how to build wood buildings,” he said.
Oct. 23, 2018 – “A lot of the exhibitors have orders on backlog and they’re trying to get machinery to the mills, so it’s a great situation,” said Rich Donnell, show director of the 2018 Timber Processing and Energy Expo (TP&EE), when asked about the state of the industry.
Oct. 22, 2018 - Tolko Armstrong in the B.C. Interior is undergoing a $35-million capital investment project to optimize its sawmill facility. In 2015 the planer mill had a similar $18-million treatment and now boasts impressive speeds and automation.  
Oct. 18, 2018 – Kenora Forest Products has now confirmed it is hiring 15-20 new employees for a weekend production shift set to start next month.
Oct. 16, 2018 – Three community members are training to use a sawmill that has been inactive at K’atl’odeeche First Nation for over four years.
Oct. 10, 2018 – From hardwood export market trends to understanding how to build their company’s legacy, attendees at the 2018 National Hardwood Lumber Association Annual Convention and Exhibit Showcase, held in Toronto from Oct. 2-5, heard a range of speakers share insights about industry trends and challenges. They also visited with around 100 exhibitors showcasing their newest products.
Sept. 28, 2018 - In the old days, gas welding was the choice of most sawfilers, and for many it still is. In modern times, however, the mig welder has become more popular. Unfortunately, there is a learning curve when you switch over, and re-cracks are a common curse on new users. As with anything in saw filing, there are many ways to do the job and so, at the risk of offending filers who swear by their own methods, this is what works for me.
March 26, 2018 - Sawmillers in Canada today have more technology options to consider than ever before for every aspect of an operation. When it comes to kiln drying, batch systems are the more common choice, but there isn’t one application that fits every sawmillers’ needs. Canadian Forest Industries spoke to three suppliers of continuous dry kilns (CDKs) to offer insight for sawmillers trying to decide what would work best.
March 13, 2018 - Ontario is supporting Columbia Forest Products to expand its plywood mill in Hearst and Rutherglen, helping to create and maintain almost 350 jobs and boost economic growth. The province is investing nearly $3.2 million over five years in Columbia Forest Products’ infrastructure project, which will enable the company to grow its business and increase efficiency by modernizing its infrastructure and purchasing new equipment to maximize production capacity, increase competitiveness and expand into new markets, while ensuring resources are managed sustainably. “A respectful working relationship between the Ontario government, our union partners and Columbia’s leadership team in Ontario continues to strengthen as evidenced by the ongoing expansion and modernization of Columbia’s Ontario hardwood plywood and veneer operations — a positive case study that witnesses complementary organizations working together to build a solid future for Columbia’s dedicated Ontario team members,” said Gary Gillespie, executive vice-president of Canadian plywood and decorative veneer operations at Columbia Forest Products. Columbia Forest Products is one of North America's largest manufacturers of hardwood plywood and hardwood veneer products. Columbia's decorative interior veneers and panels are used in high-end cabinetry, fine furniture, architectural millwork and commercial fixtures. “I am happy to see the investment we are making in northern Ontario, and the support this will provide to families in Ontario,” said Minister of Economic Development and Growth Steven Del Duca. By generating over $15.3 billion in revenues and supporting approximately 172,000 direct and indirect jobs, the forestry sector is a significant part of communities across the province. “Our government understands how important a strong forest products sector is to Ontario’s economy and the key role it plays in many northern and rural communities,” said Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry Nathalie Des Rosiers. “The Forestry Growth Fund, under the Jobs and Prosperity Fund, is assisting the sector to increase production capacity and expand into new markets while continuing to ensure our forests are sustainably managed.”
Feb. 27, 2018 - In 1999, thousands of hours of dedicated volunteer work and more than 20 years of community input came to fruition with the incorporation of the Harrop-Procter Community Co-operative.
Dec. 1, 2017 - Canfor Pulp Products Inc. announced today that it has taken a temporary and unscheduled outage on one production line at its Northwood Northern Bleached Softwood Kraft (NBSK) pulp mill located in Prince George, B.C., as a result of a tube leak in the number five recovery boiler. Canfor Pulp anticipates the number five recovery boiler to be down for approximately two weeks, and is currently projecting 15,000 tonnes of reduced NBSK pulp production during the fourth quarter 2017, as well as higher associated maintenance costs and lower projected shipment volumes. To mitigate the impact of the incident, Canfor Pulp is continuing to operate the second production line at the Pulp mill and will advance certain mill maintenance activities previously scheduled to be performed in the first quarter of 2018. Due to mitigation efforts by Canfor Pulp the temporary outage is not expected to have a material impact on the financial condition of the Company. The company will be making a claim under its insurance program.
April 13, 2017 - You know the old saying that you can tell a lot about a person by the way they dress, and how they present themselves? The same rule applies to business.  I had lunch with a friend the other day and like usual, we were talking shop. He seemed agitated, like he wanted to say something but kept stopping himself. Eventually I blurted out, “Just say it already!” As it turns out, he wanted to suggest a topic for me to write an article about. Something that he’d been noticing for awhile about sawmills, and it needed to be said. I love receiving topic suggestions from people. Usually when someone in the industry sends me a topic, it’s something a lot of people want to hear about and is very relevant. My friend wanted me to write about hygiene in sawmills; how clean and organized they are. He told me he could tell the financial state of a sawmill by its cleanliness. I paused for a moment and thought about all the sawmills I’ve been to over the years (hundreds!). I hadn’t looked at it from that aspect before. Looking back, I realized that yes, when mills looked dirty, disorganized or otherwise unkempt, they were often struggling financially. Why a dirty sawmill is a failing sawmill  I hadn’t considered the correlation between the financial health of a sawmill and its emphasis on cleanup as being related. But, the more I thought about it, the more it made sense.  For the people working in sawmills, or the forestry sector, you’ve been there, right? I’ve heard of many people not wanting to go back to certain mills because they felt uneasy. It just seemed like there was something wrong there. I get it. When you enter a sawmill, there is literally wood flying everywhere. There’s lots going on, people bustling about. The more productive the mill, the more wood flying and bustling people. Don’t get me wrong, I love to watch productivity at work! It’s so nice to see a mill running smoothly. The problem is when you go into a mill where what looks like productivity, is actually chaos in disguise. What your dirty sawmill says about you When you visit someone’s house, or business, and it’s dirty or cluttered, it tells you a lot about that household or business. Often it can mean not having pride in their surroundings, or themselves. Personally, I wouldn’t go back to a house that’s dirty. I’m not talking about a few newspapers left out, I mean like really filthy! This is what my friend was implying when he suggested the topic of sawmill hygiene. More than just appearances, when you go into a business that’s dirty and unkempt, what does it say about them? Do you think they have an emphasis on safety? Are their employees their number one concern? I can’t imagine that any disheveled business would have a good safety record. If they do, they’re on borrowed time until a real disaster hits. And in a business like a sawmill with powerful equipment and human machine operators, that disaster could mean someone’s life. My friend had another great point. He truly believes that companies who don’t emphasize proper cleanup or organization probably also don’t care much about maintaining their equipment. This stands to reason that if their maintenance is as bad as their filth, the company isn’t going to be around for the long term. It reminds me of those old, rundown stores you see when travelling around the world. One day they are just gone, but nobody wonders why. It was just a matter of time. Here, we analyze and overanalyze and fret. We ask ourselves, “Why did they fail?”  It was just a matter of time. Keeping your sawmill organized and productive A productive facility can make quite the mess! Mess doesn’t always equal a downward spiral. The real measure of a company, or sawmill, is how they deal with the mess. It shows their commitment to themselves, and the safety and health of their employees. Next time you’re walking around your shop, think about how you’d perceive it if you were brand new and it was your first visit there. Look around, see what could be organized better, or cleaned up better, or what needs maintenance soon.  You can’t make a product with a broom in one hand. But after you’re done making a product, then pick up a broom! Another great old saying is ‘everything in moderation’. I believe in that. A little mess, a little cleanup, they go hand in hand.  With sawmills, and all other businesses, first impressions are important. Many companies are having trouble attracting good skilled workers. Well, maybe a factor in that is how those companies present themselves. Potential employees will see that mess and think, “No way, I’m not working here, it’s not safe.” Your customers will see the mess too, just like a rundown roadside store. Don’t let your customers think it’s only a matter of time for you.
Oct. 11, 2018 – Forward looking thinking and the determination to be a leader in forest industry technology, has positioned Idaho Forest Group at the forefront of the North American sawmill industry. Over the past few years, the company has made significant investments in its Lewiston dimension lumber sawmill to boost quality and production numbers.
Oct. 9, 2018 – Autolog’s new Gen3 log optimizer features a scan density of 0.5-in. at 650 ft./min. Suitable for all types of optimized primary log breakdowns: log turner, log sorters, chipper canter, twin, quad, etc., it can replicate any curve sawing from a downstream machine.
Oct. 2, 2018 - The current generation of AI is a long way from science fiction. “We are not at HAL from 2001: A Space Odyssey, or Skynet from The Terminator, yet this is what we continue to imagine is not only possible but also available in our industry. This is simply not the case,” says Rory Armes, founder of Eight Solutions.
Sept. 28, 2018 - Canadian Forest Industries presents the latest scanner and optimizer technology on the market. 
Sept. 24, 2018 - With more options in more applications, USNR has a log infeed solution that’s right for you.
Sept. 18, 2018 - B.C.-based SiCam Systems has added machine intelligence to its quality control systems that automatically adjusts cutting tools to maintain quality and size in the sawmill.
Sept. 27, 2018 - Conifex, the forestry company headquartered in British Columbia, has been fined more than $191,000 for a worker injury and safety violation at its Fort St. James sawmill site. 
Sept. 13, 2018 - In the fall of 2017, after a record-setting wildfire season in the history of B.C., the provincial government estimated that 53 million cubic metres of timber had been burned in the Interior — an entire year’s worth of harvest. At the time of writing this column — mid-summer 2018 — it looked as though this year’s wildfire season would be similarly severe. Much of that timber was and will be salvageable, but processing fire-damaged wood presents its own set of risks and hazards that need to be evaluated, planned for, and mitigated. In addition to the technological and quality issues that can arise, potential health and safety risks to workers need to be addressed by employers. The most immediate exposure hazards for sawmill workers handling burnt timber are the ash and char that accompany the fire-damaged wood. Ash and char from forest fires can be complex mixtures that will vary depending on the temperature of the fire. Char is composed of a variety of carbon-based compounds, which are formed at lower fire temperatures, some of which may be carcinogenic. As char is only partially combusted wood, char dust will remain combustible. Higher-temperature fires will also result in wood ash (calcium carbonate), which is no longer combustible but is a lung irritant. Char dust and wood ash are both much finer than wood dust and will be easily breathable; long-term, repeated exposures at high concentrations have the potential to cause respiratory illness. Short-term health effects from exposure to wood char and ash can include eye, nose, and throat irritation, coughing, and allergic reactions. In the long term, exposure may lead to more serious health issues, including lung diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). As with any kind of respiratory hazard, employers must evaluate the exposure and minimize it with appropriate control measures. If a work process continues to expose workers to potentially harmful levels of these air contaminants, workers must be provided with a filtered booth or work area, or wear appropriate respiratory protection. In addition to exposure hazards, the dust produced during processing may pose a higher risk of combustion. Burnt timber can be lower in moisture than intact timber, and the drier and finer the dust, the greater the risk of deflagration, or explosion. Char dust is itself highly combustible, so additional control measures may be required to ensure combustion risks are properly managed. Beyond dust, new variables mean every aspect of production must be scrutinized through the lens of health and safety. Drier wood may behave differently, creating other risks as it moves through the production process. For more information on evaluating, planning for and mitigating risks, the following resources can be found at worksafebc.com: Guide: Combustible Dust in Wood Products Manufacturing Safety bulletin: Exposure to ash — logging operations https://www.worksafebc.com/en/resources/health-safety/risk-advisory/exposure-ash-logging-operations-wildfires?lang=en Barry Nakahara is WorkSafeBC’s manager of prevention field services in Prince George, B.C., and manager of interest for the manufacturing and occupational disease strategies.  
Aug. 17, 2018 - Getting sawfilers to agree on anything is a challenging proposition at best. Name any aspect of the trade and the filer from the mill by the river will tell you that the filer from the mill by the lake is out of his mind. The one thing that almost any head filer will agree on: the trade is in danger without an excellent training program for new filers.
June 22, 2018 - Dust Safety Week is coming to a close after five days of coverage on dust safety best practices, technical information and solutions to help pellet plants and sawmills keep their operations and operators safe.Our video this year highlights the importance of learning from each other’s experiences through sharing stories. Fornebu Lumber’s safety and training co-ordinator Christian Fournier describes an incident where two fires were both ignited and safely put out in one day. “We were very lucky that our staff acted very quickly and safely in order to contain the fire from spreading,” Fournier said.Fournier said he chose to share this experience with others, including Fornebu Lumber’s corrective actions following the incident, to prevent this type of situation from occurring elsewhere. You can also find more details about the incident in Fournier’s article published this week.Among our other main stories, you can also read about preventing a dust collector inlet explosion by regular CFI contributor and dust mitigation expert John Bachynski.Fike’s Jef Snoeys, Jeff Mycroft, and Dave Buchanan outline concerns that arise from dust created during the processing of wood biomass, and best practices in the industry to mitigate those concerns. And don’t miss the six questions to ask when choosing a dust collection system contractor by the VETS Group’s Erin Rayner.Find those stories and much more from our archives on the Dust Safety Week 2018 landing page, which will continue to be a hub for the industry to learn best practices and find the latest information on dust safety and mitigation.Content on our landing page will be hosted there for the next year for readers to reference.Thank you to our sponsors and safety partners VETS and Fike:
June 21, 2018 - A dust collection system is an integral part of a facility and needs to be maintained and updated properly. The knowledge of the team in charge of keeping this vital system in tip top shape is also critical. This is especially because, as per NFPA 664, the owner has a responsibility to ensure that the facility and the combustible dust system are designed, installed and maintained properly.
June 19, 2018 - Dust collectors containing combustible material are required to have an explosion backflow preventor installed on the main inlet duct to prevent an explosion occurring inside the dust collector from travelling back into the building.
May 4, 2018 - File Week 2018 wraps today after five full days of coverage focused on new technology and processes for the file room, as well as strategies for filers to continue advancing their skills. Here’s a snapshot of what we learned from the featured articles, videos and columns.
May 4, 2018 - It is no longer just a man’s world, it’s our world too! As a female breaking into the sawfiling trade, I often face odd looks of surprise when asked about my occupation. The fact is women are just as capable as men in all aspects of the trade.
May 2, 2018 - In an ideal world, it would be a joy to come to work knowing that all your co-workers were on the same page. You would all agree on what your daily objective was and would work together to achieve it. There would be no petty jealousies, no power struggles and no bad attitudes. In short, it would be a delight. Unfortunately, no such workplace exists or at least if it does, I have never heard of it.
May 1, 2018 - “A Few Good Filers” could be the title of a blockbuster film coming to a sawmill near you! I kid of course, as there is no movie. It is however a phrase that I feel aptly sums up the plight of our trade. There are fewer and fewer good filers left out there, as we transition away from the old guard and usher in a new era of youthful exuberance.
April 30, 2018 - Matt Williams, president and CEO of Williams & White, introduces the German-manufactured Kohlbacher Shark 3000 profile grinder to the North American market at the BC Saw Filers Association 2018 convention in Kamloops, B.C. 
April 30, 2018 - More than 30 saw filing vendors filled 60 booths at the Coast Kamloops Hotel & Conference Centre in Kamloops, B.C., April 26-28, to show off their newest machinery for filing rooms.

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