Mills
April 25, 2018 - Skeena Sawmills' $10-million modernization plan has been put on hold as a result of weaknesses in old sawmill buildings that were exposed following periods of heavy snowfall last winter.

Operations vice-president Roger Keery told the Terrace Standard that the mill is re-engineering its plans and has structural upgrades in mind for the existing sawmill building, which will take place before the mill moves forward with its modernization.

“We had some problems with old buildings over the winter,” Keery told the Terrace Standard. “With the snow we had, some of the weaknesses in our older buildings became obvious. Our original plan was to use the existing buildings, but we are rethinking that now.”

Read the full article here.
April 18, 2018 - JoeScan, Inc., a market leader in 3D laser scanning technology for the sawmill industry, has announced the hiring of two new employees.
April 17, 2018 - Canadian Forest Industries is once again highlighting innovations in the filing room, from new processes and techniques to new technologies, during File Week 2018 from April 30 to May 4!
April 16, 2018 - The Ontario government is investing $1.9 million in upgrades to help modernize White River Forest Products sawmill outside of White River, Ont. The funds will allow the mill to increase production by 30 per cent and support new product development.
April 10, 2018 - Site manager Dave Herzig welcomes CFI to Nechako Lumber and Premium Pellet, companies of Sinclar Group Forest Products, in Vanderhoof, B.C. The site utilizes 100 per cent of the fibre that enters its gates, either as lumber, wood pellets, heat or power.
March 26, 2018 - My first impression of Fornebu Lumber Company’s single sawmill in northern New Brunswick was awe at its log yard. Heading up the driveway, the mill itself is hidden behind several mountainous decks of 8- and 9-foot sawlogs.
March 22, 2018 - From facial recognition to medical diagnostics to self-driving cars, artificial intelligence is becoming more prevalent in our everyday lives. But how does AI fit into your sawmill operation?
March 20, 2018 - While on location for the Montreal Wood Convention, Canadian Forest Industries received an exclusive opportunity to join a group of foreign buyers on a study tour to two Quebec sawmills.

Groupe Crête Inc.’s Saint-Faustin-Lac-Carré mill was the first stop. The mill is one of two Quebec plants owned by the company — the other location is in Chertsey.

Saint-Faustin-Lac-Carré only produces softwood — mainly spruce and fir, with a small amount of jack pine (about five per cent). The mix is usually split in half but has been 65 per cent spruce and 35 per cent fir this year, Alain Gagnon, Groupe Crête’s director of sales explained.

This plant been at this location since 2000, but the Crête family bought it in 2011. The family traces its company roots back to 1949.

The mill produces 150 million board feet of softwood a year that is FSC-certified on-demand.

Its main customers are in Quebec, Ontario and the U.S., however 60 per cent of its products are sold in Quebec.  

In addition to lumber, the mill produces byproducts such as wood chips, which are then sold to pulp and paper mills — 45 per cent of the log volume is sent to pulp and paper mills.

The mill has two debarkers, which go through 35 logs a minute. The scanning is done in the sawmill, while the grading is done at the planer mill on site. Trimming is done to cut the maximum length possible for each piece, thereby optimizing the length on each one.

In the lug loader, the speed is 115 lugs a minute. Pieces that are too short go to the chipper and get sold to the aforementioned pulp and paper mills.

The bark at Saint-Faustin-Lac-Carré is burned to produce energy for the kiln and to heat the plant. About 50 per cent of the facility’s bark is used for energy production, including ash, and four tonnes of bark is burned per hour here.

The plant also has five batch kilns, four of which are Wellons and one of which is Cathilde.

Spruce takes approximately 35–45 hours to dry, depending on the season (summer to winter), while fir takes about 90–110 hours to dry in the same seasonal range due to its high water content.

Once the lumber is in the planer mill, the machine separates it by quality. Each piece is graded into seven grades. Then the lumber goes to the sorting bins where 140 pieces are graded per minute. That equals approximately 50,000 pieces a day. Pieces are cut according to the market price for each grade, Gagnon explained, but six feet is the shortest length here. The system is manufactured to produce North American lengths.


To get a peek at the second mill tour of the day, click here.



Catch up on the action with CFI’s live coverage of the 2018 Montreal Wood Convention on Twitter @CFIMag.

And read our full coverage of the event here.
March 20, 2018 - While on location for the Montreal Wood Convention, Canadian Forest Industries received an exclusive opportunity to join a group of foreign buyers on a study tour to two Quebec sawmills. 

C.A. SPENCER Inc.’s Scierie Carrière Ltée is a hardwood specialty mill in Lachute where CFI experienced the second tour of the day.

Scierie Carrière is one of two sites owned by C.A. SPENCER. The second is Bois Hunting Inc. in Waterville, Que. 

Together, the two mills produce 30 million board feet of lumber a year, which altogether comes down to approximately 60,000 board feet of lumber produced in a day, and about 7,000 board feet produced in an hour. 

“Both mills each run a 20-hour day and night shift” among its more than 150 employees explained Max Cadrin, sales and marketing representative.

The mills works with varying lumber thicknesses ranging from 4/4 (1”) thru 12/4 (3”). Following the debarking process (which the tour members could not see due to safety measures), the lumber undergoes a metal detector to ensure no metal pieces are in the wood.

“With hardwoods, the good quality wood is found within the exterior part of the log,” operations manager Michel Ferron explained. Following this process, 2x3 and 4x4 cants are made. 

At Scierie Carrière, roughly 50 per cent of the total production is hard maple. Other main species are yellow birch, soft maple, red oak and basswood.

“There are six kilns here in Lachute with approximately 500,000 board feet per charge for the kiln capacity” Ferron explained. “Red oak for instance [which was being dried on site the day of our visit], takes roughly 35-45 days to dry depending on thickess,” he said.

C.A. SPENCER was founded in 1908, celebrating its 110th year in business in 2018 and spans five generations to this day.


To get a peek at the first mill tour of the day, click here.



Catch up on the action with CFI’s live coverage of the 2018 Montreal Wood Convention on Twitter @CFIMag.

And read our full coverage of the event here.
March 13, 2018 - The re-opening of the sawmill in White River, Ont., was one of the lumber industry’s rare “good news” stories of 2013. Shuttered six years earlier, the town’s population had dwindled to nearly half its size from the 1990s. Then numbering about 600 residents, the Township of White River and the nearby Pic Mobert First Nation joined forces to create White River Forest Products LP (WRFP). Led by CEO Frank Dottori, the renowned founder of Canadian forestry giant Tembec, the new venture invested heavily in restoring the site and creating a new model of efficiency in Ontario’s north.

The centerpiece of the new mill is the new saw line and the infeed deck with the new debarker. Equipped with 14 scanners to achieve dramatic improvements in the mill’s yield from every tree, the new saw line can out-produce all three of White River’s previous lines put together. The next challenge was to match that efficiency in the yard’s loading capability. For that task, WRFP has turned to Sennebogen 830 M-T purpose-built material handlers.

Robert Acs, the yard manager at WRFP, recalls the effort to move wood as fast as the saw can process it. “We acquired some older equipment with the assets we purchased. We tried upgrading to another material handler but it only lasted six months. We could see it wasn’t working out.”

Getting up to speed
In the meantime, the yard contracted out a loading by-the-hour service with Dan Bolduc of DKR Trucking. Bolduc was operating an 830 M-T, specially designed by Sennebogen to pull a large trailer. The 830 took on the yard’s full range of loading duties: offloading trucks, stockpiling the wood, forwarding logs to the mill on a trailer and loading the infeed from the trailer. 

With a front row view of how Bolduc’s machine did it all, Dottori and the WRFP board soon approved the purchase of another unit from Strongco, the Sennebogen distributor located in Sudbury, Ont. Strongco’s Danny Virgoe explains how the 830 M-T adds to the success of the mill. 
Maxcab
“White River, located in north Ontario deals with cold and harsh weather conditions. Some equipment just isn’t designed for extreme conditions like this. And this part of the world is no place to be looking for repair parts in a hurry,” Virgoe says.

“Uptime is critical,” Acs agrees. “It’s a full day for the bus to deliver in-stock parts from the Strongco branch in Thunder Bay. A week is pretty good if we need anything from the factory. But these are low maintenance machines. They work 20 hours a day, five days a week. We’ve put 13,000 hours on our machine in two and a half years; Dan has 17,000 hours on his 830 — but we haven’t had any major downtime with the machine.”

On the move
Surviving the cold of White River winters is just one of the challenges for the Sennebogen machines. Wicked freeze and thaw cycles in the spring leave the yard in a slippery, boggy condition: tough sledding when you’re pulling a big load. Forwarding from the stockpiles to the deck can be a trip of up to 700 yards. The undercarriage’s higher clearance is uniquely designed for the job, with dual transmissions to drive each axle and with a frame specially reinforced against pulling stresses.

Sennebogen’s elevating Maxcab provides operators with the visibility to keep the site safe while unloading and stacking. The cab’s sliding door and catwalk allows safe entry and exit, especially when the yard is filled with snow and ice. 

Acs notes that the high lift of the material handler further reduces any potential delays in forwarding cycles. 

“We can stack more wood closer to the mill, so that saves travel time,” he says.  

With the upgraded saw line, White River can produce up to 40,000 board feet per hour. Processing black spruce and jack pine logs from 4” to 20” in diameter, its chip volume has been reduced by half. The mill now yields more lumber from each tree. At full capacity, it targets 150 million board feet of FSC-certified products, with about 70 per cent in 16’ lengths of 2 x 4 and 2 x 6.

The return of the mill has led to a rapid resurgence of the town. With 160 employees at the mill, White River is seeing the return of experienced workers like Acs. The town’s population has risen again to more than 1,000, and its most pressing problem these days is housing its new residents.

With the 830 M-Ts in the yard, Acs is keeping up with the saw line. The mill is keeping up with today’s most advanced technology. And now, happily, the town is working to keep up with the mill.
March 5, 2018 - Conifex has recently made a $100-million investment and turned an idled sawmill into a new modern mill complex outfitted with best-in-class technology.

USNR is proud to have been a major supplier on this project, and to partner with Mid-South Engineering to help bring Conifex’s vision to reality. 

Click here to watch a video of the Conifex El Dorado operations.
Feb. 26, 2018 - Steven Freeman recalls the trials and deliberations that led his family to purchase a Sennebogen 830 M‑T log-handler four years ago. “The decision for our second Sennebogen was a lot simpler than the first,” he says. “Our yard is tough: it’s rock, and wood debris, and some mud, and the stud yard is up the hill, 300 to 400 yards from the mill. It’s a cruel environment for a machine.”

Steven represents the sixth generation of his family to manage Harry Freeman and Son Limited, located about 100 miles south of Halifax, N.S., in the midst of Nova Scotia’s white pine forests where they process spruce and eastern white pine. Operating since 1832, the Freeman mill has always taken pride in progressively updating its equipment and processes. Sennebogen designed the 830 M-T specifically for this kind of work, combining excellent reach and lifting efficiency with rugged all-wheel drive trailer-pulling capacity.

Dealing with downtime
Their first 830 was put to work forwarding wood for the stud mill processing 8’ - 10’ (2.5 -3.0 m) logs. Meanwhile, the random wood mill relied on a wheel loader fitted with a log grapple to bring in mostly 16’ (4.9 m) and 12’ (3.7 m) logs. “But whenever the 830 had to come out for scheduled maintenance, it was very disruptive to our production,” Freeman says. “Today, production levels are maintained using our new 830 M-T.”

“We did try another make of log-handler before we bought our first Sennebogen but it wasn’t built as heavy and couldn’t withstand the application.”

Keeping up with mill throughput
The Freeman mill produces approximately 100 million board feet (30,480,000 m) of lumber per year. As Freeman notes, with a staff of more than 150 over two shifts, having a whole crew standing around, waiting for wood, is not a good thing.

“It used to be that before we put the 830 in maintenance, we’d have to lower the tiers for the wheel loader to handle the studs and the log stacks. Our back-up plan wasn’t pretty either — we’d have to hire self-loading trucks to forward the studs from up the hill. They couldn’t keep up with it; it left the mill starved for wood.”
2 SENNEBOGEN Machines
Due diligence
The family conducted its due diligence before ordering another 830 M-T to take over duties in the random yard. Consideration was given to buying a pick and carry machine instead, but the decision moved quickly to adding a second Sennebogen trailer pulling log loader equipped with a Rotobec F1250 HD rotator grapple capable of handling over 1.5 yds (1.15 m) of 16’ (4.9 m) logs.

“First, we knew what we’re getting,” Freeman explains. “Getting the same machine again means we have the same equipment to service and same parts to stock. Our support from Strongco, our Sennebogen dealer, has been excellent. Standardizing on the Cummins engines are helpful. There’s nothing exotic about them for us to maintain. Plus, the 830 gives us the extra flexibility of two machines that can feed the mill, as well as forward the wood.

“With the two 830s working together, we have more than enough capacity now. Our ability to move wood is not a bottleneck anymore and together these two machines have replaced the need for three pieces of mobile equipment required to meet our ongoing production needs.”
Feb. 20, 2018 - Northland Forest Products is a family-owned sawmill nestled among the oilsands giants in northeastern Alberta. In spite of the challenges of operating in the shadow of oil and gas, Northland is thriving.
Feb. 6, 2018 – The Bingwi Neyaashi Anishinaabek (BNA) First Nation’s Sawmill Manager Project is receiving $57,746 from the Ontario government to ensure the BNA has a qualified manager to run sawmill operations.

Papasay Value-Added Wood Products is a First Nation-owned sawmill located in the Lake Nipigon Forest, about 180km northwest of Thunder Bay.

The company’s goal is to provide long-term sustainable employment opportunities for BNA Band Members and workers from the region by utilizing the natural resources available in the area to produce rough sawn lumber including birch, cedar, poplar and SPF, as well as value-added products such as columns and posts.
Jan. 23, 2018 - In early 2016, northern Ontario business Kenora Forest Products (KFP) re-started the local sawmill, and by year end, had added a second shift in the planer and sawmill to meet production capacity. Much of their staffing success is due to an innovative community partnership with local Aboriginal organizations and provincial health and safety association Workplace Safety North (WSN). 

As part of the mill restart negotiations, the Kenora, business made a commitment to hire Aboriginal workers and surpassed its original target of a 30 per cent Aboriginal workforce to more than 50 per cent. According to the Kenora Daily Miner and News, there are approximately 110 unionized and non-unionized positions at the mill, with additional indirect jobs created in woodlands operations.

Reaching out to community partners
At the early stages of hiring, KFP managers realized they had many positions to fill and understood that many of the new workers would have little to no sawmill experience. They were also committed to ensure local Aboriginal people shared in the economic benefits of the reopening. 

A decision was made to work with community partners to help ensure their workforce had proper pre-employment training to prepare workers for sawmill positions. Community partners included Seven Generations Education Institute, Ozhibii’igewigamig Employment and Training Centre, Shooniyaa Wa-Biitong, Ne-Chee Friendship Centre, and WSN.  

Ozhibii’igewigamig Employment and Training Centre recruits workers
Based out of Kenora, the Ozhibii’igewigamig Employment and Training Centre (a partnership between Shooniyaa Wa-Biitong and Ne-Chee Friendship Centre) was skillfully involved in the planning phase and recruitment. The organization works to create new partnerships with industry to help build strong community workforces. They worked with KFP managers to understand the employee skillsets needed.

From there, the organization recruited individuals, coached and prepared the candidates for job readiness by working on resume writing, interview skills, job expectations and the required personal safety equipment for selected training candidates. Shooniyaa Wa-Biitong and Ne-Chee Friendship Centre also helped by providing some funding for the pre-employment training as well as travel assistance where required.

WSN assesses needs and provides health and safety training courses
Workplace Safety North and KFP managers worked together to select appropriate health and safety training courses to prepare workers for the sawmill environment. The courses included Occupational Health and Safety training, Lockout Awareness, Safe Use of Machinery, Ergonomics, and Violence and Harassment Prevention. Additionally, the new provincial standard for Working at Heights Safety Training was provided for all trainees.  

Seven Generations Education Institute organizes training logistics
Seven Generations Education Institute was involved in organizing the logistics around training dates, classroom locations, and lunches prepared by their culinary students. They also provided training on cultural awareness and communication expectations in the workplace. The awareness workshop helps people better understand the local Anishinaabe culture. Getting to know and understand people’s different cultures helps build a workforce that works together as a team. 

This local employer was extremely successful by “thinking outside the box” versus traditional “do-it-yourself,” and by collaborating with a variety of community partners. A leader in working with community partners, KFP is a subsidiary of Manitoba-based Prendiville Industries, a resource-based company that manufactures a wide range of wood products for the building, mining and construction industries.

For more information, contact This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .



Based in Dryden, Ont., Penny Ratushniak is a health and safety specialist at Workplace Safety North. Penny is a registered professional forester with over 20 years of forestry experience. She has a forestry degree from Lakehead University and a Bachelor of Education from Queens University, and Seven Generations Aboriginal learning. 

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