SmartLam Announces Alabama Glulam Facility

SmartLam Announces Alabama Glulam Facility

SmartLam Announces Alabama Glulam Facility

SmartLam North America announced several major projects that will have a significant impact to the mass timber industry. SmartLam North America, which is the first U.S. manufacturer and is reportedly the largest manufacturer in North America of cross laminated timber (CLT), announced it will build a $50 million glulam manufacturing facility in Dothan, Ala.

The new SmartLam facility, to be built adjacent SmartLam’s existing CLT facility in a 144,000 sq. ft. structure, will manufacture annually 84MMBF of large glulam beams and columns that are required to properly serve the mass timber market. SmartLam has chosen to partner with Ledinek to build a turnkey, state-of-the-art glulam facility. The new glulam facility is expected to be 100% operational in October of 2024.

SmartLam North America CEO Derek Ratchford states, “We are pleased to announce the new state-of-the-art custom glulam manufacturing plant which will be the largest custom glulam plant in North America,” adding that Dothan is strategically located in Alabama to serve the Southeast, the fastest growing mass timber market in the United States, and that SmartLam North America has 1.5 billion BF of available southern pine lumber annually between its four Southern sawmill shareholders.

SmartLam North America will also spend an additional $24 million to fully automate the existing Dothan and Columbia Falls, Mont. CLT facilities. This additional investment will allow each facility to produce 2 million cubic feet annually.

Ratchford adds, “Most mass timber glulam beams and columns are manually produced. The new glulam plant will be automated allowing SmartLam to significantly increase production and simultaneously deliver multiple mass timber projects. With the CLT automation upgrades and the new glulam addition, SmartLam will become the largest mass timber (CLT/glulam) producer in North America.”

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Saariaho To Start As President & CEO Of Raute Corp. On October 1

Saariaho To Start As President & CEO Of Raute Corp. On October 1

Saariaho To Start As President & CEO Of Raute Corp. On October 1

Mika Saariaho’s starting date as President and CEO of Raute Corp. has been specified. He will start in the position on October 1, 2022. On May 24, 2022, Raute announced Saariaho’s appointment and that he will assume his position at the latest on November 24, 2022. As announced earlier, Petri Strengell, who has acted as the company’s interim President and CEO since May 1, 2022, will continue in his role as the company’s Chief Operating Officer (COO) and member of the Executive Board when Saariaho takes over the position as President and CEO.

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PART THREE: This is the third of a four-part series summarizing the presentations delivered during the Panel & Engineered Lumber International Conference & Expo (PELICE) held this spring and hosted by Panel World in Atlanta March 31 to April 1. The first two parts appeared in the May and July issues of Panel World, and the fourth and final selection will be in the upcoming November issue…

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The biennial Timber Processing & Energy Expo, following a pandemic-induced cancellation in 2020, returns this September 28-30 to the Portland Exposition Center in Portland, Ore. Hatton-Brown Expositions, an affiliate of Panel World magazine, has hosed the event since 2010.

“It’s hard to believe it has been four years since TP&EE was held, and what a strange trip it has been,” comments Rich Donnell, TP&EE Show Director and Editor-in-Chief of Panel World. “The important thing is that we’re back face-to-face. ‘Virtual’ is okay, but it’s not like being there.”

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Wood Producers Stand Out At IWF

Wood Producers Stand Out At IWF

Wood Producers Stand Out At IWF

The International Woodworking Fair (IWF) at the Georgia World Congress Center completed four days of tremendous activity on Friday, dominated by 925 exhibits. Machinery on tap was mostly downstream, remanufacturing and secondary processing, with some primary manufacturing technologies and laminate printing mixed in. But perhaps what stood out the most were the impressive exhibits of some of the major wood products producers and their display of multiple product lines.

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West Fraser To Curtail Shift At Two Sawmills; Plywood Plant

West Fraser To Curtail Shift At Two Sawmills; Plywood Plant

West Fraser Timber Co. Ltd. has announced it is permanently curtailing approximately 170MMBF of combined production at its Fraser Lake and Williams Lake sawmills and approximately 85MMSF of plywood production at its Quesnel Plywood mill.

The curtailments will be realized through the elimination of one shift at each facility. The reduction in capacity is expected to impact 77 positions at Fraser Lake Sawmill, 15 positions at Williams Lake Lumber, and 55 positions at Quesnel Plywood and will occur over the course of the fourth quarter of 2022.

West Fraser expects to mitigate the impact on effected employees by providing work opportunities at other West Fraser operations. West Fraser cites access to available timber is an increasing challenge in British Columbia and ongoing transportation constraints impairing ability to reliably access markets as the reason for curtailing production.

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LP Opens New HQ

LP Building Solutions (LP) celebrated a landmark day in company history on Aug. 19, 2022 with the grand opening of its new global headquarters in Nashville, Tennessee. The new headquarters, which spans the top two floors—all 60,000 sq. ft.—of the Creative Office Building in Midtown’s Broadwest development, allows LP to further expand its corporate hybrid workplace model while upgrading its office environment…

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PART THREE: This is the third of a four-part series summarizing the presentations delivered during the Panel & Engineered Lumber International Conference & Expo (PELICE) held this spring and hosted by Panel World in Atlanta March 31 to April 1. The first two parts appeared in the May and July issues of Panel World, and the fourth and final selection will be in the upcoming November issue…

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The biennial Timber Processing & Energy Expo, following a pandemic-induced cancellation in 2020, returns this September 28-30 to the Portland Exposition Center in Portland, Ore. Hatton-Brown Expositions, an affiliate of Panel World magazine, has hosed the event since 2010.

“It’s hard to believe it has been four years since TP&EE was held, and what a strange trip it has been,” comments Rich Donnell, TP&EE Show Director and Editor-in-Chief of Panel World. “The important thing is that we’re back face-to-face. ‘Virtual’ is okay, but it’s not like being there.”

Find Us On Social

Newsletter

The monthly Panel World Industry Newsletter reaches over 3,000 who represent primary panel production operations.

Subscribe/Renew

Panel World is delivered six times per year to North American and international professionals, who represent primary panel production operations. Subscriptions are FREE to qualified individuals.

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LP Opens New HQ

LP Opens New HQ

LP Building Solutions (LP) celebrated a landmark day in company history on Aug. 19, 2022 with the grand opening of its new global headquarters in Nashville, Tennessee.

The new headquarters, which spans the top two floors—all 60,000 sq. ft.—of the Creative Office Building in Midtown’s Broadwest development, allows LP to further expand its corporate hybrid workplace model while upgrading its office environment.

Founded 50 years ago in Portland, Oregon, LP relocated its headquarters to Nashville in 2004. Prior to its move to Broadwest, the company was in downtown’s central business district. In 2021, LP announced the move to the Broadwest complex to seek a more innovative, collaborative and flexible office space. With more than 60 collaboration areas (conference rooms, huddle rooms and more), the new state-of-the-art headquarters is designed to support a hybrid work environment that allows employees to determine where they work—whether remotely or in the office—based on their roles and responsibilities.

At the grand opening ceremony, LP Chair and CEO Brad Southern welcomed employees to their new workplace, and Senior Engineering Project Manager Danaillie Woodfine cut the ribbon to officially declare the facility open for business. They were joined by LP’s executive team and more than 100 corporate employees.

“Today marks an important milestone in our history,” said Southern. “Our new headquarters is a hub for innovation and collaboration—critical components of our continued success. We are happy to welcome employees to this new space and excited to see the fresh ideas that will inspire further LP accomplishments here.”

Inspired by the company’s wood-based building materials, the architectural and design theme of the new headquarters is “never far from the tree” and was constructed using LP products throughout. The office also features a 25 ft. x 8 ft. hand-carved wooden mural originally commissioned over 30 years ago for the company’s original headquarters in Portland.

The headquarters also features an LP Health & Wellness Center. This on-site clinic is for the exclusive use of employees and their family members. It provides primary care and wellness services, such as immunizations, annual health assessments and health coaching, at little to no cost.

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The biennial Timber Processing & Energy Expo, following a pandemic-induced cancellation in 2020, returns this September 28-30 to the Portland Exposition Center in Portland, Ore. Hatton-Brown Expositions, an affiliate of Panel World magazine, has hosed the event since 2010.

“It’s hard to believe it has been four years since TP&EE was held, and what a strange trip it has been,” comments Rich Donnell, TP&EE Show Director and Editor-in-Chief of Panel World. “The important thing is that we’re back face-to-face. ‘Virtual’ is okay, but it’s not like being there.”

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Peanuts And Crackerjacks

Article by Rich Donnell, Editor-In-Chief, Panel World July 2022 – Sometimes the mention of a wood products plant rings as true as an old ballpark. Houlton, as in Houlton, Maine, is one example. You might say Louisiana-Pacific has been playing at the same Houlton…

Find Us On Social

Newsletter

The monthly Panel World Industry Newsletter reaches over 3,000 who represent primary panel production operations.

Subscribe/Renew

Panel World is delivered six times per year to North American and international professionals, who represent primary panel production operations. Subscriptions are FREE to qualified individuals.

Advertise

Complete the online form so we can direct you to the appropriate Sales Representative. Contact us today!

PELICE 2022 Brought Everything From Taguchi To Board Quality Control

PELICE 2022 Brought Everything From Taguchi To Board Quality Control

PELICE 2022 Brought Everything From Taguchi To Board Quality Control

Article by Rich Donnell, Editor-in-Chief, Panel World September 2022

PART THREE: This is the third of a four-part series summarizing the presentations delivered during the Panel & Engineered Lumber International Conference & Expo (PELICE) held this spring and hosted by Panel World in Atlanta March 31 to April 1. The first two parts appeared in the May and July issues of Panel World, and the fourth and final selection will be in the upcoming November issue.

ATLANTA, Ga. – Terry Liles, director of raw materials, Huber Engineered Woods, dug into the application of EVOP (Evolutionary Operation) and Taguchi Design. He defined EVOP as an ongoing mode of using an operating full-scale process so that information on how to improve the process is generated from a simple experimental design while production is underway.

He noted two methodologies for conducting EVOPs: Factorial Designs, a scientific experiment that determines the influence of multiple factors on the subject, while assuming the process is consistent or under control; and Robust Product Design (or Taguchi Design), a methodology to improve the quality of a product by minimizing the effect of variation without eliminating the causes, and with minimal sensitivity to variation in uncontrollable factors or noise.

With either design approach, it’s most important to understand and state the objective for the experiment. “If you can’t define the purpose, why are you doing it?” Have a general model of the process and understand the variation; that is, the total variation is the sum of the real product variation and the measurement system variation; and the measurement system variation is the sum of the variation due to repeatability and due to reproducibility.

The sampling strategy is of utmost importance, including the number of samples and tests; and data integrity is crucial. “Am I collecting the right data to answer the questions I’m asking?”

One of the advantages of EVOP is the inclusion of many team members, Liles said, and an effective means of communication is essential such as an information board with results, statistics, deviations, graphs, etc.

He noted that Taguchi design as an EVOP is most suitable with a larger number of factors and levels, and when fewer experiments are needed; when you’re able to measure the impact of uncontrolled variables; and when there’s a targeted response objective. Whereas Factorial Design is better when the number of factors and levels is small, experiments are not time-consuming and the costs for the experiments are low, and when a combination of factors could be significant contributors to the response.

Left to right, Tim Young, Justin Price, Terry Liles and Jeff Vaughn get into experimental methodology.

Jeff Vaughn, eastern regional technical and CI manager for Roseburg, also addressed Design of Experiment Methodology as compared to traditional model of experimentation. The current state of experiments and trials is mostly the “best guess” approach and “one factor at a time” approach, Vaughn said.

The best guess approach has advantages through the technical and theoretical knowledge and practical experiences of team members, but this approach is generally not very efficient and can exclude better solutions. The one factor at a time approach is a simple, baseline approach with simple analysis, but fails to consider possible interaction between the factors and doesn’t gain enough data to deliver statistical significance.

An alternative approach is statistical design of experiments, including Taguchi, which refers to the process of planning and executing an experiment so that the proper data will be collected an analyzed through statistical methods, resulting in effective and unbiased conclusions.

QUALITY CONTROL

A series of presentations addressed Quality Control, including one by Richard Lepine, general manager with Argos Solutions. He touched on automatic grading and surface defect inspection technology, initially showing its obvious benefits (speed, defect size and location, no labor issues, verification, etc.) compared to visual inspection.

He defined new standards for TFL surface defects (such as dirt, spots, fibers, scratches, and area size) and revealed Argo’s automated detection system for printed pattern TFL, including detection of hidden defects in complicated patterns, automatic adjustment for inaccuracies in paper, stretch/shrink, rotation; special illumination; and no learning mode required; and noted the Argos use of different light angles; and finally addressed Argos’ real time monitoring and database system and reporting for categorization and statistical analysis.

Keith Mays, president of EWS North America, addressed a range of quality control products from Electronic Wood Systems GmbH, Baumer Inspection Gmbh and Monitor Plus GmbH. He hit on spark detection/extinguishment and board scanning and measurement from EWS, and the SicoScan system in collaboration with Siempelkamp, and within SicoScan the EcoScan NEO – FBD (foreign body detector) and FLY area weight measurement.

He provided detail on Baumer’s ColourBrain 4.0 optical top and bottom inspection of raw board, including a new illumination module, running through a Q-Live server environment that provides database, networking and is user-friendly. He addressed Q-Brain, which classifies the defects while QLive provides full transparency to leverage process optimization.

He also spoke in detail on Monitor Plus, a system that monitors product quality and actives alarm signals or a production stop if quality specifications are not met. It features SMART camera technology and is designed for any kind of conveying system and entails the latest data processing for its numerous product scanning and detection tasks and functions ranging from bowing to cupping, twisting, curvature, to number of drill holes in wood components, particleboard edge porosity, laminate color and glossiness, profile and contour measurement, through multiple line laser thickness measurement.

Continuing with the theme of board scanning and quality control, Michael Spurgin, sales manager North America for Limab, spoke about the different building materials that Limab’s scanning and measurement system caters to. He said Limab’s thickness measurement eliminates the effects from vibrations and bumps.

He noted several benefits with in-line measurement, from consistency to reduced downtime and increased yield; and the benefits of non-contact versus contact roller systems, including measurement on soft material like insulation to thin board to high speed and rough surfaces, while measurement starts immediately at the front edge of panels.

He pointed to multiple locations for Limab installation in a typical board processing line, including after the press, either before or after the sander (verifying that the final product is within tolerances), and with double effectiveness if measurement scanners are located both before and after the sander while using one PC; as well as a three point sander configuration including between the heads.

Jason Kovacik, sales manager with Finna Sensors, spoke on production enhancements and profitability by using IoT data-driven moisture control measurement sensors. He reviewed why IoT sensors are trending, including real-time process data, visibility of process trends and conditions, and more focused analysis. Compared to non-enabled sensors, IoT sensors enable cloud-based updates, remote diagnostics, and monitoring of sensor health and performance.

Kovacik spoke on the criteria for integrating IoT-enabled sensors into your process, including partnering with the right organization and having a strategy for adoption. More technology-specific, he focused on Finna’s OMNIR noncontact, non-destructive, real-time moisture control measurement, which features white light, near-infrared energy filtering and resonance frequency of water molecules, and with advantages built into the associated and minimized system hardware.

Kovacik talked about the company’s RF technology including an in-line meter that delivers a full moisture map of boards/pieces; and he addressed their in-line acoustic technology for strength grading.

Finna’s products can be implemented and provide value throughout the process, from incoming raw material to drying, energy production and final product quality.

AIR TREATMENT

Jaymie Deemer, President of Nestec, Inc., gave an in-depth look at dryer WESP and RTO systems, including the complexities of wood dryer emissions sometimes associated with the dryer technologies and with the particulate materials themselves. Some of these issues, as well as others, can contribute to common ESP and RTO issues and problems.

Nestec President Jaymie Deemer provides WESP and RTO dos and don’ts.

He said, “Wet ESP performance and design of critical components are key to reliable operation, and pointed to numerous such features in both WESP and RTO design, including, in the former, isolable electric fields, extended flushing, simple electrode alignment, irrigation, plug resistant spray nozzles, power supply, continuous loop blowdown, high temperature water flush, caustic grade; and in the latter, proper media, draft arrangements, multiple burners, and proper construction materials such as mastic coatings to protect the shell from condensation, and which materials to avoid such as low grade stainless steel.

Rodney Schwartz, vice president Sales & Business Development, Dürr Systems, spoke on the development and testing of new WESP design enhancements including an optimized electrode and tube design. After reviewing various factors that influence WESP performance, and issues and concerns with current designs, he said Dürr approached producers and operators to get their input on current designs. The feedback included: tubes and electrodes get dirty and are difficult to clean, potentially impacting collection performance; capital cost is too high; installation time is too long; foaming problems; mist carryover into RTOs; performance drop when flushed.

Dürr promptly set goals for a new WESP based on the feedback, including modular shipping design, better fabrication, flexible sizing, new patentable ideas, online cleaning, offline flushing.

Dürr developed a 1/6th to-scale test model and performed testing over 16 weeks with 27 separate flow tests and 55 different particulate removal tests. Testing included various configurations of electrodes, including bottom mounted discharge electrodes that proved highly effective, including the use of a High Area Trap (HAT) that showed numerous benefits.

They then built a to-scale 25,000 acfm pilot WESP that was installed at an OSB customer site in the Southern U.S. and was tested for 10 months downstream of rotary flake dryers. The new designs scored high compared to older designs on filterable particulate removal, organic condensable particulate removal, enhanced spray system cleaning and showed numerous other benefits.

The key features of the new product include maximum removal efficiencies, reliable operation, low operating costs, and significantly reduced maintenance.

Steve Jaasund, Geoenergy Products Manager for LDX Solution, addressed the benefits of RCOs for wood dryer VOC control, which is not a common practice. He noted the principle of operation for an RCO is similar to the RTO while the catalyst allowed lower combustion chamber temperature and offers significant energy savings.

He spoke on scenarios for catalyst deactivation such as poisoning, sintering and masking, but noted poisoning is not a likely problem for wood fired dryers as common poisons are not present in flue gases, alkali sintering occurs at higher tempertures than are typical for an RCO, and while masking can occur if particulate concentration is too high, he recommended ensuring that particulate loading (inlet fly ash) is low enough, upsizing the wet ESP during the initial design and/or adding a second field to the wet ESP, implementing catalyst wash out on an as-needed basis, and conducting regular catalyst performance testing.

His energy consumption chart showed significant annual savings (annual fuel cost, annual electric cost) with an RCO system compared to RTO at various gas prices, with RCO payback in a few years. The path forward, Jaasund said, is to install test blocks or thief baskets in existing RTOs operating on a wood fired dryer, and he noted existing RTOs can be catalyzed easily.

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