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Swanson Will Rebuild Springfield Plywood Mill

Swanson Will Rebuild Springfield Plywood Mill

Officials with Swanson Group Mfg. LLC announced plans in January to rebuild the company’s Springfield, Ore. plywood plant that was destroyed by fire in mid-July 2014. According to Swanson Group President and CEO Steve Swanson, “We are excited about this opportunity. Springfield is well positioned in terms of log supply and workforce, which make our site an attractive place to recapitalize.”

Plans are to have the new mill finished and ready to start up by mid 2016. The new plant will employ 190 and operate similar to the old facility in terms of capacity and product lines, with a few twists.

According to Swanson, approval for the new building was in mid February. Most of the equipment purchases will take place between now and May, and the new building is expected to be complete and ready by fall 2015.

While Swanson personnel are still looking at equipment types and suppliers and combinations of new and used equipment, Swanson says the mill will utilize a state-of-the-art triple-spindle peeling system with sheet and random stacking; two dryers, one handling wides and the other randoms, feeding to respective stacking systems; and a layup line and related systems that enable more overlay production.

“We’re going to concentrate on overlays,” Swanson says of the new plant, which will add hardwood plywood production to the former plant’s paper overlay product offerings. The mill will still produce some softwood plywood, but primarily in premium 9-10 ft. sizes, he adds.

When in full operation, the new plant should produce roughly 20MMSF of veneer per month while laying up about 10-12MMSF. Of the remaining output, lower grade material will go to Swanson’s Glendale, Ore. plywood plant for use in sheathing products, and higher grades will be sold to LVL producers in the region.

The hiring process is expected to start late in the first quarter, or early in the second quarter of 2016. “Of our 250 employees displaced by the fire, approximately 43 chose to take positions at our more southern locations, which hasn’t always been easy,” states Chuck Wert, Chief Operating Officer of Swanson Group. “These folks have gone through a lot, and made many personal sacrifices. We greatly appreciate this and are delighted to be able to offer them, as well as many of our other displaced employees, an opportunity to return home.”

The Swanson Group acquired the Springfield plant in 2007 and also operates a plywood plant and sawmill in Glendale and a stud mill in Roseburg, Ore. Including a helicopter division and forest products sales and distribution company, Swanson Group employs more than 630 in western Oregon.

Swanson Group purchased the Springfield site from McKenzie Forest Products in 2007 and proceeded to perform major capital projects on log merchandising, dryer rebuilds, lathe modernization and a new layup line. The mill ran four multi-opening presses and two MDO/HDO presses. It had more than doubled production capacity since Swanson took over. Georgia-Pacific built the mill in 1960.

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