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Logging and Sawmilling Journal November 2014

November 2015

On the Cover:
G R (Mac) Lind Logging of Princeton, British Columbia, has a long history with Caterpillar equipment, and their equipment line-up includes two Cat 320D processors, equipped with Waratah 622 heads, which continue to be proven performers (Cover photo by Paul MacDonald).

Spotlight — Ecosystem management project seeking long term funding
The Ecosystem Management Emulating Natural Disturbance (EMEND) project in Alberta is looking for additional funding to keep its work on evaluating logging practices in the boreal forest—and their impact on forest health—going for the long term.

Revving up Resolute’s Thunder Bay mill
Resolute Forest Products has ramped up production at its Thunder Bay sawmill as part of a larger capital plan for its facilities in northwestern Ontario, a move that will allow the sawmill to capture more higher grade lumber products.

Iron investments
New Brunswick logger Ken Thomas has recently made some significant equipment investments, including a new John Deere 703 harvester with a Waratah H480C head, which has been working well in commercial thinnings—and still does a great job in final harvest.

Figuring out Ontario’s logging playbook
Ontario logger Gord Griffiths is looking to retire, but he’s concerned about who in the next generation is willing to take over the reins, given a constantly changing logging playbook from Ontario’s Ministry of Natural Resources.

Gradual growth for B.C. sawmiller
Sawmilling operation Vancouver Urban Timberworks started out modestly, but it has gradually grown, and the company recently installed a new mill, a Wood-Mizer WM1000—the first WM1000 to operate in Canada—at their production facility in Squamish, north of Vancouver.

Sawmill Sid shoots—and scores,
with hockey sticks
Producing everything from guitars to hockey sticks, Ontario mill operation Sawmill Sid is working hard to see that the trees in Toronto that have been hit by the Emerald Ash Borer have added value, and don’t just end up in tub grinders.

The Edge
Included in this edition of The Edge, Canada’s leading publication on research in the forest industry, are stories from the Canadian Wood Fibre Centre, Alberta Innovates - Bio Solutions and NRCanada.

The Last Word
Jim Stirling on how B.C. forest companies are heading to North America’s lowest cost lumber producing region—the U.S. South.

DEPARTMENTS

Tech Update: Printing and Labeling

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Resolute’s Thunder Bay millRevving up Resolute’s Thunder Bay mill

Resolute Forest Products has ramped up production at its Thunder Bay sawmill as part of a larger capital plan for its facilities in northwestern Ontario, a move that will allow the sawmill to capture more higher grade lumber products.

By Tony Kryzanowski

Resolute Forest Products has spent $8 million upgrading its Thunder Bay sawmill as part of the company’s overall $90 million investment into its facilities in northwestern Ontario, raising productivity at the sawmill by about 20 per cent while working to capture more higher grade products.

Among the biggest investments made by Resolute Forest Products during its recent $8 million upgrade in Thunder Bay was the installation of a Comact TBL3 optimizing sawing/chipping/profiling unit which at 550 feet per minute, minimizes cant spacing and eliminates the need for returns to the edger.

The Thunder Bay sawmill, which is located on Fort William First Nations land just outside the city, was built brand new in 2003. Today, it produces lumber in dimensions from 2 X 3 to 2 X 6 in lengths from 6’ to 10’. Its largest volume product is 2 X 4 lumber. Annual production has increased from 250 million board feet to 300 million board feet, and it has operated continually since its commissioning.

“We never stopped production during the downturn, although we did reduce the number of hours we operated per week,” says Maxime Langlais, sawmill general manager, who took on the position in Thunder Bay two years ago, after working in Resolute facilities in the Lac St. Jean and Abitibi areas of Quebec.

The sawmill in Thunder Bay consumes about 1.4 million cubic metres of spruce and pine annually, with about 60 per cent jackpine and 40 per cent black spruce, sourced anywhere from 50 to 250 kilometres from the sawmill. It can process logs anywhere from 2.5” to 17” in diameter on its three production lines. About two thirds of the logs arriving at the mill are tree length and one third cut-to-length (CTL) in 10’ lengths. The sawmill upgrade project added a second infeed deck for CTL logs at the front end.

Langlais says the reason for adding CTL log infeed capacity at the sawmill is to increase productivity because it results in more volume throughput, especially with a dedicated CTL debarker.

A Tanguay stationary log loaderA Tanguay stationary log loader ensures that all three log processing lines at the Resolute Thunder Bay sawmill receive a steady diet of jackpine or black spruce logs.

“Wood quality in CTL logs is also very often higher than from the slasher deck,” says Langlais, plus it provides the sawmill with more flexibility to react to market demand, as it can change the log lengths processed through this line to 8’ or 9’ as needed, simply by telling CTL contractors in the bush to make the adjustment.

In addition to the second infeed deck, the other main improvements made at the Thunder Bay sawmill were the addition of a Valon Kone Kodiak debarker dedicated to CTL logs for a total of five Valon Kone debarkers at the infeed, and installation of a gang edger upgrade on the large log line. The sawmill’s scanning technology was also upgraded and they installed a new dry kiln for a total of five on the site.

Speaking about the technology installed at the sawmill, Langlais says “it is a 99 per cent Comact sawmill and planer mill.” In the yard, logs are unloaded using a 20 ton, LeTourneau pedestal crane. Logs are fed into the mill using a Tanguay stationary log loader. Production through the sawmill is species-specific for more consistency.

“The major reason we do this is because we need to supply our paper mill with pure spruce chips,” says Langlais.

Once inside the mill, logs encounter one of the five, 17” Valon Kone debarkers. One is equipped with a butt reducer that has the ability to reduce a log with a butt up to 22” diameter down to a more manageable, cylindrical shape for downstream processing.

A 20 ton LeTourneau pedestal crane unloads the 1.4 million cubic metres of softwoodA 20 ton LeTourneau pedestal crane unloads the 1.4 million cubic metres of softwood that enters the Resolute Thunder Bay sawmill yard every year.

Two of the sawmill’s lines are equipped with Comact DDM6 saw units with profile heads that can process logs up to 10” in diameter. However, they tend to process a steady diet of 3” to 7” diameter logs.

The large log line is equipped with a Comact single length infeed and canter quad saw system. It processes logs generally 6” in diameter and higher. All sideboards are processed through a Comact board edger.

As part of its upgrade, Resolute improved its scanning capabilities at the front end of each line and also added Comact’s TBL3 optimized sawing/chipping/profiling unit to its large log line. The equipment minimizes cant spacing and eliminates the need for returns to the edger. It operates at speeds of up to 550 feet per minute, and offers controlled curved sawing, straight sawing, and S-shape sawing. “It’s producing a high quality product,” says Langlais.

After a two-stage unscrambler, all the lumber proceeds to one of two Comact hydraulic rotary lug loaders and then to one of two trimmer optimizers prior to stacking for kiln drying.

The planer mill consists of a Gilbert planer and a Comact GradExpert computerized grading system, then a trimmer optimizer, sorter, and two stackers. The Thunder Bay sawmill was among the first sawmills in Canada to adopt an entirely computerized lumber grading system. The GradExpert software was upgraded as part of Resolute’s recent investment.

Langlais says Resolute aims to produce as much Select lumber as possible to supply its big box store customers.

Resolute says its overall investment in northwestern Ontario has created 200 new jobs in its facilities and 200 forestry jobs.

The Thunder Bay sawmill is one of three sawmills that Resolute operates in northwestern Ontario, with a stud mill in Ignace three hours away, and a new dimension sawmill in the commissioning stage in Atikokan two hours away. In total, the three sawmills will produce about 560 million board feet of lumber, making Resolute the largest dimension lumber producer in Ontario. Resolute also operates a kraft pulp mill and a paper mill in Thunder Bay, so they are a major employer in the region.

Valon Kone debarkerA fifth Valon Kone debarker, dedicated to the cut-to-length log infeed line, is resulting in faster log processing at the Resolute Thunder Bay sawmill.

The partnership with Fort William First Nations at the Thunder Bay site has benefitted both parties over the years, as the First Nation owns the sawmill building with Resolute paying annual rent. Also, about 25 of the 199 people working at the sawmill are First Nations.

In 2012, the Thunder Bay sawmill became the first facility in Canada to operate under regulations created by the federal First Nations Commercial and Industrial Development Act. This legislation allows federal reserve land to operate under provincial statutes, making it easier for industrial development to occur on First Nations land.

As a company, Resolute has demonstrated a significant commitment to working with First Nations communities throughout northwestern Ontario. In February, it signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with six area First Nations communities that sets out a framework for negotiating business agreements related to Resolute’s sawmill investments in northwestern Ontario. The MOA is expected to bring an additional $100 million in new business opportunities to First Nations businesses. The agreement has already yielded contracts for First Nations business during construction of sawmills; hauling chips, biomass and lumber from sawmills; yard services to manage loading and unloading of logs and lumber; as well as log harvesting and delivery. Rainy Lake Tribal Contracting, owned by several signatories to the MOA, leveled the site for the new sawmill near Atikokan. Also, a First Nations business owned by another MOA signatory called Dallan Forestry LP has contracts to provide yard services in a number of Resolute facilities in northwestern Ontario, including Thunder Bay.