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Western Forest Products invests $29 million in B.C. sawmills

Western Forest Products has announced it will make a $29 million capital investment into its B.C. operations.

Specifically, the investments include $12.3 million for a new continuous dry kiln at the Saltair sawmill in Ladysmith, allowing for increased capacity for continuous drying of lumber while reducing energy consumption. The sawmill is the largest single line sawmill on the B.C. Coast following the previous multi-phase strategic capital investment of over $42 million undertaken to modernize the sawmill beginning in 2013. The facility has three existing kilns on site for drying lumber.

Another $7.9 million will be spent at the Duke Point mill facility in Nanaimo to optimize the centralized planer facility with new equipment including a machine-stress-rated (MSR) lumber grading machine. The sawmill and planer have undergone a previous multi-phase strategic capital investment of over $45 million beginning in 2015 to modernize the facility.

Another $8.3 million in other capital investments in the company’s B.C. operations will include new kiln control systems at the Saltair sawmill and its Value-Added Division in Chemainus to increase supply of kiln-dried finished products for customers.

Robert JefferiesLong time Optimil Machinery employee Robert Jefferies passes

It is with great sadness that Optimil Machinery announces that long time employee, Robert Jefferies, has passed away. He will be missed by family and friends.

He will also be missed by his working friends at Optimil Machinery and customers around the globe that have been accustomed to calling for Robert by name for many service trips and start-ups.

Robert was always willing to go on a moment’s notice to help a customer in trouble, even if it meant driving by car for four days straight to get there. Robert spent most of his life working in the forest industry; his customers and sawmills were his life. Friends and colleagues would say that he had sawdust in his blood, which one can never get out. Robert was a part of the evolution of Optimil Machinery’s products. His constant feedback on improvements helped get the company to where it is today.

Robert was a natural prankster and always made the jobsite as entertaining as possible, yet had a seriousness of getting a job up and going and on schedule. Many a time, he would go over and beyond the call of duty to ensure that when he left the site, the customer was satisfied and felt he had achieved the goals they were expecting. 

Optimil Machinery would like to thank Robert and his family for their dedication over the years. It took a special person to be able to do what he was able to do, says the company, and Robert will be sincerely missed.

Leadership change at Tigercat

Effective August 2, Grant Somerville stepped away from his role as president of Tigercat Industries.

The timing is related to Somerville’s original intention to serve as president for a five-year term when he took on the role in 2017. Tigercat founder Ken MacDonald has assumed the role of president.

“I wish to thank Grant for all of the contributions that he has made to our company during his entire 30 years with us,” said MacDonald. “I want to particularly recognize the leadership he provided during his presidency. He very capably steered us through and oversaw record production and sales volumes in 2019.

“Grant then went on to lead our team through the incredibly trying last two-and-a-half years during which we dealt with the COVID pandemic as well as the effects on our business related to the war in Ukraine. Despite these challenges, he took everything in stride and saw to it that we still managed to complete two major plant expansions and launch several new product lines.”

Somerville will continue to serve the company as a director. In his new role, he will offer advice, and support various engineering initiatives focused on the development of new products and the improvement of existing products.

JoeScan to debut new scan heads JoeScan to debut new scan heads 

JoeScan describes itself as the sawmill scanning experts and will soon bring the proven simplicity of their JS-50 scan head to more parts of the sawmill. 

“Mills love how our latest JS-50 WX model performs on their edgers and trimmers,” says Joey Nelson, JoeScan president. “It’s a robust, reliable platform that is very easy to use. So we’ve been working hard to develop next-gen scanners for more machine centres.”

JoeScan will debut several new scanners at the TP&EE trade show in Portland, Oregon on September 28, 29, and 30.

USNR acquires equipment and technology supplier Timber Automation

USNR, a division of Wood Technologies International, has acquired Timber Automation, an industry leader in wood processing equipment and technology.

USNR says that this combination solidifies its leadership position in providing equipment and technology to the global wood processing industry, adding more than 250 employees and over 200,000 square feet of manufacturing space.

The transaction will help Timber Automation gain wider market distribution for its state-of-the-art sawmill and wood yard equipment, while USNR will benefit from the addition of Timber Automation’s highly skilled team members and production capacity.

“The addition of Timber Automation’s LogPro line of log yard equipment represents a major market expansion for USNR, and their Baxley products—including optimization, edgers, and lumber processing equipment—complement our product offering, providing our customers with more options of high quality machinery,” says Dale Brown, President of USNR. “We are also excited to build upon the VAB division’s highly innovative optimization and grading solutions and the opportunity to bring those products to new markets.”

“We knew that USNR was the right owner for Timber Automation from the outset,” says John Steck, President of Timber Automation. “USNR’s reputation for doing right by the customer aligns perfectly with our company culture and values. This partnership will help give us wider visibility and provide better solutions for customers.”

Swedish silviculture attachments manufacturer Bracke Forest acquired by KomatsuSwedish silviculture attachments manufacturer Bracke Forest acquired by Komatsu

Komatsu has acquired Bracke Forest, headquartered in Bräcke, Sweden, which develops, manufactures, and sells application-specific attachments for silviculture.

With extensive know-how of silviculture over the years, Bracke develops, manufactures, and sells application-specific attachments for use in silviculture processes. Since 2014, Bracke and Komatsu have engaged in joint development by sharing respective technologies and experience accumulated over the years respectively in forest and construction machines. In 2021, Komatsu launched the D61EM-23M0, the world’s first bulldozer-based automatic crawler planter, in Brazil. The D61EM-23M0 performs automatic traveling, stopping, and planting on the preset courses.

Strongco announces new build for Dartmouth, Nova Scotia branch

Strongco Corporation says that construction has begun on a new facility where their Dartmouth, Nova Scotia branch will be relocated. It’s estimated to be completed by the fall of 2022.

The new facility will be located on four acres of land at 276 Higney Avenue in Dartmouth and will support the regional equipment sales, rental, and administration services for the Volvo Construction Equipment, Sennebogen and Eco Log Forestry product lines they distribute in Nova Scotia.

It’s a purpose-built facility with over 21,000 square feet and eight new modern service bays. All service bays provide 35’ of operating height with two 10-ton overhead cranes. The increased parts warehouse will support a large inventory of their OEM parts.

DoosanDoosan introduces new crawler excavator series

Doosan Infracore North America has introduced its next-generation “7” Series crawler excavators. The initial launch includes four models, the DX140LCR-7, DX225LC-7, DX255LC-7 and EX350LC-7.

Doosan says that its “7” Series crawler excavators deliver fuel efficiency and productivity with more comfort features, intelligent controls and smart machine functionality so operators can handle whatever comes their way.

Updates to the “7” Series excavators include a strengthened work group with reinforced castings and forged steel pivot points for withstanding high impact work. A new Y-shaped seal at the end of the excavator’s arm provides better sealing to the bucket connection, for more performance and durability.

Doosan added material to the excavator’s mainframe for higher performance and jobsite versatility. The excavator’s X-chassis undercarriage further enhances durability and stability, while the track chain is sealed and self-lubricating for reduced maintenance. Cast-steel, heavy-duty sprockets are designed to stand up to challenging work environments, and track rollers and idlers are provided with oil level check plugs to maximize machine uptime.

GreenenergyGreenergy offers biofuels to Ontario and area forest sector

With terminals across Ontario, fuel supplier Greenergy says it is giving forestry operators in these areas and beyond what they need, which is access to a reliable supply of high percentage biodiesel blends and other quality fuels designed to reduce emissions.

These blends are made from various renewable materials such as organic waste and replace fossil diesel used to power numerous on-road and off-road diesel engines like harvesters, skidders, forwarders, and feller bunchers.

“These fuels are especially significant for the forestry sector because of industry efforts to further reduce its carbon footprint from diesel machinery, helping curtail greenhouse gas emissions by as much as 80 per cent,” says Mike Healey, Greenergy’s Vice-President of Commercial and Business Development.

With a commitment to meet customer needs, Greenergy focuses on supply security by maintaining optionality across its supply chain and thus minimizing reliance on any single refiner or third party for its raw materials. It is also capable of blending fuels to high specifications at its terminals, from Thunder Bay to Johnstown, supplying biodiesel blends to suit customer preferences that can range from the standard B4 to B45 and higher.

Paper Excellence Group to purchase Resolute Forest Products

The Paper Excellence Group, through its wholly-owned subsidiary Domtar Corporation, and Resolute Forest Products Inc, have entered into an agreement under which Domtar will acquire all of the outstanding common shares of Resolute stock.

With this addition to its family of companies, the Paper Excellence Group says it will further build out its portfolio in North America following the successful acquisition of Domtar last year.

Resolute will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Domtar, under the auspices of the Group, and continue to operate on a business-as-usual basis under the Resolute name. The Resolute management team will remain in place at the company’s headquarters. Considering the quality workforce available with Resolute and Domtar, Paper Excellence says that Montreal will become an important hub for the Group’s North American businesses. Furthermore, the Group plans to retain Resolute’s production locations and levels of jobs.

As part of its commitment to building a premiere North American diversified forest products company and creating long-term growth, the Group intends to support Resolute management’s existing growth strategy, focused on strategic investments in its lumber and pulp businesses, and maximizing the value of its paper and tissue businesses. It also plans to undertake a detailed feasibility study for the eventual conversion of Resolute’s Gatineau, Quebec, newsprint mill to the production of packaging paper.

Search begins for new Canadian Woodlands Forum Executive Director

The Canadian Woodlands Forum (CWF) is looking for a new executive director.

Peter Robichaud has served the CWF for over 27 years and as executive director since 2001. He recently announced his well-earned retirement from the CWF. Peter will work with the incoming executive director for some time to ensure a smooth transition.

Peter has worked tirelessly managing the organization during his tenure, delivering valuable educational programming, operational and business management training, forestry advocacy and maintaining a solid base of continuing membership from across the forest industry. Peter will no doubt be missed but is leaving a very solid organization that is well prepared to handle the challenges of the forestry sector of today and into the future. In this exciting role, the new executive director will report to the board of directors.

GreenenergyPonsse launches electric forest machine 

Ponsse and Ponsse-owned company, Epec, are introducing the Ponsse EV1, an electric forest machine technology concept.

While the forest machine itself will be commercially available later, Epec’s technology can already be used in electric or hybrid-electric commercial vehicles and non-road mobile machines. Ponsse’s technological concept is said to be a look into the future, paving the way for technological development and sustainable harvesting solutions.

Ponsse says it aims to lead the way in the development of forest machine technologies, and is part of sustainable forestry, seeking carbon neutrality in its operations and solutions. This launch of a new technology concept is part of the company’s strategy and a tangible step towards the goal of carbon neutrality, it says.

“Technological development is fast and offers us excellent opportunities to develop our solutions further, even in unexpected directions,” says Juho Nummela, President and CEO, Ponsse Plc.

“We have worked hard with our technology company Epec to enable this concept. At the same time, both companies have developed their capabilities, and we have gained significant new knowledge during this project. This launch of a new technology concept is a peek into the future and one of the solutions offered by electric powertrains.

“Sustainable development is a significant future success factor for Ponsse,” added Nummela. “We want to strongly develop our solutions with Epec.”

The Ponsse EV1 concept has been developed for forwarders with a 15-tonne load-carrying capacity, the most popular Ponsse forwarder size category. The concept machine features a fully electric powertrain, as well as Epec’s power distribution unit and hybrid control unit. The machine’s powertrain operates fully with battery energy. Batteries are charged using a Range Extender, which is a combustion engine at this stage of development. Testing and development are advancing continuously, say the companies. This technology is said to provide significant improvements in fuel economy in this size category. 

Ponsse has been studying and developing new technological solutions for several years now. The Ponsse EV1 concept took its first steps in 2019 when Ponsse and Epec started to investigate responsible power source solutions in line with sustainable development.  

The Ponsse EV1 features Epec Flow, Epec’s electromobility system solution. The solution is based on the Epec Flow Power Distribution Unit (PDU), to which electric motors, batteries and various devices can be connected. The PDU’s integrated safety solutions enable effective manufacturing and maintenance of the machines, as well as their operations in demanding conditions. The Epec Flow Hybrid Control Unit (HCU) controls the electric powertrain and includes software developed through simulations, enabling optimal energy consumption, productivity and usability. 

“The Epec Flow solution is at the heart of everything,” said Jyri Kylä-Kaila, Managing Director of Epec.

“It has been developed for the electrification of various commercial vehicles and non-road mobile machines. The software can be developed using simulation models, and the solution can be agilely developed for the needs of different machinery. The different systems, including the transmission and control system, work seamlessly together, enabling the manufacture of safe and efficient zero-emission machines in the future,” said Kylä-Kaila.

BID Group busy with turnkey Canfor contracts, launching Global Learning Center/Equipment Fundamental Series and acquiring Smith Sawmill Service

BID Group has announced it will be partnering with Canfor Corporation to deliver a new state-of-the-art sawmill complex in southern Alabama. Through its industry-leading wood processing technologies and integrated solutions offering, BID will manage, design, build, equip, install, and provide full start-up services for the project.

“This project will employ the best complement of modern technologies to meet our growing customer demand for the highest quality products, enhance our sustainability goals, and transform our workplace to offer employees a modern facility that will operate for generations to come,” said Stephen Mackie, Executive Vice President, North American Operations, Canfor. “Working with an industry leader like BID provides the confidence that this major project will be done right and delivered on time,”

The new operation will incorporate the full spectrum of BID’s best-in-class wood processing technologies including equipment, software, automation systems, Artificial Intelligence-enabled optimization, and the plant-wide Industry 4.0 solution, OPER8.

BID’s Integrated Solutions Team will provide the design, engineering, planning, fabrication, and installation services for the turnkey project. The sustainment of the plant’s operational life cycle excellence will be supported by BID’s Reliability program which will provide comprehensive service, parts, consumables, and upgrades. The project will incorporate new leading-edge solutions from its strategic partner Rockwell.

Work on site will begin late in 2023 and startup of the sawmill is scheduled for the third quarter of 2024.

BID Group is also partnering with Canfor to deliver a sawmill modernization project for Canfor’s Urbana, Arkansas operation.

BID will manage, design, build, equip, install, and provide start-up services for the project.

The scope for the sawmill will incorporate the full spectrum of the BID Group’s wood processing technologies including a 31” VTO debarker with flare reducer, a high-speed canter line that will allow for increased efficiency while processing a broad log profile, software, automation systems, and artificial intelligence-enabled optimization.

In other company news, BID Group announced the launch of its Global Learning Center.

With its expertly crafted and specially designed courses, BID aims to reduce the knowledge gap in sawmills by growing employees’ technical excellence, allowing high-value customers to achieve and sustain top-quartile performance, says the company.

Over the last year, BID has created a dedicated team of experts working on the management of its Global Learning Center and the creation of content. The team members have years of expertise in learning management and the wood processing industry. BID has also invested in the expansion of its campus in St. George, South Carolina, where there are four classrooms with scaled-down and full-size equipment for a hands-on learning experience.

In addition to on-campus, webinars and private learning offers, BID has developed a new online learning offering using a Learning Management System (LMS). BID’s experts in the different fields of wood processing have developed the Equipment Fundamental Series, containing more than 250 courses created precisely for each of the main operational machine centers. With its in-house technical content, the online learning offer also has material provided by Rockwell Automation, a strategic partner for BID, as well as multiple courses to grow leadership and professional expertise.

“At BID, we believe that first-class wood processing starts with first-class learning opportunities,” said Simon Potvin, President of Wood Processing. “The launch of the Global Learning Center marks a commitment to our highly valued customers that we will support them in different ways, through our broad offering of services, to aid in their daily challenges.

“Profits rely on people’s knowledge and their ability to anticipate, identify, and fix problems,” added Potvin. “This new service offering will allow mills to get the most out of their equipment and run at peak performance by building and growing their team’s expertise.”

The Global Learning Center is now fully operational and has already started welcoming new students.

Also, BID announced it has completed the purchase of Smith Sawmill Service.

“We are very excited to welcome our friends at Smith’s facilities in Timpson, TX, Shreveport, LA, and Polkton, NC to the BID team,” said Alistair Cook, President and CEO at BID. “The combination of our organizations brings together two customer-centric teams to further expand BID’s industry-leading operational life cycle product and service offering to include the essential recurring saw and tooling capabilities required to support the growing needs of our customers.”

Logging and Sawmilling Journal

July/August 2022

On the Cover:
Veteran British Columbia sawmiller James Dodich is parlaying his experience working with a variety of wood product combinations into producing high value wood products, with his company Cats Eye Logging and Sawmilling. Having experimented with various combinations with his Wood-Mizer LT40 band sawmill , Dodich feels that he has found the right formula for his operation. Read all about some of the lessons Dodich has learned beginning on page 36 of this issue. (Cover photo by Tony Kryzanowski).

High lumber prices don’t help with many industry issues
Lumber prices may be headed to higher levels again, but that does not deal with many of the issues currently facing the B.C. forest industry, from severe weather through to a shortage of skilled labour.

Resolute upgrades Southern sawmills
Quebec-based Resolute Forest Products has expanded its sawmill operations with the purchase of three sawmills in the U.S. South, and has already started to upgrade the mills.

Portland’s Timber Processing and Energy Expo (TP&EE) show is back!
The TP&EE show in Portland will be back this September, and will feature the latest and greatest in new mill equipment, ready to slot in for your mill upgrade.

Meeting supply chain challenges…to move that lumber
Read all about how some forest companies are successfully addressing supply chain challenges with transportation management system technology.

Alberta Forest Products AGM Preview
Logging and Sawmilling Journal takes a look at what the big issues will be at the Alberta Forest Products Association (AFPA) AGM coming up, when the industry will get together in Jasper in September to celebrate its successes and talk about its challenges.

Cats Eye catches high-end wood market
With his company Cats Eye Logging and Sawmilling, B.C.’s James Dodich is parlaying his experience working with a variety of wood product combinations into producing high value wood products.

Included in this edition of The Edge, Canada’s leading publication on research in the forest industry, is a story from the Canadian Wood Fibre Centre (CWFC).

The Last Word
The launch of the federal greenhouse gas offset credit system


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