Timber Processing’s September issue spotlights how associations, sawmills and equipment suppliers are coping with the recession. The issue also discusses the messy business of curtailment in the sawmill industry and the steps equipment manufacturers are taking to seek upturn, including diversifying, doing R&D and seeking out new markets. On a different note, the issue also highlights the heating up of the pellet industry. As in each issue, the Product Scanner section features new products.
New England Wood Pellet LLC (NEWP) is buying Norbord’s Deposit, NY land and property and will commence construction of a wood pellet manufacturing facility. Norbord’s intentions are to continue manufacturing medium density fiberboard at the facility until sometime before the closing. NEWP will then begin significant site modifications and construction of a 100,000 ton per year pellet manufacturing plant once all state and local permits are secured.
With members feeling the heat of the economic recession, forest products industry trade associations are scrambling to find ways to keep from getting burned as well. “We’re basically looking down every avenue we have to see how we can save money, even down to renegotiating our phone service contract,” says Linda Jovanovich, director of operations for the Hardwood Manufacturers Assn., Pittsburgh, Pa. “We’re looking hard at everything.”
Most of the softwood sawmills contacted recently by Timber Processing have curtailed operations to some degree and while there doesn’t appear to be a perfect formula for going about it, one of the factors is timing. Vaagen Brothers Lumber, based in Colville, Wash., for example, is operating (as of mid-August) at 46% of capacity. It took its random length facility at Colville down in the spring for seven weeks to stabilize inventories, and the mill is now running on a one-shift basis at 50 hours per week.
In these tough economic times, sawmill machinery suppliers are just as hard hit as the lumber mills: Large orders are hard to come by, there’s less overall capital spending by mills, and that means more competition for equipment suppliers. Among sawmill machinery manufacturers, there’s a similar need to match company output with market demand, which can be accomplished any number of ways.
PCS VacDry USA, LP, has sold two VacDry Model VK-4.0M vacuum kilns to New Zealand Sustainable Forest Products. The kilns are expected to become operational by late September. The VK-4.0M kilns, each with a capacity of 4,000 BF (9.5m3), will be part of a new sawmill venture of NZSFP. The sawmill, located near Reefton on the South Island (West Coast), will process sustainably logged New Zealand hardwood.
LMI’s DynaVision chroma+scan 3300 scanners have assisted mills in achieving a higher level of recovery from each board produced. Designed primarily for the green side edger or trimmer, these scanners feature high density laser profiling, integrated LED lighting and true color vision in a single sensor package. The chroma+scan 3300 provides 3D profile resolution of 8.0 mm (0.3 in).