More than 180 exhibitors attended the Forest Products Machinery and Equipment Exposition produced by Southern Forest Products Assn. at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta from June 24 to 26. The event, which is held every other year, caters to the softwood and hardwood primary lumber manufacturing industry.

SFPA Expo

Hood Industries brought 14 people from its sawmills operations. “The show is always most valuable to me for maintaining and establishing contacts with the vendors,” comments Ben Crim, VP Engineering & Environmental Management at Hood Industries. “In my career I’ve found it very handy to work from the top down when you have vendor problems. Good to know whom to call to make things happen!”

Crim pointed to several pieces of equipment that caught his attention, such as the new overhead canter/profiler from RPM, the new Taylor log handler, the Piche lumber handling equipment, the Gilbert planer, Samuel dunnage handling robot and Signode marking system.

Fritz Mason, VP and general manager of Georgia-Pacific Lumber, says he always tries to attend the sawmill machinery shows in Atlanta and Portland. “These shows are great opportunities to network and I have seen a lot of innovative ideas spawned at these shows,” Mason comments.

Mason adds that that these events also need to focus on attracting new, younger talent into the wood products industry.

  “I really appreciate the vendors that participate in these shows,” Mason says. “It might be hard for some of them to justify the expense of doing this, but, long-term, these folks are the people we are building relationships with and will likely be doing business with in the future. It gives me confidence that they will stand behind the commitments they will make.” 

Hunter McShan, principal with McShan Lumber, says he wasn’t looking for anything particular, but that he finds the emerging technology in scanning and grading remarkable. “I never thought automatic grading would be for us given its high cost and our low volume but I no longer believe that to be true,” McShan says. “I’m sure we felt the same way when basic optimization came along. As always I just enjoy talking to all the friends in the industry some of whom I realize that I’ve been doing business with for more than 30 years.”

Brunette Machinery Co. Sales and Marketing Manager Hardev Virk says the crowd may not have been large but the quality was impressive. “We made some big contacts and renewed old contacts, it was overall good.”

“I think the show is getting smaller because our industries are evolving,” says Cone-Omega Vice President of sales and marketing, Matt Rogers, said. “The good thing is you’re more likely to be talking to a decision maker.”

JoeScan celebrated the sale of its first JS-50 to Pollard Lumber of Appling, Ga. for an upgrade to the bucking system. “This is really special for us,” President Joey Nelson says. “Our very first scanner was installed on a bucking system over sixteen years ago, and it’s still delivering great results today.” Andy Pollard was on hand from Pollard Lumber.

A new OEM company, Real Performance Machinery, based in Summerville, SC, displayed a canter-profiler (several of which have been sold) and promoted its range of other sawmill technologies. Shawn Guibergia, who came up as an engineer with Sierra Pacific Industries and worked with WaneShear Technologies and BID Group, is President of RPM.