The first and biggest cross-laminated timber (CLT) manufacturing plant in the eastern U.S. is nearly fully operational, with 25 employees currently working a portion of the plant.
Florida-based International Beams (IB), a manufacturer of pre-fabricated i-joist beams, began converting a General Electric 227,000-square-foot into a highly-specialized CLT manufacturing facility last June. One portion of the main production has been installed – a wood grading component – in which technicians are currently learning the machines.
The second portion of the plant’s main production line is arriving from overseas during the next few weeks and should be installed by June, company owner Bruno Lebel told the Dothan Eagle. The plant should be 100 percent operational by September and employ 60 employees in total.
The plant is the first of its kind east of the Rocky Mountains, says Lebel, and will be the first in the world to produce both glue laminate wood and CLT. The $19.6 million investment will create 60 jobs at the plant right away, and create other jobs in local timber, sawmill, and trucking. Two hundred jobs will be created altogether.
International Beams says the CLT panels produced in Dothan will be sold mainly in the U.S. market. The company will use Southern pine lumber to construct the panels.