Organizer efforts to bring more of the structural veneer and plywood industry and engineered wood products segment into the Timber Processing & Energy Expo appear to have worked, as numerous producers converged on the Portland Expo Center September 28-30.
The Portland event traditionally has been tilted to lumber manufacturing technologies, but event producer Hatton-Brown Expositions, affiliate of Panel World magazine, has emphasized the importance of “putting panel” on the show floor as well as lumber. This was the third TP&EE, which is held every other year.
Indeed wood products producers sent ownership, management, supervisory and skilled personnel to the event, where 225 exhibitor companies, including the leading equipment and technology manufacturers in the veneer-plywood and EWP industries, showcased products and technologies.
Some of the veneer-plywood and EWP producer companies in attendance included: ATCO Wood Products, Bessemer Plywood, Boise Cascade, Browder Veneer Works, Coastland Wood Industries, Columbia Forest Products, D.R. Johnson, Freres Lumber, Georgia-Pacific, Hardel Mutual Plywood, Hunt Forest Products, Louisiana-Pacific, Murphy Company, Nordic Veneer, Pacific Veneer, Potlatch, Rainier Veneer, RedBuilt, Roseburg Forest Products, Savona Specialty Plywood, Swanson Group, Timber Products Company, Tolko Industries and Weyerhaeuser.
TP&EE registered nearly 1,800 industry (non-exhibitor) personnel, as well as 1,200 exhibitor personnel. Attendees came from 39 U.S. states, six Canadian provinces, and 20 countries besides the U.S. and Canada.
The event included a day of manufacturing workshops for both panel and lumber producers, and one of the most well-attended sessions was on cross-laminated timber (CLT) and its potential as a new forest product and market segment.
D.R. Johnson Lumber Co. President Valerie Johnson told how her company had gone from being a bit interested in CLT and making some panels to assist Oregon State in research to building its own production line and becoming the first North American CLT manufacturer certified under APA’s structural CLT standards.
Johnson gauged the overall CLT outlook in North America, noting that her company is already scheduled to contribute to five projects in 2017.
Early construction reports show that using pre-fab CLT panels reduces waste and also features less installation noise in a much shorter construction time, Johnson said. The CLT pioneer is also in talks with government and military builders and designers and also corporate interests, Johnson added, saying the product is ideal for motel chains.
“We see CLT as a completely new market,” Johnson said, adding that solid wall and floor construction uses much more wood than traditional wood frame building systems.
Along with other speakers, Johnson said it was important for CLT to develop performance and product standards that enable the product to be plugged into existing building codes, and that Los Angeles is in the process of allowing CLT under its building codes.
Several presenters noted that Europe has a lack of integrated building codes and standards. That means CLT utilization there consists almost solely of custom projects using proprietary grades.
Promoting its new CLT press and the product itself, the USNR booth included four large CLT panels spelling out the company logo as USNR also promoted its new veneer lathe and drying technology.
USNR Senior Marketing Associate Sonia Perrine noted that the company’s new window-frame style CLT press drew lots of attention at the show, as did USNR’s new all-electric design carriage feed works that use a planetary screw actuator. Conversions for electric actuated knife pitch control, electric actuated vertical roller bar height control, and electric actuated horizontal roller bar gap control are also ready to be implemented, she said.
Perrine added that USNR had a good show talking to both new and existing customers. “It is not always the volume of customers but the type of customer that you meet with at a trade show,” she said. “We had the opportunity to have conversations with several senior managers and some serious technology shoppers planning for the near future.”
USNR is optimistic about business conditions for 2017, Perrine said. “We’re relatively certain the show bolstered the confidence of some who will be making decisions later this fall or early next year. Some customers expressed apprehension until after the elections, but the overall mood was cautious optimism.”
Melinda Lilley, Member Services Director for the Engineered Wood Technology Assn. (EWTA), noted that there were about 30 EWTA members exhibiting at the show, plus she had the chance to discover new members. “We’re always looking for new associate members,” she said. “And with all the new products and new technology, this has definitely been an upbeat show.”
Mike Crondahl, President of Westmill Industries, said TP&EE, especially the show’s second day, was “Absolutely busy—it was hopping so much we didn’t have time for lunch.”
Crondahl said the company is coming off a record sales year in 2015, and one thing he noted at TP&EE is that “People are really seeking us out about our innovations.” Adding that he’s been coming to equipment shows in Portland since he was a kid, Crondahl said TP&EE fills a real need for an event of its type on the West Coast.
Noting a good bit of interest in used and reconditioned equipment, Mike Simmons, Vice President of Sales & Service for Kimwood, said the show’s second day was a busy one. “It looks like there are a few people buying. The parts business has been good for us.”
Interest in industry’s newest plywood mill startup at Swanson Group in Springfield, Ore., along with a good response to her presentation on advances in Meinan green end technology, drove a lot of traffic to the Meinan-Merritt Machinery booth, said Merritt Machinery President Anna McCann.
Part of the booth display included an eight-minute video of the Springfield operations, which are currently in startup. The project features Meinan’s fully automated green end that includes charger with 3D vision scanning and optimization, constant peel speed, auto knife changer, full sheet stacking by MC and auto random veneer clipping with in-line green veneer composing.
“We’ve been very happy with the show,” McCann said. “There’s a lot of interest in the Swanson line, and we’ve had some very high level contacts who are interested in Meinan’s product line.”
Gustavo Mostiack, Commercial Director of Fezer SA Industrias Mecanicas, said his company was focusing on promoting its slicing and splicing product lines. “This is our first time exhibiting here, and the results are in line with our expectations,” he said.
“The show has been good for us. We made some good contacts,” Mostiack added.
With a leading edge technology gasification plant project at Lockheed Martin’s Owego, NY plant now up and running, Biomass Engineering & Equipment President Dane Floyd was promoting his company’s involvement in the project, which will use plant waste as raw material.
“This has been a great show for us,” Floyd said on TP&EE’s final day. “The number of leads we’ve gotten here is phenomenal, and we’ve had a lot of good quality booth visitors.”
Dave Larecy, President of Con-Vey, noted that his company had also met lots of high-quality vistors, and there’s been plenty of interest in a new panel repair line Con-Vey has going in at the new Swanson plant in Springfield.
“We’ve been very pleased with the outcome of the show, and we’ll definitely be here again in two years,” Larecy said.
“We’ve had a really busy show,” said Raute NA Senior Vice President Martin Murphy. During a private event near the TP&EE show site, Raute unveiled its G5 advanced mill operations analysis software.
The new system combines the power of high-tech cameras and innovative systems to analyze the entire production process. Analyzers collect data in every process, from the green end onward, and evaluate the information to automatically affect production decisions. G5’s state-of-the-art analyzers collect data on defects, moisture and density and automatically establish the best results based on pre-determined customer goals. Information from a combination of analyzers is amalgamated in real time to determine the best value for the veneer.
“G5 technology has the ability to affect every aspect of mill production positively, with up to 15% in better raw material utilization,” said Murphy, who added that Raute’s private events were “very well attended by key decision makers.”