“Contrary to popular belief, there is still a lumber industry in the Northwest,” comments Rich Donnell, Show Director of the upcoming Timber Processing & Energy Expo (TP&EE) to be held October 17-19 at the Portland Exposition Center in Portland, Ore.
“Given all the announcements about new sawmills to be built in the Southern U.S., you’d think the Northwest lumber industry has become extinct,” Donnell says somewhat tongue-in-cheek.
“But if you’ve looked at Northwest lumber prices in the past year, soaring to all-time record highs, and the extremely high pace of lumber production in the region, well, the only thing that’s going extinct might be the northern spotted owl, which we know isn’t true either.”
TP&EE, held every other year, will be the fourth one produced by Hatton-Brown Expositions, an affiliate of Hatton-Brown Publishers, Inc., which produces Timber Processing, Panel World and other magazines in the wood-based industries.
“Just like the economy, the TP&EE events have gotten better every time,” Donnell says. “2012, 2014, 2016 and I believe 2018 will have the most buzz yet.”
Donnell, who is also the editor-in-chief of Timber Processing, believes that those record lumber prices, and the continuing, steady advancement of new housing starts, now pushing 1.3 million annually in the U.S., means sawmills not only in the Northwest but throughout the U.S and Canada, have been running wide open to take advantage.
“I think what we’ll see, as TP&EE hits in October, is a new wave of machinery and technology inquiries and orders as these mills upgrade their sprinted-out production systems so they can continue to be part of the building products boom.
“Nobody wants to fall off, even for a moment,” Donnell adds. “But they also can’t allow their production lines to run out of gas, especially when the building economy is showing plenty of gas left in its tank.”
What that means, Donnell says, is that the approximately 175 exhibitors—that have already sold out 60,000 square feet of booth space in Hall E at the Portland Expo Center—better come “loaded for bear.”
Donnell says the trend for TP&EE this time is that many companies have purchased more square footage than they did previously, which means more “real” machinery on site.
“I love the layout of this year’s expo,” Donnell says. “And if you look at the exhibitors’ list, these are the established players in lumber, plywood and engineered wood products production machinery and technology. No Johnnies-come-lately in this bunch.”
The 2016 TP&EE attracted 1,600 industry (non-exhibitor) personnel, representing 110 forest products producer companies and hundreds of individual mill site operations.
Attendees came from 39 U.S. states, six Canadian provinces, and 20 countries.
The event will again include a lineup of workshop presentations related to lumber, plywood and engineered wood products manufacturing. Those schedules and presenters will be announced this summer.