PORT ALBERNI - Brand new technology is enabling Western Forest Products to install the first-ever lumber autograder on the Coast, increasing the Alberni Pacific Division sawmill's efficiency, Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations Minister Steve Thomson said at an event at the mill today.
Automatic lumber grading has been used in the commodity lumber business for over a decade, but the complexity of coastal tree species has prevented this technology from being used on the Coast until now.
By partnering with Lucidyne Technologies Inc., Western Forest Products has refined the technology to work with coastal species. The $6.7-million autograder will significantly increase efficiency by assessing lumber grades quickly, accurately and consistently.
Today's announcement is part of Western Forest Products' $200-million plan to invest in its Vancouver Island operations to keep the company competitive in the global marketplace. Creating a globally competitive, market-based operating climate is one of six priorities outlined in this government's Forest Sector Strategy under the BC Jobs Plan.
Steve Thomson, Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations -
"Innovation is vital to ensuring that B.C.'s forest companies stay competitive in the global market, and are able to continue to provide jobs in forestry-dependent communities."
Dominic Gammiero, chairman and CEO of Western Forest Products -
"Western is proud to be leading the coastal milling and manufacturing industry with the first installation of this technology."
- The Alberni Pacific Division sawmill processes 145 million board feet of hemlock a year.
- The mill is the top producer of hemlock baby squares for Japan. It also supplies lumber, timbers, railway ties and mouldings for Asian markets.
- The new autograder is expected to significantly increase efficiency, through increased operating speeds, improved value, and increased lumber recovery.
Western Forest Products Autograder Factsheet: http://www.westernforest.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/Fact-Sheet-APD.pdf
Forest Sector Strategy: http://www.for.gov.bc.ca/mof/forestsectorstrategy/
Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations