WVCO looks back on 2019 – the year of innovation.

WVCO Railroad Products

2019 was a year of innovation. The wood products industry thrived as game-changing technology was introduced into the marketplace while cross-laminated timber, known for its economic advantages, construction quality, durability, sustainability, and aesthetics, was embraced by more architects and construction companies around the world.

There were great advances made in automation that will make manufacturing jobs safer and more efficient. WVCO’s Idaho Milling and Grain division kept their eyes on exciting new research that may help farmers adapt to climate pressures as researchers developed technology to create 3D-printed concrete that could revolutionize the construction industry and decrease its carbon footprint.

WVCO continued to develop robotic solutions for automated engineering, finishing, material handling, welding and more. Our team of engineers also developed unique and customized solutions that will enable companies to overcome challenges in the transportation industry and infrastructure.

Here’s a look back at some of our highlights from 2019.

In May, our WVCO Wood Products team traveled to Hannover, Germany to showcase WVCO’s wood product solutions and equipment at LIGNA 2019, the world’s leading trade show for tools and machinery for the wood processing industry. It was an exciting opportunity for us to meet with key wood and forestry industry leaders from around the globe. LIGNA 2019 had three focus themes: “Integrated Woodworking – Customized Solutions”, “Smart Surface Technology” and “Access to Resources and Technology”.

Over the summer, the WVCO team introduced the FastPatch HPRE, High-Performance Rail Encapsulator to address some of the challenges embedded rail systems on city streets present such as excessive vibration, noise, rail deflection, and maintenance difficulties. This new system is designed from WVCO’s innovative polymer and dispensing equipment and offers fast installation and a long-lasting solution for embedded rail systems with key performance properties.

We also had the pleasure of opening our newly remodeled R & D Center for our Research & Development team in Eugene. The beautiful new facility is equipped with the latest and most sophisticated analytical technologies on the market and designed with our entire R & D team in mind.

In August, Cleco presented Willamette Valley Company (WVCO) with a $34,182.40 check at our Pineville, Louisana facility for upgrading its interior and exterior lights to LED lighting through Cleco’s Power Wise™ energy efficiency program. With the new LED lighting, WVCO is projected to save 341,824 kWh annually, which is estimated to be enough electricity to power 28 homes for one year!

Also in August, our Pre-Tec division was prominently featured in this piece published in Eugene’s Register Guard.

The WVCO Railroad Division exhibited products like SpikeFast®, the industry’s most reliable product for plugging spike holes, and other custom solutions related to rail and highway safety at the 2019 National Highway-Rail Grade Crossing Safety Conference. The conference brought leaders in the rail and highway industries together to present contemporary topics and new technology to an international audience.

In September,the WVCO team traveled to Tampa, Florida to meet with professionals in the marine industry and present how our innovative FastPatch technology can cut time and expenses at IBEX 2019, North America’s leading technical boat-building showcase.

Our team also exhibited our railroad products and FastPatch products at Railway Interchange 2019, the largest U.S.-based technical conference and trade show for the railroad industry! took place in September in Minneapolis, Minnesota and was a great success. An estimated 7,000+ attendees and hundreds of exhibitors from all over the world gathered at this combined railway industry event, sponsored by AREMA (American Railway Engineering and Maintenance-of-Way Association) and CMA (Coordinated Mechanical Associations) and the exhibits of RSI (Railway Supply Institute), REMSA (Railway Engineering-Maintenance Suppliers Association) and RSSI (Railway Systems Suppliers, Inc.)

In November, WVCO was named “APA Supplier of the Year” at the APA Annual Meeting held in conjunction with the EWTA Info Fair in Tucson, Arizona. This marks the fifth year in a row we have received this esteemed award, and the tenth out of the last 14 years! EWTA’s Supplier of the Year Awards are based on the quality and delivery of EWTA member products, equipment and/or services supplied to APA members, as determined by a vote of APA mill managers.

2019 also brought major changes to the world of robotics. WVCO’s PRE-TEC division enhanced robotic weld cell automation by introducing a unique line-up of FASWeld Standard Robotic Weld Cells, built for companies using automation for the first time, as well as customers looking to expand their robotic automation capabilities. Each system is developed using the highest quality industrial components.

What new developments do you predict 2020 will bring? Stay tuned and find out! WVCO wishes all of our employees, customers, partners and friends a very happy new year!

FastPatch HPRE® System Case Study – Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART)

A Disruption in DART’s Downtown Business District

FastPatch HPRE® Downtown Dallas Business District, May 2019.

FastPatch HPRE® Downtown Dallas Business District, May 2019.

Willamette Valley Company, LLC specializes in collaborative approaches to solving tough industry problems.  Earlier this year, Willamette Valley Company had the opportunity to work with Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) which serves the Dallas–Fort Worth metroplex of Texas.

Story Source: wvcorailroad.com

Embedding rail in rail grout had traditionally been a messy, labor-intensive, wasteful and time-consuming process. When Mike Holbrook, VP of Rail Operations for DART, found out about a new mechanically delivered and fast curing Polyurethane system, he started working with Willamette Valley Company’s Bret Andreasen to create a system that would bring rail grout into the modern Transit and Light Rail World. (To read Mike Holbrook’s full article on the Dallas DART project see Passenger Transport June 24th 2019 edition, page 10 )

DART provided multiple test locations before committing to this new disruptive technology to bring rail grout into the 21st Century. “We chose HPRE®-MD from the Willamette Valley Company for Environmental, Labor Reduction, Speed of Cure and Noise & Vibration reduction reasons AND it’s made in America” cites Holbrook.

HPRE®-MD allows trains to be put back into service within 1 hour of placing the rail grout due to the quick cure of the 2 liquid components which are mixed at the nozzle. The high output of a minimum 30 cubic feet per hour allowed DELTA RR and GW Peoples to finish early with just a 3 man crew. DELTA & GWP were instrumental in creating innovative methods for preparing the rail replacement and for installing the rail grout.

For example, Larry Lorella of DELTA RR pushed for larger containers for the chemicals asking the manufacturer to design day tanks to avoid time-consuming change-outs of the chemical totes. Willamette Valley’s Bret Andreasen went to work and the result was further collaboration and success for the Design, Manufacturing and Contracting teams. The disruption to service in Dallas was minimized, the disruption to traditional technology by using HPRE®-MD is a big impact.

So what makes this technology work so well in the Light Rail/Transit World? Nathan Werst, the formulating chemist for HPRE®-MD explains: “Although fast curing Polyurethanes are nothing new in the Construction World, what is new is the level of performance that HPRE® provides. My team designed a system that meets the highest performance possible to support current and future ridership forecasts and environments.”

“For example, The HPRE®-MD system is VOC free and 100 times more electrically isolating than previous/existing generation materials on offer. HPRE®-MD was formulated to maximize the expectations of the specifiers and owners expectations as to how a rail grout should perform and not how it could perform based upon technology available at that time.”

Mr. Werst added: “We do not worry about comparing Shore hardness to outdated technology or our compressive strength to harder (brittle) materials, what really counts is toughness and resilience to stand the test of time and increased load.”

Agencies that have and are using the polymer system include: DART, Baltimore MTA, Cleveland, Minneapolis, Chicago RTD, SFMTA, RTD (Denver), VTA, BART as well as many DOTs and Airport facilities in the USA, Canada, Latin America and around the Globe. If you would like more information about this topic, please contact us at Sales@WVCORailroad.com or 800-333-9826.