How the WVCO Railroad Solutions Are Revolutionizing the Rail Supply Industry

Division Spotlight: WVCO Railroad Division
WVCO Railroad
Did you know that the rail industry’s roots go all the way back to 1st millennia BC when the Ancient Greeks used a prepared earth road that forced land cars to follow a predetermined path? European countries began to use railroads back in the 1600s to help transport coal and eventually other materials. 

By the early 1800s, it began transporting passengers and for the last 2 centuries, railroads have been the backbone of the U.S. economy and have evolved to provide efficient and advanced transportation solutions to American businesses and consumers. 

Maintaining our modern rail system is no small feat and the rail supply industry has also seen advancements in repair products and methods through the years. Before 1999, the only spike-hole plugging products on the market for wood-tie remediation were wooden plugs and rigid foam products.

While these products were effective, they presented numerous challenges to railroad maintenance crews. They needed spike-hole plugging products that could last longer and perform well in extreme weather conditions, including heavy rain, freezing temperatures and high humidity. WVCO’s Railroad Solutions responded to this challenge and developed and engineered a new solution, SpikeFast®, a dual-component, non-foam polyurethane product that is currently regarded as the industry’s most reliable product for plugging spike holes. 

Today the railway supply industry plays an essential role in the U.S. economy in terms of jobs, tax revenue, and gross domestic product (GDP) on both the state and national level and we are proud to be a part of it. The importance of this industry and it’s many challenges is what drives us to provide some of the most innovative maintenance solutions on the market for modern railroads including wood and concrete tie repair materials, dispensing systems and FastPatch® and POLYQuik® products to improve the durability of structural applications. 

We have partnered with leading organizations like Railway Engineering-Maintenance Suppliers Association (REMSA) and American Railway Engineering and Maintenance-of-Way Association (AREMA) to better serve our customers by having access to the latest technologies, methodologies, and resources. 

Visit wvcorailroad.com/products to learn more about WVCO’s Railroad Solutions.

Twelve Facts About Engineered Wood You May Not Know

Photo @ APA — The Engineered Wood Association

Photo @ APA — The Engineered Wood Association

Since launching as a small business distributing mill supplies to the wood products industry in 1952, we’ve always had the same credo: Partnering through service, innovation, and integrity. This core belief drives our quest to find custom, innovative solutions to serve the wood products industry. 

WVCO works to fulfill our mission by maintaining close partnerships with leading wood products organizations like APA – The Engineered Wood Association, a nonprofit trade association for engineered wood product manufacturers. Considered a leading resource for information about engineered wood products, APA regularly provides resources illustrating the benefits of engineered wood and mass timber products. 

Construction Benefits of Using Mass Timber Products
Here are just a few interesting facts you may not know about the benefits of building with engineered wood products like glulam, Cross Laminated Timber (CLT), Structural Composite Lumber (SCL) and more:

➢ Cross Laminated Timber (CLT) is just one example of engineered wood that can use insect-damaged lumber. While areas may be discolored, it’s still structurally sound, and the natural blue stain adds visual interest to the project! Learn more

➢Treated glulam is an ideal building material for exposed applications, like bridges, because it stands up to extreme weather conditions. Click here to learn more. 

➢ Cross Laminated Timber (CLT) panels are six times lighter than concrete. Requiring no set time and fewer laborers to install, CLT panels are a great building material for larger applications. 

Sustainable Impact of Wood Products
There are many questions about the environmental impacts of harvesting wood. APA recently hosted a webinar to clear up some misconceptions about using wood as a green building material.  Click here to access the webinar, Wood as a Sustainable Building Material. In the meantime, here are some quick facts about the sustainable qualities of building with wood. 

Wood products facts

➢ Forest management and replanting efforts have resulted in steadily increasing timber volume. 

➢ Industrial output per unit of wood input grew 40% over the last 50 years, meaning more wood fiber ends up as usable building materials. Click here to learn more about the efficient manufacturing process of engineered wood. 

➢ Engineered wood products are manufactured mostly with wood-based biomass fuels, reducing both the number of fossil fuels used and resources wasted in manufacturing. Click here to learn more. 

➢ A young tree’s vigorous growth increases oxygen production and CO2 absorption. The carbon is then stored in the wood when harvested. Click here to learn more benefits of using wood as a sustainable building material.

The U.S. wood products industry accounts for 60% of the nation’s bioenergy production and use. Discover more facts and learn how to #buildgreen with sustainable #plywood and #OSB panels at https://www.performancepanels.com/sustainability

➢ The U.S. wood products industry accounts for 60% of the nation’s bioenergy production and use. 

Discover more environmental benefits of engineered wood at www.apawood.org/green-building. 

How Robots & Automation Are Helping to Fight the COVID-19 Pandemic

covid-19-coronavirus-covid-cell-pandemic-corona-virus-1608807-pxhere.com

As the COVID-19 pandemic overwhelms healthcare systems and devastates economies all over the world, there has never been a greater need for advances in science and technology. As a leading automation systems integrator, we’re following these developments with great interest. Scientists and engineers around the world propose that robots could be an essential support for humans in fighting the virus by performing tasks that would otherwise put human workers at risk, speed up the production of test kits, and other critical supplies through automation. 

MIT roboticist Kate Darling notes that machines helping humans do their jobs has plenty of precedent in this piece published recently on Wired.com. “ATMs allowed banks to expand teller services,” she says. “Bomb disposal robots let soldiers keep more distance between themselves and danger.”

The COVID-19 crisis is not the first time scientists have recognized the potential role robotics could have in combating infectious diseases. According to ScienceRobotics, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and the National Science Foundation identified three areas where robotics can make a difference during the 2015 Ebola outbreak: clinical care, logistics, and reconnaissance (monitoring compliance with voluntary quarantines).

Some countries and organizations have already embraced the technology to overcome the massive challenges caused by the pandemic. Here are just a few examples of how automation and robots could be used to fight COVID-19 by reducing the workload of overburdened essential workers and help prevent the spread of the virus.  

⎹ Collecting patient samples and automating lab tests.
⎹ Allow doctors and nurses to treat patients remotely.
⎹ Enable experts all over the world to perform medical tasks and contribute to research without having to travel.
⎹ Using automation to make  COVID-19 testing more efficient. 
⎹ Automate cleaning and food preparation jobs that are currently put humans at risk. 
Disinfect potentially contaminated surfaces in healthcare facilities and public spaces either using UV light that kills bugs or by repurposing agricultural robots and drones to spray disinfectant. 

Click here to see more ways robots are being used to minimize the spread of COVID-19 around the world. 

In addition to fighting the pandemic, robots are being utilized around the world to help keep the economy and infrastructure intact by tackling the many logistical challenges created by the crisis and carrying out crucial deliveries of food and medication without exposing humans while some grocery stores are beginning to use robots to keep shelves stocked

While robotics and automation cannot replace the advanced skills and the quick life-or-death decision making required from health care workers, scientists and engineers around the globe believe that the technology can go a long way to help human workers stay safe and fight the virus. See some additional resources below to learn more about the important role robotics and automation will play in this crisis.

Combating COVID-19—The role of robotics in managing public health and infectious diseases

COVID-19 pandemic prompts more robot usage worldwide

The Covid-19 Pandemic Is a Crisis That Robots Were Built For

This robot could make COVID-19 testing faster and safer 

How Robots Are Helping Grocery Stores During The Coronavirus Outbreak

Robots to the Rescue: How They Can Help During Coronavirus (and Future Pandemics)

How China, the US, and Europe are using robots to replace and help humans fight coronavirus by delivering groceries, sanitizing hospitals, and monitoring patients

Robots And Drones Are Now Used To Fight COVID-19

Pre-Tec

PRE-TEC, a division of WVCO, is a leading automation systems integrator specializing in turn-key material handling solutions. For more than thirty years, we have been building Flexible Automated Solutions designed around our customer’s specific production needs. The PRE-TEC engineers can provide more information about our services and custom robotic technologies. Contact us today for an engineering review of your needs.

How WVCO’s PRE-TEC Division Partners Through Service


Willamette Valley Company is more than just products and solutions. We partner with our customers to support their business in every way possible and ensure that we are contributing to their ongoing prosperity and success. WVCO’s PRE-TEC division has prepared hundreds of robotic systems and is currently the largest custom robotic integrator on the West Coast but some say that the legendary service provided by our technicians is our greatest asset. 

WVCO Service

Partnering through service means one-on-one interaction with each customer to develop the most appropriate, affordable, and reliable solutions for your service needs. PRE-TEC offers support in areas of training, programming, spare parts, and preventive maintenance. Here’s what one can expect when they engage the services of our PRE-TEC division.  

*One of our Service Applications Engineers will work directly with your company to provide support in training, programming, spare parts, and maintenance.

*We provide training before installation, and follow-up as needed to assure trouble-free operation.

*PRE-TEC offers a Preventive Maintenance (PM) program to assure you achieve the maximum utilization after the purchase of your new robotic system. Pre-scheduled PM visits can be scheduled annually, quarterly, or any other defined period, according to your specific needs.

*Customers are encouraged to visit our full-service machine shop in Eugene, Oregon at any time during the design and manufacturing process to view their project as it is being built.

*Our design engineers partner with your project manager to develop solutions specific to your thermal or material handling requirements. 

*Replacement parts can be ordered by calling (800) 205-9826. Our order desk can inform you whether or not the parts are in stock, current price, and approximate shipping time.

Our qualified service personnel are here to make your production easier, faster, cleaner, and worry-free.  Service can be scheduled in advance by contacting Mike Fling at PRE-TEC at +1 (541) 984-4816. Visit pre-tec.com to learn more?

Major Milestones of the Softwood Plywood Industry

Major Milestones in Plywood

Article Source: www.apawood.org/apas-history

The average person may not realize the significance of the softwood plywood industry to our economy and culture.

Since our roots are in the wood products industry, we thought it would be interesting to take a look back at the history of the softwood plywood Industry and the impact it has had on the United States.

What began as a product introduced by a small wooden box company in Oregon has grown into a major global industry. Today, the United States is the leading producer of softwood plywood and world’s largest producer of softwood lumber, followed by Canada and Russia according to www.state.sc.us/forest.

“Plywood is widely regarded as the original ‘engineered wood product’ because it was one of the first to be made by bonding together cut or refashioned pieces of wood to form a larger and integral composite unit. This idea of “reconstituting” wood fiber to produce better-than-wood building materials has led in more recent times to a technological revolution and the rise of a whole new engineered wood products industry.”-www.apawood.org

Here are some of the important milestones in this industry:

Portland Manufacturing Company Photo Source: APA—The Engineered Wood Association

1905
Portland Manufacturing Company, a  small wooden box factory, produced “3-ply veneer work”, the first commercial softwood plywood product to be introduced to the public.

The product, made of Pacific Northwest Douglas-fir, was displayed at the World’s Fair held in Portland.

Orders started coming in from door, cabinet and trunk manufacturers.
Other mills began making the product and the new industry spread north to Washington.

1913
The first Canadian plywood was produced at Fraser Mills in New Westminster, British Columbia.

1920s
Automobile manufacturers began using plywood for running boards.

1925
11 U.S. plants were producing 153 million square feet of plywood per year.

1933
Douglas Fir Plywood Association, the first nonprofit trade association in the industry, was founded in Tacoma, WA.

The new association developed a nationwide promotion program and helped mills assure consistent product quality.

Douglas Fir Plywood Association also helped to develop new markets and new business during the Great Depression.

1934
Waterproof glue was discovered which led to even more product application opportunities.

1938
A new commercial standard was developed and the product was promoted as a standardized commodity rather than by individual brand names.

1940
Plywood was being used as subfloors, wall sheathing, roof sheathing, paneling and in other building construction applications.

The industry had grown to 25 mills and production topped one billion square feet.

Eighty percent of production originated in the state of Washington.

1941
The plywood production industry contributed to the WWII effort. Plywood was used in PT boats, assault ships, airplanes, barracks, military buildings, shipping crates, footlockers and countless other military applications.

1947
The post-war baby and housing booms took off which caused the industry to grow dramatically.

The industry had expanded to 40 mills producing 1.6 billion feet.

1950
The Plywood Manufacturers Association of British Columbia was founded (which is known as the Canadian Plywood Association, or CANPLY today).

1952
The founders of Willamette Valley Company company recognized the lumber industry’s need for solutions to production challenges and to create better wood products.

1954
The number of mills had grown to 100. 47 of them were in Oregon, 36 were in Washington, 17 were in California.

Softwood plywood production had grown to four billion square feet.

1960
U.S. production exceeded 7.8 billion square feet which beat what analysts had predicted by 15 years.
Canadian production topped one billion square feet.

1964
Georgia-Pacific Corporation opened the nation’s first southern pine plywood mill in Fordyce, Arkansas.

The Douglas Fir Plywood Association changed its name to American Plywood Association (APA) in recognition of the emergence of the southern pine plywood industry.

1982
The industry had expanded to 175 softwood plywood plants with a combined production capacity of nearly 23.1 billion square feet in the United States.

1994
American Plywood Association (APA) was renamed again to APA—The Engineered Wood Association to better reflect the broadening product mix and geographic range of its membership, which now encompasses a wide array of engineered wood products manufactured in both the U.S. and Canada.

2005
Lumber mills in the South were producing 10 billion square feet (two-thirds of U.S. softwood plywood production).

Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Montana produced the remaining one-third—some 4.8 billion feet. Oregon has been the number one producing state for the last half century.

The residential construction market still accounts for about one-third of plywood market demand in the U.S.—an estimated 5.4 billion square feet.

Present Day
Plywood is commonly used for subflooring, wall and roof sheathing, siding, soffits, and stair treads and risers.

The largest single U.S. market for softwood plywood today is the industrial sector, including such applications as furniture frames, truck trailer linings, RV floors, agricultural bins, shipping containers, and pallets.

More information about softwood plywood and other engineered wood products can be found at www.apawood.org.

About APA—The Engineered Wood Association
APA—The Engineered Wood Association is a nonprofit trade association of and for structural wood panel, glulam timber, wood I-joist, laminated veneer lumber and other engineered wood product manufacturers throughout North America. Based in Tacoma, Washington, the Association was founded in 1933 as the Douglas Fir Plywood Association. APA represents approximately 150 mills throughout North America. APA members range from small, independently owned and operated companies to large integrated corporations. The Association’s primary functions are quality auditing, applied research, and market support and development

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. 

PRE-TEC Enhances Robotic Weld Cell Automation With FASWeld Standard Robotic Weld Cells

FASWeld Standard Robotic Weld Cells

“We are excited to bring to market an affordable, expandable, and easy-to-use robotic weld cell system that enhances the capabilities of companies as they first turn to automation and beyond.” – Pre-Tec General Manager, Stan Reynolds

Even though Willamette Valley Company’s Pre‐Tec Division has engineered more than 370 robotic systems and has become one of the largest integrators of robotic systems in the western region of North America, we are always searching for new ways to offer effective solutions through robotic automation.

One of our latest expamples of this is Pre-Tec’s 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.

The small footprint through single-piece platforms allows for rapid delivery and installation time through pre-engineered solutions that are affordable and simple to use. The robotic experts at Pre-Tec have designed solutions that enhance load and unload time through dual-zone systems with room for customization as needs change or expand.

PRE-TEC Enhances Robotic Weld Cell Automation With FASWeld Standard Robotic Weld Cells

Careful planning went into each solution with the presence of forklift pockets for quick transport within the facility with leveling functions to ensure accuracy. Safety is at the forefront with the presence of modular fencing, welding flash curtains, push button operator controls, and service access doors.

Pre-Tec Robotic Automation

PRE-TEC, by expanding their material handling capabilities, continues the problem solving tradition by producing custom robotic operation solutions for other companies’ manufacturing challenges. Learn more about our robotic weld cells by going to www.pre-tec.com or download more information here.

WVCO Railroad Division to Attend National Highway Rail Grade Crossing Safety Conference

WVCO RailroadThe WVCO Railroad Division is pleased to announce we will be exhibiting products and application systems related to rail and highway safety at the 2019 National Highway-Rail Grade Crossing Safety Conference Aug. 19-22, 2019.

This year’s conference, held at the Wyndham Grand Pittsburgh Downtown Hotel, will bring leaders in the rail and highway industries together while presenting contemporary topics and new technology to an international audience. We are looking forward to introducing our solutions designed to make today’s railroads and highways safer and more economical to event attendees that include representatives from FRA, State DOT’s, Class I, II, and III Railroads and representatives of railroads from Canada, Mexico, and overseas.

Our proprietary product, SpikeFast®, the industry’s most reliable product for plugging spike holes, frequently generates a great deal of interest during exhibitions and conferences. We are also there to provide information and answer questions about our railroad tie products for wood and concrete ties and unique application systems.

For more information about the 2019 National Highway-Rail Grade Crossing Safety Conference, please visit nathwyrrsignalconf.com.

About the WVCO Railroad Division
We aim to create the most economical and safest solutions for the railroad industry, by building innovative, high performing products and equipment. As a transportation industry leader, the WVCO Railroad Division has tackled some of the most challenging issues in this industry while providing ground-breaking new products and application systems for light and heavy rail systems all over the world. To learn more, please visit www.wvcorailroad.com.

Introducing WVCO’s New Embedded Rail Solution

Minimize rail deflection and absorb vibration with a new High-Performance Polyurethane Rail Encapsulation (HPRE) system.We aim to create the most economical and safest solutions for the railroad industry, by building innovative, high performing products and equipment. As a transportation industry leader, the WVCO Railroad Division has tackled some of the most challenging issues in this industry while providing ground-breaking new products and application systems for light and heavy rail systems all over the world.

Embedded Rail Systems in city streets and urban environments have faced a range of challenges that include excessive vibration, noise, rail deflection, and maintenance difficulties. To address these challenges, the WVCO team introduced one of our newest solutions: the FastPatch HPRE, High-Performance Rail Encapsulator. 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.

Our FastPatch HPRE, High-Performance Rail Encapsulator absorbs and significantly reduces sound & vibration and is resistant to chemicals and salts. It is also
•Electrically isolating
•Flexible and Tough
•Meter Dispensed
•Fast Cure
•COLTE and Adhesion to Concrete

The cure time is just a few minutes, allowing for quick return-to-service times. We believe this product will outlast and outperform traditional repair materials due to its unique polymer properties. Download the FastPatch HPRE Performance Sheet for more information.
EMBEDDED RAIL High Performance Rail Encapsulator

What is challenging your business? How can we increase safety and save your business money? Learn more about WVCO’s Railroad Solutions.

About the Willamette Valley Company (WVCO) Railroad Division 
The WVCO Railroad Division is the industry leader in providing innovative new products and application systems to preserve and extend the life of important assets for today’s railroads. Our solutions include railroad tie products for wood and concrete ties and unique application system along with SpikeFast®, the industry’s most reliable product for plugging spike holes. We offer the best solutions for your applications and solve some of the most challenging issues in this industry.
WVCO Railroad Solutions

WVCO Railroad Division Gets Contemporary New Look!

WVCO Railroad Products

The WVCO Railroad Products website gets a new look!

When it comes to innovations in railroad maintenance products, the WVCO railroad division is among the best in the industry. Our railroad maintenance products like SpikeFast® for plugging spike holes, high-performance grout for light rails and wood and concrete tie repair materials and application systems have been a game-changer for companies across the world; we felt it was time our world-class railroad division to have a world-class website to showcase these achievements.

The WVCO team recently launched our newly designed Railroad Solutions website featuring an easy-to-navigate, contemporary new look. In addition to the new website, the WVCO Railroad Division has launched a fresh new logo to reflect the company’s commitment to finding modern solutions to address the challenges of modern-day railroads.

WVCO Railroad Solutions

“Our outstanding team has invested hundreds of hours developing our products and pushing them to the limits,” says WVCO Business Manager, Rob Loomis. “We wanted to make it as simple as possible for rail industry professionals to find the necessary information about the performance of our wood remediation products, coatings, dispensing systems, and a new High-Performance Polyurethane Rail Encapsulation (HPRE) system.’

The site was launched in time for the 2019  AREMA Annual Conference and Exposition-the largest U.S.-based technical conference and trade show for the railroad industry scheduled for later this summer in  Minneapolis, MN.  The combined railway industry event is sponsored by WVCO partners AREMA, RSI, REMSA, and RSSI.

Visit www.wvcorailroad.com to learn more about our innovative rail products and solutions and let us know what you think of our new look!