WVCO Partner Spotlight on the European Panel (EPF) Federation

WVCO Partnership European Panel (EPF) Federation

The Willamette Valley Company has formed a number of valuable partnerships with multiple organizations that helped us lead the way in the Wood Products industry in the United States and across the world. This month, we are spotlighting one of the newer partnerships we have formed with the European Panel (EPF) Federation, the “voice of the EU wood-based panel industry”. EPF represents the European manufacturers of particleboard, MDF, OSB, hard and softboard, and plywood and represents members in 25 countries.

As demand for wood products increases globally, the EU wood panel industry is thriving; bringing in about 22 billion euro each year while creating more than 100,000 jobs for an estimated 5,000 businesses across Europe. In the ever-changing political and economic environment across Europe, there is a growing need for a collective voice to speak on behalf of members of the EU wood-based panel industry and European Panel (EPF) Federation provides just that. “Working with our members, we make the case for the industry as an integral part of the EU’s bio and circular economy, while championing high standards of wood-based panel manufacturers and their contribution to a greener, more sustainable economy,”​ states the organization.

Their mission is to advocate for all producers of particleboard, MDF, OSB, hardboard, softboard and plywood producers, suppliers and stakeholders for economic, technical and environmental issues towards European and international institutions. In addition, the organization provides detailed communications and data for its members as well as increase opportunities to showcase their members’ work.

Architects, builders, and designers all over Europe are embracing wood products for construction projects due to multiple economic and environmental benefits of using the material. Wooden structures are proving to be more durable and provides other benefits like fire resistance, superior acoustic insulation, better thermal insulation in addition to an overall pleasing aesthetic. For more on this, read Types of Wood-Based Panels and Their Economic Impact.

As WVCO is a multinational corporation, we are especially proud to partner with this outstanding organization that is taking steps to further the wood products industry throughout Europe. We are recognized the world over by industry associations and organizations, as well as other leading-edge companies who have found it beneficial to forge partnerships with us in order to better serve their customers and memberships. Those same partnerships have enabled us to better serve our customers by giving us access to the latest technologies, methodologies, and resources. Some of our other valued partnerships include:

American Plywood Association – APA

American Public Works Association – APWA

American Railway Engineering and Maintenance-of-Way Association – AREMA

American Short Line & Regional Railroad Association – ASLRRA

Canadian Plywood Producers – Canply

Engineered Wood Technology Association – EWTA

International Concrete Repair Institute – ICRI

NACE International

Polyurea Development Association – PDA

Polyurethane Manufacturers Association – PMA

Railway Engineering-Maintenance Suppliers Association – REMSA

The Society for Protective Coatings – SSPC

Wood Moldings and Millwork Producers Association – WMMPA

Where Can I Find Technical Data on WVCO Products & Solutions?

wil-spray-500

For almost seven decades, innovators at Willamette Valley Company have introduced hundreds of custom solutions to companies multiple industries and specialties ranging from wood products to railroad, manufacturing, robotics, concrete and more.

Our elite chemists and engineers are working together to devise better products like coatings, fillers, adhesives, robotics, parts and more to improve the functionality and efficiency of your company’s operations. The list products and services produced by the following divisions is much too long to mention in a single post:

Wood Products
WVCO Railroad
PRE-TEC
FastPatch 
POLYQuik
Eclectic Products Incorporated
Idaho Milling and Grain
Tapel Willamette

We invite you to look through WVCO’s list of Technical Data Sheets to learn the specifics of our products and services like Paints & Primers, Inks, Synthetic Patch, Railroad Products, Extenders & Fillers, Epoxies, Putties and more so your company many benefit from them as well. Each sheet details the product’s features, benefits, where to use, typical properties, application details and contact information.

We stand by the quality of all of our wood products solutions, equipment, parts, railroad maintenance products, concrete repair solutions, wood molding products, flooring products, automated systems and agriculture solutions. Please let us know what WVCO can do for your company?

WVCO Partner Spotlight: Railway Engineering-Maintenance Suppliers Association (REMSA)

Photo Source: REMSA

Willamette Valley Company is proud to partner with many outstanding organizations that have helped to lead the way in our industries. These unique partnerships have enabled us to better serve our customers by giving us access to the latest technologies, methodologies, and resources.

This month, we are spotlighting our partnership with REMSA (Railway Engineering-Maintenance Suppliers Association), a non-profit trade group representing over 330 railway engineers, contractors, and consultants and maintenance-of-way suppliers across the country.

One of the things we value the most about our partnership with REMSA is their efforts to advance initiatives in support of the rail industry (a $5 billion industry supporting over 35,000 jobs nationwide) and the business development opportunities the organization extends to its members on a national and international scale. Since 1965, the organization has strived to provide its members with the very best equipment, machines, and services in the railroad industry.

REMSA’s Mission is to facilitate global business development opportunities to companies and individuals who manufacture or sell maintenance-of-way equipment, products, and services or are engineers, contractors, and consultants working in construction and/or maintenance of railroad transportation facilities.

Watch the video below to learn more about REMSA’s key membership value initiatives and its role in supporting the maintenance of way industry.

REMSA is also a sponsor of Railway Interchange, the largest combined railway exhibition and technical conference in North America. WVCO has had the honor of participating in this world-class rail industry event a number of times by showcasing our WVCO Railroad and POLYQuik products. In addition, the organization supports the rail industry through actions such as:

*Maintaining long standing alliances with the Federal Railroad Administration, Association of American Railroads, the American Railway Engineering and Maintenance-of-Way Association (AREMA), the Railway Systems Suppliers, Inc., the Railway Supply Institute, the National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association, American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association, and the U.S. Congress, among others.

*Publishing a quarterly newsletter that includes interviews with industry leaders, articles on foreign opportunities, legislation and lobbying efforts, company profiles, as well as exhibition and meeting news.

*Providing scholarships to REMSA member company employees and their families.
Supporting networking with an interactive job board, Career Network, that offers easy-to-use and highly targeted resources for online employment connections.

*Association representatives are politically active on behalf of its members and the railroad industry by meeting with lawmakers in Washington, DC, and at the state level.

To learn more about REMSA and the other contributions the organization has given to our industry, please visit www.remsa.org. 

PRE-TEC Moves to New Location- Stays Committed to Innovation

Pre-Tec's New Home

PRE-TEC’s new building located at 990 Owen Loop North, in Eugene Oregon

PRE-TEC, the robotics division of Willamette Valley Company, has moved! The company relocated from its 38,000 sg ft. facility at 675 McKinley Street, to a new 110,000 sg ft. building with over 60,000 sg ft. of manufacturing space.
PRE-TEC Moves into New space

General Manager, Stan Reynolds commented, “ By more than doubling our manufacturing base, we are able to better serve our customers, and have room for future growth.” In addition to the PRE-TEC Division, all the groups at the corporate headquarters on Arrowsmith Street are now also in the Owen Loop building.

Founded more than 25 years ago, PRE-TEC is the largest custom robotic integrator on the West Coast. Known also for superior chemical metering products, PRE-TEC has prepared more than 165 robotic systems in the last decade alone.

Click here for the full report.

How Is Automation and Robotics Good for the American Workforce?

PRE-TEC Robotics Willamette Valley Company

“The overwhelming conclusion of industry experts is that automation doesn’t spell the end of gainful employment for humans, but rather, the improvement of employment opportunities.”

– From How Robotic Automation is Changing the Job Market

As industrial automation technology continues to develop and evolve, our PRE-TEC team is here to help businesses all over the country prepare for the future by developing innovative custom manufacturing solutions to help businesses grow. Since the 1990s, WVCO’s PRE-TEC division has been at the forefront of innovative manufacturing solutions and the development of precision equipment. Our team has prepared hundreds of robotic systems through the decades that have led to measurable improvements for the company’s overall “bottom line”.

It is not difficult to understand how the use of industrial robots is a cost-effective way to produce higher quality products and increase productivity, but if you look deeper, you will see the benefits to human workers as well. In fact, there are a number of ways the evolution of robotics are improving conditions and creating new opportunities for workers. However, the use of robotics is not without controversy.

The Fear of Automation & Robotics
There is an unfortunate perception that robots will eliminate the need for the human workforce in the near future. Job security is always a primary concern among manufacturing workers and the projected increase in automation is causing anxiety among the American workforce. It is understandable why many employees and labor unions can perceive automation as a threat to their well-being and job security.

How Does Automation Benefit Workers?
In this post, we’d like to counter those fears and make the point that automation does not necessarily equal job loss. In fact, it’s quite the contrary- the evidence is showing that automation is actually improving prospects for American workers. A wide range of industry experts agree that automation will lead to better working conditions, higher pay and job growth.

1) Safer Working Conditions
By taking on the necessary manufacturing tasks that can be repetitive and cumbersome for workers, automation creates a safer work environment and reduces the risk of serious and sometimes fatal on-the-job accidents. Eliminating these tasks in a fast-paced production line reduces stress, mental fatigue, and injuries that can result from lifting and moving large objects.

2) More Satisfaction
Business experts predict that improving tasks like parts retrieval or transferring materials within a facility will allow workers to redirect their skills to better uses. If machines can perform tasks that are repetitive or even dangerous for employees to perform, workers have more opportunities focus their efforts on more engaging job functions that improve quality and customer service like Q.C. checks, special orders, machine operation, maintenance, repair, and line supervision.

3) Higher Pay
Historically, supply and demand drive wage increases and businesses can only pay workers more if they become more productive. Automation enables human workers to be more efficient and focus on more valuable tasks that justify a higher wage. Manufacturing job titles and tasks are changing and employers are adding higher paying job opportunities like system operators, supervisors, programmers, and technicians to keep operating systems in top condition and running efficiently.

4) More jobs
In most cases, utilizing automation for materials handling results in higher output for a lower cost. As a company grows, so will the need for more jobs in that industry. As an example, the Wall Street Journal cites the growth of the banking industry after automated tellers were introduced in the 1970s. After ATMs were introduced, more branches were opened which resulted in more positions and job openings to be filled for decades.

Like computers, automation does not mean job elimination. Despite their advanced capabilities, automated robotic systems do not eliminate the need for a human workforce. According to the McKinsey Global Institute, more than 90% of jobs will not be able to be fully automated. Robotics and automation will improve production, employee safety, and satisfaction, which results in a lower turnover. Adapting to the “age of robotics” is a necessary change businesses will need to make in order to stay competitive and to help maximize their worker’s potential.

Is Cross-Laminated Timber a Game Changer?

Cross Laminated Timber

If you haven’t already heard of Cross-Laminated Timber (CLT) by now, you will.  More and more architects and designers are making the switch to building with Cross-Laminated Timber, some even going as far to refer to it as the “Concrete of the 21st Century”.

Nearly every day, there is news about new multi-family and commercial structures constructed using this seemingly “magical” material. It’s even being embraced by mainstream companies like McDonald’s.  In fact, demand for this material is expected to grow by as much as 15% over the next decade.

But what is it? Cross-laminated timber (CLT) is a large-scale, prefabricated, solid engineered wood panel that is made up of kiln-dried wooden boards stacked in alternating directions (where the cross of the name comes from), then stuck together with structural adhesives. While at the mill, CLT panels are cut to size, including door and window openings, with state-of-the art CNC (Computer Numerical Controlled) routers, capable of making complex cuts with high precision. Finished panels are typically 2 to 10 feet wide, with lengths up to 60 feet and thickness up to 20 inches.

Watch the video below for more details:

What are the Benefits of Cross-Laminated Timber? CLT is lightweight yet very strong, with superior acoustic, fire, seismic, and thermal performance making it ideal for long spans in walls, floors, and roofs. It’s also fast and easy to install, generating almost no waste onsite. Finished CLT panels are exceptionally stiff, strong, and stable. Other benefits include:

Simple, Quick Construction
CLT panels are lightweight and arrive on site with a structural system ready to be assembled. The process is both simple and swift, allowing for immediate and accurate construction which in turn saves time and money.

Fire-Resistant
Though it may sound strange to tout fire-resistance as a benefit of a wooden building material, it’s one of Cross-Laminated Timber’s greatest strengths. The lamination of CLT has an inherent fire-resistance to it, and the construction of the panels and structures allows little room for fire to spread. Additionally, the solid thermal mass of CLT prevents the conduction of heat from one side of the panel to the other, allowing extremely high temperatures to remain isolated to a side as the other remains at room temperature.

Sustainable
The nature of wood makes it the only building material that can be regrown and feasible in the long-term. Precision cutting of CLT minimizes on-site waste and its manufacturing requires less energy than producing steel or concrete. Cross-Laminated Timber’s light carbon footprint is one of its greatest strengths.

Acoustic Insulation
Solid wood paneling provides superior acoustic insulation, dampening both airborne and impact noises. Its lightweight nature also leads to quiet construction, making it ideal for urban development.

Thermal Insulation
In the same way that Cross-Laminated Timber’s airtight design creates auditory insulation it also creates thermal insulation. Tightly packed panels can trap 90% of the heat that would ordinarily escape from a home. CLT’s previously-mentioned high thermal mass means that temperatures are kept stable and comfortable.

Pleasing Aesthetics
There’s a warm, soothing visual quality to building with wood that separates it from the lifeless concrete slabs that typically fill a city. Cross-Laminated Timber also grants designers with the freedom to experiment with more organic and creative structures than previously allowed by old-fashioned building techniques.

When comparing the manufacturing costs of certain steels and concrete, as well as the money saved on shorter construction time, CLT comes out as at a competitive price.

To learn more, visit CLT Basics on www.apawood.org & Is the Construction Industry About to Enter a Timber Age? on our blog.

Photo labeled for reuse @ flickr.com/photos/designmilk

2018 International Mass Timber Conference

“We believe that a greater use of cross-laminated timber and other mass timber products in mid- to high-rise building construction is the innovative, disruptive, modern, and sustainable choice necessary for building in a fast-growing world.”

masstimberconference.com

As one of the world’s top companies in the wood products industry, Willamette Valley Company continues to strive to be on the forefront of the advancement and possibilities of the mass timber industry and cross-laminated timber. Last week, WVCO proudly represented our wood products division at the 2018 International Mass Timber Conference, the premier, global conference for cross-laminated timber and other mass timber construction.

This conference, co-produced by WoodWorks and the Forest Business Network, is one of the largest gatherings of mass timber experts in the world. Architects, engineers, city planners, representatives from major construction companies, mass timber manufacturers, designers, fire officials, mass timber equipment suppliers, representatives from sawmills and many more gathered in Portland, Oregon for the 3-day event packed with presentations and learning opportunities from international experts and presentations.

Demand for cross-laminated timber and construction is growing all over the world. Recently, a new study by Grand View Research, Inc suggests the growing demand for sustainable houses made from wood is likely to drive the global cross-laminated timber market. The report states that the “market is expected to reach a valuation of USD 2.07 billion by 2025. Rising awareness among consumers regarding wooden products and increasing number of suppliers for cross-laminated timber (CLT) are likely to augment the growth. Based on product type, the market can be classified as adhesive bonded and mechanically fastened CLT.”

As more and more evidence is suggesting that CLT is the future of the construction and building industry, the Willamette Valley Company will certainly be participating in more of these types of conventions and pledges to remain one of the top innovators in the wood products industry.

 

What is in store for Rail in 2018?

Rail

Photo Source: American-Rails

“We feel very good about the future and look forward to next year. We are committed to provide superior service to our customers, and with the volume growth momentum still ahead of us, we see good growth opportunity. A major focus as we move into 2018 is putting more of our resources in place: the people, the equipment and the capital investments.” — Canadian National President and CEO Luc Jobin

What’s the state of the rail industry in 2018? Today’s modern railroads face diverse and unique challenges in daily maintenance projects. There is a lot to be optimistic about in the coming year for rail, though at the moment it is a cautious optimism. A strong U.S. economy and increased consumer confidence could potentially bring new investments and policies that would positively affect all levels of infrastructure throughout the country.

Overall, 2017 was a good year for the rail industry, with the ASCE’s report card giving it the only strong grade of its infrastructure report card. NASDAQ also reported strong growth for railroads in the third quarter due in part to improved focus on deliverables like coal.

Of course, there are challenges to overcome that could impact the industry. Some lawmakers have called for budget cuts, stating that trains are not profitable. National Association of Railroad Passengers (NARP) President and CEO Jim Mathews responded by saying “those in Congress who believe that passenger rail is not profitable are mistaken. What they don’t see is the big picture. A robust national–and international–intermodal transportation system is crucial to economic growth, especially in those rural and less wealthy areas where travel options are already limited.”

Uncertainty with the North American Free Trade Agreement could also be a factor that greatly impacts the rail industry. Railroads such as the Kansas City Southern that deal heavily with Mexico could potentially feel the repercussions of the deal falling through.

Union Pacific’s Lance Fritz highlights Mexico is a strong business opportunity. “Despite uncertainty around NAFTA, we consider our Mexico business an opportunity that could benefit some of our submarkets. Union Pacific moves 70 percent of U.S. freight-rail shipments to and from Mexico through gateways at Brownsville, Laredo, Eagle Pass and El Paso, Texas; Nogales, Arizona; and Calexico, California. We support trade that helps the U.S. and Mexico economies grow.”

As new infrastructure plans and investments are revealed, the railroad industry’s future will become clearer. We hope it’s a bright one.

About WVCO’s Railroad Division
The Willamette Valley Company’s Railroad Division is the industry leader in providing innovative new products and application systems for today’s railroads. The Railroad Division’s proprietary product, SpikeFast®, has quickly become the most sought-after and reliable product for plugging spike holes.The Railroad Division also offers other railroad tie products for wood and concrete ties, and unique application systems to accurately and consistently apply proven products.

Sources:

https://www.globalrailwayreview.com/article/63203/expanding-passenger-rail-u-s-economy/

https://www.globalrailwayreview.com/news/62949/report-amtrak-cuts-cost-billions/

http://www.nasdaq.com/article/railroad-industry-outlook-december-2018-cm886615

http://www.progressiverailroading.com/rail_industry_trends/article/Outlook-2018-For-Class-I-railroads-moderate-growth-is-the-best-guess–53413

Feeling Creative? Add a Little Unicorn Spit into the Mix!

UnicornSpitUnlike its namesake, Eclectic Products’ Unicorn Spit is very real and extremely useful! This product mixes Paint, Gel Stain, and Glaze into one vibrant mixture, giving customers the ability to turn any everyday objects into a masterpiece.

Pick from 14 different colors and let your creativity run wild! Unicorn Spit penetrates into deep wood and glazes over existing finishes, making it the ideal final touch when fixing up some furniture. Of course, Unicorn Spit works on so much more than wood; add it to some fabric, glass, metal, concrete, or pottery to give objects a stylish new look.

Inspired? Here are some great ways people are using Unicorn Spit to take their creativity further.

If you’re ready to create your very own masterpieces, head on over to Unicorn Spit’s Directions and Tutorials for tips and tricks on how to get the most out of your product.

About Eclectic Products, Inc.

Headquartered in Eugene, Oregon, Eclectic Products specializes in adhesive/patch/coatings and repair products ranging from 0.18 oz. tubes to industrial totes and drums. The company offers powerful brands with exceptional performance and high-level technical R&D abilities. Eclectic Products has earned numerous awards for product performance, innovative design and excellence from organizations such as theNational Retail Hardware Association, HGTV Magazine and Handyman Magazine. Eclectic’s manufacturing facility based in Pineville, Louisiana has also been recognized by the State of Louisiana for demonstrating exceptional quality of work and a commitment to community. All products are proudly made in the U.S.A.

How Does a Robotic Wood Wrapping Machine Work?

PRE-TEC FANUC Robotics

Originally posted on www.fanucamerica.com

Wood manufacturers are discovering that industrial robots are ideal for the hazardous work environments they encounter in the woodworking industry. In this application video, PRE-TEC (a division of Willamette Valley Company) has implemented an automated wood wrapping system in which four FANUC robots apply protective wrapping, end sealant, and label to I-Joist Beams or Stacked Laminated Veneer Lumber. This system can automatically apply protective wrapping for multiple length, width and height units on the fly by calculating the load dimensions.

This system utilizes one FANUC M-710iC/70 robot, two M-16iB/10L robots, and one M-20iA/10L robot to complete the process. The FANUC robots transfer each piece, accurately measure and stretch the wrapping to match the piece size, apply the sealant, and stack the wood for distribution. The beams are measured continuously on the carousel to be sure the correct size wrapping is loaded.

The robots then wrap and staple the wood automatically. In this system, robots replaced an operation that presented stapling hazards as well as those that come with handling large pieces of engineered wood products. In addition to removing stapling and handling hazards, PRE-TEC says that this robotically automated process has made their system much more efficient. To learn more about this robotic wrap applicator system, please visit PRE-TEC’s website at http://www.pre-tec.com/custom-robotics.

Follow the link to learn more about our full line of Wrapping & Material Handling Robots.