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

Willamette Valley Company to Exhibit Concrete Repair Products at ICTD 2018

WCVO is headed to the ASCE International Conference on Transportation & Development (ICTD 2018) in Pittsburgh July 15th-18th to demonstrate what our concrete repair products can do for those in the transportation and public infrastructure industry.

ICTD 2018 is organized by The Transportation & Development Institute (T&DI) with the goal of facilitating the exchange of information, knowledge, and best practices among transportation and development practitioners and researchers, public infrastructure owners, policy makers, government engineers and planners, operations managers and leading academics from around the world.

“Emerging Technologies: Impacts on Transportation & Development” is the central focus for this year’s conference and gives transportation professionals a chance to network, share ideas and advance the knowledge on the impact of technologies on transportation and development. “With the rapid growth in Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CAVs), V2V and V2I communication, on-demand location-based transportation, and other emerging technologies, there is a critical need to assess and prepare for the impact of these technologies on transportation and development as a whole” it states on the conference website. An outstanding panel of speakers and exhibitors have been assembled to discuss the impact of new technology on mobility, safety, transit, airports, freight, pavements and other key elements of transportation infrastructure and operations.

 

If you are headed to the conference, we invite you to stop by our booth to learn about our FastPatch concrete repair products and how agencies all over the United States and around the world are using it for service on major highways, airports, bridges, railroads and more.

To learn more, read How FastPatch Became an Innovative Solution for Concrete Repair or visit fastpatchsystems.com. For more information contact us at FastPatch@wilvaco.com.

WVCO to Exhibit FastPatch Fiber Connect 2018

Fiber-Connect

As the demand for more bandwidth and widespread deployments of fiber broadband increases, so does the need for cost-effective concrete repair solutions. Fiber networks are enhancing economic development and social interaction in communities throughout the United States and the world. According to Cisco’s latest Virtual Networking Index, the average North American home has 7 Internet-capable devices going at any given time. And by the year 2020, that number will swell to over 12 devices per person.

Fiber optic installation must be precise and cost-effective so numerous civic, business and political leaders are turning to reliable concrete repair solutions like FastPatch to quickly repair roads, sidewalks and other important infrastructure while keeping repair costs down.

WVCO will be in Nashville June 4th-6th exhibiting products from our FastPatch division at the premier fiber broadband event in North America – the 2018 Fiber Connect conference, presented by the Fiber Broadband Association! We are looking forward to the opportunity to meet with industry leaders, fiber broadband network operators, and other cutting-edge vendors and equipment providers.

Typical uses of FastPatch concrete repair products include

  • Filling voids, defects and damaged areas in roadways, parking lots, warehouses, and sidewalks.
  • Concrete foundations and footings, anchor bolts or rebar.
  •  Repair cracks and spalls in roadways, warehouse, and freezer floors.
  • Roadway, warehouse floors, and dock repairs.
  •  Pillars, curbs, sidewalks.

About the Fiber Broadband Association (FBA)
The FBA is a non-profit association consisting of organizations that deliver services over next-generation, direct fiber-optic connections – as well as companies that manufacture fiber products and others involved in planning and building fiber networks.
Gigabit-enabled networks are now possible and are beginning to appear in some communities, with expectations that these superfast, all-fiber services will become standard within a few short years. To learn more, visit www.fiberbroadband.org.

PRE-TEC Introduces New Fanuc SCARA Robot Line

The Fanuc SCARA robot line is the new standard in that product line for precision high-speed picking and tracking and easy integration into process lines and systems.
PRE-TEC is committed to providing industry-leading, flexible, automated solutions through robotic integration. The new Fanuc SCARA robot line now offered by PRE-TEC introduces new opportunities for our customers to make use of a cost-effective and robust product for their small, fast, and simple applications.

The Fanuc SCARA robot line is the new standard in that product line for precision high-speed picking and tracking and easy integration into process lines and systems. Using a limited workspace, the SCARA robot is able to reach a large pick and place area.

Equipped with a 360-degree radius work envelope, work can be completed behind the SCARA robot with a compact inner radius that leaves more workstations around the machine for additional efficiencies. The system is perfect for applications with 180-degree operation in one second with precise part handling.

Ideal for applications across consumer electronics, automotive components, medical devices, plastics and rubbers, and food and beverages, the SCARA robot can be quickly integrated and redeployed with small footprints and with low power requirements. There is a flexibility achieved in the workspace, specifically when workflow and layout are critical. The SCARA robot can move in full z strokes, across a single plane or in a parallel plane motion, improving access and efficiency when cost is critical.

Competitive with linear actuators, the Fanuc SCARA robot is able to replace hard automation tools, specifically where a high level of stiffness is required for precise placement of small parts on high-speed lines.

PRE-TEC can design and build cost-effective and time-saving options for customers with the SCARA robot line, a solution that can compete with high-speed CAM driven hard automation solutions. Contact our team of automation engineers to see how we can help improve your manufacturing layout with a cost-effective and time-efficient solution using Fanuc’s SCARA robots.

To learn more, click here to download the SCARA Flyer or Contact a PRE-TEC Engineer.

Advances in Industrial Robotics and Automation on the Rise


The concept of utilizing industrial robotics in mass production is nothing new. In fact, the use of robotics and automation go back to the 1970s as industries wanted to find new ways to increase product quality and productivity without increasing costs. In the 1990s, a group of innovative, take-charge individuals at Willamette Valley Company saw the benefits of industrial automation for metering chemical products and launched our robotics division. This division was later named “PRE-TEC” in 2009.

As mass production evolves and grows, our PRE-TEC engineers understand that the use of industrial robots is a cost-effective way to produce higher quality products and increase productivity. Our team of engineers and scientists work closely with our industry partners to contribute innovative ideas and stay ahead of the curve when it comes to advances in the robotics field.

Our robotics partner, Robotic Industries Association (RIA), believes that the use industrial automation equipment is significantly on the rise. As the technology develops, it is estimated that the number of industrial automation and robots deployed worldwide will go up to 2.6 million units by 2019.

There have been numerous exciting advances made in industrial robotics over the years. One example is the use of Vision-Guided Robot (VGR) Systems. VGR robots, robotic systems fitted with vision sensors, are able to work for longer periods of time with a high level of speed and reliability. VGR systems not only surpass the use of traditional “blind” robots, they are highly adaptable and easy to implement.

“Flexibility is a key driver of ROI in robotics,” says RIA in this article. “3D vision capabilities have allowed robots to complete more than one task without reprogramming, as well as the ability to account for unforeseen variables in work environments. Further, 3D vision allows a robot to recognize what’s in front of it, to a certain extent, and react accordingly.”

By automating tasks that previously were done manually, 3D vision-guided robots are revolutionizing mass production. Using 3D smart sensors with onboard software, an industrial robot can perform tasks like “Pick and Place”, the action of automatically sensing and picking up the correct parts and placing them in the desired order and location. This function, something that could previously only be done by a skilled worker, was once a challenge for robots, but it is now a common practice in the day-to-day operations in most factories.

To learn more about 3D Smart Sensors in Vision-Guided Robotic Systems, click here.

PRE-TEC's New Fanuc SCARA Robot Line

PRE-TEC’s New Fanuc SCARA Robot Line

Another exciting advance in industrial robotics technology is the ability for robots to work in a more efficient and compact workspace. PRE-TEC’s new Fanuc SCARA robot line is the new standard for precision high-speed picking and tracking. Equipped with a 360-degree radius work envelope, work can be completed behind the SCARA robot with a compact inner radius that leaves more workstations around the machine for additional efficiencies. Click here to learn more about the Fanuc SCARA robot line.

About PRE-TEC
The PRE-TEC division of Willamette Valley Company is currently the largest custom robotic integrator on the West Coast having installed systems throughout North America. PRE-TEC offers support in areas of training, programming, spare parts, and preventive maintenance. Please visit www.wilvaco.com to learn more about WVCO’s other divisions.

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.

A Look at Infrastructure’s 2017 and 2018

US Infrastructure

Photo Source: Inhabitat.com

As 2017 comes to a close it’s the ideal time to reflect on the year and look towards the future. Specifically, the present and future of the United States’ infrastructure.

In the views of many, 2017 could have been a better year for infrastructure.The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE)’s 2017 report card gave infrastructure a national grade of D+.This grade is based on a total average of individually graded categories, such as aviation, schools, drinking water, and energy to name a few. The one category where infrastructure is succeeding is Rail, the highest rated category at a B rating. Find the grading breakdown of the report card here.

ReportCard

Image Source: ASCE

So how can infrastructure improve in 2018? The ASCE offers several solutions to raise the grade. One such improvement is for leadership to be emboldened. As ASCE President Dr. Norma Jean Mattei puts it “we need our elected leaders – those who pledged to rebuild our infrastructure while on the campaign trail – to follow through on those promises with investment and innovative solutions that will ensure our infrastructure is built for the future.”

Another such solution offered would be to increase sustained infrastructure investment, specifically from 2.5% to 3.5% of U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by 2025. Their third recommendation would be to ensure that infrastructure is more resilient and sustainable in order to prepare it for the future.

Will these solutions be implemented? It may be too early to say. The current administration has promised to announce their infrastructure plan and will reveal spending for the next few years. If the promise of $1 trillion worth of infrastructure investment is true, then it is very possible we may see the report card grade improve drastically in the coming years. One thing is certain: 2018 and the new infrastructure plan will bring drastic policy changes that will be felt throughout all facets of infrastructure.

Sources:

https://www.infrastructurereportcard.org/

https://www.asce.org/templates/press-release-detail.aspx?id=24013

http://thehill.com/policy/transportation/363813-trump-to-release-infrastructure-plan-next-month-report

 

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.