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!

Headed for Tucson for the 2019 Engineered Wood Technology Association (EWTA) Info Fair!

2019 Info FairThe WVCO team is thrilled to once again join APA member manufacturers, EWTA members, suppliers and hundreds of other wood products industry professionals from all over the country November 2-4, 2019 at the JW Marriott Starr Pass in Tucson, Arizona for the 2019 Engineered Wood Technology Association (EWTA) Info Fair, the premier supplier exhibition for North America’s engineered product manufacturers.

Each year, managers and executives from the top engineered wood products associations, the Engineered Wood Technology Association( EWTA) and APA – The Engineered Wood Association gather to review and discuss key issues affecting the wood products industry.

Willamette Valley Company in San Antonio for the EWTA Info Fair

Willamette Valley Company team at the EWTA Info Fair. Photo @EWTA Info Fair Facebook Page

Willamette Valley Company has a long-standing history as with this important annual event, and we always look forward to it. Last year, WVCO was honored with the APA Supplier of the Year award for the fourth year in a row and for the 9th time overall.

“It forges great partnerships,” says Willamette Valley Company Vice President, Tony Vuksich. “It allows us to interface with the management of many of our very important clients, and support EWTA in a mutually beneficial setting.”

The APA 2015 Supplier Award Winners: Hunt, Guillot & Associates LLC, Panel World Magazine/Hatton-Brown Publishers, Inc., Willamette Valley Company and KADANT Carmanah Design

The APA 2015 Supplier Award Winners:
Hunt, Guillot & Associates LLC, Panel World Magazine/Hatton-Brown Publishers, Inc., Willamette Valley Company and KADANT Carmanah Design

Come see us in Booth #216 and learn more about our wide variety of wood products and custom solutions relating to plywood, LVL, OSB, lumber, cabinets and furniture, moldings, doors, trims and fascia, overlays and more!

Association Teamwork
The Engineered Wood Technology Association is a related non-profit corporation of APA – The Engineered Wood Association. EWTA represents companies that provide products and services to the engineered wood products manufacturing industry and is based in Tacoma, Wash. APA – The Engineered Wood Association has a long history of providing quality service and programs to its nearly 160 member mills in the engineered wood products industry. A key to APA’s success is the teamwork between EWTA’s supplier members and APA’s member manufacturers. To learn more, visit www.engineeredwood.org

You can also visit the event’s Facebook Page to see more photos and recaps of this year’s event.

Three Cross-Laminated Timber Projects We Are Happy to See

In case you haven’t noticed, we talk a lot about Cross-Laminated Timber (CLT). More and more architects and construction companies around the world are embracing CLT for its economic advantages, construction quality, durability, sustainability, and aesthetics. Some even refer to it as “Concrete of the 21st Century”.

“How can wood possibly replace steel and concrete in high-rise buildings? The answer is cross-laminated timber (CLT), a relatively new engineered wood product that is part of a broader category of products called “mass timber” that includes already popular products such as glulam beams. CLT panels can be made in dimensions up to 10 feet wide and 40 feet long and more than a foot thick.

The panels are composed of layers of individual pieces of lumber laminated together, with each layer arranged perpendicular to the next rather than longitudinally. An odd number of layers are bonded together by glue, dowels or nails. Once assembled, the panels form a box-like structure where the walls and floors provide both structural stability and lateral stiffness.” (Source: seattlebusinessmag.com).

It’s exciting to watch the innovative buildings and construction happening around the world right now using this engineered wood material. Proposals for new projects include a 500,000-sq-ft skyscraper in New Jersey, a 100-story tower in London, a 40-story building in Stockholm, and a residential complex in Vancouver. An 18-story CLT wood structure, a student residence at the University of British Columbia, is nearing completion (Source: woodworkingnetwork.com).

Here are a few projects that recently caught our eye:

McDonald’s New CLT Building in Chicago

McDonald’s new redesigned flagship store in Chicago is built predominantly with wood and cross-laminated timber (CLT) and features a number of sustainable elements. The LEED-certified building designed by Ross Barney Architects gives us a preview as to what all McDonalds stores will look like by 2020.

Watts Grove Under Construction in the U.K

Builders in the U.K. are tackling the affordable housing shortage by constructing Watts Grove, a project being built for Swan Housing, “one of the UK’s leading regeneration housing associations.” This exciting project, designed by Thistleton Waugh Artchitects features innovative design using Cross-Laminated Timber (CLT). Click here to see more or watch the video below

The Portland Flatiron

The timber-framed, mixed-use Portland Flatiron building currently under construction in North Portland is another project that will be a real asset to that community. This cross-laminated timber mixed-use building in North Portland is going to have four floors of office space above first floor retail space and basement level parking.

What trends have you noticed in the Cross Laminated Timber Industry? Let us know on Twitter, Facebook or on our LinkedIn Page!

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 lies ahead in the wood products industry?

Framework, Oregon's 1st Proposed All-Wood High-rise

Framework, Oregon’s 1st Proposed All-Wood High-rise

“The Wood Innovations Grant Program helps create jobs in rural communities and keeps our forests healthy. By investing in strong markets for forest products, we can incentivize sustainable forest management and sustain our rural communities.” – U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell. 

The future is certainly bright for wood products and wood energy industry! A short time ago, the U.S. Forest Service announced over $8.3 million to expand and accelerate wood products and wood energy markets. This increase will mean a total investment of over $45 million in funds from 36 business, university, non-profit, and tribal partners in 19 states. From 2013, this funding has aided in the establishing of 22 Statewide Wood Energy Teams and six Statewide Wood Utilization Teams.

Furthermore, the 2017 Wood Innovations Grant Recipients include the Arkansas Wood Utilization Council, Camptonville Forest Biomass Business Center Bioenergy Facility, Mammoth Lakes Integrated Biomass Waste Processing Center, and the Great Plains CLT market Development through Architectural Education to name a few.

On June 6, Portland officials approved a plan for the first all-wood high-rise in the United States dubbed Framework. A fitting name for what may lay the framework for other-similar all-wood high-rises to appear throughout the country. These projects are not just good for the wood industry — they are good for the country. As Gov. Kate Brown said. “Oregon’s forests are a tried and true resource that may again be the key to economic stability for rural Oregon.”

The Timber Innovation Act is another possible indicator of bright things to come. Should the bill gain Congress approval it will bring forth incentives and measures to create innovation in the timber industry and to help further development of CLT structures in the USA.

The future is no doubt a positive one for Wood Products and Wood Energy; we can’t wait to see what else is in store in the next few months.

Sources:

Forest Business Network

Washington Post

CBC

Featured Innovator: Dr. World Nieh Demonstrates the Need to Think Small to Achieve Big Ideas in Wood Products Industry

World Nieh, Photo Source IUFRO Division Conference

World Nieh, Photo Source IUFRO Division Conference

“So CLT is available now. Cellulose nanomaterials are about five years away. In 10 years, new products from the three major polymers of wood. Beyond 10 years, use your imagination. Anything can happen.” – Dr. World Nieh

When thinking about about wood, it’s easy to get caught up in the big picture: all-wood high-rises, CLT panels, Wood Energy. But sometimes, to really make a breakthrough in a field, you have to think small. In Dr. World Nieh’s case, that means thinking on the nano-level.

Dr. World Nieh is the Forest Products National Program Lead in the U.S. Forest Service’s R&D Deputy Area. He also represents the Forest Service in the National Nanotechnology Initiative, co-chairs the Biomass R&D Board inter-agency Conversions Workgroup, and co-chairs the inter-agency Sustainable Nano-manufacturing Signature Initiative.

These days, Dr. Nieh’s work is focused on developing new uses for wood such as cellulose nanomaterial technologies and low-rise buildings and bridges. But let’s take a step back and define what we mean when we say cellulose nanomaterial. Cellulose is an organic compound often used in the production of paperboard and paper that the USDA Forest Service defines as:

“Cellulose nanomaterials are primarily isolated from trees and other organisms; are naturally occurring polymeric materials that have demonstrated great promise for commercial applications across an array of industrial sectors; are renewable and environmentally sustainable; and have the potential to be produced in large volumes (i.e., millions of tons per year).

The commercialization of cellulose nanomaterials has the capacity to create hundreds of thousands of direct and indirect jobs, particularly in rural America. The United States is currently in a good position to become a leading global source of commercial cellulose nanomaterials innovation, production, and use”

Some of the benefits of cellulose nanomaterials, as outlined by Dr. Nieh, include:

  • – Better potential to control flow properties when compared to synthetic materials (such as when used with pen ink).
  • – Safe for human body use in biological applications.
  • – Light weight yet strong (particularly of interest in the automobile industry.

As indicated in the Forest Service definition, Cellulose nanomaterials has the potential to be used in a variety of fields, a point which Dr. Nieh elaborated in his interview with Pallet Enterprises.

“Nanotechnology has become one of the hottest areas of research and development in wood utilization globally,” says Dr. World Nieh. “For example, in Japan, a certain type of cellulose nanomaterial is already used in gel ink for ballpoint pens as a thickener because it performs better than existing chemical products. Oil drilling (for mud removal and maintain well pressure), fruit coating (improve shelf life), concrete (improve strength), packaging (better surface quality for printing, better barrier properties) and products for the food industry (nontoxic) are a few examples of large volume cellulose nanomaterials markets.  In 10 years, we may be able to lower the cost of producing cellulosic liquid transportation fuel so everyone in the supply chain can make a profit.”

Dr. Nieh earned his Ph.D. from Mississippi State University, M.S. from Virginia Tech as well as studying at the Polymer Science Department of the University of Southern Mississippi. He is a member of the American Chemical Society (ACS), the Forest Products Society (FPS), the Society of Wood Science and Technology (SWST) and the Technical Association of the Pulp and Paper Industry (TAPPI).

For his ongoing work to help guide the vision of the U.S. Forest Service Forest and his ongoing research into potential long term breakthroughs in the wood industry, we name Dr. World Nieh our Feature Innovator of the Month!

Dr. World Nieh does not work for Willamette Valley Company nor is he affiliated with our company.

Sources:

http://www.iufrodiv5-2017.ca/

http://www.techconnectworld.com/

http://www.palletenterprise.com/

 

Spotlight on the reThink Wood Initiative

USACE Federal Center South Building 1202 - Photo Source: Architect Magazine

USACE Federal Center South Building 1202 – Photo Source: Architect Magazine

As new timber products gain in use and application as a mainstream construction production, they will—like any other popular building material—require ongoing research to remain useful in the ever changing construction landscape. This is the reason for the reThink Wood initiative was founded, a body of research striving to bring timber to the forefront of the construction world.

Formed in 2011, the reThink Wood initiative is a collective of interests working to represent North America’s wood industry: Cross-laminated timber (CLT), nail laminated timber (NLT), and glued laminated timber (glulam). The initiative strives to present a unified message of wood performance, sustainability, and cost.

Greater Texas Foundation - Photo Source: Architecture Magazine

Greater Texas Foundation – Photo Source: Architecture Magazine

reThink Wood offers a publicly accessible research library for anyone looking to be informed on the latest news and studies in the field of wood building products. More importantly, reThink Wood highlights where research is lacking in these given areas, thus encouraging more studies in those areas.

As previously mentioned, one of reThink Wood’s guiding principals is the advocacy and education of all things timber; such an example can be seen below in one of their educational videos on the benefits of wood construction.

Everyone with an interest in the latest advances of timber and wooden constructions should take advantage of the ever-updating research and resources that reThink Wood has to offer; we know we will be!

Source:
http://www.rethinkwood.com/

http://www.architectmagazine.com/

http://www.archdaily.com/

A Look at Mass Timber Conference 2017

Photo Source: Mass Timber Conference

Photo Source: Mass Timber Conference

Last month one of the wood industry’s most important expos, Mass Timber Conference, took place in Portland, Oregon. The event provided attendees with 3 days worth of international experts and presentations on the advancement and possibilities of the mass timber industry, cross-laminated timber, and high rise wooden constructions the world over.

80 speakers, over 60 exhibits in an expo hall, receptions, and 4 educational tracks were some of the draws that awaited attendees this year. These attendees included: Architects, Engineers, City planners, Construction companies, Sawmills, Mass timber manufacturers, Mass timber equipment manufacturers, Designers, Fire officials, Mass timber equipment suppliers, Economic developers, Policy makers, State and federal agencies, and many more.

These are just a few of the many notable and captivating lectures that took place during this year’s Mass Timber Conference:

Steve Marshall, Assistant Director of Cooperative Forestry, USDA Forest Service State & Private Forestry presented Changing the Way America Builds, a look into the strategic investments and decisions made by the Forest Service towards education, research, and outreach regarding mass timber construction.

Andrew Waugh, Principal, Waugh Thistleton Architects spoke on The Future of Mass Timber Buildings. Waugh Thisleton Architects are building Dalston Lane, a contender for the world’s tallest CLT building and previously built Murray Grove; the World’s first all timber residential tower.

Robert A. Luoto, President and CEO, Cross & Crown Inc spoke on Modern Logging in a Mass Timber World, a panel discussion that explored the sustainability, standards, and regulations of modern logging practices, and how they relate to mass timber.

Adam Taylor, Associate Professor and the Forest Products Extension Specialist, University of Tennessee’s panel on Biological Durability Considerations in Mass Timber explored the biodeterioration of wood, as well as existing techniques to address the issue.

Tall Timber in Portland, Oregon: The Future of Tall Timber in the United States was presented by Thomas Robinson, Founder of LEVER Architecture, and discussed the progress of the Framework Tower project, the West Coast winner of the U.S. Tall Wood Building Competition.

Thomas Tannert, BC Leadership Chair in Tall Wood and Hybrid Structures Engineering, University of Northern British Columbia spoke to the Recent Developments, Research and Code Implementations Related to Cross-laminated Timber in Canada and gave an in depth look at several research projects and advancements in CLT.

It would be difficult task to faithfully address every one of the fascinating lectures, panels, and exhibitors at this year’s Mass Timber Conference, and our effort only scratched the surface of what this event had to offer. The best way to experience it is to take part, thus it’s never to late to start planning for Mass Timber Conference 2018.

Sources:

http://www.masstimberconference.com/

http://waughthistleton.com/

 

The world’s tallest CLT building will soon be overshadowed.

“Steel was the 1800s materials, concrete 1900s. Now we are in the 2000s and it is time for timber.” – Susanne Rudemstan, head of the Swedish Wood Building Council

“The Tree,” the aptly named 173-foot wooden Norwegian apartment block leads the way as timber buildings —or “plyscrapers” as they are affectionately called— grow in popularity the world over. It currently holds the title as the world’s tallest Timber Building,— but it may not hold it for much longer.

Come May 2017, the University of British Columbia will finish Brock Commons student residence, 17-story tall and the soon-to-be tallest wooden construction in the world.  Of course, who knows how long that title will hold? With such proposed constructions as the 80-story timber tower to be built on Chicago’s waterfront, the very next contender may be coming sooner than we think.

Tallwood-Design-Institute-Logo (1)

Just this month, Oregon State University announced the TallWood Design Institute, structured around the advancement of wood constructions and the research, education, and teaching towards the development of wooden buildings. Thomas Maness, dean of the College of Forestry, describes the institute: “Oregon’s forest products industry and sustainable design profession are recognized for their products and progressive leadership internationally. The TallWood Design Institute works to link these two together in order to grow and leverage the use of new wood products in sustainable building design.”  As institutes like the TallWood Design Institute grow in number along with initiatives like the Timber Innovation Act, we can expect a bright future for the “plyscraper.”

Sources:

Daily Mail

World’s tallest wood building completed at UBC

Woodworking Network

Construction Dive