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Metsä Fibre and Eltel sign agreement to build power line for the new Kemi bioproduct mill

International Forest Industries - Fri, 16/04/2021 - 13:28

Metsä Fibre, part of Metsä Group, and Eltel have signed an agreement to build a power line from the new bioproduct mill being constructed in Kemi to the Keminmaa substation via the Pajusaari–Isohaara–Keminmaa route. The new 110 kV power line will be about 15 kilometres long.

The bioproduct mill, which operates completely without fossil fuels, will produce 2.0 TWh of renewable electricity every year, equivalent to about 2.5 per cent of Finland’s total electricity production. The mill will have an electricity self-sufficiency rate of 250%, and this will further strengthen Metsä Group’s position as a major electricity producer relying on renewable Finnish fuels. The new power line will transmit bioelectricity from the bioproduct mill to the national grid.

Metsä Fibre and Eltel co-operation in the Kemi bioproduct mill project has already started earlier with the planning of power line. Actual construction work will begin in spring 2021, with the contract being completed by summer 2022. The degree of Finnish origin of the contract is very high, 85%.

“We want to partner with the best professionals in every field to build a cutting-edge bioproduct mill in Kemi, Finland. We require our partners to commit to the goals of the project in terms of safety, schedules and quality. Eltel’s operations comply with all of these principles. Together, we will build a significant part of the mill complex – a new power line that will supply the bioelectricity produced at the mill to the national grid,” says Jari-Pekka Johansson, Project Director for the bioproduct mill at Metsä Fibre.

“This is a significant agreement for us, and we’re excited to be part of the largest investment in the history of the Finnish forest industry,” says Juha Luusua, Managing Director of Eltel Networks Oy.

The agreement between Metsä Fibre and Eltel also includes dismantling the existing power line as well as modifying six transmission line towers  in Kemi. The delivery also includes 110 kV underground cable works at Isohaara and Keminmaa substations.

Metsä Group’s Kemi bioproduct mill project is progressing according to plan, with earthmoving and pile driving currently being carried out at the mill site. About 300 people and about 130 different companies are working at the site. The bioproduct mill project’s degree of Finnish origin is estimated to be high, about 70%. During the construction phase, the mill’s employment effect is estimated at nearly 10,000 person-years, of which more than half will be in Kemi. The total number of employees working during the construction phase is estimated to be about 15,000. The investment will secure the 250 jobs at the current Kemi mill for the coming decades. Through its direct value chain, the new bioproduct mill will employ around 2,500 people in Finland, some 1,500 more than the employment effect of the current Kemi pulp mill.

Totalling EUR 1.6 billion, the investment in Metsä Group’s Kemi bioproduct mill is the largest in the history of the Finnish forest industry. The mill will produce 1.5 million tonnes of softwood and hardwood pulp per year, as well as many other bioproducts.

More information:

Jari-Pekka Johansson
Project Director
Metsä Fibre

Anna-Liisa Pennanen
Communications Manager
Metsä Fibre
tel. +358 50 574 8071

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Bushfire detection – within one minute of ignition

International Forest Industries - Fri, 16/04/2021 - 12:11

Imagine a system that could detect any bushfire in Australia within minutes of ignition so firefighters could tackle the blaze before it spreads. Recently, an important development on the road to this future: a Queensland-based company, Fireball, announced the first purpose-built satellite for fire detection in Australia.

Scheduled for launch a year from now, the satellite is the first of a planned constellation of 24 that will monitor Australia from low Earth orbit. Once the full system, including ground-based cameras and aerial drones, is up and running, Fireball says it will be able to spot any fires within one minute of ignition.

That may sound like a bold claim, but it’s consistent with the goals of other organisations working on similar technology. Within five years, experts say, we could have a national system of automated bushfire surveillance. And we’ll need it, too. With climate change, the continent is drying out and the summers growing longer and hotter, and bushfires are predicted to become more frequent and intense. According to Marta Yebra, director of the Australian National University (ANU) Bushfire Initiative, advancements in satellites, drones and AI will drive big changes in firefighting. “I strongly believe this will radically change the way we fight fires in Australia,” she said.

At the same time, the challenges to making it happen are daunting. A national system to detect fires in one minute one would produce vast amounts of data and require unprecedented cooperation between the patchwork of authorities and organisations. The system would amount to automated surveillance of millions of square kilometres, accurate down to a few square metres and working non-stop all year.

Source . AFPA & Friday Offcuts

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HASSLACHER Group first in Austria to invest in Valutec’s TC continuous kilns

International Forest Industries - Thu, 15/04/2021 - 12:19

HASSLACHER Group, one of the world’s leading producers of glulam and Cross Laminated Timber (CLT), invests in TC continuous kilns from Valutec. The deal means the well-known timber industry group becomes the first in Austria to own the groundbreaking lumber kiln. This is also a new prestigious order for Valutec, which strengthens its position as a global leader within the field of continuous kilns.

“We want to increase the drying capacity at our sawmills in Preding and Sachsenburg and saw that TC kilns were right for us. They offer a combination of high capacity and flexibility, without compromising on quality,” says Michael Fercher, CTO at HASSLACHER Group, which has seven sawmills in three countries.

The investment in TC continuous kilns is the third order where Valutec has earned the confidence of family owned and lead HASSLACHER Group.

“We are extremely happy and proud that HASSLACHER NORICA TIMBER will be first in Austria, also when it comes to TC kilns. Both because they prioritize quality, just like us, and because they have such a fantastic reputation in the sawmill industry, says Robert Larsson, CEO, Valutec.”

Five years ago HASSLACHER Group became the first company in Austria to use Valutec’s OTC continuous kiln technology, when they invested in two OTC continuous kilns for their sawmill in Sachsenburg. The following year, yet another order for the same type of continuous kiln for their sawmill followed.

“We are attracted by Valutec’s continuous kiln technology. It is superior from a capacity perspective. Adding to that, it delivers high quality and requires less material handling than traditional batch kilns, at the same time as its continuous operation is gentler on the boiler,” explains Fercher.

Clear trend

With its in investment in the TC kilns, HASSLACHER Group follows a clear trend in the sawmill industry. During the past year, the new generation of TC kilns from Valutec have been sold to sawmills around the world and the company has reached new markets.
“Behind the technological advance lies thousands of product development hours, where we studied, evaluated, tested and invented new things in all parts of a type of kiln that was used, in its first form, back in 1927,” says Larsson.

The TC continuous kilns for delivery to HASSLACHER Group have eight drying zones and will solely be used to dry siding boards. The maximum annual capacity is approximately 75,000 cubic meters (31,783 MBF) per kiln. The kilns are built from stainless steel and are equipped with pressure frames for minimal deformation of the uppermost layer of lumber, heat recovery system and the Valmatics 4.0 control system.

Together with the investment, two batch kilns in Preding are being upgraded with Valmatics 4.0. This is the only control system for lumber drying combining simulator technology with adaptive control, and allows for simultaneous optimization of capacity, quality and energy consumption.

The new kilns and the control system upgrades are planned to begin in the fall.

Facts about TC continuous kilns. TC is the abbreviation of the Swedish for “cross circulation”. The principle is based on the lumber package being fed lengthwise through zones where the air circulates laterally across the drying channel. This enables the separate regulation of the climate in different zones according to a schedule that comes very close to the ideal schedule of a batch kiln. The significant improvement relates to the way the temperature and the air speed are controlled individually in different zones by utilizing integrated simulator technology. Thanks to this development, the sawmill has greater freedom to mix the dimensions of the lumber it wants to dry, which is something that was previously impossible in a continuous kiln.

More information
Eric Johansson, Marketing Director Valutec
+46 767 676968

Photo: Michael Fercher, CTO at HASSLACHER Group,

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OneFortyOne has further strengthened its commitment to the Green Triangle region with a $16 million dollar capital investment at the Jubilee Sawmill

International Forest Industries - Thu, 15/04/2021 - 11:24

The first of two new Continuous Drying Kilns (CDK) was launched last week, replacing old batch kilns with more efficient and environmentally conscious biomass fuelled system.

OneFortyOne Jubilee Sawmill General Manager Paul Hartung said the kilns will produce higher-grade timber, with less energy and less downtime.“As the name suggests, the Continuous Drying Kilns operate nonstop, moving product through continuously and maintaining and ideal temperature. The efficient design is powered by biomass, using sawdust and wood waste, and shares heat between two chambers with no need to turn the kiln off. There’s no cooling down and reheating like in the old batch kilns– meaning more product processed with less energy. Timber is a renewable resource and when combined with efficient manufacturing, we’re producing sustainable, planet friendly wood products.”

The launch of the new CDK coincided with a massive milestone for Kilns Manager Roger Davis, who celebrated 50 years of service at the Jubilee site.

Starting out as a timber stacker back in 1971, Davis has held several positions since, from machinist and forklift driver, through to shift leader and drymill supervisor, and wanted to see the first CDK completed and online before retiring.

Hartung said the old batch kilns on site are regarded as some of the highest performing batch kilns that Windsor Engineering have installed around the world, which is a credit to Roger’s leadership.

“I’m thrilled that Roger was able to do the honours of launching the new CDK,” Hartung said. Roger’s commitment and dedication is unparalleled, and I wish to thank him for all he has contributed to this mill and to his colleagues.”

The second continuous drying kiln is currently under construction and on track for completion by Christmas 2021.

 Fast facts

  •  The first of two Continuous Drying Kilns (CDK) officially opened on Tuesday 30 March 2021.
  • The construction of the second kiln is set for completion by Christmas 2021.
  • The $16 million dollar project, at OneFortyOne’s Jubilee Sawmill site located in Mt Gambier, South Australia, has the capacity to dry 240,000 cubic metres of timber per year non-stop per CDK. The second kiln will double this capacity.
  • The retired batch kilns operated for 10 years, with a total drying time of 332,000 hours and produced 4 million cubic metres of dried timber.
  • The new kilns work more efficiently and will dry 30% more timber using 25% less energy.
  • The new CDK is 81 metres long, 7.7 metres high and 10.3 metres wide.
  • The CDKs are energy neutral as they are fuelled by biomass, sawdust and wood waste.
  • As a guide each piece of timber will take about 27 hours inside the kiln.
  • In March 2020, the New Zealand based project team had been on-site at the Jubilee Sawmill preparing for construction, but the introduction of travel restrictions meant the team had to abruptly pack up and return home.
  • The construction team put in more than 2,000 hours of work for the 1st CDK to be completed.

Photo: Kilns Manager Roger Davis and Jubilee Sawmill General Manager Paul Hartung in front of the new Continuous Drying Kiln at the Jubilee site in Mount Gambier

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John Deere enhances Dozer Lineup with 950K, 1050K machine improvements

International Forest Industries - Wed, 14/04/2021 - 14:21

Delivering improved ride quality and increased productivity on the industry’s toughest and most challenging job sites, John Deere announces enhancements to its largest dozers, the 950K and 1050K models. Enhanced with the customer in mind, the updates improve productivity, durability and operator satisfaction. Including a suspended double-bogie undercarriage, new Extended Life undercarriage options and updated blade offerings, the upgraded 950K and 1050K models add to the already strong history of productivity and innovation in the John Deere dozer lineup.

“Our time spent on customer sites has allowed us to confidently design an undercarriage for the 1050K that drastically improves operability and productivity on rough terrain,” said Matt Goedert, solutions marketing manager, John Deere. “With the updates to the 950K and 1050K machines, such as the Extended Life undercarriage life option, we’re delivering increased machine uptime while also significantly enhancing the operator experience.”

The suspended double-bogie track frame on the 1050K improves ride quality. Featuring a second layer of bogies, new isolators and refined geometry, the 1050K delivers increased durability and a smoother ride that reduces fatigue for operators on long shifts.

Another update for both the 950K and 1050K models is the Extended Life undercarriage option. A successful option on the smaller dozer models, the Extended Life undercarriage features the John Deere-exclusive SC-2™-coated track chain bushings. Produced using a proprietary coating that forms a hard shell, the SC-2-coated bushings deliver up to twice the wear life of standard bushings, significantly increasing machine uptime.

Also, the 1050K Semi-U blade now features a more productive profile. The new profile delivers several benefits, including increased capacity with improved roll performance and standard cast end bits. As a result, the Semi-U blade reduces material plugging and carries more dirt where it needs to go with every pass, boosting machine productivity.

Other updates include a 950K stockpiling configuration addition and exterior hose upgrades. Intended for coal handling and wood chip applications, the new factory stockpiling configuration for the 950K provides specialized sheet metal guarding to increase protection from material spilling over the blade and falling through the horizontal hood perforations and grille. This configuration also includes a special high-debris cooling package. Finally, the exterior hoses on both machines have been upgraded, offering improved flexibility and extended durability in cold-weather environments.

Photo: Deere unveils various changes to its largest dozers, the 950K and 1050K models

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John Deere further enhances GP-Series Motor Graders with industry-exclusive features

International Forest Industries - Wed, 14/04/2021 - 13:41

Adding industry-exclusive features, John Deere further demonstrates the precision of its Grade Pro (GP)–Series motor graders. Building upon the releases of Machine Damage Avoidance and exclusive Blade-Stow added in November 2020, two additional industry-exclusive features, Auto-Pass and Auto-Shift PLUS, further enhance machine capability. These fully programmable, intuitive and versatile features are ideal for any job, and help increase productivity with new and seasoned operators.

“The John Deere motor grader lineup has a legacy of technological and mechanical innovation, dating back decades, with the notable introduction of the industry’s first mastless 3D grade control system in 2019,” said Matt Goedert, solutions marketing manager, John Deere. “Fast forward to today, and we’re still striving to deliver industry-leading capabilities that allow any operator — new or experienced — to work more efficiently on the job site. The latest features build upon that legacy, allowing us to put even more power and precision into the hands of the operator.”

The industry-exclusive Auto-Pass feature programs machine movements at the beginning and end of grading passes. While adjusting the speed of these movements and rotating the blade 180 degrees, the machine will simultaneously place the blade on the ground while preparing for the next pass. Available as an option on the GP-Series models and standard on the SmartGrade™ motor graders, this feature can also be programmed to raise and rotate the blade at the end of a grading pass, mirroring the finished angle.

Building upon the success of last year’s launch of the AutoShift transmission, Auto-Shift PLUS, also an industry–exclusive feature, removes the need for using the inching pedal. This enables the operator to use the throttle and brake, offering increased control of the machine. Auto-Shift PLUS allows for the machine to come to a complete stop without stalling, helping reduce fatigue while cutting smoothly around obstacles or structures.

Another standard feature now included on all GP-Series machines is Configurable Float. With this feature, float switches can be programmed to control any auxiliary function, allowing programming of up to three float switches through the monitor, which adds versatility in applications where auxiliary functions are used often.

Now a standard feature on the SmartGrade motor graders, SmartGrade Remote Support connects the dealer to the machine, even from miles away. The dealer can troubleshoot machine issues and update grade control software from the dealership, reducing downtime. For customers, SmartGrade Remote Support enables the remote transfer of project files, eliminating the need to visit the machine in person. Additionally, any machine issues can be addressed from a remote location, providing an efficient solution for equipment fleets of all sizes.

Contact: Sam Levine Account Executive, imre SamL@imre.com

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The forecasted growth in wood pellet production in Europe will increase competition for wood fiber & require new feedstock sources

International Forest Industries - Wed, 14/04/2021 - 13:13

Europe’s pellet industry is the largest in the world and is expected to continue to grow strongly, at least until 2025. The key factors driving this increase include:

·       EU has ambitious and rising targets for renewable energy supply,

·       Biomass will play an important role in meeting those targets,

·       Pellets offer several advantages over other forms of biomass in many applications.

Pellet demand is likely to grow by 30-40% over the next five years, and depending on how imports develop, European production might need to increase by up to ten million tons.

Europe represents about 75% of global pellet demand and is more diverse in its pellet usage than are other regions. In Europe pellets are used for residential heating (40%), power plants (36%), commercial heating (14%), and combined heat and power plants (10%). Demand is strong in both the industrial and residential sectors and is likely to continue even beyond 2025. According to a just-released study, European Wood Pellets – Where will the raw-material come from?, the rise in wood pellet consumption will put significant pressure on raw material markets in Europe and require new sources such as forest residues, recovered wood, and energy crops. Raw material prices and availability vary widely by geography but increased competition for wood fiber, including sawmill byproducts, will impact pulp and wood panel industries throughout Europe.

The most crucial feedstock for the wood pellet sector is currently sawmill residues (85% of the mix), roundwood (13%), and recovered wood (2%). This mix is likely to change in the coming years with the forecasted expansion of the wood pellet industry.

Although wood residues will remain an important feedstock, especially in northern and western Europe, they will not be sufficient to meet the future fiber demand from the growing wood pellet sector. New fiber sources are needed, and the greatest potential for increased supply is forest residues and energy crops.

Experience from North America shows that it is possible to use more forest residues as fiber furnish. Although it yields pellets with higher ash content, it is often a lower-cost raw material than, for example, roundwood and wood chips. This practice is increasingly common in both the US South (mainly for pellets exported to Europe) and Canada (mainly exported to Europe and Asia). In Western Canada, the sawmill residue share of the total feedstock has fallen from 97% in 2010 to 72% in 2020, with the balance being forest residues and roundwood.

The above-mentioned Focus Report provides viewpoints on how the European pellet industry can source sufficient raw materials, what the costs and potential alternative materials are, and what the implications will be for raw material suppliers, pellet consumers, and the pulp and wood-based panels industry.

The excerpt above is from the just-released Focus Report “European Wood Pellet Outlook – Where will the raw-material come from?” published by Wood Resources International LLC and O’Kelly Acumen. For more information about the study or to inquire about purchasing the 75-page report in easy-to-read slide format, please contact either Hakan Ekstrom (hakan@woodprices.com) or Glen O’Kelly (glen.okelly@okelly.se). A Table of Contents of the report is available on our website. Click here!

Wood Resources International LLC

Hakan Ekstrom



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Germany’s export value of logs & lumber has increased 63% over the past five years, reaching $2.5 billion in 2020

International Forest Industries - Wed, 14/04/2021 - 12:38

The softwood timber harvest in Germany is likely to reach almost 50 million m3 in 2020, about ten million m3 more than a typical year before the spruce bark beetle-infestation in 2018. In addition, Germany has harvested 6-7 million m3 of hardwood species annually for the past five years. The total timber harvest in 2020 will be the highest since 2007, when the cyclone Kyrill swept in over Central Europe and damaged approximately 45 million m3 of timber.

Practically all of the additional ten million m3 of annually harvested softwood roundwood the past three years was exported, either in the form of logs or domestically processed lumber. In 2020, the estimated log export volume was 11.5 million m3, up by 54% from the previous year and more than four times as much as 2016, according to Wood Resource Quarterly. With the dramatic increase in export volume, Germany has become a net exporter of logs (an estimated six million m3 in 2020), a reversal from having been a net importer of 4-6 million m3 annually during 2010-2018.

Lumber exports from Germany have also gone up due to the large volumes of beetle-killed and storm-damaged timber. However, the increase has been more modest than the spectacular rise in logs flowing out of the country. Lumber exports in 2020 reached an estimated 9.5 million m3, six percent higher than the previous year and 34% higher than in 2016.

The total value of German softwood log and lumber exports has surged by 63% the past five years from 1.5 billion Euros in 2016 to just over 2.5 billion Euros in 2020, reports  the WRQ. The log export value has gone up more than three-fold since 2016, practically entirely driven by increased shipments to China. This destination has rapidly become the largest market for logs exported from Germany, surging from almost non-existent in 2017 to account for just over 65% of the total export value in 2020. Other significant destinations included neighboring Austria (14% of total export value) and Belgium (5%).

Wood Resources International LLC

Hakan Ekstrom



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Subsidiary of UFP Industries Closes on Purchase of Spartanburg Forest Products & it’s Affiliates

International Forest Industries - Wed, 14/04/2021 - 11:58

UFP Industries, Inc. (Nasdaq: UFPI) has announced that its wholly owned subsidiary Sunbelt Forest Products Corporation closed on its agreement to purchase the net operating assets of Spartanburg Forest Products, Inc. and its affiliates. The purchase price for Spartanburg’s property, plants and equipment is approximately $16.5 million. Sunbelt also purchased Spartanburg’s net working capital for an amount equal to the net book value determined on the date of closing, which totaled approximately $146.5 million.

“This acquisition will allow Sunbelt to grow by offering more products to Spartanburg’s customers while expanding our capacity and geographic reach to serve our existing customers,” said Ken DelleDonne, president of Sunbelt Forest Products. “In addition, we expect to drive efficiencies in our supply chain and administrative services as we combine our operations. We’re excited to welcome the Spartanburg team to Sunbelt and look forward to building an even stronger future together.”

Sunbelt Forest Products Corporation

Based in Bartow, Florida, Sunbelt Forest Products Corporation is a leading producer of pressure-treated lumber and residential fencing in the Southeast, with 300 employees. The company is an affiliate of UFP Retail Solutions, which is a subsidiary of UFP Industries.

Spartanburg Forest Products

Headquartered in Greer, South Carolina, Spartanburg Forest Products and its affiliates are a premier wood treating operation in the U.S., with approximately 150 employees and operations in five states. Its affiliates include Appalachian Forest Products, Innovative Design Industries, Blue Ridge Wood Preserving, Blue Ridge Wood Products, and Tidewater Wood Products.

UFP Industries, Inc.

UFP Industries is a holding company whose operating subsidiaries – UFP Industrial, UFP Construction and UFP Retail Solutions – manufacture, distribute and sell a wide variety of value-added products used in residential and commercial construction, packaging and other industrial applications worldwide. Founded in 1955, the company is headquartered in Grand Rapids, Michigan, with affiliates in North America, Europe, Asia and Australia. For more about UFP Industries, go to www.ufpi.com.

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China log imports dipped in 2020

International Forest Industries - Wed, 14/04/2021 - 10:58

China saw a decline in 2020 log imports – According to China Customs, log imports in 2020 totalled 59.20 million cubic metres valued at US$8.415 billion (CIF), a year on year decline of 2% in volume and 11% in value. The average price for imported logs was US$141 (CIF) per cubic metre, down 9% on levels in 2019. Of total 2020 log imports, softwood log imports rose 4% to 46.86 million cubic metres, accounting for 79% of the national total, 4% up on 2019. The average price for imported softwood logs was US$117 (CIF) per cubic metre, down 6% on levels in 2019.

Chinese analysts say China’s log imports fell mainly because of the impact of the pandemic but that the increase in softwood logs imports was due to the large volume of harvested logs available in Europe due to heavy felling as a pest control measure.

It has been forecast that as much as 500 million cubic metres of European spruce will be harvested by 2024 and most of these softwood logs will be imported by China via the China-Europe Railway Express. Softwood log imports from Germany soared – In 2020 the volume of softwood log imports from most countries however, from Germany, the Czech Republic and Japan imports increased which contribute to the overall rise increase in softwood log imports even during the pandemic.

New Zealand was the main softwood log supplier to China in 2020 accounting for 34% of total softwood log imports. Softwood log imports from New Zealand totalled 16.15 million cubic metres in 2020, a year on year decline of 8%.

Germany became the second main supplier of softwood logs imports at 9.98 million cubic metres, a year on year increase of 162%, accounting for about 21% of the total softwood log imports in 2020, exceeding imports from Russia for the first time.

China’s softwood log imports from the Czech Republic and Japan in 2020 rose 47% and 23% to 3.38 million cubic metres and 1.15 million cubic metres respectively. Russia ranked the third supplier of China’s softwood logs imports at 4.43 million cubic metres in 2020, a year-on-year decline of 24% and accounted for 9.5% of total softwood log imports in 2020.

Source: ITTO TTM Report

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