8:30-8:35 a.m.
Welcoming Remarks and Keynoters Introduction
—Rich Donnell, Conference Co-Chairman; Editor-in-Chief, Panel World

8:40-9:05 a.m.
Project Indy-OSB 3.0
—Scott Poole, President and COO, RoyOMartin
The variables we manage in today’s business environment are anything but predictable, with more adaptation confronting our industry than in any lifetime before. In the face of change and uncertainty, how do we build and prepare for a market we don’t yet know? Scott discusses RoyOMartin’s operating philosophy, their 100-year history in timberland, lumber and panels and their latest decision to build an OSB plant, again, in Corrigan, Texas.

9:10-9:35 a.m.
Roseburg Forest Products Growth and Geographic Diversification
—Jake Elston, Senior Vice President of Operations, Roseburg Forest Products
Jake discusses the history and current growth of Roseburg Forest Products, strategies that are improving operational results, and Roseburg’s geographic balancing in recent years across North America.

9:40-10:05 a.m.
Establishing an Integrated European MDF Mill in the Southeast U.S.
—Wedig Graf Grote, Chief Operating Officer, Swiss Krono USA
Over the past years Barnwell, SC saw Swiss Krono grow its U.S. footprint from a couple of flooring lines to a fully integrated European style MDF site—an exciting journey that came with a mix of technical and intercultural challenges. Adding to the challenges, the pandemic came in to the equation and did not care about plans and timelines, and the team had to find ways around never ending obstacles.


10:35-10:40 a.m.
Moderator Introductions and Legal Overview
—Charles Stewart, Partner, Bradley

10:45-11:05 a.m.
Specimen Cups
—Sarahanne Vaughan, Associate, Bradley
A brief history of federal and state laws governing drug testing will be covered, including workers’ compensation and Americans with Disabilities Act issues. Best practices for testing policies and procedures will be discussed as well.

11:10-11:30 a.m.
Dust and Stuff
—John Hargrove, Partner, Bradley
Discussion will include a quick overview of the dust types along with the related dangers, especially as it relates to wood dust. The current OSHA standard, guidance and enforcement news will also be covered.

11:35-11:55 a.m.
Exterior Wall Sheathing Options: Code Compliance and Other Issues
—David Pugh, Partner, Bradley
An active discussion of the pros and cons of the various building materials presently available for exterior wall sheathing including whether there are, or should be, any building code compliance concerns.


10:35-11:00 a.m.
Global Influence: A Convergence on North America
—Cole Martin, Capital Sales & Modernization Manager, Dieffenbacher
—Colin Folco, Director Modernization North America, Dieffenbacher
This presentation is a brief look at how global influence in the wood products industry is beginning to converge on North America. It is not a detailed view of global economies. Together we will see how global cultural differences and challenges are beginning to influence the North American market, how sustainability is increasing in importance for North America and where the next emerging global market is now. As well we will see how European influence drove the desire to manufacture a new product in North America and how the drive to address raw material challenges has opened the possibility to future potential markets. Throughout the discussion we will see examples of these global influences.

11:05-11:30 a.m.
Raute RX Series: “Fit to Your Need”
—Trevor Wendt, Market Area Vice President—North America, Raute
Have you been in a situation where you must decide on an investment but you’re not sure which alternative would serve you best? You may want something that matches your needs perfectly now but may not work as well for you in the future? At Raute it is the goal to best fit solutions to your needs now and for the future. That is why Raute now offers three different product series: R3, R5 and R7. These product series solutions can match different investor capacity expectations, budgets and knowhow—without compromising the product quality. R3 Series: Affordability. Are you a newcomer in the industry or an established manufacturer with a specific need? R3 is the most affordable Raute option that provides a specific production, a fast production ramp-up and many possibilities for add-on features and capacity. R5 Series: Upgradeability. Do you want a basic machine with proven capacity? R5 gives you proven production that can be upgraded anytime with line enhancing automation and/or production intelligence. R7 Series: Productivity. R7 puts automation and machine vision in full use to master your productivity at high speed. Data capturing analyzers maximize recovery at high capacity.

Breaking Down the Complexity of Delivering Capital Projects
—Bijan Shams, President, Cogent Industrial Technologies
Whether it’s greenfield, expansion or modernization, successful delivery of a capital project is a challenging and complex task. Not only does the project have to be carefully executed to meet the capital team objectives on time and on budget, but must also integrate process safety, reliability, efficiency and operability to ensure success within an industry where experienced personnel are hard to find. This presentation identifies the challenges and key actions needed to deliver a successful project while managing all stakeholders’ expectations. Over the past six years Cogent has been heavily involved in managing capital projects. After its OSB project success in Inverness, Scotland, Cogent has done another four OSB capital projects ranging from $10 million to $55 million. All these projects were delivered on time and on budget. Cogent is now managing a greenfield confidential MDF plant in the Southeastern U.S. and is be moving forward with other projects as well.


10:35-10:55 a.m.
Automatic Grading Technology: Update on the Technology and Real Life Experiences
—Richard Lepine, General Manager, Argos Solutions LLC
The use of automatic grading systems has evolved greatly since its beginning. The use of faster and more powerful computers capable of processing more data combined with software development supported by high-resolution cameras is no match for the human eye. This presentation will highlight the technology capability and real life application in MDF, particleboard, plywood, thermofuse laminates and decorative panels while touching on some of the new industry standards.

11:00-11:20 a.m.
An Overview of In Process Board Measurement Technologies
—Michael Spurgin, Sales Manager – North America, LIMAB Inc.
In process board measurement will alert operators immediately if the process is starting to drift out of control, which will improve product quality and eliminate customer rejects. A process monitoring system will also increase the production yield and save both material and energy. This presentation compares different available technologies and highlights possible measurement locations in the manufacturing line to optimize production.

11:25-11:45 a.m.
How MONITOR Plus GmbH Production Monitoring Systems Meet a Variety of QC Needs for Your Flooring, Furniture and EWP Lines
—Keith Mays, President, EWS North America LLC
An introduction to MONITOR Plus—a PLC based line that uses proprietary and readily available commercial sensors to inspect and measure a variety of things in a production line. Information related to drill holes, panel edges, panel color, panel dimensions and more is available.

11:50-12:10 p.m.
Increase Throughput and Profitability through IoT Data-Driven Moisture Control
—Jason Kovacik, Sales Manager, Finna Sensors
A critical variable in the manufacturing process, moisture content can have a significant impact on throughput and profitability. Uncontrolled, moisture content will negatively impact your process, resulting in waste, downtime and poor quality. This presentation addresses an enhanced reliable moisture measurement method with an Industry 4.0 upgrade—actionable IoT data, remote diagnostics and upgrades, as well as predictive maintenance, adding value to drive your operation toward increased uptime, quality and profit.


A Panel Discussion on New Lathe and Composer Technologies and Recent Installations
—Anna McCann, President, Merritt Machinery, LLC;
U.S. Representative for Meinan Machinery Works
—Doug Pauze, President, Coastland Wood Industries
—Rob Freres, President, Freres Lumber Co., Inc.

This panel session focuses on green end improvements in veneer peeling and composing at Timber Products Co. in Yreka, Calif.; Coastland Wood Industries in Nanaimo, BC; and Freres Lumber Co. in Lyons Ore., including recent installations of a Meinan 10 ft. lathe line with inline green composing, new Meinan charger/lathe integrated with existing downstream equipment, and the first Meinan 8 ft. veneer composer capable of joining green or dry veneer.


1:35-2:00 p.m.
Positioning EGGER High-Quality TFL for North America
—Johannes Eder, Head of Sales North America, EGGER Wood Product
Supported by more than 50 years of experience in Europe, wood-based panel manufacturer EGGER has ventured into the USA with a new greenfield particleboard plant and multiple laminate lines in Lexington, NC. Johannes discusses the wood products EGGER is producing now and will produce in the future as it complements and develops new markets for the American furniture industry.

2:05-2:30 p.m.
Building on a Foundation of Success Through COVID
—Doug Pauze, President, Coastland Wood Industries
Through 34 years of operation, Coastland has continued to improve and grow with a determined focus on quality, consistency and innovation. This focus set the foundation to successfully navigate through the pandemic and continue to improve in the face of this adversity and meet the demands of the marketplace that will continue to be challenged into the future.


2:50-3:05 p.m.
Moderator Introductions and The Carbon Connection
—Dick Baldwin, Ph.D., Managing Partner, Oak Creek Investments
The legendary plywood veteran covers the “carbon connection” as moderator and briefly describes the environmental benefits of sustainable timber harvesting, that wood is the preferred environmental alternative to concrete and steel in construction, and veneer-based products are the best environmental choice for the consumer.

3:10-3:30 p.m.
The Expanding Role of Plywood and Veneer-Based Products in Construction
—Fred Kamke, Ph.D., Professor, Dept. of Wood Science & Engineering, Oregon State University, and Director, NSF Wood-Based Composites Center
—Arijit Sinha, Ph.D., Professor, Dept. of Wood Science and Engineering, Oregon State University, and Associate Director, NSF Wood-Based Composites Center

A growing, worldwide interest in bioproducts to replace less environmentally friendly building materials will help sustain the plywood and veneer-based products industry and drive innovation. However, there will be demands for new products, improved product performance, and added functionality. The introduction of mass ply panels (MPP) is but one example. MPP is a bold game changer—a calculated risk to leverage plywood manufacturing experience and timber resources toward capturing market share in the emerging mass timber building industry. Seeing the success of MPP, several veneer-based mass timber products are in advanced stages of development. This presentation explores opportunities for new products and process modifications that address trends in building construction, as well as meet the expectations for a future circular bioeconomy.

3:35-3:55 p.m.
How the World Changed and Veneer Lathes Evolved
—Alan Knokey, Vice President, USNR
This presentation chronicles the history of veneer lathe design over the last 150 years and how lathes evolved to meet the ever changing requirements of veneer based products. It concludes with current design limits and Alan’s view of future lathe systems.

4:00-4:20 p.m.
Steps Taken to Invent Mass Ply Panels and Continuing Innovations at Freres Lumber
—Rob Freres, President, Freres Lumber Inc.
This presentation follows the path of Oregon-based Freres Lumber from its beginnings and early emphasis on innovation to the company’s current day development of Mass Ply Panel. Rob addresses the MPP development timeline, including pre-testing, equipment and production, certification, the state-of-the-market and future developments.

4:25-4:45 p.m.
The Softwood Plywood Producer: Finding and Integrating Technological Advancements
—Tom Evans, former Chief of Operations, Coastal Forest Resources Co.
After Coastal Forest Resources restarted the plywood plant in Chapman Ala. in 2012, it became evident that the physiological and physical properties of the veneer in Chapman were very different from what CFRC was used to in its Havana, Fla. plant. After years of trial and error it was decided Coastal would utilize an acoustic sounding tool to first measure the true differences and then implement an action plan to address them. This discussion will focus on the results of the acoustic testing as well as technologies and practices that were implemented in the past two years including impacts on KPIs.

4:45-5:00 p.m.
Closing Discussion


2:50-3:15 p.m.
Engineered, Value-Add Wax for Enhanced Panel Performance and Improved Safety
—Jesse Paris, Ph.D., R&D Group Leader – Bio Materials, Willamette Valley Company
A novel (patent pending) combination of wax and reactive bio-polymer is developed to achieve superior performance, enhanced safety and overall value proposition to the wood composite industry. The engineered wax emulsion developed in this process significantly increases the flash point (~ 50 °F) by suppressing the wax volatility, improving process safety. This novel wax emulsion can also be easily mixed and co-applied in an inline process with pMDI adhesives without any pre-cure and wax instability. This is fascinating, as no other wax emulsion has this feature. Co-application allows for superior pMDI and wax distribution. In turn, this results in enhanced board properties, and the opportunity for resin and wax reductions without compromising panel performance. Co-application brings additional values such as reduction in fugitive pMDI emissions from blender, and the potential reduction in press-release application. The value-add attributes of this novel engineered wax (co-applied with pMDI) have been proven out with extensive lab testing and on several commercial-scale trials both with MDF and OSB.

3:20-3:45 p.m.
Next Generation Resin Technology for Decreasing Press Cycle Times 8-13%
—Jeffrey Otjen, Technical Services Project Manager, Georgia-Pacific Chemicals LLC
A next generation resin technology has shown in trials to decrease press cycle times in plywood manufacturing by 8-13% without increasing press temperatures, which in addition to enhancing throughput speed may reduce energy costs. Data will be presented that showed, dependent on mill conditions, the resin also reduced spreads by 4%-13% from those of conventional resins. Bond quality and performance were not affected. Results of trials with OSB manufacturing will also be presented.

3:50-4:15 p.m.
Recent Advancements in UF Scavenger Technologies Lead to Decreased Cycle Times and Improved Tack
—Robert Miller, Senior Scientist, Georgia-Pacific Chemicals LLC
—Bill Arndell, Senior Research Scientist, Georgia-Pacific Chemicals LLC

In today’s marketplace, decreasing cycle times, increasing throughput and managing downgrade are keys to an optimized and profitable process. This presentation discusses two new urea-formaldehyde scavengers designed to increase speed and reduce downgrade. 1) A new urea-formaldehyde scavenger technology that provides the same consistent low emission standards of a 45% urea solution but has demonstrated pressing and dryer throughput benefits in particleboard applications in production trials. Data presented from those trials will demonstrate a 5-8% reduction in press cycle time with this technology. Unlike a traditional 45% urea solution for scavenging emissions, this technology comes with a combined nonvolatile content of approximately 95%, eliminating a significant amount of added process water. 2) A new urea-formaldehyde scavenger with the potential to significantly increase tack through forming, this product has demonstrated in production trials to selectively decrease fissures during mat-transfers, reducing overall downgrade without the need to increase the frequency of blender cleanouts.

4:20-4:45 p.m.
Developments in Protective Coatings for Engineered Wood
—Brian Delbrueck, Head of Business Development
Wood Specialties, North America, Arxada

Today’s engineered wood products offer the building community an array of structural members that have not only superior mechanical properties, but can also add significantly to the appeal of a structure. Exposed beams as well as CLT floors, walls and ceilings offer exciting visual impacts; however, these members are susceptible to the impacts of weathering and other factors during the construction process. To maintain their appealing qualities, engineered wood products need to be protected from water, mold and soiling. This presentation discusses such protection of engineered wood products with a new, high-performance coating formulation that uses an innovative, diatom-based technology.


2:50-3:15 p.m.
Advancement in WESP Design for Dryer Particulate Control
—Rodney Schwartz, Senior Vice President, Dürr Systems
Dürr went out and spoke to customers about what they liked and didn’t like about current WESP designs and operation, brought the information back, and are now ready to introduce a new WESP product addressing the feedback received. This presentation highlights specific design enhancements, and once again reinforces the power of utilizing a to-scale pilot unit to prove out the concepts and ideas before bringing them to the market.

3:20-3:45 p.m.
Microemulsion Assisted Biotreatment of VOCs in Exhaust Gases
—Rakesh Govind, Ph.D., President, PRD Tech, Inc.
Emission of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from production of wood products is well known and technologies such as regenerative thermal oxidizers, biofilters, etc. have been successfully scaled up to effectively treat the contaminants in these exhaust gases. However, existing VOC treatment technologies have major disadvantages. Thermal oxidizers, including RTOs, consume large amounts of natural gas to achieve destruction temperatures, which not only increases their operating cost but also results in emitting large amounts of carbon dioxide, an earth warming gas. As the U.S. and other countries attempt to reduce carbon emissions, development of near zero carbon emission pollution treatment systems will make thermal oxidation obsolete. Biofilters do not consume natural gas and are near zero carbon emission treatment technologies. However, biofilters are unable to treat water insoluble contaminants, such as pinenes, which are present in almost all wood sector exhaust gases. In addition, biofilters consume a large volume of water, which is becoming scarce in many areas. In this presentation, a new technology, Microemulsion Assisted Biotreatment (MAB), will be presented which advances the current state of biofilters using enhanced contaminant absorption using microemulsions followed by biotreatment using a membrane bioreactor. This technology uses significantly less water than a standard biofilter, using natural or synthetic biomedia, such as compost, plastic pieces, etc. and is about 33-50% smaller in footprint. In addition, it exhibits high removal efficiency for water insoluble VOCs, such as pinenes, as well as separate and treat other contaminants, such as methanol, to meet the required MACT standards. MAB systems also consume significantly less water than a standard biofilter. This is significant in areas of water scarcity, where water reuse is now becoming essential for continuation of business activity. Hence, MAB systems meet future requirements of near-zero carbon emission, less energy consumption, less water use and high treatment efficiencies.

3:50-4:15 p.m.
Latest in WESP-RTO Installation Designs and Alternate Solutions

—Jaymie Deemer, President, Nestec Inc.
Since the early 1990s RTOs have been used to control air emissions at forest products operations. The addition of a wet electrostatic precipitator prior to the RTO was later added to reduce the total particulate matter (TPM) into the RTO. Many of the issues and problems associated with the WESP and/or RTOs have been addressed and included in the latest WESP-RTO designs to reduce and/or eliminate the issues and associated costs with: caustic carryover to the RTO during the WESP flushing stage; misalignment of WESP electrodes over time; poor WESP uniform air flow tube entry and reduced TPM efficiency; RTO flow control valve leakage and lone term reliability; RTO heat recovery media support failures due to over stress; RTO non uniform air flow and reduced thermal energy recovery (TER). Alternate system solutions with the use of advanced multi-cyclone and WESP combination prior to the RTO and RCO combination are also available with potential savings.


2:50-3:15 p.m.
Latest Advances in NFPA Compliant Material Handling

—Dane Floyd, Principal, Veneer Services, Inc.
Veneer Service, Inc. and affiliate Biomass Engineering & Equipment has experienced tremendous organizational and project growth in the past two years. This presentation focuses on the latest developments in dust tight, efficient, safe and NFPA compliant material handling systems. Everyone is short on laborers so it is ever more important to reduce the manpower required for cleanup and maintenance. The presentation will demonstrate how a mill can achieve those goals while also reducing power demands, creating a multi-level payback.

3:20-3:45 p.m.
Water Mist Technology for Fighting Fires in Large Material Storage Areas
—Ed Pridgen, Vice President, Flamex, Inc.
Fires can ignite in wood yards, fuel depots and product storage areas from a variety of sources and quickly get out of control. Rapid detection and suppression can prevent devastating losses of product and plant facilities. The MX One is a versatile water turbine that can quickly be employed to quell rapidly burning fires with the application of an effective water mist, direct stream and/or foam applications.

3:5-4:15 p.m.
Recent Advancements in Spark Detection Better Protect Your Panelboard Process
—Jeff Nichols, Managing Partner, Industrial Fire Prevention
How the most recent advancements in spark detection technology, design, application and training help prevent combustible dust fires in the wood panel and engineered wood industry.

4:20-4:45 p.m.
Advances in Water Mist Fire Protection for Specialty Process Areas
—Jason Krbec, Sales Engineering Manager, CV Technology
Specialty process areas in panel and engineered lumber facilities create unique challenge for fire prevention and protection. Unique solutions are required to respond rapidly to fire events and limit damage to process equipment. Water mist provides quicker extinguishing than traditional water deluge systems. This presentation will explore how the advances in water mist technology can be applied to process areas including sanders, presses, planers, forming areas and dryers. Equipment hazards and water mist application are explored in a case study fashion throughout the presentation.


8:30-8:35 a.m.
Welcoming Remarks and Keynoters Introductions
—Fred Kurpiel, Conference Co-Chairman; President, Georgia Research Institute

8:40-9:05 a.m.
On the Economic, Business & Political Climate
—Dr. Roger Tutterow, Director of the Econometric Center and Professor of Economics, Kennesaw State University
Seven years ago we cleared important hurdles that were important steps back toward “normalcy.” However, as the economic expansion moved through its 11th year, it was derailed by a global pandemic of depth not seen in a generation. In this session, Dr. Tutterow provides a timely overview of the economic climate including recent implications of the COVID-19 pandemic on the retail and real estate sectors, the effects of recent changes in energy prices, the linkages between labor shortages and supply chain disruptions, the structure and effect of recent fiscal stimulus, linkages between currency valuation and global trade, an overview of recent Federal Reserve policy actions and the ongoing impact of changes in the political and regulatory climate on the construction sector. The implications for employment and activity in the national and regional economies are also considered.

9:10-9:35 a.m.
Wood Processing Post-COVID-19
—Dr. Philipp Sauter, Principal, Wood Products Consulting, AFRY
The wood processing industry went through turbulent times over the past two years. In Q1 2020 demand volumes dropped, followed by a strong recovery from end of Q2 2020 onwards, led by increased consumer spending in construction and furniture. The key question is: How will this trend continue? There are strong supporting macro trends on the one side, such as low interest rates, high cash availability as well as solid GDP growth, further supported by an increased request for green building material. These supporting trends/factors are countered by high consumer spending in recent month, resulting in the question whether consumer needs are saturated. Furthermore, raw material costs such as gas, electricity and wood costs are increasing following the strong demand from both; processing and energy industry and wood availability are further restricted by environmental policies, globally. This presentation will draw a picture on what we expect going forward in the wood processing industry, especially focusing on the demand outlook for wood-based panels and engineered wood products in North America.

9:40-10:05 a.m.
Driving the Carbon Story for Wood Products: An Update from the American Wood Council
—Jackson Morrill, President & CEO, American Wood Council
Addressing climate change through reducing carbon emissions is rapidly becoming an important component of doing business in a number of business sectors today, including construction. As policymakers and architects, designers and builders explore carbon reduction opportunities, they are looking for data and accounting tools that can accurately calculate the benefits of choosing one building material over another. Jackson will provide an update on the American Wood Council’s efforts to shape these discussions through the use of data and sound science to ensure wood products are properly credited for their incredible carbon benefits and overall sustainability profile, ultimately driving market demand in a carbon-conscious built environment.


10:35-11:00 a.m.
Challenging the Traditional Model of Experimentation and Trials through a Design of Experiment Methodology Approach
—Jeff Vaughn, Eastern Regional Technical and CI Manager, Continuous Improvement and Optimization Team (CIOT), Roseburg Forest Products
Traditional methods of experimentation and trials within the manufacturing environment have reflected a standard approach and methodology that has become the method of operation within the forest products industry over the years. These experiments have routinely been a comparative analysis between treatment A and B with basic descriptive statistics as the analysis and decision-making tool. This type of leap-without-looking approach induces certain biases and prevents visibility to possible interactions or effects within the experimentation field. The intent of this presentation will be to provide an alternate way of approach in the experimentation and trial-planning phase that can lead to improved analysis and statistical confidence toward the trial objective. Design of Experiments (DOE) reinforce many of the desired disciplines that are often overlooked and considered an afterthought at the conclusion of the experiment. The use of DOE can both improve the analyses and strengthen the confidence of the answers while also reducing the cost and impact to our already stretched resources. Finally, the key to good science is the development and creation of new questions that require exploration and answering from our past learnings that will lead us to better understanding.

11:05-11:30 a.m.
Application of EVOP and Tagucchi Designs for the Wood Products Industry
—Terry Liles, Ph.D., Director of Raw Materials, Huber Engineered Woods
The use of Design of Experiment (DOE) methodologies in industrial settings has gained a lot of interest in recent years and is being used more frequently as an improvement method. There are several types of designs that can be used to decrease variation, improve quality, and reduce costs. Typically, DOE in an industrial manufacturing setting is limited by costs to experimental runs of less than 16 runs. The results from these exploratory DOE studies do not always account for long-term variations that occur at the full-scale production level given the differences over time in process variation, raw materials, etc. The other issue encountered in most production processes are the presence of uncontrolled factors called noise. Using a combination of the Evolutionary Process technique and Taguchi Robust Designs, effective results can be obtained with limited runs that account for both long-term variations and noise. A discussion of these techniques and examples will be discussed with respect to the wood products industry.

Digital Twins Using Machine Learning for Optimization in the Sustainable Biomaterials Industries
—Timothy Young, Ph.D., Professor/Data Scientist, University of Tennessee
Machine learning and AI are revolutionizing manufacturing and the general business world. For the sustainable biomaterial industries, it is the newest technology to optimize processes, reduce costs, and ensure long-term business success. The concept of Industry 4.0, with its origins from Germany, attempts to broadly define the new industrial revolution as an “information-intensive transformation of manufacturing in a connected environment of big data, people, processes, services, and systems as a way to realize smart manufacturing.” One key technology in ensuring success in implementing Industry 4.0 is supervised machine learning. Supervised machine learning enables analyses of massive quantities of data where learning algorithms (e.g., random forests, boosted trees, etc.) apply what they learn from past data to new data to predict future events. A key first step in implementing machine learning and AI is implementing the concept of “digital twins.” Digital twins mimic processes and human interactions by using simulations of the machine learning predictions. For example, a control room operator relies on PLC logic from sensor data and human intuition from experience to optimize throughput while maintaining product conformance. A digital twin from machine learning algorithms mimics the decisions of control room operators for validation and may provide enlightenment for improved process optimization.

12:05-12:30 p.m.
Optimizing Forest Products Mills
—Thomas Brotski, Principal/Senior Consultant, Harrison Group, Former Director of Reliability, Georgia-Pacific
—Matt Cowen, Sales Manager, KCF Technologies

How industry leaders are reducing downtime, increasing throughput and driving Industry 4.0 strategies. There are three common challenges facing the industry and others that are driving the adoption of new technologies. Key insights and takeaways that are critical to learn in order to implement Industry 4.0 technologies at your facilities.


10:35-11:00 a.m.
Non-Wood “Green” Boards and Building Materials

—Wendy Owens, CEO, Hexas Biomass LLC
This presentation will discuss the “green” materials movement as it relates to non-wood boards and building materials. There are several companies around the world that are focused on production of fiberboard, particleboard, and oriented strandboard from non-wood fibers. A closer look at these companies and their products unpacks whether these products are truly sustainable throughout their entire lifecycle or whether there are gaps in their claims of “more sustainable” than existing wood-based boards and building materials. Understanding the origins of the fiber used to make these products tells the true story of sustainability and their impact on mitigating climate change.

11:05-11:30 a.m.
Scrimber CSC—Carbon Sink Concrete

—Stefan Zöllig, Principal, Timbatec AG Timber Engineering
Right time, right place: reviving the idea of Scrimber as a carbon sequestering raw material for mass timber products. We are gathering the existing assets and allies to bring this idea to the industry with a strong momentum.

I-Corps—Commercialization Boot Camp for Any Research Enterprise

—Patrick Donahue, Building Products Research Program Manager, University of Minnesota Duluth—Natural Resources Research Institute (NRRI)
The National Science Foundation’s Innovation Corps (I-Corps) program uses experiential education to help researchers gain valuable insight into entrepreneurship, starting a business or industry requirements and challenges. The curriculum integrates scientific inquiry and industrial discovery in an inclusive, data-driven culture driven by rigor, relevance and evidence. Over the course of seven weeks, seasoned entrepreneurs teach I-Corps participants how to test the market through customer discovery and how to create a business strategy. The researchers participate as a team of three (technical lead, entrepreneurial lead and mentor) with other teams/cohorts. Since the I-Corps program launched in 2011, more than 5,700 people have participated in the training. In early 2021, Patrick Donahue was awarded an I-Corps grant. His team focused on the development of a business case for a multi-functional building envelope panel solution. A significant part of developing the business case involved gathering information about market needs through real-world stakeholder interviews. The team interviewed more than 140 stakeholders across all aspects of the building construction value chain, including builders, suppliers, developers and more. This process was important for several reasons. First, it allowed them to hear first-hand about market problems and needs, rather than making their own assumptions about the value of their invention. Secondly, it gave them a clear picture of the entire market ecosystem that their invention would exist in. Lastly, it was a tremendous networking opportunity, with the potential for many new, unanticipated collaborations. This presentation will share more about the (I-Corps) process. What was learned about commercializing new product innovations for the light commercial and residential construction sectors. Finally, it will attempt make the case for more aggressive and agile R&D practices in the engineered wood construction sector.

12:05-12:30 p.m.
Wood Products Employment Trends and How to Keep Your Employees Engaged

—Richard Poindexter, President, Search North America
An overview of employment in the wood products industry today, the impact of COVID, and how to retain your best employees for the future.


10:35-11:00 a.m.
Innovative Low Ash Biomass Energy System for Wood Products Plants

—Kevin Nesbitt, National Sales Manager, Player Design, Inc.
Player Design designs, constructs and installs cost-effective biomass energy systems. The PDI system generates consistent energy output ranging from 5mmBTU to 50mmBTU. The PDI energy system can operate effectively utilizing a large variety of wet or dry biomass as fuel and generates low ash and particulate matter.

11:05-11:30 a.m.
Fines to Energy: Developments in Suspension Burning for Board Plants

—Tom Wechsler, President, Wechsler Technologies & Engineering LLC
In many board plant operations, excess dry fines from drying, trimming and other operations create an excess fuel stream. Often, these fines are burned in fines suspension burners, generally providing heat to rotary dryers. These burners historically do well at handling fines but due to their combustion qualities generate slag and sparks, and require generally weekly cleanout. This results in high maintenance costs and perhaps more importantly, at current board prices, non-productive downtime. Also, these burners are only single fuel capable, requiring a separate gas burner if backup alternate fuel is required. Wechsler Technologies has developed a new burner that addresses and eliminates the above shortcomings. This presentation will discuss the current state of suspension burning methods and principles and how the new CenterFire Burner technology addresses these. The burner is capable of clean combustion without periodic cleanouts, and provides fuel flexibility using a single burner to allow alternate dust, gas, or co-fire of both to provide total fuel flexibility. The principles and effect on board plant operation are discussed.

The Impact of Friction on Energy Consumption—A Case Study from the Wood Processing Industry

—Steffen Bots, Technical Sales Expert, Addinol Lube Oil
It is well known that friction creates wear and causes heat, which results in the loss of energy. In 1966 Peter Jost published a report identifying that the costs due to friction, wear and corrosion for the English economy are in the range of 1.1% to 1.4% of the GDP. Current scientists estimate that 23% of the world energy consumption originates from tribological contacts. This is very interesting in the light of the current climate and emission discussions. And it points on a huge potential for optimization with both, an ecological and economical win win situation. Press lines place high requirements on the lubricants used at belts, bending and rolling rods as well as chains. During manufacturing temperatures achieve peaks between +240 and +255 °C, belt speed is up to 90 m/min, pressures can reach 600 N/mm2. In addition, wood-processing plants generally work at a dusty, humid and chemically aggressive environment (glues, release agents). For this job special lubricants are necessary that are blended together from a variety of different chemical components. The presentation will show some key aspects of the chemistry, explain working principles and test methods in order to evaluate the performance of the lubricant in the laboratory. But at the end of the day only a field trial will reveal it’s real capabilities. As the presses have a sophisticated control system there are also a lot of data available about temperatures, power consumption of electric motors and lubricant consumption. For the case study all of this information has been collected over a longer period. The presented data will show that the lubricant has a significant impact on energy consumption— in some areas a reduced power consumption of almost 30% could be observed.


10:35-11:00 a.m.
Base-Metal Catalysts for Wood Industry RCOs: Operating Experience and New Developments

—Grigorii Bunimovich, Owner and COO, Matros Technologies
This presentation reviews decade-long experience with applications of base-metal catalysts in wood industry RTOs and RCOs. The catalysts contain low-valence manganese oxides as active component rather than more expensive precious metals. They have excellent activity toward oxidation of NESHAP compounds such as methanol and formaldehyde and exceptionally high thermal resistance enabling regeneration via bake-outs in operated oxidizers. RCO operating at MDF, plywood and veneer plants has demonstrated catalyst durability to 12-13 years and longer. The original catalyst charges loaded in four commercial RCOs in 2008 have continuously met the efficiency requirements and were scheduled for replacement only recently. The catalyst performance is monitored based on testing of catalyst samples collected from RCOs every year. Matros Technologies lab primarily uses an express tests of small catalyst batches in stirred reactor fed with model VOCs. Recently we installed new tubular reactor that enables testing of large catalyst samples with actual compounds of interest within wide temperature range. The presentation discusses examples of application of new testing technique for measurements of destruction efficiency for methanol, formaldehyde, and alpha-pinene over fresh and long served catalyst samples. Another new development is large size bulk bed base-metal catalyst featuring low pressure drop along with high surface area and activity. The catalyst is intended for operating at high linear velocities in packed beds, common for precious-metal catalysts supported over honeycomb monolith.

11:05-11:30 a.m.
RTO Media Maintenance 101

—Lance Austenberg, Senior Sales Manager, Durr Systems, Inc.
Proper maintenance of ceramic heat exchange media is essential to avoiding unexpected regenerative thermal oxidizer (RTO) shutdowns and prolonging the useful life of the media. Wood products applications pose specific and unique challenges not seen in other industries, including plugging from organic condensables and particulate matter, media degradation due to alkali attack, and stress corrosion cracking of the cold face media support system. Increased operating costs result from excessively plugged or otherwise compromised media due to reduced thermal efficiency and increased pressure drop across the RTO. This presentation identifies best maintenance practices and the warning signs for predicting when media will need to be changed. Lance also discusses OEM design considerations and reviews available options should media replacement be necessary.

RCOs for Wood Dryer VOC Control—Why Not?

—Steve Jaasund, Geoenergy Products Manager, LDX Solutions LLC.
Until now VOC emissions from wood-fired wood dryers have been largely controlled by regenerative thermal oxidizers, commonly known as RTOs. Yet it is known that regenerative catalytic oxidizers or RCOs offer significant operating cost savings. Unfortunately, the use of cost saving RCOs in lieu RTOs has been prevented by concerns with the particulate content in wood-fired dryer gas streams and the negative effect that the particulate content could have on the catalyst. This presentation explores the use of RCO technology on these dryer applications through the adaptation of upstream gas cleaning technologies and evaluates the economic benefits of this approach.