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Australia – Victorian Government establishing hardwood plantations

International Forest Industries - 1 hour 16 min ago

The first eucalypt seedlings will be planted out in the Latrobe Valley this winter to meet the Victorian Government’s 2017 promise to spend AU$110 million growing hardwood plantations to support the state’s timber industry.

Agriculture Minister Jaclyn Symes launched the plantation programme at Yallourn North, where crown land will be used to establish plantations. But rather than using the experience of the private sector, the government intends to use its state-owned native forest manager VicForests to oversee the plantations to meet its legislated obligation to supply at least 350,000 cubic metres of hardwood pulp to the Latrobe Valley’s Australian Paper Mill until at least 2030.

The move is also seen as an attempt to reduce the reliance on native forests pulp logs as the Government comes under pressure from environmentalists and green groups to phase out native timber harvesting. Bringing VicForests into plantation forestry to meet Australian Paper’s future demands would bring the Government back into a sector it privatised more than 20 years ago.

Former Premier Jeff Kennett’s Coalition Government sold off the state’s 170,000ha of soft and hardwood plantations in 1998 to US investment company Hancock Timber Resource Group for AU$550 million.

One industry player said it did not make sense for VicForests to run plantations, given there were seven efficient private-sector firms already operating in Australia. Three of these firms operate in Victoria: Hancock Victorian Plantations, New Forests and Global Forest Partners.

The move back into plantation forestry is seen by industry players as an attempt to find a role for some of VicForests’ 128 staff. But one analyst argued only 15-30 staff would be needed to operate AU$110 million of hardwood plantations.

Source: Weekly Times
Photo: Agriculture Minister Jaclyn Symes

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Toyo – Biomass power for Japan city

International Forest Industries - Thu, 25/04/2019 - 12:55

Toyo Engineering Corporation has been awarded a contract for a project to construct a 51,500kW biomass power plant. This plant will be built in Ishikari- shi, Hokkaido, Japan for Ishikari Shinko New Energy Hatsuden Godo Kaisha.

This project is to construct a dedicated biomass-fired power plant using imported fuels such as wood pellets and PKS (Palm Kernel Shells). This power generation facility is a highly efficient biomass-fired plant based on the reheat system.

TOYO will carry out the EPC turnkey contract on a full turn-key basis that includes engineering, procurement, construction and commissioning services for a power generation unit.

TOYO has positioned the infrastructure field centred on power generation plants as one of its core businesses, actively working on renewable energy power generation plants such as photovoltaic power plants and biomass power plants.

This project marks TOYO’s 4th orders for 50,000-kW-class biomass power plants. TOYO will continue to contribute to helping create a low-carbon society by expanding its approach to biomass power generation.

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Sawmill profit margins fall

International Forest Industries - Thu, 25/04/2019 - 11:37

Softwood lumber prices have generally fallen faster than the costs for sawlogs throughout the world in late 2018, resulting in lower margins for the sawmilling sector, according to the WRQ. In western US and western Canada, margins fell to unprofitable levels and many sawmills in the region curtailed production in late 2018 and early 2019.

Seattle, USA. Lumber prices in North America continued their decline from the 3Q/18 with another quarter of substantial reductions. Average lumber prices for southern yellow pine were down 12% quarter-over-quarter in the 3Q/18, which was then followed by a reduction of 17% in the 4Q/18.

With practically no change in log or chip prices, gross margins, and the EBIDTAs, have plunged in the Southern states, after having reach a 13- year high in the 2Q/18, as reported in the latest issue of the WRQ.

However, the region’s sawmill margins were still well above their ten-year average margin. With lumber prices continuing to decline faster than log prices in early 2019, profit margins have continued to slide in the 1Q/19.

Sawmills in British Columbia have also seen the prices for lumber in the US market come down substantially during the second half of 2018. Despite the weaker lumber market, sawlog prices still increased from the 3Q/18 to the 4Q/18 because of tighter supply and a rise in hauling costs.

Sawmills saw their gross margins plunge to unprofitable levels and many companies decided to take market-related downtime in late 2018 and early 2019. In Europe and Russia, market prices for lumber were much less volatile than in North America, with only small price adjustments from the 4Q/17 to the 4Q/18.

Log costs were unchanged in Finland during most of the year, while the costs for spruce sawlogs in Sweden jumped in late 2018. Gross margins for sawmills in both countries are still at healthy levels and, in the 4Q/18, were close to the highest they have been in four years.

Sawmills in Siberia continue to expand exports to China with fairly stable lumber export prices the past three years. However, in the 4Q/18, lumber prices fell to their lowest level in almost two years. This occurred at the same time as sawlog costs remained unchanged from the previous quarter, resulting in reduced gross margins for many lumber producers at the end of 2018. Sawmill margins for 2018 were slightly below their five-year averages, but still higher than the average for the past 14 years.

Global lumber, sawlog and pulpwood market reporting is included in the 56-page quarterly publication Wood Resource Quarterly (WRQ). The report, which was established in 1988 and has subscribers in over 30 countries, tracks sawlog, pulpwood, lumber and pellet prices, trade and market developments in most key regions around the world. To subscribe to the WRQ, please go to www.WoodPrices.com
Contact Information
Wood Resources International LLC
Hakan Ekstrom
Seattle, USA

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KOPA gears up to unveil innovative forestry technology at LIGNA 2019

International Forest Industries - Wed, 24/04/2019 - 13:20

This year KOPA is all set to participate at LIGNA with an entire range of heavy machinery for the forestry industry and will display the innovative forestry solution at the open-air site of the trade fair, the recently revamped F20D forwarder from ROTTNE.

KOPA Forstmachinen – Handels- and Reparatur GmbH had its inception in 1964, since then the company continuously evolved, and produced innovative products in the market. With time, the company has enlarged its distribution network, and today the products are found in Germany, Austria, Netherlands, Belgium and Switzerland. This year at Hannover, in LIGNA 2019, KOPA is all set to host a full range of heavy machinery.

The ROTTNE F20D will be the main attraction of the show. This robust forwarder is equipped with a loading capacity of 20metric tons and a loading area of 8.4 square meters. This system makes it an ideal machine for transportation across long distances. This is an automatic gearbox that is equipped with an automatic gearbox and a variable hydrostatic transmission to offer a tractive force of 27 metric tons. The layout of the forwarder is specially designed to handle different types of terrain and also function in high speed and move with heavy loads. The upgraded forestry –solution doubled with energy-efficiency RK 160 crane solution is perfect to ensure a highly successful future for ROTTNE F20D.

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The largest investment project in the history of Koneosapalvelu has started

International Forest Industries - Wed, 24/04/2019 - 12:42

Koneosapalvelu is going through a strong development stage. The construction of the company’s new facilities began in Vilppula, Central Finland in February 2019. This investment in premises and equipment enables the company to achieve additional capacity, in addition to having modern production and workshop facilities.

New premises for production and customer service

Koneosapalvelu’s business operations will be concentrated to the new premises and the existing building will be renovated. The extension will be completed at the end of 2019, giving Koneosapalvelu about 2700 m² new business premises. The new premises will include the hydraulics service, shop and hydraulic hose assemblies, a central warehouse, offices as well as social and recreational facilities for the staff. The transmission repair shop and cylinder installation will also be getting a renovated production facility in the current location.

The renovation of the premises also means updating machinery and equipment. The most significant equipment investment will be the new testing equipment for hydraulics maintenance, which will provide a unique capacity for the Finnish market for testing and adjusting hydraulic pumps used in mobile machinery and industrial applications. The testing equipment can be used for testing all hydraulic pumps up to a volume of 380 cm³, with a maximum pressure of 550 bar and a maximum flow of 300 l/min.

Koneosapalvelu is the first Finnish company to become Bosch Rexroth Service Partner

Koneosapalvelu’s hydraulics service will become a certified Bosch Rexroth Service Partner when the new premises are completed. The collaboration agreement with Bosch Rexroth was signed in August 2018.

The new building with its machinery and equipment investments will add more capacity and modern facilities not only for hydraulics maintenance but also for the production of reconditioned parts, logistics operations and customer service in the shop.

More information

Koneosapalvelu Oy
Ville Nevalainen
Managing Director
Ph. +358 440 555150

Main Photo: Ville Nevalainen Managing Director Koneosapalvelu Oy

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Surprising projects from Sawmill specialists Üstünkarli Makine A.S.

International Forest Industries - Wed, 24/04/2019 - 11:22

This year Ligna will become the epicentre for sawmill leaders. Turkish log sawmill specialist Üstünkarli Makine A.S. will attend LIGNA in May at Hannover to display those machines designed to process high-quality French and German hardwood for the leading market.

The company had its inception in 1954 in Izmir, Üstünkarli Makine A.S as a small workshop for saw production and sawmill machinery. At present, the workshop near Izmir Adnan Menderes Airport spans some 20,000 square meters, as well as the unique machines, are shipped all over the globe. Üstünkarli Makine A.S is thus exhibiting at LIGNA, with its strong reputation and for attracting the audience from far and wide.

Üstünkarli Makine A.S is showcasing a line of unique innovations at LIGNA this year, displaying new machinery near the Franco-German border. The audience at LIGNA will have the chance to explore these machines and equipment at the show.

The developers and production team of Üstünkarli Makine A.S will be present at the centre to explain the technology behind the developments that include an inclined hydraulic log carriage with an optimization-software-operated 2D scanner, a chipping canter with adequate speed control functionality and an automatic edger line with chipping canters.

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Large attacks by bark beetle and storms increase the notified area of final felling in Sweden

International Forest Industries - Tue, 23/04/2019 - 14:38

In March, the notified area of final felling in Sweden increased by 16% compared with the corresponding month in 2018. It is the second highest monthly recorded data for the whole country in for March month in the last 12 years, according to the Swedish Forest Agency.

The total area of notified final felling in the whole country amounted to 18,103 hectares. The increase is partly due to the extensive attacks by bark beetle in large parts of South of Sweden and Central Sweden. Furthermore, storms Alfrida and Jan also affect where forest owners now make notifications to be able to take care of the forest that has been affected.

The notified area of final felling increased in all regions except for the region South of Northern Sweden where it decreased by 24% to 3,799 hectares. In the region North of Sweden, it was unchanged amounting to 2,429 hectares. In the region Central Sweden, the notified area of final felling increased by 74% and amounted to 5,266 hectares, which is the highest monthly recorded data for March since 2007. In the region South of Sweden, the increase was 29% and amounted to 6,608 hectares.

At county level, the notified area of final felling increased in 16 of 21 counties. The highest increase percentage was in Örebro County. In Stockholm, Kalmar and Värmland counties, the increase was more than a doubling of the notified final felling area. It is the highest monthly recorded data for March month since 2007 in all these four counties, but also in Uppsala and Västra Götaland County.

In Jämtland County, the notified area of final felling decreased by 41%.

During the 1Q 2019, 25% larger area of notified final felling compared with the same quarter last year.


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Ponsse reports FY 2018 net sales of Euro 143.1 million

International Forest Industries - Tue, 23/04/2019 - 12:54

Ponsse’s consolidated net sales for 2018 amounted to Euro 143.1 million, which is 0.7% more than in 2017. International business operations accounted for 76.3% of net sales.

The operating result amounted to Euro 12.9 million. The operating result equalled 9% of net sales for the period under review. Consolidated return on capital employed (ROCE) stood at 19.8%.

Order intake for the period totalled Euro 222.8 million, while period-end order books were valued at Euro 367.9 million.

Ponsse Plc is a company specialising in the sales, manufacture, servicing and technology of cut-to-length method forest machines.

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Linck’s log motion control optimizes log spinning

International Forest Industries - Tue, 23/04/2019 - 12:29

At LIGNA 2019, Linck will be showcasing a further development in the shape of its log motion control: a Microtec Truespin unit tracks and maps the actual position of the log as it is spun.

The Linck optimization program calculates the deviation from the ideal position, and adjusts the spin trajectory if necessary. The more accurately the log can be positioned, the more useable – and saleable – timber it will yield.

Linck’s optimization software calculates the precise angle of spin from the dimensional data provided by a 3D scan. To visit Linck click here.

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Moelven and SCA enter into pellet collaboration

International Forest Industries - Tue, 23/04/2019 - 11:57

Moelven has entered into a cooperation agreement with SCA to deliver pellets from Moelven’s new pellet factory.

The collaboration will provide the Swedish group SCA with a long-term and exclusive supply agreement of 80,000 tonne per annum, which is the entire production volume from Moelven Pellet’s factory in Sokna, Norway.

“This is a massive agreement for Moelven Pellets, a company that will first start its operations in the fall of 2019. We are proud to become a supplier to such an experienced group with exciting ambitions regarding renewable energy. This agreement also shows that Moelven ventured into the pellet market at the right time with our energy-efficient and innovative pellet plant,” says CEO Lars Storslett in Moelven Pellets AS.

Moelven is a Scandinavian industrial group that produces building products and systems for the construction industry.

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JoeScan takes the JS-50 on the road

International Forest Industries - Thu, 18/04/2019 - 12:02

JoeScan’s latest JS-50 sawmill scanner keeps impressing. After a successful run of spring tradeshows, the Vancouver, Washington based company is preparing for a busy summer of travel with their new device.

“We got a lot of great feedback from mill owners at the Southeastern Lumber Manufacturers Association spring meeting and the Hardwood Manufacturers Association annual conference,” says JoeScan president Joey Nelson. “Sawmills love the idea of having a single scanner model for their entire line. It really simplifies things for management and employees.”

The next big show for JoeScan is LIGNA. In Germany they will be unveiling a new transverse demo of the JS-50.

“People got to see the JS-50 scan logs at TP&EE in Portland last year,” Nelson adds. “We’re already known for lineal and log scanning, so the chance to show off the performance for trimmers and transverse edgers is a great step forward for us. This really is a scanner that can do it all for sawmills.”

“We’ve made it a big priority to get out there and have conversations with the sawmills that are using our products,” Nelson says. “We only make scanners for sawmills, so their input is invaluable to us. It’s these relationships that allow us to generate innovations like the features in the JS-50.”

Stop by and say hello at any of the above shows this year, and you will get the chance to influence the next big sawmill scanning improvement from JoeScan.

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Tommi Ekman appointed Logset Oy´s CEO

International Forest Industries - Thu, 18/04/2019 - 11:23

BSc Tommi Ekman, 44, has been appointed Logset Oy´s CEO and will start in his new position in late 2019. Ekman comes to Logset from John Deere Forestry Oy, where he has worked as General Manager, Marketing & Order Fulfillment. Ekman has 19 years of experience from different demanding tasks within the global forest machine industry and he has worked several years for John Deere and Waratah Forestry Attachment.

I’ve been following the good development of Logset for a while. When they contacted me, I didn’t hesitate to seize the opportunity. Logset’ s leadership in hybrid technology, its investments in distribution, and its modern, high-end products convinced me that the company can reach its growth goals. I want to contribute to the growth process with my own experience and energy, says the future CEO.

With Tommi Ekman, we will have a real forest machine man in the company management. The Board of Directors was convinced by his solid experience of different demanding tasks in the industry. Tommi can increase our competence and expertise in all our business areas and operations, and his positive energy makes him easy to follow as a leader, says Chairman of the Board Tapio Nikkanen.

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Logset to establish a subsidiary in Canada

International Forest Industries - Thu, 18/04/2019 - 10:51

Logset Oy will establish a subsidiary named Logset Inc. in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada in May 2019. The new office base will offer sales help and technical support to Logset dealers based in North and South America, Japan and Australia. Through Logset Inc., the company can work in the same time zone as the dealers. In the beginning, Logset will send three people to work for Logset Inc.: Pascal Réty, Vice President of Sales and Marketing (acting as a CEO for Logset Inc.), Jari-Pekka Ylikoski, Technical Support and Johanna Sereda, Administrative Coordinator. Réty and Ylikoski will start working from the new office in June 2019. Johanna will follow a few months later.

We sell Logset products through our dealers around the world and we will continue with the same strategy with Logset Inc. We are going to work hard to increase the support for our dealers. Our aim is to grow together, says Réty.

Logset has sold machines in Canada since 2002. In 2010, Logset signed a dealer agreement with the current dealer LN Machinerie, based in the Quebec province. In 2017, Logset made important dealer agreements with Fabick CAT and Milton CAT in the U.S. The Fabick CAT territory includes the entire state of Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, as well as major parts of Missouri and Illinois. The Milton CAT territory consists of New England and upstate New York.

Logset has sold machines in Brazil through its current dealer Minusa, located in Lages, Santa Catarina. In the beginning of 2018, the Logset dealer network grew also in Brazil with the new dealer Pesa CAT.

Establishing a subisidiary closer to the new dealers in North and South America is a logical next step for Logset.

North and South America are potential growth areas for us. Establishing a subsidiary is a commitment and an investment from Logset. We chose Ontario, Canada as the best base for Logset Inc. because it is located between our three dealers in North America, Réty explains.

In 2018, Logset Oy’s turnover grew to a record level of 40.128 million euros (2017: 30.922 million euros) and the operating profit to 1,671 million euros (2017: 0,935 million euros). The strongest growth came from the Russian and South American markets.

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Komatsu Forest to build a new factory in Umeå, Sweden

International Forest Industries - Wed, 17/04/2019 - 12:41

Komatsu Forest makes one of its biggest investments ever and it will take place in Umeå, Sweden. It will be a future-proof factory in large format, with a focus on sustainable production.

The new factory will be built on the industrial area Klockarbäcken in the outskirts of the city and the company has done a thorough feasibility study to assess the entire project, including construction and transfer of operations while keeping the high productivity levels intact.

The start of construction is estimated to be May 2019 and the plan is that the finished factory will be inaugurated in 2021. The factory will be something of a unique landmark with its nearly 40,000 m2 divided into production area on two floors and an associated office building in six floors.

“We will build a future-proof factory, where we can lay the foundation for the next generation of forest machines. In the new premises, we will be able to accommodate both production and development. We are investing in a factory that meets our needs here and now, but also gives us room to grow for the future,” says Martin Ärlestig, factory manager Komatsu Forest.

The factory is one of the largest investments in industrial Sweden right now and will have a strong focus on sustainability and IoT. The factory will be carbon neutral in its production, which is achieved through efficient energy supply with solar panels, modern building techniques and geo energy. The location at Klockarbäcken in Umeå is also an important factor, since the proximity to the railway means that an increased share of the company’s goods can be transported by rail.

Komatsu Forest is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of forest machines. The company sells its products all over the world and is wholly owned by the Japanese company Komatsu Ltd.

Photo: Martin Ärlestig, factory manager Komatsu Forest

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Bergs Timber – Large volumes to the US

International Forest Industries - Wed, 17/04/2019 - 11:54

On April 3, the vessel SAGA FUTURE sailed out of Oskarshamn’s harbor with just over 19,000 m3 of goods from Bergs sawmills.

The delivery is one of the single largest  to it’s warehouse in Baltimore. The US market is important to Bergs Timber and the consumption of wood products remains good.

With this delivery, they continue to secure good delivery ability to their American customers during spring and early summer.

Bergs Timber is active in three business areas: forestry services for forest owners, as a means of acquiring raw material for it’s industries, forest products and timber preservation.

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Sweden: 400 million seedlings annually

International Forest Industries - Wed, 17/04/2019 - 11:24

Large increase in the number of Scots pine of delivered seedlings in 2018 – The Swedish Forest Agency conducts an annual survey on the production of seedlings for forest regeneration in Sweden. According to the latest survey the production of Scots pine increased by almost 8 percent in 2018 compared to the previous year. In total 384 million seedlings were delivered in 2018, which is an increase of 2 percent compared to 2017.

The most common tree species are Norway spruce, which constitutes for 51 percent of the production. Scots pine accounts for 46 percent of the production and other tree species production for 4 percent. The production of Lodgepole pine seedlings has been more than halved since 2012 – from 18 million seedlings to just below 7 million. Production of other coniferous species than Scots pine, Norway spruce and Lodgepole pine has increased to about 5.5 million. Seedlings of deciduous trees has a very small share of the production.

Rooted planting material is the dominant production method with 82 percent of the production. Bare-rooted is 18 percent, while the remaining production is virtually nonexistent. Bare-rooted seedlings are primarily used for Norway spruce, other conifers and deciduous trees.

Most of the origin of seedlings comes from Swedish plantations or Swedish forest stands, a total of about 80 percent, which is a decrease by 8 percent compared to 2017.

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NZ – Massive new hangar in wood

International Forest Industries - Wed, 17/04/2019 - 10:57

Air New Zealand to build world’s largest single arch timber aircraft hangar – Air New Zealand will build a new 10,000 square metre hangar at its engineering base in Auckland. The airline said it would be the largest single span timber arch aircraft hangar in the world.

The new Hangar 4 will be one and a half times the size of the airline’s largest existing hangar. It will be able to house a wide body aircraft such as a Boeing 777-300 or 787- 9, and two narrow body aircraft such as an A320 or A321neo, at the same time.

It will be built at the airline’s Auckland engineering base at Geoffrey Roberts Road in Mangere. The roof will be double layer insulated allowing the hangar to retain heat without the need for heating.

The hangar will be a 5-6 “green star” building certified by the New Zealand Green Building Council. Green Star is an internationally-recognised rating system for the design, construction and operation of buildings.

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Weiler to buy Cat production facilities

International Forest Industries - Wed, 17/04/2019 - 10:33

Yesterday, Weiler Forestry Inc. announced it has entered into a definitive agreement to purchase Caterpillar’s purpose-built forestry business. Closing is anticipated to occur late 3rd quarter of 2019. This agreement follows the preliminary agreement between the two companies, which was announced in August 2018.

With this agreement, Weiler Forestry will acquire Caterpillar’s purpose-built forestry product line consisting of wheel skidders, track feller bunchers, wheel feller bunchers and knuckleboom loaders, along with operations facilities in LaGrange, Georgia, Auburn, Alabama and Smithfield, North Carolina.

“We are very excited to add Weiler-branded purpose-built forestry equipment to our product portfolio,” said Pat Weiler, owner and founder of Weiler, Inc. and Weiler Forestry. “Since the initial announcement, I’ve met with numerous Cat dealers and forestry customers. The response has been overwhelmingly positive and provided us with valuable feedback as we make plans to expand the existing forestry product line. We are eager to complete the acquisition and get to work.”

Founded in 2000, Weiler currently produces an extensive portfolio of products and has a long- standing history of successfully manufacturing purpose-built equipment distributed through the Cat dealer network. Upon the closing of the sale, Weiler Forestry will design and manufacture purpose-built forestry products, which will continue to be available through the Cat dealer network, providing customers with the same outstanding sales and service support they’ve come to expect.

Weiler Forestry and Caterpillar will work closely with Cat dealers to best support customers during this transition to ensure product availability and support services.

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John Deere Construction and Forestry Division announces JDLink™ Ultimate subscription price reduction

International Forest Industries - Wed, 17/04/2019 - 09:53

John Deere Construction and Forestry is decreasing its annual JDLink™ Ultimate offering prices, providing customers with an affordable, streamlined data solution that boosts productivity and maximizes uptime. Additionally, the division is consolidating JDLink Ultimate Forestry with the larger JDLink offering.

“Machine connectivity is key for our customers, who rely on this technology to maximize productivity and uptime. When we first rolled out our JDLink offering, we were excited to bring an innovative solution to the market that connected our customers with their machines and dealers,” said Ana-Maria Mallia, product marketing manager, JDLink. “We want to make it even easier for our customers to stay connected, and to do so, we are reducing prices to make this solution even more affordable and consolidating our subscription structure.”

Beginning this month, the annual subscription for JDLink Ultimate will be $200.00, and the JDLink Ultimate dual subscription will be $630.00. Tier pricing will be eliminated and customers can purchase up to three years of a subscription.

Additionally, the Forestry Ultimate and Forestry Ultimate dual subscriptions will be eliminated and consolidated with JDLink Ultimate and JDLink Ultimate dual. Moving forward, the Wireless-Data-Transfer and Limited Internet features offered in the Forestry Ultimate subscription will be included with all Ultimate and Ultimate Dual subscriptions. This change will be applied to both existing Forestry machines as well as new machine orders.

To learn more about JDLink, visit www.JohnDeere.com or contact your local dealer

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East Texas region: “wood basket” of the nation

International Forest Industries - Tue, 16/04/2019 - 14:39

New building codes for the use of mass wood products continue to spell good news for Southern Pine forestland owners. According to Houston Chronicle writer, R.A. Schuetz, the revised building codes have the potential to transform both foresting communities and cityscapes. “We are very excited about it,” Schuetz’s story quotes Texas Forestry Association President Rob Hughes. “There’s still a place for a skyscraper built of concrete and steel. But if it’s a smaller building, within what’s allowable, we hope that people consider buildings made of wood instead.”

The East Texas region’s native trees have been harnessed into what’s known as the “wood basket” of the nation, Schuetz’s story continues, by foresters such as (Hughes).

Mostly used until now to frame single-family home and for everyday products such as paper and furniture, the southern yellow pine grown along the Gulf Coast could soon be destined for structures unlike anything the United States has ever seen: wooden high-rises 18 stories tall.

Engineering advances have greatly increased the strength, rigidity, and stability of wood as a building material. As a result, the International Building Code, which forms the basis of many cities’ building regulations, decided in January to more than double the allowed height of a wooden building to 18 stories.

It will likely take another two years before cities begin adopting the code, but developers have begun to push up against current limits. Houston-based Hines has built multiple 85-foot-tall wooden buildings (which is the current height limit) and says there is no reason it could not go higher when limits increase.

The inside of the first CLT (cross-laminated timber) factory in Texas waits to be loaded with equipment in Lufkin, Texas. Photo: Mark Mulligan, Houston Chronicle / Staff Photographer

The inside of the first CLT (cross-laminated timber) factory in Texas waits to be loaded with equipment in Lufkin, Texas.

“We’re just on the forefront of this wave,” said Gensler architect Taylor Coleman, who designed the first building in the nation to use southern yellow pine in a mass timber product known as cross-laminated timber. Cross-laminated timber, which has its origins in Germany in the 1990s, consists of several layers of boards that are dried and then glued and stacked in alternating directions before being placed under pressure to form panels suitable for construction use.

More cross-laminated timber buildings are in the works, with developments announced in San Antonio, Austin, Dallas, and Sherman.

The first cross-laminated timber factory in Texas is under construction and once running, will employ at least 150 full-time employees and process 33 truckloads of southern yellow pine a day. That demand will have a ripple effect. Adjacent to the factory, a new sawmill named Angelina Forest Products is gearing up to provide another 135 jobs.

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