Canada Details Uniboard MDF Mill Investments of $5.3 Million
The Government of Canada detailed its investment in Uniboard's Sayabec plant in Bas-Saint-Laurent, Quebec mill expansion. The particleboard plant will adopt a pre-heating technology - the first application in North America - to expand production of medium-density fibreboard (MDF) at the plant. The two-phased project involves integrating a European technology for the high-temperature steam preheating of raw particleboard, and subsequently adding a panel laminating line to better meet the diverse demands of the market. Loans and grants totalling $5.3 million were awarded in the form of a $3 million repayable contribution through Canada Economic Development's Quebec Economic Development Program and a $2.3 million non-repayable contribution through Natural Resource Canada's Investments in Forest Industry Transformation program. The funding from both CED and Natural Resources Canada will go to financing the acquisition and installation costs. Overall investment is $29 575 000.
"This investment will enable the Canadian forest sector to become more innovative, all within a perspective of sustainable development," says Greg Rickford, Minister of Natural Resources Canada. "Our Government is proud to support projects that contribute to the innovation and competitiveness of the forest sector while ensuring its sustainable development."
Uniboard Canada Inc., with 380 employees, is Quebec's largest manufacturer of thermofused melamine panels, medium-density fibreboard (MDF), high-density fibreboard (HDF), laminate flooring and decorative wood products.
The company's Sayabec mill is also the largest industrial employer in its county, as well as the largest integrated particleboard manufacturing facility in North America. The mill produces value-added particleboard and melamine panels for the manufacture of ready-to-assemble furniture, countertops, kitchen cabinets and exterior coverings.
"Our government believes that economic prosperity is achieved through investments like the one Uniboard Canada is about to make to raise the production capacity and competitiveness of its Sayabec mill," says Denis Lebel, Minister of Infrastructure, Communities and Intergovernmental Affairs and Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec.
Wood fibre mat preheating system
Through funding from Natural Resources Canada's Investments in Forest Industry Transformation (IFIT) program, Uniboard Canada Inc. is aiming to install a preheating device for the manufacture of wood panels before they go into a press. A first of its kind in North America, the flash steam process will increase production by preheating the wood particle mat with water vapour.
Through this investment, say Canadian government leaders, Uniboard will contribute to changing North American production standards for particleboard. The project will allow for a review of the efficiency of various production recipes which will optimize the consumption of materials, such as glue and resin, which will lower the mill's environmental impact.
A 2006 patent by Huber Engineered Woods describes a similar process and preheating steps for manufacturing composite wood. Siempelkamp has installed the technology in mills in Europe producing OSB, such as Krono.
"The shareholders of Uniboard Canada Inc are proud that our company is to become the first in North America to make use of this innovative technology for the preheating of the particleboard mats," says James N. Hogg, CEO, Uniboard Canada Inc.
Source: Woodworking Network (Edited)