The Quebec lumber industry is currently enjoying significant growth in the manufacture of value-added products.
Several QFIC members have embarked on this transition, investing in the modernization of their equipment so as to increase and enhance their output of basic products. They have also invested in new equipment to manufacture value-added products (MSR lumber, finger-jointed lumber and other secondary processing products).
MSR lumber offers users a set of items having rigidity conducive to consistency and uniformity of design values at limit states, for structural uses. The S-P-F (spruce-pine-fir) species group is the type most often used for this type of product due to the physical characteristics required for an MSR grading. Many Quebec plants produce a variety of grades of MSR wood, the most popular being 1650Fb, 2100Fb and 2400Fb.
Some plants also produce finger-jointed lumber. Manufactured according to the requirements of the SPS-1 and SPS-3 standards of the National Lumber Grades Authority (NLGA), finger-jointed lumber is interchangeable with non-finger-jointed lumber of the same grade. This product plays a very important role in the making of L-shaped trusses, which are used extensively in residential and commercial buildings. Laminated and glued products (beams or panels), have also grown in popularity in response to the specific needs of some clients.
In addition to these value-added products, Quebec plants have for some years produced bed-making components, with a high degree of accuracy in their manufacture.
Finally, the QFIC is working in partnership with its members, with the National Lumber Grades Authority (NLGA), with FPInnovations and with the Canadian Wood Council (CWC), on developing standards and processes to help maintain the competitiveness of the Quebec lumber industry.
With the aim of helping the continuous improvement of Quebec lumber product quality, the quality control Directorate of the QFIC, assisted by a standards advisory committee, has developed an assessment tool for its members: the “Performance” program. This is a general assessment grid to evaluate a product’s quality of manufacture and appearance. The QFIC is the first producers’ group in North America to establish an evaluation process that goes beyond the standards of National Lumber Grades Authority (NLGA) classification.
The results of this evaluation provide performance indicators for producers in meeting their quality and consistency objectives in the sawmilling processes. The Performance evaluation grid addresses the following aspects: manufacturing defects, planing dimensions, trim quality, drying, stamping and packaging. The aim is therefore continuous quality improvement, with special attention given to the manufacture and presentation of the product.
Every CIFC member-plant receives an inspection report that provides an overview of the quality of its products, while analyzing any variations detected in the dimensions and level of stamped products. The data thus produced also permit comparison with other member-plants in Quebec.
Specifically, QFIC inspectors visit all member-plants monthly, and each half-year an inspection report is sent to them, demonstrating the plant’s progress as well as outlining industry trends.
The Performance program and the application of this evaluation grid have, since June 1996, resulted in producers taking concrete actions. For example, some have given special attention to the quality of their packaging while others are now equipped with specialized tools to improve the trim quality of their products.