Feds invest $2.4M to build fully automated cedar shingle factory

Thursday July 18, 2019
Written by Manufacturing AUTOMATION
July 18, 2019 – Natural Resources Canada is investing $2.4 million to help build what it says is the world's first fully automated cedar shingle manufacturing facility in New Brunswick.

The funding will enable shingle manufacturer Waska to employ lasers, sensors and advanced algorithms, which are sets of computer-generated instructions typically used to perform problem-solving operations in production.

Waska, which has been operating for 50 years, is a division of Clair Industrial Development Corporation Ltd. and manufactures a variety of shingles and fences.

The new, improved and highly digitalized automated process will significantly increase production, result in higher precision rates, lower production costs, reduce energy usage, and enhance efficiency.

Provided through Natural Resources Canada's Investments in Forest Industry Transformation (IFIT) program, this investment will sustain over 90 jobs, create 26 new positions, and help generate a continued revenue stream for the rural community of Clair, New Brunswick.

"The technological shift our business has taken will allow us to embrace the concept of Industry 4.0," says Jacques LeVasseur, president of Waska, in a release. "After 50 years of improving mechanical operations, it was time to incorporate digital technology in order to continue to increase productivity and make gains in efficiency."

In its 2019 budget, the government is proposing an additional $82.9 million over three years, starting in 2020–21, for the IFIT program. This investment would provide continued support for the industrial commercialization and adoption of innovative technologies and processes across Canada's forest sector.

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