World’s first automated shingle facility to be built in Canada
July 22, 2019
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The world’s first fully automated cedar shingle facility is set to be built in Canada.
The $2.4 million in federal funding will enable shingle manufacturer Waska to employ the novel use of lasers, sensors and advanced algorithms, which are a set of computer-generated instructions typically used to perform problem-solving operations in production.
“The technological shift our business has taken will allow us to embrace the concept of Industry 4.0,” says Jacques LeVasseur, president, Waska. “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.”
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.
The funding – provided through Natural Resources Canada’s Investments in Forest Industry Transformation (IFIT) program – will sustain over 90 jobs, create 26 new positions, and help generate a continued revenue stream for the rural community of Clair, New Brunswick.
“As a leading corporate citizen, Waska has contributed and continues to contribute to the well-being and quality of life of our community,” says Jean-Pierre Ouellet, mayor, Haut-Madawaska, NB. “By investing in innovation to transform your forest products, you are contributing significantly to job and wealth creation for all of Haut-Madawaska. This investment will create approximately 20 jobs in addition to the 90 employees who already work for your business. This initiative can only benefit the community as a whole, and with it you are joining the world’s best processors of forest products.”
The construction of this new automated plant will deliver economic benefits to the surrounding region by improving the facility’s energy consumption and enhancing productive capacity, helping strengthen its forest industry.
Through Budget 2019, the government proposes an additional $82.9 million over three years, starting in 2020–21, for the IFIT program. This investment will provide continued support for the industrial commercialization and adoption of innovative technologies and processes across Canada’s forest sector.
Waska is a division of Clair Industrial Development Corporation Ltd., has been in operation for 50 years and focuses on manufacturing a variety of shingles and fences.