The study tour to Norway and Sweden was planned and coordinated by Russell C. Moody and Anton TenWolde from the U.S. Forest Products Laboratory. Forintek Canada Corp. was invited to participate on the tour with them with a view to beginning cooperative planning and research in areas of environmental concern, specifically moisture management in wood framed structures. The tour took place from August 17 to September 1, 1983. The author also stopped off in England to visit the British Research Establishment Laboratory in Princes Risborough and the TRADA laboratory in the same vicinity. Special appreciation is accorded to Mr. Torbjorn Schmidt at the Swedish Forest Products Laboratory in Stockholm and Mr. Erik Aasheim at the Norwegian Institute of Wood Technology. Their recommendations and assistance in setting up visits and tours was of great help. Mr. Schmidt also accompanied us in some of our journeys in Sweden and joined us in Norway for some of our meetings there.
In June 1989, Seamus Parker and Patrick Forrester of FERIC toured Sweden for two weeks to observe current silvicultural activities. The tour was jointly funded by the Canadian Department of External Affairs under the Technology Inflow Program (TIP), and FERIC. The report documents the observations made and information gathered by the authors. Current Swedish silvicultural practices and methods, particularly those employed by the larger forest companies, are discussed. The activities addressed are site preparation. planting, stand cleaning, pruning, and commercial thinning, with some comments on ergonomics and forest/machine interactions.
A recent tour to primary and secondary wood processing plants in Sweden found that the industry, similar to that found in British Columbia, is undergoing dramatic changes. Oversupply of commodity products domestically and throughout Europe has caused some Swedish businesses to look towards adding additional value and working towards differentiating their products from others, so as to remain globally competitive.
The tour was attended by wood-processors from British Columbia, who were looking to observe the Swedish wood products industry so as to find out how value was being added along the supply chain. This technology mission visited sawmills, door and window factories, a millwork producer, a glue-laminated product manufacturer, a panelized home component and a modular home builder. Meeting with representatives of large, integrated companies that were examining their product mix and looking towards the residential, commercial and industrial construction industry as a way to increase the demand for their products, it was noted that with new product development, marketing campaigns and technical information, these companies were competing directly with traditional construction materials.
Increased use of automation in material handling systems, raw material breakdown and packaging was observed throughout the plants visited; business owners saw automation as a means to improve productivity, reduce manufacturing costs and increase the level of quality. The transference of technology from one industry to another was also seen at various plants during the tour, where businesses were applying non-wood manufacturing techniques and equipment to the processing of wood products and building components. The Swedish companies visited were also applying supply chain management techniques and improving their distribution channels to become globally competitive and to meet the demands of the big box retailers in Europe and North America.