2016 Innovation of the Year Entries 


(Ten Entries In Company Alphabetical Order, Entries A-J)


Note: The following information is as claimed by the entrant.  EWTA and APA make no claims as to the veracity of the information nor endorse any particular entry.


All Entries With Links to Each:
A. Connexus Industries​ - Connexus Welded Steel “Plus” Chain
B. Georgia-Pacific Chemicals LLC​ -  Resi-Boost (TM) Additive
C. Meinan Machinery Works, Inc.​ - Meinan Automated Veneer Lathe Line with Automatic Stacking and In-Line Green Veneer Composing
D. Signode Packaging Systems​ - Signode BPX Strapping Machine
E. Sweed Machinery​ - Sweed Versatile Veneer Stacker
F.  USNR - Dynamic Wood Equilibration Control for Veneer Dryer - USNR
G. Westmill Industries USA Corp. - Removable Roll Baffle System (Patent Pending) - Westmill Industries USA Corp.
H. Westmill Industries USA Corp. - ​WestVac Veneer Dryer Emission & Control System (Patent Pending) - Westmill Industries USA Corp.
I.  Westmill Industries USA Corp. - Whole Dryer Impressed Current Cathodic Protection System (Patent Pending)
J. Willamette Valley Company​ - Wil-Spray 500


A. Connexus Welded Steel “Plus” Chain 

     Submitted By: Connexus Industries

Description: Our Connexus Welded Steel "Plus" Chain features a unique "No Seam Barrel" which eliminates premature stretch. It is welded flush on the outside of the sidebar which eliminates interference with the sprockets. This unique innovation has been proven to increase the lifespan of the chain by 30% on many applications, including double-strand rakeback conveyors in an OSB mill.

Contact: Greg Thompson


Phone: 1.800.367.9992

Benefit #1: Seamless Barrels

Benefit #2: Flush Welded

Measurable Results: 30% increase in lifespan of chain


B. Resi-Boost (TM) Additive

     Submitted By: Georgia-Pacific Chemicals LLC

Description: Resi-Boost additive for LVL and plywood, reduces over-penetration of the adhesive, leaving more resin solids on the surface, thus decreasing the spreads and lowering glue usage. In addition, Resi-Boost additive cuts press times by lowering the temperatures needed for a solid bond, all resulting in cost savings. Other benefits of this proprietary technology include improving panel thickness and properly bonding juvenile wood knots, etc.
Overall, the many benefits of this product, when used in conjunction with Georgia-Pacific Chemicals wood adhesives, can result in increased throughput through hot presses, reduction in the temperatures needed for effective bonds and reduction in glue usage, all of which can lead to significant cost savings.

Contact: Deborah Galloway


Phone: 404.652.5543

Benefit #1: Reduces glue spreads and hence glue costs

Benefit #2: Decreases press time

Measurable Results: 10-20% reduction in press cycles; 5-10% in spread reduction


C. Meinan Automated Veneer Lathe Line with Automatic Stacking and In-Line Green Veneer Composing

    Submitted by: Meinan Machinery Works, Inc.

Description: Meinan peeling line is first in the world with fully automated green end. Features 3-D vision scanning of blocks, automatic knife changer, full sheet stacking by moisture sort, automated handling of random veneer and in-line green composing of random/fishtails to save labor costs/increase dryer utilization. The Meinan peeling line installed at Swanson Group plywood mill in Springfield OR provides recovery improvement to lower material costs (10% yield increase in doug fir study), automation to lower labor costs (1 operator runs the entire lathe line and stackers), and technology to reduce glue and energy costs (consistent peel thickness tolerance within +/- .0002" to +/-.0004" with less log conditioning). Features include 3-D vision scanning of blocks with PC optimization, spindleless peeling to 2" core with no spinouts, higher full sheet recovery, fully automated handling and sorting of random/fishtails fed directly into patented green veneer composers. Composed veneer sheets are fed into the dryer instead of random size strips, reducing labor and drying costs. 

Contact: Anna McCann


Phone: 716.434.5558

Benefit #1: Higher veneer recovery and lower labor costs

Benefit #2: Better veneer quality and close thickness tolerance

Measurable Results: 10% increase in veneer yield based on doug fir study


D. Signode BPX Strapping Machine

     Submitted By: Signode Packaging Systems

Description: The BPX compression strapping system delivers maximum packaging reliability in a simple to operate and easy to use machine. Its streamlined design with innovative, built-in features enables faster cycle times and more consistent package performance.

Contact: Claude Gregory


Phone: 800.323.2464

Benefit #1: Reduces Operator intervention to reload Edge Protection and other consumables.

Benefit #2: Remote strap loading reduces the amount of time the operator has to enter the material handling zone.

Measurable Results: Standard Pack sizes are strapped within 12 seconds or 5 per minute.


E. Sweed Versatile Veneer Stacker

     Submitted By: Sweed Machinery

Description: A unique and innovative approach to dry-veneer stacking.  Whether stacking 8' only, or any combination of 4', 8', 9' and 10'; 27's or 54's, changeovers (from one length to the next) are as simple as a push of a button, in less than one minute. The core functionality of Sweed's stacker is based on proven technology with an added major innovation; the Versatile Veneer Stacker uses adjustable dual plenums, which allow the stacker to easily and efficiently adjust to multiple lengths of veneer. Sweed's groundbreaking adaptable solution keeps the stacker concept simple and makes changing over (from one length to the next) as easy as a push of a button, and in less than one minute. Sweed's innovative and efficient solution to multiple lengths also applies to standard length operations. The even-enders are infinitely adjustable, giving the operator flexibility to move or adjust the plenum as needed, maximizing the ability to maintain a clean stack.  With adjustable plenums there are no extra knockdowns or valves. This optimizes the standard quantity of components, while still allowing complete adjustability. Sweed's patent-pending design uses a streamlined approach, delivering a highly efficient stacker with less moving parts. This provides the end user a superior solution at a competitive price, with reduced annual maintenance.

Contact: Kevin Gordon


Phone: 541.855.1512

Benefit #1: Patent-pending Dual-Plenum design allows the stacker to easily adjust to multiple lengths of veneer.

Benefit #2: Even-Enders are infinitely adjustable, providing flexibility for plenum placement on veneer.

Measurable Results: Doubled throughput by eliminating the need to hand-pull other lengths. Reduced labor by 67%.


F. Dynamic Wood Equilibration Control for Veneer Dryer

    Submitted By: USNR


Dynamically balanced humidity in the veneer dryer improves veneer quality, reduces drying cost and saves energy. The volume of moisture in a veneer dryer is solely dependent upon the water volume carried into the dryer with the veneer. Each veneer sheet has a unique moisture content. Minimizing the exchange of outside air within the dryer so that about a half pound of water per pound of air is always maintained in the dryer, despite the variation of water brought into the dryer with incoming veneer, is the required dynamic balance. Both ends of the dryer are equipped with proprietary modulating controls that effectively seal the dryer in all normal operating modes. Additionally, dry veneer moisture sensors control the speed of the conveyor chains, varying the rate that moisture enters the drying chamber. The result is incredibly uniform drying across the full range of veneer thicknesses and species. Not over-drying veneer, and ensuring uniform moisture content in the veneer exiting the dryer, reduces the volume of water that has to be evaporated. Benefits include higher quality, more uniform moisture content veneer. About 50% reduction in labor costs, 10-20% reduction in thermal and electrical energy cost and volume of exhaust to treat. 

Contact: Alan  Knokey


Phone: 360.841.6363

Benefit #1: Uniform high quality dry veneer

Benefit #2: Typically 10-15% savings in both thermal and electrical energy and 25-35% savings in labor costs

Measurable Results: Typically less than 3% over dry veneer when achieving chosen dry veneer moisture content.


G. Removable Roll Baffle System (Patent Pending)

     Submitted By: Westmill Industries USA Corp.

Description: Westmill’s new Removable Roll Baffle design not only provides a superior seal, but also provides users with a quickly replaceable Roll Baffle (Stop-Off wall)  with the ability to change baffles in only minutes - not hours!  We are pleased to provide information on Westmill’s recent (Patents Pending) development, The Removable Roll Baffle System.

Contact: Mike Crondahl


Phone: 604.607.7010

Benefit #1: Reduce in-plant dryer emissions while helping meet OSHA requirements for Workers Environmental Safety

Benefit #2: Energy Savings, Fire Risk reduction, Pitch & VOC reduction.

Measurable Results: Energy Savings, Improved Veneer Quality, Reduced Fire Risk, In-Plant Emissions & Dryer Downtime


H. WestVac Veneer Dryer Emission & Control System (Patent Pending)

     Submitted By: Westmill Industries USA Corp.

Description: Westmill’s WestVac Dryer Emission and Control System is a very cost effective means of sealing the entire veneer dryer and improving overall veneer dryer performance without the need of using a separate exhaust fan or auxiliary heat source as required on other systems. We are pleased to provide information on Westmill’s recent (Patents Pending) development, The WestVac Dryer Emission and Control System. After many years in development and testing, Westmill's new WestVac Dryer Emission and Control System have 'Patents Pending' and can finally be presented publicly. With its simple operation and proven results in 8 New and Retrofit dryer installations to date, the WestVac system is the most effective and economical method to optimize a Jet Veneer Dryers performance. This is done by effectively controlling the pressure at the ends of the dryer in order to keep gases from leaking either into or out of the dryer itself. The result is a hi-humidity drying environment. To maximize dryer production, a high humidity-ratio must be maintained throughout the entire drying process. Documented in countless scientific reports and studies, it is well understood that high humidity drying yields the best quality veneer, saves energy and reduces the risk of dryer fires, not to mention increases production. Hi-temperature drying without increased risk of fires, or sacrificing wood quality are all proven results by using Westmill’s WestVac System. By comparison to other’s systems, the WestVac Dryer Emission and Control System does not remove emissions from the veneer dryer. Instead, Westmill has developed its innovative and revolutionary Re-Intro-Duct™ Technology which eliminates the need of using a costly seal-section exhaust fan combined with an auxiliary heat source. 

Don’t waste valuable heat and steam energy by pulling this from the dryer and sending to the exhaust. Keep it inside the dryer where it can make you money. 

Contact: Mike Crondahl


Phone: 604.607.7010

Benefit #1: Overall Dryer Performance Gains

Benefit #2: Emission reduction, Energy savings

Measurable Results: Production Increase, Energy Savings, Improved Veneer Quality, higher operating temps with reduced fire risk


I.  Whole Dryer Impressed Current Cathodic Protection System
(Patent Pending)

    Submitted By: Westmill Industries USA Corp.

Description: Westmill’s Impressed Current Cathodic Protection System provides an effective and permanent means of corrosion protection over an entire veneer dryer. We are pleased to provide information on Westmill’s recent (Patents Pending) development our Impressed Current Cathodic Protection System. To help customers protect their investment in major equipment installations such as Veneer Dryers, WESTMILL has developed, tested and implemented an innovative new approach to eliminate the destructive effects of corrosion on Veneer Dryers. This system is called 'Impressed Current Cathodic Protection' or ICCP. Impressed Current Cathodic Protection (ICCP) forces the protected structure (the Veneer Dryer) to become the cathode by connection to a Precious Metal (Niobium) coated anode.  Impressed Current Cathodic Protection systems protect a wide range of metallic structures in extremely varied environments. ICCP is not experimental, it is a proven technology. It has been successfully used for decades in many industries. Common larger structure applications of ICCP systems are; steel pipelines and storage tanks, home water heaters, steel pier piles, ship and boat hulls, offshore oil platforms and onshore oil well casings and metal reinforcement ‘rebar’ in concrete, buildings, structures and steel bridges. In short, the protected structure becomes Cathodic, thus suppressing the electronic migration of metal and virtually eliminating corrosion altogether from occurring. This is critical to providing effective and extremely long term protection to susceptible structures.

Contact: Mike Crondahl


Phone: 604.607.7010

Benefit #1: Veneer Dryer Corrosion Protection

Benefit #2: See Above

Measurable Results: Veneer Dryer Corrosion Protection


J.  Wil-Spray 500

     Submitted By: Willamette Valley Company

Description: Wil-Spray 500 is a water based, odorless spray adhesive eliminating the need for staples/hot melt to affix overlays to veneer in the matching process. A superior bond between the overlay and veneer is achieved with a larger bond area reducing overlay damage during layup process. Wil-Spray 500 is currently used on manual matching stations for overlays. Customers have quantified increased production, reduced fall down, and reduced product cost associated with this product. Automation has been developed for this process through the use of spray guns and automatic spray systems. Additional benefits: Eliminating strenuous and repetitive actions (manual staplers); - Superior bond with greater bond area;  No bleed through or negative effect on bond line; Improved efficiency through application of product (increased production); Reduced fall down associated with overlay damage during layup process; Reduced labor cost through automating process.


Contact: Tony Vuksich


Phone: 541.484.9621

Benefit #1: A superior bond of paper overlay to veneer (in place of staples/hot melt) with no bleed through

Benefit #2: Has enabled automation of the matching process reducing labor and eliminating strenuous actions.

Measurable Results: Reduced cost, improved efficiency, reduced fall down, less strenuous to personnel