2019 Innovation of the Year Entries 


(Eleven Entries In Company Alphabetical Order, Entries A-K)


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. Argos Solutions/Convey-Keystone: Automatic Panel Repair System for plywood
B. Bruks Siwertell: The Belt Conveyor
C. Convey: Robotic Plywood Layup Line
D. FROMM Packaging Systems: HAJ13 Dispenser
E. Guardian Chemicals Inc.: P2 Pressguard x200
F. Henkel: Loctite HB X Purbond
G. KTC Industrial Engineering with Nova Robotics: OSB Press Platen Repair Robot
H. KTC Industrial Engineering: Real-Time Predictive Plant Modeling
I.  N.I.S. Nondestructive Inspection Service: Edge Scan Press Frame Inspection of Multi-Opening Daylight Press Frames
J. Samuel Packaging Systems Group: High-Speed Packaging
K. Steinemann Technology USA, Inc.: Board Quality Cockpit (BQC) 


A. Automatic Panel Repair System for plywood

Submitted By: Argos Solutions/Convey-Keystone

Description:  The Argos Panel Repair System uses 2 key elements.  The accurate defect recognition scanner using different light source allow detection and recognition of multiple defects, and the second is the innovative robotic repair system designed using robust and smooth mechanical design with linear motion. The Argos Panel Repair System for plywood is now a reality for plywood panel produces in North America with local proven success during the last two years with plywood made out of North American veneer species (Ex: Douglas fir, Oak, Maple, etc.). The innovative technology can recognize and differentiate defect like splits, cracks, solid and loose knots, resin pockets, wormholes, overlaps, pressed in veneer and bark pocket that affects the surface quality of plywood intended for industrial plywood (HDO, MDO, etc), engineered flooring and other application where a smooth surface is required. Once the panels are scanned for defects by the Argos scanner, they are sent to the repair stations where defects are accurately repaired using an extremely fast and accurate linear motion system design by Argos. Multiple tools options have been developed to repair the different types and sizes of defects. The benefit of the system has multiple angles from productivity improvement, waste reduction, yield improvement, quality improvement and from a Safety point of view, eliminating operators in close proximity of moving panels/conveyors and eliminating wear injuries like tendinitis and other injury associated with repetitive motion. The first North American system was successfully installed in 2017 for the engineered flooring industry and the second in 2018 for production of industrial plywood. Both projects were done using the material handling equipment design and build by Con-Vey Keystone from Roseburg, Oregon. This new technology is now available and supports the modernization effort needed to bring the NA plywood producers to a higher and modern level of manufacturing. 

Contact: Richard Lepine 

Email: richard.lepine@argossolutions.no 

Phone: 919-428-1262

Benefit #1: Replaces hand labor with automatic defect recognition followed by automatic repair process. 

Benefit #2: Increase production capacity, enhance repair quality, improves yield and reduces waste. 

Measurable Results: >50% reduction in waste putty, >5% in yield, >10% in quality and >80 % reduction of rework. 


B. The Belt Conveyor 

Submitted By: Bruks Siwertell


Totally-enclosed conveyor design that protects the environment from dust emissions and reduces any material losses to a minimum. Lower power requirements due to significantly reducing tension in the belt caused by rolling idlers and belt sag. The Belt conveyor has a totally-enclosed design that protects the environment from dust emissions and reduces any material losses to a minimum. The Belt Conveyor uses a formed pan to support the belt, with a fully flanged cover over it to make it dust tight. The belt can comfortably conform to the profile provided by the pan without the added stretching needed to travel through a pipe or over idlers. The shape of the pan also mimics the geometry of a 35-degree idler conveyor, but without the rollers, therefore it still meets the industry-standard calculations for the USA’s Conveyors Equipment Manufacturers Association (CEMA). The magic of the air-supported belt conveyor is in the way the air is delivered to support the belt. Each 3m section has access to a common header of pressurized air with air pressure sensors and flow meters installed to monitor it.  Under the carry-side pan, is a corresponding 3m-long pressurized air enclosure system, otherwise known as a plenum, which delivers air through holes at just the right pressure and airflow to lift the belt for essentially frictionless travel. This also results in an extremely smooth ride surface, eliminating the bumpiness characterized by traditional idler-supported belt conveyors. Therefore, material is discharged in exactly the same condition as when it was loaded onto the belt and less material segregation occurs.

Contact: Zach Hood

Email: zhd@bruks.com

Phone: 770.849.0100 x121

Benefit #1: Fully enclosed/dust tight construction

Benefit #2: No intermediate moving parts between the drive and tail pulleys resulting in lower friction factors.

Measurable Results: Belt-Tension due to the air-cushion is lower than 40% of the tension caused by idler friction and belt sag.


C. Robotic Plywood Layup Line

Submitted By: Con-Vey


Con-Vey’s Robotic Layup Line utilizes five (5) robot arms with vacuum end of arm tooling to pick in place veneer sheets on layup line conveyors. Con-Vey headquartered in Roseburg, Oregon, USA specializes in custom machinery and integration solutions for wood products. Con-Vey has engineered and manufactured a robotic plywood layup line that is the first of its kind in the world. The all-new compact layout utilizes five robotic arms with vacuum tooling to unstack veneer sheets and send them through a curtain glue coater for layup. The robotic arms require very limited maintenance when compared to traditional layup lines and offer more versatility. Con-Vey's robotic layup line is highly customizable so it can be engineered for each customer's specific needs. The robotic plywood layup line was a joint project with Freres Lumber Co., Inc. and was installed at their Mill City, Oregon facility. "Con-Vey was a great partner for what we believe to be one of the first robotic layup lines of its kind,"according to Kyle Freres, Vice President of Freres Lumber Co. Inc. "Not only do they have a capable and professional engineering team, they were able to take a concept with complex requirements from design to making it a reality. They continue to work with us hand in hand to improve the performance of the layup line and we see the line playing an important role in feeding our new Mass Plywood Panel facility.

Contact: Jeremy Goebel

Email: jeremy.goebel@con-vey.com

Phone: 541.672.5506

Benefit #1: Labor Savings

Benefit #2: Customizable

Measurable Results: Case studies have not been completed.


D. HAJ13 Dispenser

Submitted By: FROMM Packaging Systems


New device to reduce drastically downtime for coil replacement no injury risks for operators! FROMM Packaging Systems engineered new automated strap dispensers and moved to super jumbo strapping coils reducing downtime and injury risks between each coil change. The strap remains on the transport pallet and placed onto a turntable that then feeds the strap to the strapping machines as needed. PLC controls are provided so the massive coils don’t unwind and the strapping heads draw the correct amount of material as required. The system requires virtually no human interaction and alarms are in place to indicate when the strap coils need to be changed. Can carry multiple coils up to 660lbs. Saving more with PET: 3 Super Jumbo Coils replace up to 45 standard coil = 42 x fewer machines stops and roll changes (approx. 200 minutes saving)!

Contact: Francesco Belloni

Email: francesco.belloni@airpadusa.com

Phone: 973.334.5777

Benefit #1: Safe

Benefit #2: Increase Manufacturing Production Capacity

Measurable Results: 3 SJC replace up to 45 standard coil = x42 fewer machine stops and roll changes (200 minutes saving)!


 E. Pressguard x200

Submitted By: Guardian Chemicals Inc.


Non-corrosive, non-odorous, MDI release agent for multiopening/daylight presses. Provides excellent release at low application rates without residual buildup on press platens or darkening of the board surface. Concentrated product for increased cost efficiency. High degree of water solubiltiy allows for easy dilution to target appropriate addition levels regardless of application system. Has shown ability to remove previous press buildup caused by other release agents. Single product - prevents need for multiple release chemicals

Contact: JD Roth

Email: JDRoth@guardianchem.ca

Phone: 780-998-3771

Benefit #1: Non-corrosive

Benefit #2: No build up formation

Measurable Results: Excellent release properties (visual) with no odor(physical). Third party testing for corrosion results.


F. Loctite HB X Purbond

Submitted By: Henkel

Description: The first and only 1 part Polyurethane adhesive for bonding engineered wood products that meets the requirements of both Canada and USA for fire, wet use, CSA 0112.9.10, ANSI 405 and PRG 320-2018. As a pioneer in ecologically sustainable adhesives, Henkel is excited to announce, after 6 years of development and innovation, from the pre-polymer to the final formulation, Loctite HB X Purbond. The first and only 1 component Polyurethane adhesive to meet all North American requirements for Glulam, CLT (PRG 320 - 2018), and I-Joist, including full scale fire testing. Loctite HB X Purbond offers outstanding features and benefits, including, single component for ease of use and security, moisture curing for production flexibility, Formaldehyde and solvent free, formulated open and press times for exceptionally high production, ductile bond line offering excellent shear strength and reduced field checking. Loctite HB X Purbond is supporting the wood renaissance by providing the features demanded by todays modern Engineers, Architects, consumers and producers, including ecology, performance and cost in use. Loctite HB X Purbond is supported by a team of industry experts, dedicated and focused on ensuring innovation and success for the Engineered Wood market.

Contact: Chris Whelan

Email: chris.whelan@henkel.com

Phone: 604.880.2361

Benefit #1: The first and only 1 part Polyurethane Adhesive to meet all North American performance requirements.

Benefit #2: Cold set, moisture curing allows for exceptional opportunity for production flexibility and output.

Measurable Results: Passed Full scale fire testing for CLT, Glulam and I-Joist. Supports 90% (by volume) of todays NA CLT production.



G. OSB Press Platen Repair Robot

Submitted By: KTC Industrial Engineering with Nova Robotics


A high temperature OSB Press Repair Robot capable of repairing press dents by welding and grinding. Presses accumulate wear and require regular maintenance, but it is rarely economical to schedule a full maintenance shutdown for minor repairs. Human labor cannot be performed on or around a hot press. As a result, maintenance is deferred to infrequent, often annual intervals during large scheduled maintenance shutdowns. This limitation frequently results in the decision to continue plant operation even though board quality and output are diminished. Robots can be sent into a press and perform work immediately and at full press temperature. Platen surface damage due to rocks and metal debris may now be corrected immediately after it occurs. It is no longer necessary to defer necessary work to scheduled cold shutdowns. Costly maintenance may now be performed as required to restore full operational performance while improving safety by keeping people out of a dangerous environment.

Contact:Jan Karnik

Email: jan.karnik@ktceng.ca

Phone: (604) 592-3123

Benefit #1: Repair of Platen Dents while press is still hot reducing downtime

Benefit #2: Safety - keeping people out of the line of fire by allowing a machine to perform dangerous work.

Measurable Results: Repairs platen surface dents


H. Real-Time Predictive Plant Modeling

Submitted By: KTC Industrial Engineering Ltd.


Visual and dynamic model of panelboard production that simulates plant operation in real time. Allows operators to baseline their plant and then make process changes and predict the outcome prior to spending capital or making 'improvements' that don't pan out. A process or entire plant may now be simulated in a computer, in real time as it is operating. The plant modeling can be applied to produce simple material flow and energy balance calculations all the way to in depth thermodynamic, chemical, material distribution flow analysis based on varying parameters such as seasonal variations of temperatures, moistures and raw materials. This extends the traditional and familiar HMI into an advanced predictive element able to anticipate each aspect of plant operation.  Operators now have a tool that allows them to understand how minor changes will affect plant function, visualized in software running in parallel with actual plant operation.  Rather than being forced to be reactionary, operators can proactively alter the physical plant operation to avoid a costly upset before it occurs. This is an advancement over "tribal knowledge" method of plant operation where operators determine outcomes through experience and observation passed down from worker to worker. This technology paired with Artificial Intelligence (AI), currently being explored, will lead to "lights out" production facilities as seen in other industries.

Contact Name: Jan Karnik

Email: jan.karnik@ktceng.ca

Phone: 604-592-3123

Benefit #1: Root cause analysis to determine the cause of production problems or upset conditions

Benefit #2: Predictive model to anticipate and prevent upsets and optimize plant production

Measurable Results: Yes


I. Edge Scan Press Frame Inspection of Multi-Opening Daylight Press Frames

Submitted By: N.I.S. Nondestructive Inspection Service


Multi-opening Press Frames have a history of catastrophically failing. With this process we can identify frame cracks at their non-critical stage, allowing us to monitor them until they are deemed necessary for repair. Virtually eliminating any unscheduled downtime.  In the past if inspections were performed on Press Frames this was usually done during scheduled outages, lasting between 5-10 days. However, during these outages there are also numerous other tasks scheduled around the Press inspection. If cracks are identified during this time then it could require extending the original schedule in order to allow time for these repairs.  The critical high stress areas of these Press Frames are not accessible by conventional NDT methods, these methods require unrelated Press components to be disassembled and removed, these are very heavy and the time to remove them can be quite extensive. Our Edge Scan Press Frame Inspection Process requires no removal of unrelated components in order to inspect behind or under them, the most that has ever needed removed is maybe some piping or conduit and this can usually be done by loosening some clamp bolts. Also, by being able to perform an entire Press Frame inspections on a regularly scheduled down day this allows us to be able to monitor small cracks if and when they are identified on a more frequent schedule. This also allows Press Frame inspections to be performed prior to scheduled outages so that necessary planning for frame repairs can be made in advance and not during the outage. Again saving time and money.

Contact Name: Ed Hauldren

Email: ed@nisforndt.com

Phone: 304-562-6835

Benefit 1: Allows inspection of high stress areas of Press Frames to be performed during scheduled down days

Benefit 2: No disassembly of related press components required, allowing for more frequent inspections

Results: One OSB Producer has had no unscheduled down time in over 4 years due to Press Frame failure


J. High-Speed Packaging

Submitted by: Samuel Packaging Systems Group


Strapping equipment is the bottleneck in many production facilities.  Samuel Packaging reduced the time a package is stopped for strapping by 30%.   This speed increase allows customers to reduce the number of strapping machines and associated handling equipment needed. As EW producers integrate their business vertically, the pressure increases on downstream packaging equipment.  Requirements for multiple straps on a wide variety of package widths has increased dramatically.  In response many producers have installed multiple packaging lines with associated handling equipment to service these packaging lines.  Generally this has added to the labor burden in the packaging portion of the facility.  Further adding to the labor burden was the necessity to load bunks (dunnage) into magazines one stick at a time.  Regular product changeovers would require the operator to empty magazines and refill with different sizes. Samuel Innovation has led to reliably increased speed of strapping machines.  Prior art saw a strap cycle (applying strap, bottom batten and top corner protectors) in as little 12 seconds.  The current machine is capable of applying the same strap in less than 8 seconds. Prepositioning the strapping machine to optimize processing bundles of various widths and heights eliminates wasted time.  Advanced logic along with increased power reduces the time necessary. An integrated robotic cell reduces the need for operator intervention by automatically loading bunks of various lengths from bulk packages supplied by your vendor.  Varying package widths no longer require the operator to change out dunnage manually.   An optional vision system provides confirmation that edge-protectors, and straps were successfully applied prior to moving the package.

Contact Name: Terry Evans

Email: terry.evans@samuel.com

Phone: 416 402-6288

Benefit 1: 30% increase in package throughput reduces number of strappers required in a mill.

Benefit 2: Higher speed packaging reduces staffing necessary to run the strappers.

Results: Strap cycle reduced from 12 seconds to 8 seconds.  Allowed customer to eliminate one pack line.


K. Board Quality Cockpit (BQC)

Submitted by: Steinemann Technology USA, Inc.



Steinemann BQC - an interface to thickness measuring permits monitoring of the optimum sanding machine settings based on the actual thickness of the panel before, in, and after the sanding machine. BQC - The horizontal integration involves connecting elected sanding line units with BQC: BQC then gathers all of the data to provide real-time monitoring of the sanding process. Potential benefits increase as additional units are interconnected with BQC. As one example, an interface to thickness measuring permits monitoring of the optimum sanding machine settings based on the actual thickness of the panel before, in, and after the sanding machine. Data from the entire sanding process is analyzed in BQC to derive recommendations for action that result in improved quality and efficiency, plus cost savings. Calculation function - Calculates removal distribution per head with exact setpoints for machine height and the positions of contact drum and sanding platens. Check function - All setpoints calculated – such as power consumption, machine height, contact drum positions, grit sequence, etc. – are checked in real time. Trends and reporting - All BQC data points can be displayed as trend and comparison charts.  Reporting functions provide a quick summary of machine availability. Data points for customer-specific reporting can also be provided. Administrative Function, User management, Product management, Sanding belt management, Sanding platen management and Job management.

Contact Name: Dan Murphy

Email: d.murphy@steinemann.com

Phone: 704-522-9435

Benefit 1: Calculates removal distribution per head with exact setpoints for machine height

Benefit 2: Can also be automatic function (Closed-loop)

Results: Repeatable panel quality, minimal set up time, connected to ERP, handling & press