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Weyerhaeuser’s Grayling, Mich., OSB Mill Earns Top Safety Award From APA

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Weyerhaeuser’s Grayling, Mich., OSB Mill Earns Top Safety Award From APA

Federal Way, Wash., June 21, 2015 – Safety is always top of mind across all Weyerhaeuser operations. This month, the company’s OSB mill in Grayling, Mich., received special recognition for its efforts, earning a coveted Safety Innovation Award from APA – The Engineered Wood Association in the association’s annual recognition program. The mill received the Equipment Based Safety Innovation Award for its “Fire Hose Nozzle,” a device that makes it safer and easier for employees and first responders to extinguish fires in the drying system.

During OSB manufacture, the dryer circulates the strands using heat and air to dry the wood to 2 to 3 percent moisture content. As a part of the process, fires occasionally occur when upset conditions exist and then automatically suppressed by the system itself. Occasionally, however, if there is a power outage the fires must to be manual extinguished, which required site fire brigade members or fire department responders to hold a hose into the hot, smoky machine via a chimney-like hatch. And if it happened during the brutal Michigan winters, the process was also cold and uncomfortable, and could potentially create slip-and-fall hazards.

Ken Ruby, part of Grayling’s maintenance services team and a volunteer firefighter, had an idea for a system in which the hose nozzle could be secured onto the hatch. Ruby and fellow maintenance services crewmember Mike Kuzimski worked together to develop a working prototype of the hatch nozzle. The fire hose can be attached to the device and is kept inside the duct then extinguishes the fire on its own. No longer do employees need to stand near the hatch, wrestle with the hose and get sprayed by the water. “We wanted to find a way to mitigate the hazards, keep water where it needs to be and keep people dry,” says Kuzimski.

In addition to the device, the mill also has implemented operational improvements to reduce power outages and tightened procedures for maintenance and monitoring, both of which have reduced the need for the device overall. In fact, since it was installed in 2013, the hatch nozzle has only been used once. “Through monitoring and controls, we were able to run safely all last winter without a fire,” Kuzimski notes. In addition to Grayling’s award, Weyerhaeuser’s Simsboro, La., OSB mill was recognized by APA as a member of the “Incident Free Honor Society,” recording zero injuries in 2014.

About Weyerhaeuser

Weyerhaeuser Company, one of the world's largest private owners of timberlands, began operations in 1900. We own or control nearly 7 million acres of timberlands, primarily in the U.S., and manage additional timberlands under long-term licenses in Canada. We manage these timberlands on a sustainable basis in compliance with internationally recognized forestry standards. We are also one of the largest manufacturers of wood and cellulose fibers products. Our company is a real estate investment trust. In 2014, our continuing operations generated $7.4 billion in sales and employed approximately 12,800 people who serve customers worldwide. We are listed on the Dow Jones World Sustainability Index. Our common stock trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol WY. Learn more at www.weyerhaeuser.com.

Media Contact: Distribution – Amy Warren (253) 924-3130 amy.warren@weyerhaeuser.com
New Technologies, Smarter Driving Key to Managing Rising Fuel Costs

This article originally appeared in Hardware + Building Supply Dealer.

Across the country, LBM dealers have been enjoying a break from the soaring fuel prices that were once impacting the bottom line. But even with the dip, many realize the decrease is likely temporary.

After a period of lower gas and diesel costs, prices are very volatile; they’re starting to tick back up again and are expected to continue that upward trend over time. In the Department of Energy’s report May 18, the national average price for diesel had risen for the fifth straight week, increasing 2.6 cents to $2.90 per gallon, according to trucking and freight magazine Transport Topics, up 15 cents for the month. The price is still $1.03 less than a year ago, but the rise is indicative of the Department of Energy’s projections that prices will continue inching upward by the end of the year.

“Every economic forecast and indicator is that fuel prices will continue to rise and stay at higher levels,” says Brian Tabel, executive director of marketing at Isuzu.

The respite from higher prices, though brief, provided fleet managers of all sizes with a key opportunity to invest in future savings—into equipment and practices that will improve fuel efficiencies down the road.

“Whether large or small, fleets seem to be investing in new equipment, including new trucks, to improve efficiency,” says Mike Malloy, staff reporter for Transport Topics. “Not every single truck, but changing them out over time.”

Improved Equipment
Maximizing MPG—through new technologies and design improvements—has been a focus of truck manufacturers for some time, and most continue to refine their offerings across model types and capacities to increase fuel efficiency.

“Manufacturers are always looking for ways to improve fuel economy,” notes Malloy. “Whether in equipment, technology, or engines. They’re so much more efficient than just a few years ago.”

At the most basic, incremental improvements such as vehicle weight reduction, use of low-rolling resistance tires, and automatic engine start-stop systems continue to play a role in improved efficiency, according to Bob Johnson, director of fleet relations at the National Truck Equipment Association (NTEA) in a recent article following the 2015 Green Truck Summit. Beyond the basics, “The most direct route to controlling engine emissions is the power train,” Johnson said. “This is where we will see most new technologies being considered.” However, it’s important to note, he said, that while these types of improvements will reduce fuel consumption and emissions, they also are likely to increase engine complexity as well as price.

Along with refinements to traditional diesel engines that enhance operational efficiencies as well as reduce maintenance, alternative fuels and hybrid systems similar to that of cars have been a natural extension. Natural gas options offer lower emissions and lower fuel costs versus diesel. Freightliner, for example, sells several natural gas models, including the M2 112 Natural Gas. Peterbilt’s Model 579, among others, is available in a compressed natural gas model for both short and long hauls.

Work with your dealer to ensure the truck style and engine capabilities match your location’s typical route types and loads. For example, Isuzu’s low cab forward with CNG/LPG capabilities is an option for customers with low mileage needs vs. the company’s NPR Eco-Max high-efficiency diesel (pictured above) for customers with longer routes.

Cab design is changing, as well, to improve aerodynamics and reduce drag. The Epiq package for Peterbilt’s Model 579 includes an aerodynamic hood with wheel closeouts, a three-piece bumper with aero bumper dam, and a pulled-forward roof fairing, among other features. Freightliner improved the aerodynamics of its Cascadia Evolution by re-shaping mirrors and integrating antennas, while chassis side fairings and elongated side extenders redirect airflow.

Day-to-Day Adjustments
Beyond the trucks themselves, a portion of the responsibility for improving fuel economy falls to the company and to the drivers themselves.

For Weyerhaeuser Distribution, the rise in fuel prices drives decision-making and logistics, in finding the balance between providing stellar customer service without over-servicing and wasting money. It also means finding other ways to use the miles on trucks, including picking up third-party products to fill an otherwise empty returning truck or, vice versa, utilizing third party providers for pickups and sharing associated revenue.

Rather than managed from the corporate office, those decisions fall to the local team members, who know their drivers, customers, and delivery patterns best and can maximize every mile and every truck as smartly as possible. For example, during loading, someone on site is watching the trucks and ensuring a balance of priorities and efficiencies.

Further maximization can be found through small investments in technologies and GPS systems that can help managers optimize driving routes and reduce redundancies.

Driver education into fuel-efficient practices is also vital—even small adjustments in driving technique can add up to significant savings over time, not to mention reduced wear and tear. For example, the Department of Energy recommends avoiding aggressive driving, such as speeding and rapid acceleration and braking. Drivers also should avoid idling, the DOE says, which can use a quarter to a half gallon of fuel per hour. Engine shut-off systems are helping to address this concern, as well.

New technologies allow fleet or operations managers to monitor how the trucks are being driven and the subsequent efficiencies, reports that allow for driver education as well as spotting potential problems or maintenance needs that are fuel economy. In fact, the Department of Energy estimates that feedback devices can improve fuel economy by 3 percent. Peterbilt has found up to a 5 percent improvement with the use of its “Driver Performance Assistant,” an in-dash coaching tool that provides real-time feedback to improve skill, productivity, and fuel efficiency. Isuzu drivers can receive a “Vehicle Health Report” from their dealer, which relays braking, acceleration, and other details that impact total cost of ownership.

Similar to safety talks, coaching and team meetings can help promote smarter driving behaviors. LBM dealers also might consider implementing a reward system, such as bonuses or improved pay tied to drivers’ individual fuel economy improvements, to help encourage buy-in from the team and adherence to smarter behaviors.

As with many aspects of doing business, periods of economic prosperity are an ideal time for capital investments that can improve savings long term. The current fuel price decrease, though clearly temporary, is one such opportunity to replace inefficient trucks with higher-MPG options as well as to begin implementing an internal culture that encourages logistical and operational efficiencies. Large and small steps add up over the long term to fuel savings that will be needed once prices climb higher.

Media Contact: ELP – Carolyn Atkinson (253) 924-3696 carolyn.atkinson@weyerhaeuser.com
The Built-Up Column Conundrum
Federal Way, Wash., Jun 29, 2015 – It is common practice in residential construction to use multiple pieces of 2 x lumber connected together (sometimes referred to as, “stud packs”) to build interior columns. One rule of thumb is to install enough studs to match the width of the beam above. But how do you determine if the field built column is really strong enough to support the load?
Critical Structural Element
Today’s architectural styles demand wide-open spaces. With the use of modern engineered wood products we are able to span farther than ever. This flexibility means we are regularly supporting very large concentrated loads throughout the structure. The capacity of the built-up column is often overlooked.
Complex Calculations
It’s difficult to find a capacity table for traditional lumber built-up columns due to the many assumptions required for the calculations. You certainly won’t find the answers in the building code. When properly connected together the capacity of built up columns can be calculated using the National Design Specification for Wood Construction (NDS). To calculate the capacity you’ll need to decide how the column is braced and if the load is centered on the column or offset. The calculation takes into account the slip between the pieces that will occur even when well connected. In most cases, even a properly connected free standing, built -up column will have about 60% of the strength of a solid column of the same material.
Complex Connections
The really tricky part may be installing proper connections. For the stud packs to behave as built-up columns the studs must be attached in accordance with the NDS requirements. Stud packs that are not properly attached act more like individual studs, and do not gain additional design capacity that a properly fastened member would achieve. Furthermore, the NDS allows for a maximum of five full height laminations of the same depth. Built-up columns with more than five laminations should be evaluated by a design professional.

Section 15.3.3 of the NDS gives very specific requirements for nailing the pieces together. In addition to end, edge and row spacing guidelines, the NDS requires adjacent nails to be driven from opposite sides of the post or column. All nails must penetrate all the pieces and at least three-quarters of the way into the outermost lamination. While 10dx 3″ nails are OK for a 2 ply columns, anything greater will need a very large nail! For example, a proper connection for 3-ply 2×6 built-up column is (2) rows of 30d common nails with a length of 4 ½” installed every 8″. These nails may not be readily available at your local lumber yard and with a 0.207” diameter, certainly won’t fit in your nail gun. At an 8’ height assuming #2 spruce-pine-fir, the capacity of this column is less than 8,000 lb while a solid 5.25″x 5.25″ Parallam® PSL (slightly wider) will support 26,650 lbs!

Bolts are another connection option worth considering. Similar to nailed connections, installers must be very careful to follow the NDS end, edge and row spacing requirements. The NDS uses ½″ dia bolts with washers on both sides. Although they take more effort to install relative to nails, the bolted column will only achieve a slightly higher column capacity.
Solid Support
Solid section Parallam® PSL and TimberStrand® LSL columns are strong and consistent. Combine these solid columns with the strength of Parallam PSL and TimberStrand® LSL beams, longer spans and open floor plans are possible.

• Solid section performance

• Consistent design properties
• Available in long lengths
• Visually appealing
• Comprehensive product warranty
• Eliminates waste and reduces installation time.
It’s easy to see why solid section engineered wood columns are the best choice for supporting heavy loads. Feel free to contact our technical support staff at 1-888-453-8358 or email us for more information on solid section Parallam® PSL and TimberStrand® LSL or any of our Trus Joist products.
About Renee Morgan

Renee Morgan is a Product Support Engineer based out of Charlotte, NC. She is a civil engineering graduate of the University of Tennessee. During her 9+ years with Weyerhaeuser, Renee has provided technical support for Trus Joist products for residential and multifamily applications in the Eastern US markets.

Media Contact: ELP – Carolyn Atkinson (253) 924-3696 carolyn.atkinson@weyerhaeuser.com
Structural Solutions for Open Floor Plans

Federal Way, Wash., Jul 5, 2015 – Design trends come and go, but one change that’s likely permanent is homebuyers’ desire for more open floor plans that provide a better space for entertaining, encourage interaction and open up interior rooms to more natural light. Old layouts that compartmentalize first-floor rooms into formalized spaces have given way to flowing great rooms combining kitchen, dining and living. Such floor plans also support the idea of “flex space,” with rooms able to shift roles as a family’s needs change.

Open floor plans are often characterized by longer expanses of walls and higher ceilings, along with significantly more—and significantly larger—windows. Meeting the demand for uninterrupted, light-filled layouts creates a new set of challenges for builders, contractors, designers and engineers, who must eliminate load bearing support on interior and exterior framing while still ensuring the structural integrity of the house.

Engineered for Open Layouts
Engineered wood products such as laminated strand lumber (LSL) and parallel strand lumber (PSL), combined with back-end software and technical support, help builders and contractors develop the best structural solutions for the complicated frames that accompany open floor plans.

Laminated strand lumber, such as Trus Joist® TimberStrand® LSL, comes in various widths, lengths and thicknesses suitable for load-bearing wall and roof applications. Even at their longest lengths, LSL columns and wall framing are straight and true, resist shrinking and deliver consistent performance for the tall walls used to create soaring entryways and two-story great rooms. With the stable, straight frame as a base, doors and windows will operate more smoothly and cabinets and tile can be installed easily and evenly.

Similarly, Trus Joist Parallam® PSL is engineered to support heavy loads over long spans—ideal for continuous, long-length load-bearing columns and beams. Because they offer a high-capacity load-carrying element, the beams can span and support expansive great rooms without vertical columns interrupting flow or views. (In the home shown here, for example, a 28-foot Parallam beam allowed builder Hayward & Company to achieve a wide-open first floor layout without central supports.) Plus, the beams’ layered appearance can be left exposed for a unique, rustic look.

Crucial Support
But even armed with stronger, longer structural supports, the more cumbersome challenge with open floor plans comes in the design stage and determining how each structural element affects the outcome of the whole system.

Builders and contractors can get a leg up by working with building material dealers that utilize Weyerhaeuser’s Javelin® structural frame software. The tool allows the dealer to build a complete 3-D model of a home’s structural frame, showing each joist, column and beam, along with accompanying connectors. Using the software helps eliminate unnecessary members, allows users to compare various floor systems, analyzes loads and alerts the user to inadequacies and other potential problems. Most importantly, when a member is changed, the software recalculates the material requirements for the entire structure, making quick work of what is otherwise a time-consuming manual burden.

Also available is a network of engineers behind the scenes to provide design support and specification guidance for tricky floor plans. Such assistance can ease the design process as well as provide necessary documentation and support for local code officials.

This trio of resources—high-performing products, time-saving software and full behind-the-scenes technical support—provides for efficient, cost-effective design of functional, beautiful and flexible open floor plans.

About Tomo Tsuda P. Eng, PE

Tomo Tsuda is an Engineer with Weyerhaeuser based out of Boise, Idaho. He has been with Weyerhaeuser for over 17 years providing support for Trus Joist products in the USA, Canada and Japan.

Media Contact: ELP – Carolyn Atkinson (253) 924-3696 carolyn.atkinson@weyerhaeuser.com
Beyond Code: Floor Framing Strategies for Satisfied Homeowners

Federal Way, Wash., Jul 13, 2015 – When it comes to the floor system, builders often think about code compliance and structural performance. But what about the intangible part—how the floor feels? It’s a consideration that, if ignored, could tarnish your company’s reputation.

Many different factors within and above the framing system can influence a homeowner’s perception of the floor system. Too much vibration and bounce can mean discomfort, rattling dishes, and other problems down the road. Beyond meeting the code, there are a series of design decisions and installation techniques that, when planned carefully, can dramatically improve occupant comfort and accent a builder’s offering.

Problem Areas
Here are a few conditions that may lead to homeowner concerns – even if the floor meets code strength and deflection requirements.

Long spans next to short spans: In a room in which an area of long span joists occurs next to short span joists, the occupant may perceive the floor to be more solid in the areas with the short spans. Shifts to open-concept floor plans have increased the need for long spans and subsequently increased the probability of concerns related to changes in span length between adjacent joists.

Long spans combined with higher dead loads: In multifamily projects, open floor plans combined with concrete toppings or other heavy finishes or furnishings can be another trouble spot.

Joists used to their maximum spans: When reaching the maximum strength or deflection limit for a certain joist, the floor system may be economical and strong enough, but it also may undergo more deflection or bounce than expected by the homeowner.

Kitchen islands: Kitchen islands have become a standard feature in nearly any size home and are often as narrow as 2 feet and 6 to 8 feet long. Frequently these narrow islands run parallel to the floor framing and often straddle a single joist. As a result, a joist near the island that is stepped on may have minimal deflection but can still result in visible movement on the island (rattling dishes and rippling drinks).

Floor finishes: Unlike carpet and padding, hardwood flooring allows the physical impact and audible noise of each step to be noticeable, resulting in a perception of reduced performance.

Designing Floors for Desired Performance
While it would be ideal to always specify a very stiff floor with minimal deflection, there are economic considerations that may make this approach unreasonable.

Weyerhaeuser has developed a proprietary system called TJ-Pro Rating that predicts floor performance based on assembly inputs and assigns a rating value. TJ-Pro Ratings help specifiers determine a floor system design that offers a balance between desired performance and cost. Builders can dial in floor feel by evaluating the combined effects of TJI joist series, depth and spacing along with other system parameters, such as deck thickness, support conditions and ceiling finish.

The rating system can be targeted to different client preferences, or even to individual areas of the floor, taking into consideration how different rooms will be used and occupied.

Consider a scenario in which 16-foot-long joists under a kitchen are adjacent to 20-foot-long joists at a bump out for an eating nook. Simply meeting code requirements would allow the longer joists to deflect 25% more than the shorter joists. In attempting to address this potential performance concern without TJ-Pro Rating, the most common (and costly) approach would be to double the longer joists to achieve the equivalent stiffness of the shorter joists.

Fortunately, the TJ-Pro Rating system can compare several alternatives to achieve a desired floor performance and capture the feel of the floor, not just deflection. As a result, more economical solutions can be devised rather than doubling the joists in a floor system.

For more information on TJ-Pro Ratings, click here.

About Glyn Boone, PE

Glyn Boone, PE is Senior Engineer for the Weyerhaeuser Engineered Wood Products team. Glyn has over 25 years of experience in wood engineering. He also enjoys woodworking and providing engineering support in developing countries and in situations of disaster relief.

Media Contact: Distribution – Amy Warren (253) 924-3130 amy.warren@weyerhaeuser.com

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