Tolko Industries’ Athabasca OSB mill, located in Slave Lake, Alberta, has the largest continuous OSB press in North America and the only continuous press in North America to produce OSB and Laminated Strand Lumber (LSL) on the same line. Recently, the Athabasca received an upgrade with the addition of a new ripline.
The ripline, which allows the mill to run widths down to 3.5 inches and lengths up to 24 feet long, is fully integrated with the mill’s continuous LSL press from Siempelkamp. To get to that point, logs first start out in two 16-foot-wide ponds, where the mill can ensure they develop uniform moisture and control their temperature. The logs are then lifted by a rail-mounted Tanguay PL350HD grapple loader that pulls the logs into two Andritz rotary debarkers.
As a result of the upgrade, the mill has a production capacity of 830 million square feet on a 7/16-inch basis, and produces a wide range of products, from 3/8-inches-thick to 1.75-inches-thick, in lengths from 4×8 to 8×24. They produce residential sheathing, value-added panels, specialty industrial panels, and laminated strand lumber.
The mill gets its fiber mix — which is primarily aspen, plus some black poplar, birch, pine and spruce — from the surrounding area, where Tolko has their own license. They also trade fiber with softwood lumber mills in the area and buy some fiber from private woodlots.
Trevor Brander, area manager for Tolko noted that unlike many wood products producers in B.C., the Athabasca mill is not struggling with fiber supply. “We’re well-supplied with good, high-quality aspen around here.” Although the mill is still in the final phases of commissioning the new ripline, Brander says they are already looking at new upgrades.
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‘A world-class asset’: Tolko’s Athabasca OSB mill gets an upgrade