Center for Forest Products Business

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The CFPB is a cooperative between the Department of Sustainable Biomaterials at Virginia Tech and its industry partners that seeks to help companies remain competitive through its management of assets and marketing activities.

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  • Annual Report, Center for Forest Products Business 2021
    (Virginia Tech, 2021)
    This annual report lists faculty and student accomplishments at the Center for the period of July 1, 2020 through June 30, 2021.
  • Annual Report, Center for Forest Products Business 2020
    (Virginia Tech, 2020-06-30)
    This annual report lists faculty and student accomplishments at the Center for the period of July 1, 2019 - June 30, 2020.
  • Investigation of vacuum and steam treatments to heat treat and sanitize ash logs and ash firewood
    Chen, Zhangjing; White, Marshall S. (Virginia Tech. Department of Wood Science and Forest Products, 2013-11-16)
    The goal of this project was to investigate the efficacy of vacuum/steam technology to sanitize low quality ash logs and ash firewood. It is difficult to heat treat the saw logs and firewood because of the relatively large cross sectional dimension and its irregularity. The combination of steam condensation and vacuum technology is one of most effective heat transfer mechanism because the steam carries large amount of heat and the condensation is fast to release the energy to the wood. Also, under the pressure difference, steam can migrate quickly into the wood. The vacuum/steam system consists of a vacuum source (vacuum pump), controlling device, flexible container and a steam generator. At low temperature, steam is created using a hot water heater rather than a boiler. The treatment system creates a vacuum in the container and at the same time produces the saturated steam. Monitoring devices were attached to the equipment to record and control the process. The white ash logs and firewood were harvested in the Montgomery county, Virginia. Ash log diameters ranged from 6.5 to 11 inches on the small end. The logs were cut into 6 foot lengths. They were treated to determine the time and energy consumption. After vacuum was drawn to 300 or 500 mmHg inside the container, steam was injected into the container. The steaming continued until 56°C was reached at the center of the logs. A total fifteen logs were treated to document the treating times. The treating time for all the logs varied from 5.5 to 14.5 hours which includes a vacuum and holding time of 30 minutes. The six feet logs were cut into 16 inches, plus or minus 2 inches bolts and then split into firewood, rarely larger than 6 inches on the wider side. The treating time for firewood varied from 80 to 137 minutes which includes vacuum and a holding time at temperature of 30 minutes. Energy consumed was about 0.154 to 0.309 kwh to treat one pound of log and 0.111 to 0.219 kwh to treat one pound of firewood using this process. Steam and vacuum can be used to efficiently heat treat ash firewood and firewood logs to kill wood boring forest pests.
  • Annual Report, Center for Forest Products Business 2019
    (2019-08-24)
    This annual report lists faculty and student accomplishments at the Center for the period of July 1, 2018 - June 30, 2019.
  • Fostering Relationships Among Central American and Appalachian Forest Products Companies
    Lyon, Scott; Quesada, Henry Jose; Smith, Robert (Virginia Tech. Center for Forest Products Business, 2011-11)
    Exporting wood products offers many advantages for firms entering the global market, such as increased profits and credit, market growth, and economic strength (Parhizkar 2008; McMahon and Gottko 1989). In the past few years, parts of the U.S., such as the Appalachian region, have suffered from the economic crisis resulting in forest products mill closures and loss of employment due to an increase in competition. An increase in global competition has caused the decrease of domestic markets for U.S. furniture. This increase in competition has taken a toll on the Appalachian hardwood lumber industry (Bowe et al. 2001). Forest products companies in the Appalachian region must be innovative in their marketing strategies to find potential markets for their products (Naka et al. 2009). Therefore, Appalachian wood products companies may need to increase product competiveness by expanding export markets and improving product promotion (Wang et al. 2010). International marketing of wood products is essential for the Appalachian region to strengthen its economy (Hammett 1996). Studies in the forest products industry have found several factors that affect successful product export. The research of Ifju and Bush (1993) suggests that small, domestic companies view themselves as non-exporters, but they still have potential to export. Non-exporting companies attempting to enter a global market state that the primary reason they have not done so is lack of market information regarding product specifications and distribution channels (Ifju and Bush 1993). A study of Appalachian hardwood lumber exports showed that production limitations and a small number of employees did not significantly affect exporting, but the need for marketing information was a major hurdle for companies (Parsons 2002). Overall, the lack of market information is believed to be the main barrier for potential exports of forest products overseas (Ifju and Bush 1993; Naka et al 2009). Wood products companies in the Appalachian region must gain a better understanding of the trade barriers in an overlooked market, such as in Central America in order to market products and trade successfully (Salamone 2000; Figure 1). The objective of this study was to identify market drivers and barriers for the sale of Appalachian wood products to the Central American market through a survey of wood products firms.
  • 2011 Annual Report, Center for Forest Products Business
    (Virginia Tech. Department of Wood Science and Forest Products, 2011-08)
    This annual report details student and faculty accomplishments for the Center in 2010-2011.
  • Increasing Exports of US Wooden Modular Homes to Developing Countries Systems
    Kakkar, Gaurav; Quesada, Henry Jose; Smith, Robert L. (Virginia Tech. Center for Forest Products Business. Department of Sustainable Biomaterials, 2017-11)
    Sustainable housing is one of the fundamental necessities for socio-economic development. Yet a considerable population of the developing world is living in substandard houses. On the other hand, developed countries like the United States have substantially improved the residential construction sector by engineering new materials and developing efficient systems. This study attempts to link this supply capacity of the system built wood construction sector in the United States to urban low-income housing markets in the Latin-American region. Expansion to new markets and diversification to new products can rejuvenate this industry in the U.S. Linking the manufacturer with potential buyers overseas would need efficient production, logistics and marketing systems. This research is focused on product development for bottom-of-the pyramid buyers to give them an affordable yet sustainable alternative to traditional systems. Interviews and survey tools were used to assess key aspects of housing deficits in target demographics of the South and Central American regions. System built wood construction manufacturers in the U.S. were assessed to identify barriers and incentives for internationalization and how they differ from exporting to non-exporting manufacturers within the same industry. Findings indicate that developing products for social housing programs can provide access to potential untapped markets. Lack of existing wood construction in some of the selected markets indicates the possibility of resistance to acceptance but also assures no local competition. The learnings can also contribute to opening of new markets for exports of prefabricated wooden buildings in other housing sectors.
  • Center Focus, Fall 2009
    (Virginia Tech, 2009)
    The Center for Forest Products Business produces a newsletter, The Center Focus, once a calendar quarter. This newsletter details upcoming events, new members, feature articles, and other happenings at the Center.
  • Center Focus, Fall & Winter 2008
    (Virginia Tech, 2008)
    The Center for Forest Products Business produces a newsletter, The Center Focus, once a calendar quarter. This newsletter details upcoming events, new members, feature articles, and other happenings at the Center.
  • Center Focus, December 2007
    (Virginia Tech, 2007-12)
    The Center for Forest Products Business produces a newsletter, The Center Focus, once a calendar quarter. This newsletter details upcoming events, new members, feature articles, and other happenings at the Center.
  • Center Focus, Fall 2010
    (Virginia Tech, 2010)
    The Center for Forest Products Business produces a newsletter, The Center Focus, once a calendar quarter. This newsletter details upcoming events, new members, feature articles, and other happenings at the Center.
  • Center Focus, April 2007
    (Virginia Tech, 2007-04)
    The Center for Forest Products Business produces a newsletter, The Center Focus, once a calendar quarter. This newsletter details upcoming events, new members, feature articles, and other happenings at the Center.
  • Center Focus, December 2006
    (Virginia Tech, 2006-12)
    The Center for Forest Products Business produces a newsletter, The Center Focus, once a calendar quarter. This newsletter details upcoming events, new members, feature articles, and other happenings at the Center.
  • Benchmarking Performance Measurement and the Implementation of Lean Manufacturing in the Secondary Wood Processing Rough Mill
    Cumbo, Dan; Kline, D. Earl; Van Aken, Eileen M.; Smith, Robert L. (Virginia Tech, 2004-09)
    It is hypothesized that, while other components of the secondary wood products value stream; e.g., moulding, turning, sanding, etc, are being integrated and “leaned up” so to speak, the rough mill represents a real or perceived barrier to full implementation of lean manufacturing tools, techniques and concepts. This study investigated the implementation of lean manufacturing in the rough mill as well as performance measurement and metrics at both the rough mill and overall business level. Data were collected from a nationwide survey of secondary wood processing facilities.
  • Exports of U.S. Hardwood Products: Increasing Performance in Asia and Western Europe
    Arias, Edgar; Lyon, Scott; Quesada, Henry Jose; Smith, Robert (Virginia Tech, 2013-11)
    The identification and understanding of factors impacting international markets for primary hardwood products (i.e. lumber) in key US overseas markets is essential for US hardwood producers to shape successful marketing strategies. Previous research (Parhizkar, et al. 2009, Buehlmann, et al. 2007, and Luppold 2006) indicates that exporting activities are vital for the US hardwood industry to survive. Exports haven’t risen to match 2007 records, but they have certainly become a key market for present and short term US hardwood production. In 2011, exports represented 17.3% of the volume of all Eastern US hardwood production (1.2 BBF), which translated into a 46.5% of all grade lumber markets and 58.0% of the volume of mid-to upper-grade markets (HMR, 2012). From 2009 to the end of 2012, the volume of exports of hardwood lumber increased by 60% (USDA FAS GATS, 2013). The key hardwood species exported to international markets include: Red Oak, White Oak, Ash, Walnut and Yellow poplar (HMR, 2012). International markets are growing in importance and have become a marketing research priority.
  • Evaluating Markets for Small Diameter Timber: A Case Analysis in Northern Mississippi
    Perkins, Brian; Smith, Robert L.; Jackson, Jerry (Virginia Tech, 2005-04)
    Small diameter timber (SDT) has emerged as a national problem in the forest products industry due to catastrophic forest fires in the West, increases in imported pulp in the South and high grading in the Central and Eastern U.S. This research evaluated the potential markets for small diameter hardwood and softwood timber resources in Northern Mississippi. Traditionally, SDT has been used primarily as pulpwood in the production of pulp and paper products. However, demand for pulpwood has decreased due to the increase of imported pulp. Exports of paper products from Mississippi decreased 18% between 1999 and 2003, while exports of wood products increased 82% during the same time period¹. Stumpage prices of softwood pulpwood in the southern region have declined during this period from approximately $10/ton to $6.35/ton currently. Stumpage prices of hardwood pulpwood in the southern region have increased slightly to $5.43/ton². Due to the low prices of small diameter timber, value added products need to be explored so that SDT harvesting is economically feasible. The combination of weak pulpwood markets and the lack of alternative markets for SDT have led to an increased supply of SDT. In Northern Mississippi it is estimated that timber growth in non-industrial private forests exceeds removals by 750,000 cords per year³. Currently there are few value added markets that can utilize the SDT resource (< 9-11” DBH). The objectives of this research were: 1) to explore existing products that can utilize SDT, 2) identify markets in Northern Mississippi that can utilize SDT and 3) identify the viable markets for SDT.
  • Center Focus, Summer 2008
    (Virginia Tech, 2008)
    The Center for Forest Products Business produces a newsletter, The Center Focus, once a calendar quarter. This newsletter details upcoming events, new members, feature articles, and other happenings at the Center.
  • Center Focus, Spring 2013
    (Virginia Tech, 2013)
    The Center for Forest Products Business produces a newsletter, The Center Focus, once a calendar quarter. This newsletter details upcoming events, new members, feature articles, and other happenings at the Center.
  • Annual Report: Center for Forest Products Business, 2017-2018
    (Virginia Tech, 2018)
    This annual report details student and faculty accomplishments for the Center in 2017-2018.
  • Center Focus, Summer 2009
    (Virginia Tech, 2009)
    The Center for Forest Products Business produces a newsletter, The Center Focus, once a calendar quarter. This newsletter details upcoming events, new members, feature articles, and other happenings at the Center.