Technology has transformed wood processing
The future is beaming with opportunity
In the past decade, technology has changed every part of the forest industry. Foresters use computer modeling and telecommunications advances to access and add forest management data. Loggers use cutting-edge technology in harvesting equipment that provides faster processing, increased fuel efficiencies and improved safety. Sawmills have computer scanners and optimizers that move logs more quickly and efficiently, reduce waste and provide more options for products. Paper mills have incorporated technology to reduce energy use and improve efficiencies.
FOREST FACT: Thanks to technology, once a log reaches the mill, 100% of the wood is used to make products or energy.
To learn about the skilled workforce needed in the forestry sector in Idaho, click here.
Continued Innovation: The Future of Wood Products
Integrating new technology into forest stewardship and manufacturing is expensive, but it is one of the few ways to improve profitability in the forest products market. Innovation is leading to new and exciting uses for wood.
Cross-laminated timber (CLT)
Tall wood buildings, called plyscrapers, are being built in the Pacific Northwest and around the world. They are built with CLT (pictured above) made from layers of wood crisscrossed and held together by fire-resistant glue. It is as strong as structural steel, greatly speeds up construction, and has a much lower carbon footprint than steel and concrete buildings. CLT beams and panels resist and recover from earthquakes and can support the weight of a 12-story building.
Is it possible that in the future, we can claim plastics, cellular telephones, medical implants, body armors and flexible displays as forest products? Scientists are using technology to crack the secrets to cellulosic nanotechnology, one of nature’s strongest substances abundantly found in trees. This renewable, biodegradable material can be used to make computer chips, flexible computer displays, car panels, replacement tendons – for humans – and coatings that keep food fresh longer.