Going against the grain

Going against the grain

A Quebec research institute gives a forest product company a competitive edge
October 30, 2013

A Quebec wood product manufacturer, Chantiers Chibougamau Ltd., has carved out an international reputation in wood production and construction by joining forces with FPInnovations. Funded in part by the Canada Foundation for Innovation, FPInnovations is a forest research centre which, since their partnership began in 1996, has provided the company with cutting-edge expertise and technical data to develop and commercialize a new wood product for the construction industry.

Released in 2011, Nordic X-LAM is an innovative cross-laminated timber panel (CLT). It is a strong, lightweight, fire-resistant material that is an environmentally friendly and cost-efficient alternative to concrete and steel for building foundations, frames and other structures. X-LAM is made up of small timber pieces that would normally go to waste because they are too narrow to make individual beams. With novel lamination and gluing techniques, Chantiers Chibougamau has combined the pieces into panels that are quickly and easily assembled, speeding up construction time for contractors.

So far this year, Chantiers Chibougamau has employed some 30 to 50 new workers to manufacture 3,000 cubic metres of X-LAM for a dozen different construction projects. The company has deployed more than 50 projects since 2011, mainly in the non-residential construction sector, and it continues to develop innovative wood products that are durable, economical and sustainable.