Annual Report 2012

The end of 2012 marked the completion of the seventh year of operations for the Oregon Wood Innovation Center. We continue to emphasize connections to assist Oregon wood products firms solve challenges and pursue new opportunities. We work to connect industry personnel with our resources and technical information, help connect buyers and sellers of Oregon forest products, and enable industry professionals to network with one another.

Perhaps the biggest step we made in 2012 was hiring Kent Davis, Undergraduate Student Research Project Coordinator.  As we've gotten busier with testing projects for companies, we've relied more on involving our undergraduate students in 'experiential learning' projects.  Kent is playing a critical role in selecting and mentoring students working on projects.  Since June, Kent has worked with 8 students on 17 projects.

Below are highlights of our activities and accomplishments in 2012 and brief details on where we are headed in the years ahead.

2012 Outputs and Impacts

  • Contract projects - numerous projects were conducted to help Oregon firms solve problems and explore new products and new markets. The outcomes and impacts of some of these projects include:
    • Wood coating evaluation - Undergraduate Aaron Weidman assessed the effectiveness of a new coating to reduce the rate of moisture increase for concrete form panels.
    • Product mock-ups – we built sample wall and floor systems to help an entrepreneur demonstrate his product concept to potential investors
    • Maple Veneer Checking – Mike Burnard completed his M.S. project.  See http://owic.oregonstate.edu/maple-veneer for a summary of the project and the results
    • Literature review - we completed an in-depth literature survey of the mechanical and physical properties of common Israeli wood species
    • New product development 1 - Bending strength and screw withdrawal were evaluated for a new fast-growing plantation species used as hardwood plywood core. 
    • New product development 2 - a new anti-sapstain chemical was evaluated for the potential to reduce rejected lumber at the retail level
    • OWIC website - we made significant changes to our website this year, included a map of outdoor equilibrium moisture content (EMC) for wood in the US, a new smart phone app of our wood shrink/swell calculator
    • Executive Innovation Briefs - Three publications were developed in this new series- Innovation on the Cheap, The User Innovator, and Regain Your Creative Confidence
    • Other projects conducted this year included evaluating dimensional stability of particleboard, assessing the fuel quality characteristics of biomass (for 8 companies), testing the impact resistance of wood/cork composites for wood helmets, assessing the bending strength and stiffness of thin panels, testing the exterior durability of a wide variety of adhesives for a dense tropical hardwood, optimizing the design of wood sunglasses, measurement of density and bending strength of a tropical hardwood, and examination of blue stain in pine slicing blanks for veneer.
    • The company we assisted in 2011-2012 by assessing wet strength of adhesives for laminated pine products reported that, "we have been using the [new] adhesive since about May of last year.  We have yet to see an issue with this adhesive and all of the testing we have done shows this product is far superior to the other adhesive we were using... We saved about 15-20% on adhesive costs last year."

    Work In Progress

    We also continue to focus on both short-term problem-solving technical assistance as well as longer-term efforts to assist Oregon firms remain competitive in the global marketplace. Examples of 'work in progress' include: