Richmond Plywood unveils robotic wood surface repair system

The Richmond-based company received $6.7 million in federal funding for the new AI-powered equipment

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Richmond Plywood Corporation (Richply), Canada’s leading manufacturer of wood products, headquartered on Vulcan Way, unveiled its cutting-edge panel repair system last Friday.

This $17.4-million system combines robotic technology with artificial intelligence (AI) to repair defects on plywood surfaces, something that was previously done manually, according to the company.

Jagrup Brar, B.C. Minister of State for Trades, Bruce Ralston, Minister of Forests, Steveston – Richmond East MP Parm Bains, Richmond MLAs Henry Yao and Aman Singh, and Richmond City Coun. Alexa Loo attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the panel-repair equipment on Friday.

“Having state-of-the-art technology reflects the commitment of Richply to minimize material wastage, reduce costs and increase productivity to stay competitive in today’s market…We cannot wait to showcase the result of our latest capital investments,” said Bhavjit Thandi, CFO of Richply.

Bains announced the federal government earmarked $6.7 million for the company to help fund the facility through Natural Resource Canada’s Investments in the Forest Industry Transformation (IFIT) program.

Ralston said Richply has created a reputation for producing high-quality B.C.-made value-added wood projects in Canada and worldwide over the nearly 70 years in business in Richmond.

He added he was glad to see it continue with the addition of the new robotic patch line.

“I know that the last few years have been hard on communities across the province and market challenges in forestry have highlighted the need to create a strong sustainable economy, particularly in the value-added sector that works for everyone,” he said.

“So growing the value out of the high value-added manufacturing sector strengthens the competitiveness and the resilience of B.C.’s forestry sector overall, buffering it from market downturns and driving new prosperity and forest in the communities.”

Richply said it’s also investing in a $40-million dryer project with advanced technology to replace its almost 70-year-old dryer that’s “very inefficient” by today’s standards.

It has applied for the BC Manufacturing Jobs Fund and will again apply for the IFIT fund for the project.

Source: https://www.richmond-news.com/local-business/richmond-plywood-unveils-robotic-wood-surface-repair-system-8753273

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