Forest-to-Factory: Round Timber Supply Chain Tools and Techniques

Period of Performance: 01/01/2014 - 12/31/2014

$404K

Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Whole Trees LLC
E 2890 LORENZ RD Array
Stoddard, WI 54658
Principal Investigator
Firm POC

Abstract

USDA secretary, Tom Vilsack, has urged the Forest Service to "develop new markets" for forest by-products, which encourage healthy timber management. WholeTrees & reg; Structures (WT) is launching a manufacturing system that sources small diameter round timber from timber management cullings, tops, diseased and invasive trees, and urban forests. Whole Trees, a woman-owned company, markets these innovative round timber structural products as greener alternatives to steel and concrete in non-residential construction.This Phase II grant builds on WT & #39;s previous SBIR efforts, in partnership with the USDA Forest Products Laboratory (FPL), at digitally mining the superior structural intelligence of trees. It is leading the development of the supply-chain, manufacturing and marketing of non-uniform round timbers. WT is applying new digital technologies to locate, scan and screen trees in forests, then inventory, engineer, and precisely manufacture them into structural assemblies. These tool and techniques will flow-through into marketing WT products in cloud-based Building Information Modeling (BIM) inventories for specification by building professionals. US forests, indeed world forests, have fewer large straight trees and increasing numbers of non-uniform small trees. Taken together, the tools and techniques WT is developing will catalyze restorative forestry businesses and innovative products in new green building markets.