J.D. Irving's Veneer Sawmill invests over C$1M to upgrade its Tie Line, including two new robots used to automate the process of lifting ties and pallet blocks; ties are large square pieces of hardwood, often recognized from their use in railways

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February 25, 2022 (press release) –

Over the past few months, J.D. Irving's Veneer Sawmill has been upgrading their Tie Line. Ties are large square pieces of hardwood, often recognized from their use in railways. The sawmill has gone through over $1 million in upgrades, including two new robots on the Tie Line. Buckdjeuve and Tie-Rex, as they've been called will automate the process of lifting ties and pallet blocks, which can weigh hundreds of pounds each. 

A vacuum system was used to lift ties prior to the robots


"It’s great to finally have our new robots set up and functioning, they're going to create a much safer and more ergonomic environment for our employees. We're happy that we can invest in our sawmills in a way that improves the overall safety and job satisfaction for our employees," says Susan Coulombe, General Manager of Hardwood with Sawmills.

Historically, the sawmill industry was very labour-intensive. Sawing a log used to require one person on each end of a saw pulling back and forth. Today, robots and machinery do a lot of the heavy lifting, making for far safer operations. These two new pieces of technology will work seamlessly, side by side in the mill, unloading product from the line and stacking it for shipping. They will be lifting ties and pallet blocks off the line and stack them for shipment. While the ties were previously lifted by using an overhead-vacuum, the pallet blocks were moved by hand, a safety risk that has now been remedied.


The robots can effortlessly lift these 7"x9"x8'5" pieces

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Jason Irving
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