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Everything you need to know about Cross Laminated Timber Mats

10 Considerations before buying or renting Cross Laminated Timber (CLT) Mats

CLT vs Access Mat Difference

1) Is mat strength more important than flexibility?

When it comes to access matting, it is important to understand that strength cannot only be measured in pounds of pressure. Because access mats (aka swamp mats) are used to cross rugged terrain, a significant amount of flexibility or deflection, is needed for the mat to conform to uneven surfaces as trucks and equipment drive along the matting right-of-way.

2) Will you be working in wet/snowy conditions?

According to The Engineered Wood Association’s (APA) CLT Product Report – PR-L314C – Structurlam Products LP: “Structurlam CrossLam products shall be limited to dry service conditions”

3) Safety concerns related to extremely slippery mat surfaces

Rain, dew, frost, ice and snow all result in the mats surface becoming very slick. This has been known to result in numerous safety issues for both people and equipment

4) Cleaning challenges

Although the surface of CLT mats are flat, the bottoms, which come in direct contact with soil organics, still contain grooves. As a result, CLT mats face the same challenges of a traditional mat; however, no advanced mat cleaning technology exists for CLT mats, as they do for traditional access matting.

5) Laying Orientation

Most CLT mats do not contain interconnecting fingers and are designed to be laid horizontally. This laying technique was rejected long ago by traditional matting companies as the uneven weight distribution of vehicles and equipment driving along the mats causes the mats to kick up, resulting in damage to the undercarriage.

6) Size differences from traditional matting fleets

For those CLT mats that do have interconnecting fingers, because of the lack of spacing on the bottom side of the mat, the fingers do not line up with traditional matting fleets.

7) High damage costs

Because a CLT mat is glued together, once it is damaged they cannot be repaired – the entire mat must be replaced

8) Environmental Impacts of Polyurethane Adhesives

The most common glue used in engineered wood products is known as PUR (one-component polyurethane). Purbond is a single component Polyurethane adhesive. One of the benefits of Purbond is that it is formaldehyde free. However, formaldehyde free does not necessarily mean sustainable. Factors to consider when evaluating impact in terms of emissions in the atmopshere include: the production of the adhesive, the application to produce CLT, and the disposal of the product. For more information read Tommaso Scalet’s study: Cross Laminated Timber as Sustainable Construction Technology for the Future

9) End of life challenges

Repurposing CLT mats becomes a challenge as a result of the industrial adhesives. One common practice for the recycling of access mats is to have them chipped and use the old timber for fuel. “To recycle CLT, it would be necessary to split each lumber layer and extract the glue from them. After that the wood could be recycled or composted and the glue eventually cleaned and reused. The problem is basically that the process would not only take a lot of time and resources but also there are no technologies that could carry out the process in a large scale.” (Tommaso Scalet)

10) CLT mats are a relatively new product

With any new product, it takes time to determine how to make the most efficient and effective product. As with anything, before making any decisions, make sure you understand what you are purchasing. If you have any questions about CLT mats or Traditional Access Mats, fill out the form below and one of our matting professionals will be happy to assist you.

Northern Mat & Bridge Recognized by the Alberta Construction Safety Association for Safety Excellence

This year the Alberta Construction Safety Association (ACSA) recognized Northern Mat and Bridge (NMB) for their outstanding commitment to the health and safety of both their employees and all other employees who work in the construction industry. The ACSA presented Northern Mat & Bridge with awards in two categories: The Trailblazer and The Pacesetter.

The Trailblazer Award is given to a company who demonstrates a commitment to the promotion of health and safety in the construction industry. Northern Mat and Bridge’s leadership team received this award as a result of donating countless hours, materials and resources to promote health and safety within in their industry, organization and in all regions in which they work. Northern Mat & Bridge’s HSE Manager, Kelley Winter previously the past chair for the Grande Prairie Regional Safety Committee, participated in the Partnership in Injury reduction review of the COR audit guidelines and played an instrumental part in bringing the Steps for Life walk to the Peace Region. In addition to running NMB’s progressive HSE department, she sits on the Day of Mourning committee, speaker’s bureau and volunteers at schools and trade shows promoting best practices in workplace safety education and training. The acceptance of the 2016 Trailblazer award marks the 4th time that Northern Mat and Bridge has been recognized by their peers for the valuable work they continually to do to assist in bringing family members home safely.

Nicole Lazaruk, Sr. HSE Administrator was awarded the Pacesetter award. This award is presented to an individual who demonstrates a desire and commitment to the betterment of workplace health and safety. Nicole is the Chair for the Steps for Life committee in the Peace Region and helped raise over $15,000.00 at the 1st annual Peace Region Steps for Life walk. That money was donated to the Threads of Life, an association which assists families who have been affected by workplace tragedies. Nicole has worked for Northern Mat and Bridge for 3 years, in her time she has educated over 100 employees in the safe work practices and procedures for Northern Mat and Bridge. Nicole’s passion, dedication and commitment to Northern Mat & Bridge and workplace health and safety are apparent in her teaching skills.

How Canada’s Goal of Reducing its Carbon Footprint Contributes to the Power, Transmission & Distribution Industry Outlook

Canada is in the midst of change when it comes to its electricity infrastructure. Many electricity assets are reaching their expiration dates and need to be replaced, but with the concerns associated with global warming, the impact of our critical electrical infrastructure is certainly being considered. 2016 is the year when the power, transmission, and distribution industry will make viable changes to modernize our electricity system for the future generations. Although electricity in Canada is largely provided from hydro, a non-emission source that is also the most efficient renewable technology, more non-hydro renewables will inevitably come into play. These will directly affect the power, transmission, and distribution industry in a variety of ways.

The Industry’s Trend of Increasing Growth of Renewable Technologies

The 21st century marks the beginning of environmental sustainability, with a new electricity system being of high demand. This sparked an increase in growth of renewable technologies, such as solar, biomass, tidal and wind, and quickly changed the long-established hydroelectricity Canada has relied on for more than a century.

Today, it’s the country’s goal to reduce its carbon footprint by operating in the most environmentally friendly way possible. As a result, the electricity system has experienced significant changes, which are expected to extend and increase in 2016 and for many years after. For example:

  • More non-hydro renewables will be utilized
  • A search for new ways to reduce the impact gas and coal have on the environment
  • An emphasis placed on energy conservation

Contributing Factors for Canada’s Energy Future

Canada National Energy Board Chair and CEO, C. Peter Watson released a statement addressing the country’s energy future. He mentions that it will “not be determined by a single force, but rather the interaction of many.” Watson continued, “It is our goal to help Canadians understand these complex interactions through our analysis, reports, and statistics.” He also went on to explain how the climate and energy demands are quickly evolving, which has stemmed the need to readjust (evolve) Canada’s electric system as well. Some of the leading factors that will be considered when determining Canada’s energy future include:

  • Energy prices
  • Economic growth
  • Policies and regulations
  • Market access
  • Infrastructure development
  • Development and use of new technologies

Important Statistics that Contribute to the Future Power, Transmission and Distribution Industry

The government of Canada released a report called, Canada’s Energy Future 2016: Energy Supply and Demand Projections to 2040. It provides valuable information and statistics that examine the industry outlook, many of which pertain to the climate policy developments many countries are putting into place. Some important statistics to pay attention to as we continue through 2016 and into the future include:

  • Canada’s total electricity generation capacity is estimated to increase by 1% each year
  • The majority of this capacity will come in the forms of natural gas, wind, and hydroelectric power
  • It’s estimated that hydroelectric will remain a dominant source of electricity as a result of its lack of Co2 emissions, flexibility, and cost-stability
  • Wind, biomass and solar generation capacity is expected to double by the year 2040
  • Approximately 20% of power generation is expected to have a greater role in 2040

Reviewing the industry outlook for the power, transmission, and distribution can help you successfully create business plans for the future. Doing so also allows you to thoroughly understand the macro and micro industry trends so you can make important decisions based on analytics and facts.

The importance of utilizing natural resources is certainly a trend that will prevail well throughout 2016 and into the future generations. However, the use of hydroelectricity will not be eliminated completely, and it will continue to be the dominant source of electricity.

The Canadian Wind Energy Industry’s First Quarter Puts Canada 7th in Global Charts

From the West Coast, through the Prairies and onto the East Coast, wind energy is quickly becoming a powerful resource in Canada. It was only last year (2015) that 36 new energy projects were installed in Canada, which totalled 1,506 MW, making Canada the sixth in the world for the amount of capacity, as reported by Canada Wind Energy Association. Come the end of 2015, Canada finished with more than 11,000 MW of installed capacity, which presented a smooth and positive path going into the first quarter in 2016.

Needless to say, windmills are quickly becoming a favourable sight within Canada. The wind energy industry is looking good for 2016, as the benefits of building a cleaner, stronger and more affordable power system are quickly being seen within the first quarter.

The Leading Wind Energy Provider in Canada

Unlike the oil industry, which is primarily located on the west coast of Canada, wind energy is being produced well across the entire country. In 2015, wind energy projects were built and commissioned across Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario, Quebec, and Nova Scotia. However, 2016 has shown that BC, Alberta, Ontario, and Quebec are the country’s four largest wind energy markets to date. Going into the first quarter of 2016, Ontario being the leader in Canada for producing clean wind energy with quite impressive statistics:

  • 4,361 MW of installed capacity in Ontario in 2015
  • Ontario supplies 5% of the province’s demand
  • Starting in 2012, Ontario was generated more electricity using wind than coal
  • In 2014, Ontario was the first jurisdiction in North America to eliminate the use of coal as a source of electricity
  • Approximately $1Billion worth of wind energy was produced in Ontario in 2015

Canada as a Global Leader in Wind Energy

Although Ontario is the leading wind energy provider in Canada, the entire country is succeeding in comparison to other nations. Currently, Canada is the 7th largest wind energy producer in the world, which also puts Canada ahead of the United States in regards to long-term sustainable climate action. Some interesting statistics about the wind energy industry that will certainly play a part in 2016 include:

  • Over the last 5 years wind energy has been the largest source of new electricity generation in Canada
  • The installed wind energy capacity within Canada has increased an average 23% per year, over the course of the
    past 5 years.

Predictions for the Wind Energy Industry in 2016

While the statistics and outlook of 2015 are impressive as we head into 2016, there are some predictions that need to be carefully considered. As Canada moves through the transitional period within the year, growth rates are expected to slow, but only for a short period. However, Canada is still well ahead the United States in regards to climate change policies, which will provide many long-term opportunities for not only the industry, but also the country as a whole. Some important statistics that will play a part in 2016 outlook include:

  • Among the G-7 group of leading industrialized countries, Canada’s electricity grid is the least greenhouse gas-intensive
  • Alberta and Saskatchewan are more greenhouse gas intensive than the other Canadian provinces, and the government has responded with climate change plans that will grow wind energy in these areas
  • 15-year plans have been put in place, beginning in 2016 that will result in 6,000 MW of new wind energy being produced in Alberta and Saskatchewan alone
  • Ontario and Quebec have comprehensive climate change plans put in place that will provide new opportunities for wind energy

The past several years have been incredible for the wind energy industry. Although 2016 is expected to show a slowdown for a short period of time, the country is quickly putting plans in action to bring the wind energy back up to speed. There is an enormous amount of opportunities for wind energy in Canada, especially with plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80% or more by 2050.