Grayling, MI progress July 2017
Resources / Grayling Particleboard Updates





Grayling 2017



From its blank canvas a year ago, the site of ARAUCO’s new particleboard operation has transformed into a vibrant construction project. According to Project Director Tex Giddens, building the most modern facility of its kind in North America is progressing as planned and envisioned.


“Eighty percent of the foundations are in, 90% of the equipment is on site, and the main building steel structure is fully complete,” he reports. “Notable upcoming milestones include installation of the press (which will be the continent’s most productive) and permanent connections for gas and electrical power.”


The ARAUCO Grayling plant is part of the new world of manufacturing. “It is much more computerized than it was even 10 years ago, and our plant’s operational environment will reflect that,” Giddens explains. To that end, the jobs we’re recruiting for will require some expanded education or prior training - either three years of related job experience for candidates who only have a high school diploma, or post-secondary training. I encourage those in the regional community interested in joining the ARAUCO team to research the typical skills required by today’s manufacturing companies.”


Grayling running stats





Randy Keen


ARAUCO's Wood Procurement Manager Randy Keen plans to leave "no leaf unturned" in his professional and personal mission to take care of the Michigan forest while fulfilling his role to secure raw fiber materials for plant operations.

Keen is the liaison between company operations and sales. His daily routine includes managing purchasing agreements and logistics with lumber producers, logging companies and trucking firms to make sure the plant has both the appropriate volume and wood species required to match up to our customers' needs.


Link to the full release >>



From left to right, standing: Patricio Henriquez (director of engineering and construction division, Arauco); Christian Dieffenbacher (member of the board of management, Dieffenbacher); Javier Gonz?lez Rosas (purchasing manager, Arauco); Bernd Bielfeldt (head of business unit wood, Dieffenbacher). Seated: Ricardo Busch (vice president of business development, Arauco).

From left to right, standing: Patricio Henriquez (director of engineering and construction division, Arauco); Christian Dieffenbacher (member of the board of management, Dieffenbacher); Javier González Rosas (purchasing manager, Arauco); Bernd Bielfeldt (head of business unit wood, Dieffenbacher). Seated: Ricardo Busch (vice president of business development, Arauco).From left to right, standing: Patricio Henriquez (director of engineering and construction division, Arauco); Christian Dieffenbacher (member of the board of management, Dieffenbacher); Javier González Rosas (purchasing manager, Arauco); Bernd Bielfeldt (head of business unit wood, Dieffenbacher). Seated: Ricardo Busch (vice president of business development, Arauco).
Arauco is investing in the construction of a new particleboard plant with a planned capacity of 800,000 square meters per year in Grayling, Michigan. For the first time, the company is purchasing a complete plant from Dieffenbacher. The two companies decided to work together in January 2016, followed by a phase of detailed engineering and concluding with the signing of supply contracts at the end of 2016.

The highlights of the scope of supply are Dieffenbacher’s EVOjet P gluing system, which reportedly uses up to 15 percent less glue; and the continuous CPS+ press, which, at 10 feet wide and 52.5 meters long, will be one of the largest particleboard presses in the world.

"Arauco always exercises prudence when it comes to committing to new development. Therefore, we are all the more pleased with the confidence that Arauco has shown in us with its decision to choose the CPS+," says Bernd Bielfeldt, head of the Wood Business Unit at Dieffenbacher.

The two driers, together with the associated energy system that Chile-based Arauco also commissioned from Dieffenbacher, are large parts of the new operation. Grayling is located in the northern part of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula.

The contract also includes dosing silos for the chips, a glue mixing station, forming stations and the forming line; as well as the raw board handling system, the sanding line and the Lukki bearing system, which Arauco has already had experience with at its other sites.

The new production site in Grayling will manufacture particleboard panels with a thickness of 6–40 mm, intended almost exclusively for furniture production. Arauco owns large tracts of forestry land in South America and operates numerous sawmills, plywood mills, pulp mills and power plants, and has systematically expanded its commitment in the area of wood-based panel production over the past few years. Thanks to its acquisition of the Flakeboard group in North America and its share in the Portuguese Sonae Group, Arauco has now become the second-largest producer of wood-based panels in the world. 


Hundreds of jobs, regional economic stimulus, decorative panel products for people’s homes

Welcome! Thank you for your interest in the ARAUCO Grayling, Michigan Particleboard Plant project. Once complete, this state-of-the-art manufacturing operation will produce world-class decorative wood panel products used in home interiors and furniture across North America. At a total estimated project cost of US $400 million, the ARAUCO plant is expected to provide significant stimulus to the local and regional economy and place Grayling on the map as a hub of premium panel products. Hundreds of families, dozens of communities, local schools and existing commercial

enterprises stand to benefit from this new manufacturing operation both during its construction and once fully operational.

Please read on to learn more about the project’s benefits and the latest development updates.

Economic and Social Benefits
Economic and Social Benefits It’s difficult to fully comprehend the positive effects that the ARAUCO Particleboard Plant project will have on the Northern Michigan. As a global manufacturer of forest resource solutions, ARAUCO aims to be a leader in operational efficiency, health and safety, environmental management, and social engagement – while contributing to the long-term prosperity of each community in which it operates – including Grayling. The community can expect ARAUCO to make social and economic contributions through a variety of means, including:

Local Business Engagement

Wherever we operate, ARAUCO looks to optimize its community support by engaging local businesses that meet our specified technical, safety and commercial requirements. To date, we have engaged several local and Michigan-based companies to support the plant’s design and site development, including:

• M&M Excavation Co. (Gaylord, Mich.) – site development
• SME Consultants (Bay City, Mich.) – soil testing and compaction
• C2AE (Gaylord, Mich.) – aerial topography site surveying
• Rowe Professional Services Co. (Flint, Mich./engaged Grayling location resources) – site surveying
• Primary Electric Co. (Grayling, Mich.) – temporary electrical power supply
• Amec Foster Wheeler (International/engaged Traverse City location resources) – joint partner with ARAUCO in plant engineering
• TRC (Grand Rapids, Mich.) – environmental testing, permitting and compliance engineering, including site inspection and clearance for any signs of Rough Fescue, a state endangered plant on the ARAUCO property


“M&M is proud to be part of the team building the ARAUCO Grayling Particleboard Plant,” said Ken Nowicki, President of M&M Excavating. “As a 45-year old family business moving into its second generation, we’ve certainly seen economic cycles. The investment ARAUCO is making to Northern Michigan is surely a sign of growth for our region. We are honored to be involved in the resurgence.”

Direct and Support Employment
ARAUCO is committed to sourcing temporary construction jobs and direct employment opportunities from the local population, where possible. The plant’s construction is expected to create approximately 600 temporary positions throughout 2017 and 2018. In the early part of 2018, approximately 200 people will be recruited for a safe and rewarding place to work to run the plant’s operations. Along the way, it’s expected that at least two to three support jobs for local and regional suppliers, vendors and retailers also will be created for every direct plant job.

Environmental Commitment

All of ARAUCO North America’s composite panel plants operate in a safe and environmentally sound manner and meet international standards along with federal and state requirements to drive environmental best practices and to keep our employees and contractors safe. All operations are:

• Certified to the Composite Panel Association’s Eco-Certified Composite (ECC) Standard, indicating adherence to a number of performance criteria
• Certified under International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 14001 (Environmental Management System Standard), and or OHSAS 18001 (Occupational Health and Safety Management System Standard).
• Certified by the Rainforest Alliance to the FSC® (Forest Stewardship Council, under certification FSC®-C019364) Chain–of-Custody standards, verifying that the wood fiber in finished products has been sourced responsibly. (FSC is an international not-for-profit organization established to promote responsible management of the world’s forests.)

The community can expect the Grayling Particleboard Plant project to meet these same performance standards, as well as meet or exceed the permit requirements from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) and Grayling Charter Township.

Community Development

ARAUCO places top priority on good corporate citizenship with particular emphasis on support for health and medical systems in the community, as well as education, both in our employee training programs and in our charitable giving. Once the plant is in full operation, the community can expect to enjoy the benefits of a strong business partner focused on developing positive relationships by supporting ongoing civic activities for better and enriched lives.