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Flakeboard proves itself an energy management leader

By Tracey Somers

Incorporated in 1960, Flakeboard Company Limited has grown from a pilot plant to a multi-site, world-scale producer of composite wood products. Using lumber industry by-products and under-used wood species once landfilled or burned as waste by forestry operators or sawmills, Flakeboard manufactures a variety of particleboard, medium density fibreboard (MDF) and FIBREX thin high density MDF. Its innovative practices has won it the New Brunswick Premier's Award for Energy Efficiency in the Industrial Sector this year.


June 5, 2009
June 5, 2009
By Tracey Somers

Flakeboard’s facility in St. Stephen, New Brunswick employs continuous panel production technology on two particleboard lines, two thin MDF lines, and one single opening particleboard line providing Flakeboard with a product range second to none. Over 80% of the products shipped from this facility are further upgraded with value-added finishes such as melamine, decorative paper, direct print or paint, in hundreds of different colours and patterns.

Flakeboard has been an active participant in Efficiency New Brunswick’s Industrial Energy Efficiency program for New Brunswick’s largest energy users since it was first launched in 2007  Company representatives have taken part in conferences for industrial energy users and actively encouraged their peer industries within the region to become aware of the opportunities for energy cost reductions as a means of competitive advantage.  

With a major dependence on the forestry industry, Flakeboard recognizes that it is in the best interest of all companies in the region to be actively involved with energy efficiency improvement programs to enhance competitiveness and reduce the environmental impact of New Brunswick industry.  

Flakeboard in St. Stephen was one of the earliest large industries in NB to identify and address opportunities for energy efficiency through monitoring process functions and correlating this data against consumed energy.   

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Until the launch of the Efficiency NB Industrial Program, Flakeboard struggled with some of the traditional barriers to implementing energy management best practices such as the costs associated, and available technical resources needed, to fully pursue the identified potential for energy and process optimization. Nonetheless, Flakeboard continued to promote and solicit buy-in for the concept of managing energy costs and applying these costs appropriately as a variable to goods produced.

Flakeboard’s efforts have directly led to the creation of a fully integrated, modular Energy Management Information System (EMIS) software suite developed by a NB engineering firm. This software is now commercially available to global markets and has been received with great enthusiasm.

Using its energy management information system (EMIS) Flakeboard has successfully been able to track the real-time effect of mechanical machine changes on energy consumption which allows them to make timely adjustments to improve product quality and also reduce energy consumption.  

The company fully envisions the energy management function and the total integration of energy consumption as it relates to production variables. It has solicited enthusiastic partners and put into practice an innovative EMIS approach in the midst of a difficult economic climate.  Flakeboard has implemented an EMIS that can record, report and set targets for optimal efficiency, which includes the same capability for virtually any conceivable process and energy source. 

Without the complete integration and configuration of an energy management system Flakeboard believes that the full effectiveness of an energy management initiative can not be realized. Flakeboard is the first facility to implement a comprehensive EMIS under the Efficiency NB program model and the lessons learned from this project will serves as valuable information in promoting EMIS and energy management best practices in other NB industries.