Vaagen Fiber Canada plant resumes operations after 4 weeks shutdown

After a lengthy four-week shutdown to repair and restore mill equipment, Vaagen Fiber Canada’s Midway mill in Midway, BC is back up and running. The shutdown began on April 4 and was a way to carry out a thorough condition check on all machines and ensure smooth operation for the rest of the year, the plant manager said. , Darryl Reekie.

“The biggest issue is that some repairs and projects can’t be done while we’re in operation. So now that it’s finished, we’re kicking off May 2. We started powering up the equipment last week and running different parts and doing trial runs, but the plan is to resume our normal production routine by May 4,” Reekie said.

Despite the closure, all workers were available and there were no layoffs. From stripping parts, welding, helping to watch fires, to providing expert advice, everyone came together to make this shutdown a success.

“By being conscientious the rest of the year and being careful about how much we spend for hours and all that, it’s allowed us to keep everyone during that time. Financially it’s a challenge because we don’t produce no wood during the closure, so everything costs 100%, but the maintenance work is definitely worth it,” Reekie pointed out.

Reekie noted that not only did they take on larger projects that required disassembly, parts replacement, cleaning, new parts installation and final assembly, but they also refreshed the factory with a fresh coat. paint.

“We could paint while we’re running, but someone’s guaranteed to put their handprint on a railing. So, we take advantage of it to refresh everything, make it pretty, joyful. It’s just a better working atmosphere,” Reekie added.

Dan Macmaster, Fiber Manager at Vaagen Fiber Canada, expressed his enthusiasm for the work undertaken during the shutdown.

“Our workers have done a fantastic job of making sure every piece of equipment and machinery is in tip-top shape and working properly. On top of that, they even gave the factory a facelift with a beautiful paint job,” Macmaster said. “These closures are always a great way to restart plant operations, and I’m so proud of the team we have here at the Midway plant.

Reekie, who has worked at the plant for six years, said while one of the main reasons for the closure was maintenance, it also gave employees the opportunity to take on individual projects to improve efficiency.

“We started to follow the Lean style of management and we have employees who wanted to do their own projects to improve their work centers, whether it was to improve quality or to improve efficiency. We strive to improve the work life of our employees,” said Reekie. “We call them experiments. In an experiment, you try something, if it doesn’t work, it’s not a failure, but you learned something new and so you try something else.

During this year’s shutdown, the factory had many employees working on their work centers, trying to make improvements.

“There are things they believe they can do to make their job more efficient for them and their colleagues. Seizing this opportunity is worth it,” noted Reekie. “The shutdown helps us increase our overall efficiency and the quality of equipment operation with less wear and tear. This time we’ve spent will also improve quality for workers, as their job will be a little easier with machines that work better.