ARAUCO conducts grand opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony at Grayling particleboard plant
ARAUCO, a global producer of renewable forestry solutions, wood products, and pulp, held a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Tuesday, April 17, at its state-of-the-art particleboard and lamination facility in Grayling.
Executives from ARAUCO, ARAUCO North America, as well as key customers and public officials from Chile and the State of Michigan attended the official dedication ceremony, which also included a plant tour. The Grayling mill, which represents a $450 million investment in supporting ARAUCO’s North American customer base, “increases the company’s ability to meet the burgeoning furniture manufacturing industry in the United States’ Midwest market area and beyond,” according to the company.
Considered a “modern manufacturing marvel,” the 820,000 square foot, technologically advanced particleboard and lamination operation in Grayling is the company’s first greenfield facility in the United States, its 11th North American manufacturing site and the largest of its kind globally. The operation is designed to be one of the most productive in the world and houses North America’s highest-capacity, single-line particleboard press, two thermally infused laminating (TFL) lines and a large stocking warehouse for just-in-time service delivery. The plant currently staffs more than 200 full-time employees and has generated approximately 700 additional jobs in related supplier and logistics industries since construction commenced in the spring of 2017.
“This is a historic day and milestone for our company,” said Matías Domeyko, Chief Executive Officer, ARAUCO. “The official start of production at Grayling exemplifies the outstanding innovation and sustained growth ARAUCO is known for globally, and what has been central to propelling our positive business results. The Grayling mill achievement also is the culmination of unwavering commitment from our valued investors who shared our vision for capturing significant market opportunity in North America.”
During his remarks at the grand opening ceremony, Kelly Shotbolt, President of ARAUCO North America, acknowledged the significant contributions of the Grayling project managers, and praised State of Michigan officials and local Crawford County representative for creating an environment conducive to undertaking such a large-scale business endeavor.
“Grayling is a prime example of positive collaboration between the public and private sector,” Shotbolt said. “We are grateful for the incredible support received both from Grayling community leaders and the State of Michigan. It has been vital to enabling ARAUCO to renew our industry in North America through what is arguably the most advanced, automated, and large-scale facility of its kind anywhere in the world.”
“While known for automobile manufacturing, Michigan also is the office furniture capital of the world,” Shotbolt said. “We are pleased to substantially expand our production capacity to assure a strong, sustainable supply of quality, raw and finished product for this growing region.”
The Grayling facility features tremendous logistical advantages for ARAUCO’s North American growth strategy, according to the company. In addition to benefiting from proximity to abundant wood and raw material resources to supply a large-scale operation on a long-term sustainable basis, it also is ideally located for cost-effective shipping of finished product to customers throughout the United States and Canada.
“With a total production capacity of 452 million square feet on a 3/4” basis, the Grayling plant will soon produce the full breadth of the company’s high-quality raw particleboard in a wide variety of thicknesses, as well as ARAUCO’s full PRISM TFL collection. The world-class particleboard products produced at the plant ultimately will be used in commercial and residential furniture, fixtures, and cabinetry,” according to the company.
ARAUCO is a global producer of wood products supplying pulp, lumber, plywood, composite panels, and millwork for architecture, design, construction, packaging, paper, nonwoven and remodeling applications. In past decades, ARAUCO achieved sustained growth in terms of production of wood panels, mainly due to its expansion into Argentina and Brazil. The acquisition of manufacturing plants in the United States and Canada, and recently in Mexico, Europe and South Africa, has established the company as the second largest producer of composite panels worldwide.