Since market development efforts in India began, Forestry Innovation Investment (FII) India has been conducting product trials with local manufacturers as an efficient, cost-effective way of showcasing the advantages of using B.C. wood species for furniture applications.
In an effort to expand product trials beyond the furniture space, FII India had also recognized doors and door jambs as a significant opportunity to introduce Canadian wood species as an alternative to traditional hardwoods that are declining in supply.
FII largely promoted yellow cedar for manufacturing doors (interior and exterior), door frames and windows, given its qualities of resistance to termites, rot and decay, relevant to the suggested applications. However, the fragmented nature of the industry along with the demand of varying sizes and dimensions across user segments and geographical areas posed challenges.
At the same time, while western hemlock’s finishing properties are seen as ideal for manufacturing applications in India, availability of required grades and sizes, as well as the presence of knots and resulting wastage have presented barriers to its uptake for door jamb applications. The solution was a western hemlock finger-jointed edge-glued (FJEG) panel – a ready-to-use product for manufacturing door frames that removes unwanted defects present in lumber, thereby giving a clean knot-free appearance where desired and high recovery in the production of door frames.
To introduce the FJEG panel, FII India initiated product trials with 40 well-known manufacturers in India. Collaborating with FII Vietnam, the panels were manufactured in Vietnam and imported for the purposes of the trial, with the potential to have them produced locally in India in the future. Initial results indicate a positive response to the product’s ability to optimize production by reducing wastage and speeding up the manufacturing process. Manufacturers also noted the product’s potential use in other applications such as door shutters, furniture and interior fittings.
Based on initial positive feedback, FII India is working with four Indian companies to manufacture FJEG panels in India. Once complete, the plan is to share the Indian-made panels with a number of the same 40 companies, so that they can further assess suitability and the business case for commercial uptake of the Indian-made hemlock panels.