Kalesnikoff Mass Timber Begins a Bold New Era with Biesse/Uniteam

Kalesnikoff is a family-owned fourth-generation Canadian company that has practiced sustainable forest management for more than 80 years. Their beautiful region in the southeast corner of British Columbia is a unique slow growth environment for producing some of the world’s best softwood timber. So when it came time to begin a new evolution of their leading and long-respected lumber company, mass timber was the next logical step.

Customer: Kalesnikoff Mass Timber
Country: Canada
Product: UNITEAM CLT 400

“Mass timber fits our skill set and the history of our company,” said Chief Operating Officer Chris Kalesnikoff. “We are manufacturing experts, and we’ve always focused on specialty type products. We are very fortunate to have close access to softwood timber that offers both strength and beauty, both ideal characteristics for mass timber. Our expertise, integrated ‘back to the tree’ model, and ability to really maximize the value of the wood we cut made mass timber an important expansion for us.” As farmers of the land, Kalesnikoff said the company plants three trees for every one they harvest. It’s all about trading on a sustainable lifecycle.

More than six years ago, Kalesnikoff Lumber began laying the groundwork for a new $35 million project to create North America’s “most advanced, fully integrated, multi-species mass timber manufacturing facility.” Their approach to entering the mass timber market started by identifying key manufacturers and determining what equipment they were using.

“Our goal from the start was to be early adopters of technology,” Kalesnikoff said. “We wanted to continue to grow and evolve our business and, in the world we live in today, technology is a big driver of that. Biesse / Uniteam was one of the companies that had the technology and equipment that caught our eye right from the start. From there, it was really the people and the relationships that pushed them over the top and convinced us they were the best partner for us.”

Kalesnikoff Mass Timber’s Uniteam CLT 400 has been installed, and they will accept delivery on their new Uniteam CK in Q2 2020, giving them the ideal facility to produce CLT and glulam panels. “I think ultimately what we are excited about with these machines is that they offer a high level of flexibility. You can really push the boundaries with the CLT 400 -- it offers us endless opportunities. We still have a long way to go and learn since the machine is new to us, but it has a really open and flexible platform that allows you to do a lot of creative things.”

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From Kalesnikoff’s perspective, it’s been a challenging journey to get the mass timber industry from its pioneer stage in Europe. But now there is a lot of excitement on adopting their principles and using them in North America. “There are a lot of great companies out there who believe in it, and who are on board,” he said, “so the market will continue to grow. A big focus of ours is to be a good reliable supply that can be integral to helping the growth of the entire marketplace.”

As Kalesnikoff moves into mass timber, they are expanding their customer base and working with a different type of clientele, but their corporate values remain the same. “Our people and our customers are our focus. By being such a specialized group, we can help support what our customers are trying to accomplish. By utilizing a variety of species, we can offer our customers a wide variety of products to fit any type of building.”

Kalesnikoff has had long-standing relationship with Biesse, and saw their technology and equipment as definitely leading the market. But beyond finding technology with the right capabilities, Kalesnikoff wanted to partner with a group that could help them in the areas where they needed to gain experience. “A lot of a partnership comes down to trust,” he said. “In the relationships we have built with Biesse and Uniteam, the trust is there. They believe in us as much as we believe in them. The way they supported us and treated us was what really set them apart.  We are really excited to be working with them.”

The whole process of working with Uniteam has been very professional. We’ve built strong relationships with the whole group. They have been very supportive of our company and have delivered what they promised.
Chris Kalesnikoff Chief Operating Officer
Kalesnikoff Mass Timber Begins New Era: Photo 2
Kalesnikoff Mass Timber Begins New Era: Photo 3
Kalesnikoff Mass Timber Begins New Era: Photo 4
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