roof panel and place it on top of a commercial building, and we can secure one of these every 15 minutes. So you can imagine how quickly we can get a roof done with this kind of advanced material. And the precision it is cut to over that length is about a milli- metre. We were able to put up substantially large buildings that performed really well structurally, in a lot less time than we could previously. So you have done standard log construction, you have done multi-material construction and commercial building. What is Nicola Logworks doing today? We’re trying to make log homebuilding more accessible and efficient. And also to recognize that my crew is closer to 50 years in age than 20. Hanging onto a chainsaw for a nine-hour shift just isn’t an option anymore. So our latest employee is called ABBy, and she’s a robot. A while back, we developed what we call The Machine, which is basically a very large shaping machine where we could put large heavy logs in and turn, notch and shape them with the assistance of automation. This Machine became so useful to us that it became our major bot- tleneck. So we partnered with a fellow who is really into robotics, and we decided to take the two elements and have them work together. “We want to build buildings that are really responsive to the way people live and responsive to the environment they live in.” So one of the things we are doing now is, we are able to scan logs with extraordinary detail — we have actually patented this process — and then we can merge the logs together. And the technology creates the scribe path with amazing accuracy. The contour of one log can be imprinted onto another through the scan and then cut with incredible accuracy. The robot was actually able to do things we couldn’t do by hand, or at least, not in an
Is the future of Nicola Logworks in licensing your technology? Or is the need to get your hands dirty in interesting projects too strong? It’s funny, I think I would rather teach my people to learn robotics than find someone who understands robotics and try to teach them how to build a log home. We have people here who are committed to the company, and building is what we do. So we are going to keep doing that. But we will find or create tools that will assist us. It keeps us relevant.
APRIL 2018 • SPOTLIGHT ON BUSINESS MAGAZINE
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