The Pembroke MDF Plant is located at 777 Fibreboard Rd. in Laurentian Valley, Ontario. The Pembroke facility is located in the Township of Laurentian Valley in the County of Renfrew in northeast Ontario. Geographically, the county of Renfrew is the largest county in Ontario encompassing 17 municipalities within 2,859 square miles and 115,000 residents. The Township of Laurentian Valley is a small rural community and is located approximately 90 miles northwest of Ottawa. The economic outlook for the immediate and foreseeable future for the local and surrounding areas is stable.

The plant is located outside of the city limits in an agricultural area. Significant amounts of vacant land suitable for development are available in the plant’s neighborhood and in the main industrial park of Pembroke.

  • Land Area: Approximately 210 acres
  • Building area: 23,040 sq. meters.
  • Electrical Supply: 30 MW @ 44,000 Volt substation with three
    transformers. Large motors are 4160 V, balance are
    600 V. Typical electrical consumption is 17 MW.
  • Water Supply: Pumped from Ottawa River via 4” line.

Process Description

Raw Material

Sawmill residuals in the form of chips and sawdust is delivered to the plant by truck. Each truck is weighed as it enters the site to measure the quantity delivered. Random samples are taken from the trucks to test the quality and moisture of the material delivered. The trucks are then unloaded with one of two truck dumpers, one truck dumper is back-on and one drive-through. Material leaving the truck dumpers passes over scalping discs to remove oversized material. The raw material is then conveyed to the raw material storage building where it is separated by type and species, and stored until used. Raw material (furnish) is transferred from the storage building to five metering bins with the use of a wheel loader. These bins meter furnish at a controlled rate to each of two refiner feed lines – In this way the furnish mixture for both the core and the face is accurately controlled. The furnish on each line passes through a screening process to further remove Oversize and fines (the removal of fines removes grit from the furnish). The furnish is passed under magnets to remove metal. In the last stage of cleaning, the furnish is passed through an air density separator which will remove any remaining contaminates including stones, metal, knots, etc.



Refining and Drying

In the refining process both heat and mechanical energy are used to separate the wood furnish into individual fibers. Fiber quality is measured by the absence of fiber bundles (Shives) in the fiber. A stringent testing program ensures compliance with the highest fiber quality standards in the MDF industry. After cleaning, the furnish enters an atmospheric pre-steaming bin (A.P.S.), on each of two refining lines.
The furnish is mixed with high pressure steam (approximately 110 psi to 130 psi). Fiber exits the refiner through the blow valve and is transferred to the dryer through a pipe called the blow line, where also the resin is added to the fiber. In the dryer, heated air is used to dry the fiber and resin mixture to specified moisture content. Hot oil from the thermal fluid heating (TFH) system is circulated through these coils at a controlled rate. The air is also heated by recovery of exhaust gases from the thermal oil heater. Gas burners rated at 50 mm BTU/Hr are also available in each dryer. Upon exiting the dryer, the fiber/resin mixture is passed across a weigh belt which measures the total flow rate. The moisture content of the fiber is measured at this point with a continuous moisture scanning system.


Fiber exiting the weigh belts enters the dry fiber storage bin. The mass of fiber in the bin is moved forward toward the discharge of the bin by a “live bottom” belt. Fiber is pneumatically transported to the Forming station. There are sifters in the forming delivery line to remove lumps, metal, etc. Forming is a critical stage in the process. Both machine direction and cross panel density are controlled at this step. Fiber is delivered to a small fiber bin above the station. The live bottom belt meters fiber forward to a set of spreader rolls which fluff and distribute the fiber evenly across the mechanical, single layer forming station. The fiber falls onto the forming belt to form a continuous mat. A continuous moisture scan of the fiber is done. The mat is now transported at a controlled speed down the forming line to a pre-compressor.

The pre-compressor squeezes the mat down to a thickness range of approximately ½ inch to 2 inches in height. This squeezing action de-aerates and consolidates the mat for the rest of its trip to the press. The mat is trimmed to width by side trim saws. The mat is scanned for metal. If metal is detected, that portion of the mat is rejected before entering the press.

Pressing and Outfeed

The continuous mat now enters the infeed section of the press. The mat is split longitudinally before it enters the press. This split can be adjusted to produce either two 5’ wide panels or a 6’ & 4’ combination. The press is a Kusters continuous press, 34.6 meters long. (see Image 4).

The press is heated by thermal oil. Transport and heat transfer to the mat is done by two steel belts. The continuous ribbon of board exits the press and is then scanned for thickness and blows (de-lamination, blisters) and on-line density Profile. It then passes through the Diagonal saws which cuts it into the Master panel. Defects, blows, and transition board are also cut out and rejected at this point. The Master panel is now 14 to 24 ft. long. Then, the master panels enter into one of two board coolers and stackers. Once the board is cooled it is stacked to a height of 2.5 meters. The stacks are transferred to the rough board storage area via an automated Stack/Storage retrieval system.


The board is sanded, cut to size, graded and packaged for shipment. Rough board is retrieved from the rough board storage area via the automated cart system to be processed by order. The master panel is sanded to a final grit finish using a 4 head Steinemann primary sander. The final sanding is done with a 4 head secondary sander. At the first pass saw the master panel is cut down the length to a specified width. Here the edges of the panels are edge printed for grade and lot number.
The master panel continues on through the second pass saw where it is crosscut to lengths from 6 ft. to 16 ft. These panels carry on to a grading station. At the grading station, each panel is inspected for visual defects, and then assigned to a grade bin where it is stacked. The graded stacks are transported from the bins to the packaging station by automatic conveyors. At the packaging station the technician verifies the edge print, and affixes identification tags according to the customer order packaging codes. The units are now transported by conveyor to an automatic strapping station where they are strapped to complete the process.
The finishing line is also equipped with a “side rip” system which can rip a 1’ or 2’ piece off of a 5’ or 6’ panel. These strips can be packaged and sold separately or used in the molding plant.

Warehouse and Shipping

The warehouse area is roughly 17,000 sq. meters

Heat Plant

The heat plant is a thermal oil type system with three independent heat sources. The two Wellons bark burners are rated at 70 mmBtu/hr each. Each burner also has a 40 mmBtu/hr gas burner. They are top-feed type heaters with two 8’ diameter combustion cells with water cooled rotary grates. Bark is delivered via “walking floor” trucks and is unloaded into the enclosed 3,500 m2 bark building for storage. A front-end loader then loads the bark onto an inclined conveyor which feeds the bark to the heaters. Ash is removed using a drag chain system which leads to a dump box. An ash conditioning system moistens the dry ash so that it can be dumped at the local landfill. The Wellons dust burner is a bottom feed, pile burner design and consumes roughly 6,700 lb/hr of dust which comes from the finishing line and the molding lines. The thermal oil output from the dust burner is rated at 40 mmBtu/hr. During summer months, either one of the three heaters can be shut down for extended maintenance while the plant runs on the other two. The exhaust gases from all three heaters goes through an ESP and then to the dryer intake where it is used in the drying process.

A thermal oil system circulates hot oil from all three heaters to customers in the plant. The steam generator is heated with thermal oil and is rated at 80,000 lb/hr at 150 psig. Each of the fiber dryers has several oil coils rated at 30 mmBtu/hr each. Building heat is supplied through 10 thermal oil heaters and 8 gas heaters.

Natural gas is available for use in the dryers and for building heat, but is not normally required for operation due to the heat available from the heat plant.


Pembroke MDF operates in accordance with our Environmental Compliance Approvals (ECAs), which are issued by the Ontario Ministry of Environment and Climate Change (MOECC). Air emissions are managed through our facility’s baghouses, cyclones, ESP, and wet scrubber system. The plant runs a “zero effluent” operation, there is no effluent discharge into the environment and all process water that is generated is re-used in plant operations.

777 Fibreboard Drive
Pembroke, Ontario
K8A 6W4
(613) 732-3939

Copyrighted all rights reserved 2016 Pembroke MDF

Pembroke MDF