Logging Equipment Firm Closes

The Register Guard (Eugene, OR), April 18, 2008 | Go to article overview

Logging Equipment Firm Closes


Byline: Tim Christie The Register-Guard

A venerable Canadian logging equipment manufacturer has gone out of business, the latest blow to the battered timber industry.

The British Columbia Supreme Court declared Madill Equipment to be bankrupt on April 1, and ordered its assets sold and employees terminated. A representative of the court-appointed receiver told the Vancouver Sun that 50 or more employees would be kept on at distribution centers and at the head office while a sale of the company and its assets is organized.

The company, which operates a sales office in Eugene, has been making equipment for logging outfits in the Pacific Northwest since the 1950s, such as feller bunchers, log loaders, harvesters and cable yarders. In addition to its main manufacturing plant in Nanaimo, B.C., it also built equipment in Kalama, Wash.

The demise of Madill "should send shock waves throughout the industry," Jim Geisinger, executive vice president of Associated Oregon Loggers, said Thursday.

The closure affects not just logging companies who own Madill equipment, but also those who relied on Madill for parts and service for other brands of equipment, he said. That's because, over the years, Madill acquired blueprints and parts from logging equipment makers that went out of business, he said.

"If you can't keep equipment updated you're not going to stay in business," Geisinger said. "People ought to be concerned about the capacity to get work done that needs to be done."

Industry officials are hoping someone will buy Madill's assets so those parts and blueprints will continue to be available, he said.

Bob Luoto, owner of Cross & Crown Inc., a logging outfit in Carlton, said the closure of Madill was "huge." Loggers who need to fix a broken piece of equipment will be scrambling to get parts and service, or will rely on machine shops to manufacture parts from scratch. In addition to its own machines, Madill had parts and blueprints for now defunct makers such as Skagit, Thunderbird and Hawk.

"If you can't get parts for a Madill machine, you're in trouble," Luoto said. "Instead of getting a machine ready in three days, it could be two weeks," he said.

"It will cost a lot of money - every day you're down, you can't produce."

With Madill shutting down, Luoto said he knows of no other company in North America building yarders, the iconic towers loggers plant on a landing and use to haul logs up steep slopes with cables. Yarders cost in excess of $1 million, and have a lifespan of 15 to 20 years. …

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