When you think of the different uses for wood, furniture and flooring come to mind. But the applications for lumber and other wood products spread far and wide, and companies across the country (and the globe) are finding ways of integrating wood, from hardwood plywood to wood laminate, into their products. One of the areas that more companies are using wood that we at Timber Products are most excited about is equipment!
Wood is Powering the Agricultural Industry...
Take John Deere, the country’s most iconic agricultural equipment company, for instance. While many competitors use plastic or steel as bearing materials, John Deere uses wood. Wood bearings have been used for centuries to support various types of machinery - including the agricultural machinery for which John Deere is famous. John Deere designed their own line of wood bearings to power their combines, and they credit the use of wood for the machine’s high-quality performance and long life.
What makes wood bearings such a powerhouse for agricultural equipment? Plastic bearings can allow abrasive materials into the shaft, causing damage and shortening the life of the machine. But wood bearings, when lubricated properly, absorb the abrasive materials into the bearing, protecting the shaft from damage and extending its life.
John Deere’s wood bearings set the industry standard for what’s possible in using wood in agricultural equipment. Their bearings leverage grain direction for strengthening purposes, have a significantly higher lubricant capacity than competitors (in a test, John Deere’s bearings held 27.5g of lubricant to the competitors 1.7g), and maintain shape and form at extremely high temperatures.
...and Pretty Soon, It'll be Driving Us
While some companies like John Deere are leveraging tried and tested techniques, others are finding new and innovative ways to integrate wood into equipment.
As more automobile makers shift their focus towards making cars more environmentally friendly (and in turn appealing to a growing number of consumers), new materials are being explored, and wood is quickly rising to the top of the list. Researchers in Japan are exploring ways to break wood pulp (which is only ⅕ the weight of steel) down into nanofibers, which can then be mixed with plastics and used to build significantly lighter cars, which would cut down on production costs and make electric cars more affordable for the public. While the research is in its early stages, results look promising, and before you know it, you might have a part-wood car parked in your driveway.
Over the next few years, we anticipate experimentation with wood to continue across all industries. Projects like the standard building of furniture using custom cut products, the construction of tall wooden skyscrapers, the use of special wooden bearings in machinery, and the creation of wood-infused cars are just a few examples of industry expansion with wood products as the backbone. And here at Timber Products, we look forward to what is on the horizon.