Softwood Forest Products Buyer


Feature Story

Jim Enright, general manager of Rosboro, located in Springfield, Ore., was instrumental in the company's development of BigBeam ® .

Rosboro Plans To Double BigBeam®  Production
By Wayne Miller

Springfield, Ore.—Rosboro, a leading glulam manufacturer in the Willamette Valley, faced an enviable challenge last year. Its product, BigBeam®, had become so popular among homebuilders that Rosboro struggled to keep pace with customer orders, which left no time to cultivate new relationships with new clients.

Rosboro rose above that challenge by recently acquiring an additional manufacturing facility in which to produce its successful product lines. The facility that Rosboro purchased in order to grow is  located in Vaughn, Ore., and was formerly owned by Weyerhaeuser.

Now Rosboro is moving forward and is in the process of doubling its production capacity of the unique product known as BigBeam, a 30F high-strength glulam that the company developed and began marketing in 2000.

Rosboro general sales manager, Jim Enright, said, “Purchasing the Vaughn facility gi ves us the opportunity to increase marketshare by increasing lines of distribution for our line of glulam products.”

The acquisition of the additional facility also positions Rosboro to become the glulam industry’s key supplier, and the only treated beam manufacturer in the United States.

Enright said, “With BigBeam, we’ve created a hybrid glulam, which means we incorporated lumber and LVL into a laminated
Rosboro has doubled its capacity and expanded its facilities, which enables the firm to keep up with the latest technology.
beam product. We believe that glulam is the number one engineered wood product. It’s the oldest, most economical and most versatile.”

BigBeam, which is made from kiln-dried lumber, comprises about 20 percent of Rosboro’s overall production. Enright said this product gives builders “another option in high-strength beam and the header arena. The only option builders had prior to production of this beam was LVL and Paralam, which are the highest ranked beams and header products on the market.”

Enright was instrumental in Rosboro’s development of BigBeam in 2000. He brought insight regarding the product from his previously held position at Willamette Industries, which, he said, “was a company that saw the need for a hig h-strength laminated beam alternative to the composite high strength beam and headers. We collaborated at Willamette on that alternative product, but we never brought it to market in a large way.”

When Enright joined Rosboro, he began discussions with the company about manufacturing the product that would eventually become BigBeam.
Rosboro's BigBeam ® is engineered to match standard I-joist depths and wall-framing widths.

 “Over time, we looked at the glulam line as a nice, exposed beam used in construction. When we first discussed the concept of BigBeam at Rosboro, we agreed we had to get smart and recognize the rapid growth of the engineering wood floor industry,” Enright explained. “We agreed we had to concentrate more on making our product fit in an I-joist system. We had to consider not only strength as we developed BigBeam, but size as well.  In the past, traditional glulam sizes didn’t typically fit in an engineered wood floor system because I-joist depths traditionally have been different from glulam depths. However, with BigBeam, we followed an untraditional path in its development from the moment we first began creating it.”

Rosboro’s BigBeam neatly fits any I-joist engineered wood floor system. It weighs less than LVL and Parala m, so it’s easier for workers to handle during the construction phase. Additionally, BigBeam requires single-piece installation versus LVL, which requires multi-piece installation that involves marrying a  1 3/4-inch LVL to another piece of LVL via bolting and nailing.

“BigBeam is shipped to the buyer 3 and 1/2-inches thick, so builders don’t have to do that marrying in the field where it’s typically done. We’ve done it for them,” Enright said.

BigBeam is available at Rosboro as treated and untreated products. The functions of each product are different. For example, while untreated BigBeam is the perfect match to fit I-joists in engineered wood flooring systems, the treated version of BigBeam is ideal for outdo
Builders use Rosboro's BigBeam ® for tall walls, headers and beams.
or usage, such as decks, patios, trellises—anywhere that a high-strength beam is not necessary.

Both products are manufactured from Southern Pine. Except for the application of treatment to the wood, both products are identically manufactured to the American Plywood Association/Engineered Wood Association Framing Appearance Standard. Both are al so touch-sanded or planed after gluing to assure proper width tolerances.

“On the untreated BigBeam, we marry Pine with LVL on top and bottom, glue it together and it’s ready to ship,” said Enright. “The treated product is BigBeam’s sister product. We developed it after we realized that we had unused Pine left over from the manufacture of the untreated product. We manufacture the treated product just like the untreated, except we apply the treatment to the wood after we’ve completed the gluing process.”

Treated BigBeam, which was developed one year after the untreated product, is available with an industrial wood preservative and treated with water repellent Permapost K-8. Rosboro has discovered a vast market among pro-retail customers, as well as wholesale distributors for treated beams.

Enright noted that 85 percent of the glulams made in North America are currently sold west of the Rockies due to the fact that most glulam manufacturing plants
BigBeam ® 's strength, stability and versatility are just a few reasons why the product continues to gain popularity.
in this country are located in that region.

“The Midwest, the Northeast and the Eastern seaboard are not traditional glulam markets,” Enright added.

The Southern region of the United States is considerably populated with facilities that produce laminate products, according to Enright, so Rosboro does not concentrate marketing efforts in that area. However, Florida is the exception to this rule.

“Florida is one of our key markets for treated products,” Enright said. “We’re also bringing product to South Carolina and Atlanta, Ga. Basically, we’re trying to grow our business with our existing distributors. That’s our first line of offense. In 2004 and 2005, we didn’t grow our existing distributors to their potential growth because they were supply constrained. Despite that, the glulam industry set an all-time record for production capacity in 2005.”

Rosboro began humbly as a single lumber mill in Springfield, Ore., in 1940. It has grown into an operation that is situated on 60 acres and employs approximately 500 people. Rosboro also owns a hardwood door and window frame manufacturing facility in Seattle, Wash.

In addition to BigBeam glulam, Rosboro manufactures stock glulam, which is the workhorse of its glulam products. It is available in architectural and framing appearances. Rosboro offers 24F beams that are I-joist compatible, as well as Rosboro Manufactured Timber, w
The BigBeam ® , which can be stacked in the yard, comes individually wrapped, so it's protected until the builder opens it on the jobsite.
hich is an engineered timber certified to be as strong or stronger than solid sawn green timber.  Glulam columns are available in a variety of stock dimensions and common sizes, are included among Rosboro’s products.

“We’re letting people know that BigBeam is a great option for their engineered wood floor systems—it’s affordable, convenient and wonderfully engineered,” Enright said.


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