A mill in Two Harbors, Minn., that makes wood siding for homes has closed for four weeks as it undergoes a $6 million upgrade.
The Louisiana Pacific facility, which opened in the mid-1980s, employs 129 full-time workers. Thirty-two employees were temporarily laid off, with several volunteering for the time off, said plant manager Steve Twining.
The company is installing a huge new machine that presses aspen chips under extreme heat and pressure into 8-by-16-foot sheets of engineered wood siding, a product used in new homes and remodels, he said.
"We're going to take the old press right out," Twining said. "It has to go up through the roof. We've got a huge crane being set up outside right now -- they've got to reach over the mill, pick this thing out in pieces and put the new one back in."
Twining said the new equipment will increase the plant's capacity by 25 percent, adding that demand for the product remained strong through the recession.
"It's just time to start reinvesting and get these mills back up to shape and get some additional capacity in there," he said.