5 takeaways from File Week 2021
By Ellen Cools
After five days of coverage on new saw filing technology, filing room profiles and efforts to close the gender gap in the trade, File Week 2021 comes to an end today. Here’s a quick look at what we learned from the featured articles and columns.
- Investing in new equipment: Sinclar Group’s Apollo Forest Products, based in Fort St. James, B.C., recently invested in a new Iseli BNP200 4 axis CNC bandsaw grinder to do profile grinding of standard and Stellite-tipped bandsaw blades, as well as top and face grinding of Stellite and Carbide-tipped blades. The new technology is “amazing,” according to head filer Kevin Ransom, and a key investment to keeping the mill’s saw blades in tip-top shape.
- New products: Although the BC Saw Filers Association Convention was once again unable to take place in person due to ongoing concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic, CFI rounded up the newest saw filing solutions. Like last year, automation is a key theme among the new pieces of equipment – Thode’s Iseli BNP 200 bandsaw profile grinder now features automatic loading of the blade, while DK Spec’s Filex MK2nx allows for robotic loading for high-volume grinding of a straight knife, and Williams & White’s new Hammerhead 3000 Auto Bench can automatically tension and level a bandsaw. Multiple other companies have also added automation and data monitoring to their repertoire.
- Closing the gender gap: Saw filing is “just not a very recognized trade,” says Sara Davies, a ticketed circular saw filer with Spray Lake Sawmills. There are few young people joining the industry and even fewer female saw filers. But, Davies is working to change this by raising awareness about the trade and advocating for increased support for underrepresented groups.
- Long lead times: In recent months, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has been felt in supply chain problems and worker shortages in multiple industries around the world. Saw filing is no exception, with many mills dealing with long lead times for new saws. CFI columnist Paul Smith explains how mills are combating this by relying on professional saw filers to keep their existing saws running.
- One-stop-shop: Last week, Wood Fiber Group and USNR announced their merger – big news for the filing world. Wood Fiber Group, which includes Simonds International, Burton Saw & Supply, BGR Saws, Global Tooling and U.S. Blades, is one of the largest suppliers of filing room equipment. The merger, according to USNR, will be a win for both companies and their customers.
CFI’s File Week landing page will continue to be the place for sawfilers and other stakeholders to find best practices and the latest information on new saw filing technology all year long. Find it under the MENU tab, under Explore.
Find the landing page here, and see you next year for File Week 2022!