Wood Business

B.C. saw filers share knowledge and take in new technology

May 1, 2017 - Saw filers from Canada’s largest forest products companies down to small family-owned mills in B.C. mingled and shared best practices at the BC Saw Filers Association annual convention that took place in Kamloops, B.C., over the weekend.

May 1, 2017  By  Maria Church

“We had 140 filers registered. It was very well attended and very positive feedback,” says BC Saw Filers Association vice-president Brian Glaister. “It’s been the highest attended since I’ve been involved.”

New faces and, more importantly, younger faces were among the crowd at this year’s convention, a fact celebrated by many.

“I’m seeing a lot of younger faces here. We’re finally seeing the young people in our organizations who are going to take over from us,” Tolko maintenance leader Brian Shale said during his state of the union address.

“You guys represent the single most important part of our business,” he said. “When that tooth goes through that piece of wood, we make money.”


The intermingling of filers from different companies is also an accomplishment that should be emulated across industry, Shale said. He encouraged the audience to come away from the conference with the intention to continue learning from other companies and bring those new ideas to management. “Go to your leaders and say, ‘There are things I learned at this convention and I want to go to the Canfor mill or the West Fraser mill to see what they are doing there.’ Yes they are our competition but they are also our partners. The reality is that we are in a big industry, but we all know each other.”

Co-operation and partnership among sawmills is even more essential today, with the softwood lumber dispute bubbling over and challenges around fibre supply in B.C. stemming from reduced annual allowable cut, Shale said. That co-operation includes working with vendors, he said.

“I counted 66 vendors at the convention,” Shale said. “That’s 66 guys who want to put their hands up and give us a solution to our challenges.” Take the time to hear the vendor’s solutions and introduce them to management and to the filers on the floor.

Chuck McKenzie, WorksafeBC prevention officer, spoke about WorkSafeBC’s role in keeping sawmills and filers safe. New provincial legislation in early April changed the rules around safety committees, including new mandatory minimum training and participation in incident investigations.

Last year the province updated its penalty system for workplace safety violations, significantly increasing the penalty for so-called corporate violations versus location violations, and accounting for employer size.

McKenzie and his colleague, hygiene officer Geoff Thomson, recently received permission to hold one-day education and training courses for sawmill inspections.

“I’ve inspected mills for the past 12 years and I still find supervisors don’t know what we are looking for,” McKenzie said. The course is designed for safety committee embers, supervisors and other management who are involved when WorkSafeBC runs random inspections. Tests with Canfor and Tolko mills were successful, McKenzie said, so they are rolling out the course province-wide. Learn more here.

The second half of the convention program was dedicated to new, innovated technology advancements, including Saw+ADD, Corbilt, and KeyKnife.

Warren Myrfield from Saw+ADD explained how the anti-deviation device for bandsaws uses integrated force sensors to measure the potential for deviation and slow down feed speed. He shared results from installations in at Tolko Lavington more than a year ago. Matt Graves, association executive and filer for Tolko Lavignton, gave his own appraisal of the installation. “It has basically eliminated our saw wrecks from frozen logs for the past two winters,” Graves said. The Lavington filers also use the Saw+ADD as a diagnostic tool.

Corey Martindale with Corbilt presented on the company’s solutions to dust, which began with intensive research on the source of the dust problem in mills. “We found that the source of the dust is when the tooth leaves the fibre,” Martindale said. Armed with that knowledge, Corbilt designed solutions to capture dust at the source and prevent dust explosions.

Key Knife‘s Mike Wagner wrapped up presentations by sharing methods to maximize part life by swapped unworn blades. Keyknife recently introduced its PTA hard surface which is a surface solution that extends the life of a counterknife and holder two to three times.

The BC Saw Filers Association trade show also saw a healthy number of vendors take part, with 35 companies listed. Read about the latest technology on display here

CLICK HERE for more File Week 2017 stories.

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