Wood Business

Features Mills Sawmilling
Inside Lakeland Mills

Dec. 17, 2014, Prince George - Building a mill that meets the highest standards in safety and dust control without sacrificing mill efficiency involves working with a team of dedicated manufacturers, distributors and contractors willing to work closely with you.

The team at Sinclar Group Forest Products Ltd. worked closely with a group of familiar faces to design, build and execute their plan for the development of the new Lakeland Mills. In doing so, they created a mill that looks and feels like one of the safest operations in Canada while improving the efficiency of the mill.

Following a tour of the new mill, I caught up with Lakeland Mills Operations Manager Bruce McLean to learn more about some of the technical refinements that went in to build the new mill.

Who was involved in the design of the new mill? What set parameters had you already established in regards to safety?

The design was the result of a collaborative effort by a team of Sinclar and Lakeland staff with the help of experienced sawmill vendors and engineers. The safety standard was to meet new expected standards in sawmill safety, including dust management and guarding. Methane mitigation was also a new safety issue that had to be incorporated into the new design.

A comprehensive fire alarm system was supplied by Siemens. The system includes pull stations at every exit to the plant, heat & smoke detectors in MCC & HPU rooms and 25 gas monitors in the basement of the plant. The entire system is monitored 24 x 7 by a ULC certified fire alarm monitoring company. Several regulatory authorities consulted on safety standards – including Worksafe BC, BC Safety Authority, City of Prince George, Prince George Fire Department.

The two Nicolson debarkers have modifications with the ignition sources that heighten their safety rating. Can you explain more about these modifications?          

The barkers were identified as Class II, Div II under the NFPA 499 standard and they were certified in the Nicholson shop by Intertek. The upgrades were with the electrical components. In addition, we added a dust collection system designed to minimize dust in and adjacent to the machine.

The piping system that integrates the Allied Blower vacuum system is very strategically placed to help minimize dust collection at key points throughout the sawline. How did Allied Blower’s solution provide you with the best option for dust collection? How does it differ from a “typical” mill system. What other detection/suppression technology is built into the system?

Allied Blower provided a solution that would aggressively remove much of the wood dust from all the sources; saws, chipping heads, chippers, transfers, hog and barkers. In addition, three of the six baghouses currently installed, have air returning to the plant to mainly retain heat, and keep the buildings from too great a negative pressure. These baghouse have GreCon spark detect and abort gates both before and after the baghouse. Make up roof air fans throughout the building provide positive pressure with air flow general from top to bottom. The air permit limits required the use of baghouses as there is seven times the air flow than previous.

What scanning and optimization equipment was incroporated into the design? 

LogPro log merchandiser is designed to add scanning & optimization in the future to make 9’ & 10’ logs. Pacificon supplied a system for log scanning & sorting after the log merchandiser. The USNR line has their optimization equipment and program. The other optimization is the Wane Shear, which uses Microtec scanning.

Microtec also supplied a scanner at the infeed to the bin sorter. This is a combination scanner, and a moisture sensor. The scanner has both geometric & vision capability. The moisture sensor has the ability to detect moisture content above fiber saturation point (with low level X-rays), and moisture content below fiber saturation point (with capacitance sensors).

You added a methane mitigation system to the new mill. What facilitated that need?

Methane mitigation is a big part of the project. The site is an old fluvial area where the Nechako River meets the Fraser River with some old landfill areas, old petroleum from adjacent industrial areas, and organic layers buried. We became aware of the possibility of methane shortly after the tragedy in 2012, and test wells throughout the site confirmed its presence. HDR Engineering designed an extraction system for the sawmill and all other buildings on site. There are monitors throughout the plant tied in to the emergency alarm system.

You worked with K2 Electric and Salem Contracting on the design and installation of the USNR sawline. What did both of these companies bring to the table to help meet your safety and production requirements for the mill?

The main construction contractors were K2 Electric and Salem Contracting. They have done mill installations with other companies and with Sinclar and were able to bring their experience to help modify specific designs to meet safety requirements. Both K2 Electric and Salem Contracting have had a long history of working with the Sinclar Group on previous projects.

Salem and K2 are strong local contractors with experience in building sawmills and have done projects for the Sinclar Group for decades. There is a strong synergy with our project manager, Roy McCaig.

Watch our exclusive video from Inside Lakeland Mills at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BbdzDIoayD4&feature=youtu.be. Watch for our full-length feature on the new Lakeland Mills sawmill in the January/February edition of Canadian Forest Industries.

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