Wood Business

New Gear Equipment Sawmilling
Investing big to go small

May 4, 2013, Manning, Alta. – As the beetle heads east and the markets head up, Manning Diversified’s Real Arsenault sees opportunity. That’s why after surviving more than seven years of nasty markets, the veteran sawmiller is upgrading his small-log technology.

Manning Diversified has run an older HewSaw R200 MSA (moveable saw assembly) line for 13 years, a machine with no edging capabilities and the conventional “banana” style infeed. It’s been a producer, but a shifting log mix has opened the door to investment.

“We’re into wood that tends to get a little smaller now, and we could handle more small wood if we had the right machine. There is also the beetle salvage wood they’re taking out. We’re running about 20 per cent pine, and at some point it’s going to die. There is an opportunity for us to pick up a little extra wood from that, and we can use it for the first couple of years after the beetle gets it. That wood also tends to be smaller.”

Add to that industry expectations that recurring lumber shortages will be a boon to those who have access to the fibre supply, and you’ve got solid rationale for a timely investment.

Recovery and Volume

As a result, Manning is adding a new HewSaw R200 1.1 line this summer. Formerly known as the R200 PLUS, Manning’s version will include a 51-ft V-flight conveyor, the supplier’s LogIn System (optimized rotary log positioner), with full optimization from the infeed on from ProLogic+.

Upgrading to the newer R200 1.1 brings the mill several key advantages in both recovery and throughput. Obviously the optimized infeed and log positioner will significantly increase recovery and accuracy. The new line will handle edging as well, allowing the mill to streamline production and pick up some efficiency while taking sideboards as well.

To reduce log gaps and improve throughput, the R200 1.1 will employ scan zones, so that once a log moves past a given zone, the zone starts setting for the next log. Some other improvements include an auto-lube system and walk-in openings to reduce or simplify maintenance. The walk-in openings are used for both saws and chipper heads. The machine itself opens up, and then the floor drops down for safer, more comfortable access. Finally, the R200 1.1 has larger saw clusters than the old unit, allowing the mill to either run more patterns or lengthen the time between saw changes.

The mill traditionally takes a two-week shutdown in July. This year they’ll extend it to three weeks, when HewSaw will come in to swap out the lines. If all goes to plan, that will allow the mill to enjoy the added production through as much of the good markets as possible.

Depending on markets, production is in the 95 million bdft range. The mill runs a CSMI (USNR) curve sawing line for its larger logs. The HewSaw line runs logs up to a 6.25-in butt, with the rest heading to the large side.

Real says that by enhancing both recovery and throughput, the ROI looks solid.

“With the proper log turner and the up-to-date scanning, we’re expecting to see higher recovery, that’s for sure. And of course we’re looking for more speed. We expect to add 100 ft/min to our current speeds, maybe more. Put together, we don’t think the payback will be too bad.“