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Valutec delivering dry kiln solution to Junnikkala’s greenfield project in Finland


December 22, 2021
By Valutec

Junnikkala Oy is investing €75 million in building one of Finland’s largest and most modern sawmills in Oulu. When ready the sawmill will have a capacity of 350 000 cubic metres sawn timber and 70 jobs will be created directly and 200 indirectly in the Oulu region.

“We set the bar high for technic and process. Valutec has proven in previous deliveries that they can answer to our needs,” says Kalle Junnikkala, CEO Junnikkala Oy.

For Valutec, the Oulu order is the latest in a long line of deliveries to Junnikkala.

“We’ve worked together with Junnikkala very well for many years, and we see their choosing us again as a great honour,” says Mikko Pitkänen, CEO Valutec Oy.

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Valutec will deliver three TC-continuous kilns to Oulu including two traverse systems.

“We installed a TC kiln at our sawmill in Kalajoki 2019 and has good experiences from it. It offers high capacity and adapts well to the changes in production. It’s faster and more efficient way to dry wood with high quality and with lower energy consumption,” says Junnikkala.

“Today, we’re selling TC continuous kilns in markets all over the world. It’s the result of thousands of development hours during which we studied, evaluated, tested and reinvented every part of a type of lumber kiln which, in its original design, was first used back in 1927,” says Pitkänen.

The great technological leap forward in this new generation of TC continuous kilns is the individual temperature and air circulation control in different zones. Integrated simulator technology gives the user great freedom when choosing the dimensions of lumber for drying, thus optimizing processes and providing high capacity.

The TC dryers to be delivered to Junnikkala has ten drying zones and will handle all drying needs for the sawmill. The kilns are made of stainless steel and equipped with pressure frames for minimal deformation of the upper lumber layers and heat recovery. The delivery also includes Valutes’s control system for drying Valmatics 4.0. It is packed with intelligence that senses and adapts the drying process accordingly. Integrated in the system is the Valusim simulator, which optimizes new drying programs with regard to capacity, quality and electrical energy consumption, in order to avoid costly running-in times.

Sustainability is an important issue for Junnikkala who strives to minimize its carbon footprint. One of the goals of the project is to minimize the environmental impact and secure bioenergy for the city of Oulu and industry.  As a part of it, the new sawmill will be using traverses instead of traditional fork-lifts.

“Junnikkala wants to be an example how the climate change can be restrained and by using an automatic traverse system we decrease our carbon footprint and production cost per manufactured cubic metre,” says Kalle Junnikkala.

Lumber drying is a quality-critical, energy intensive part of a sawmill’s processing operation, and as quality and environmental requirements increase, it is subject to ever greater attention.
“The new TC continuous kilns combine high capacity with continuity, which brings great advantages in terms of energy efficiency, adding heat recovery and a traverse system to that makes it a very energy efficient solution,” says Pitkänen.

After the investment, Junnikkala will have three sawmills with a total production close to almost 800,000 cubic meters of sawn timber and further processed products annually. About 80 per cent of finished products are estimated to be exported. Production binds almost one million tonnes of carbon per year to sustainable wood products, making the company one of Finland’s most significant carbon sinks.

The assembly of the TC kilns will start in the spring of 2023.