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Logging and Sawmilling Journal November 2014

March/april 2015

On the Cover:
A Cat 522B feller buncher was the most recent equipment purchase for logging contractor Mid-Boundary Contracting, which is based in the rugged B.C. Southern Interior. Read all about how the new Cat buncher is performing for Mid-Boundary in this issue of Logging and Sawmilling Journa. (Photo of Cat 522B buncher courtesy of Mid-Boundary Contracting)

The clock is ticking on the Softwood Lumber Agreement
There is a united front on the part of Canada’s lumber producing provinces for extending the Softwood Lumber Agreement, but the U.S. government—and the U.S. lumber industry—have yet to say where they stand, even though the agreement expires this October.

Upping lumber recovery at Lakeview
Tolko Industries’ Lakeview Lumber Division in Williams Lake, B.C., has recently seen some significant upgrades that are already delivering results in lumber productivity and recovery.

Safety in B.C.’s logging industry: a work in progress
Safety has always been a priority for logging contractor Reid Hedlund, of Mid-Boundary Contracting—who is also chair of the Interior Logging Association—and though the industry has seen success at reducing the number of accidents, it continues to take ongoing effort, he notes.

Top Lumber Producers – Who’s on Top?
Logging and Sawmilling Journal’s annual listing of Canada’s Top Lumber Producers, produced in co-operation with industry consultants, International WOOD MARKETS Group.

Canada North Resources Expo
Visitors to the upcoming Canada North Resources Expo, being held in Prince George, B.C. May 29 -30, will enjoy an extensive range of displays, an excavator rodeo, sawmill and wood processing equipment demos—and perhaps even a grapple skidder show.

Upgrades bring efficiency—and green power
Alberta’s Manning Diversified Forest Products has invested $30 million in sawmill upgrades, new equipment that delivers higher production and more efficiency—and green power.

Cat—through and through
B.C.’s Kineshanko Logging recently celebrated its 40th year in logging, and all through that time their equipment has only been one colour: Cat yellow.

Careful logging in Algonquin Park
A careful approach to logging by contractors such as Jessup Bros. Forest Products is yielding jobs, good quality timber and an ample wood supply from Ontario’s well-known Algonquin Provincial Park—timber that also helps to sustain jobs at local sawmills.

Focus on Filing
The upcoming B.C. Saw Filer’s Association conference in Kamloops, B.C., features a solid line-up of speakers—and the opportunity to see the latest in saw filing equipment from equipment manufacturers.

Plywood going up - literally
B.C.’s Thompson River Veneer Products Ltd is benefiting from the general upturn in the economy, and sees demand for its plywood growing with building codes now allowing an increase in wood structure heights.

The Edge
Included in The Edge, Canada’s leading publication on research in the forest industry, are stories from the Canadian Wood Fibre Centre, Alberta Innovates - Bio Solutions and FPInnovations.

The Last Word
Tony Kryzanowski says a lack of joint ventures may be stunting the growth of the forest industry.

 

 

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Alberta’s Manning Diversified Forest Products has invested $30 million in sawmill upgrades

Upgrades bring efficiency—and green power

Alberta’s Manning Diversified Forest Products has invested $30 million in sawmill upgrades, new equipment that delivers higher production and more efficiency—and green power.

By Tony Kryzanowski

It has long been the objective at Alberta’s Manning Diversified Forest Products (MDFP) to make better use of the company’s wood waste, and a recent $30 million investment in a new biomass power system, pellet plant, planer upgrade and HewSaw small log line has fulfilled that objective.

The sawmill in the town of Manning, north of Peace River, is the first in Alberta to use a thermal oil vaporization process from Italian company Turboden to generate power, with the sawmill’s wood waste, specifically its bark and sawdust, used as fuel. The system will generate 3.5 megawatts (MWs) of power, enough to supply the sawmill and create a new revenue stream through the sale of excess power to the provincial grid.

Owned by sawmill manager Real Arseneault, the Paddle Prairie Métis Colony, Alphonse Decant, Steve Kaufman, and the Schmidt family, the dimension lumber sawmill has a long history of being innovative, having installed one of the first high speed curved sawing systems in Canada from Sweden a few decades ago. Now they are showing leadership by investing in the bio-economy, in both green power production as well as wood pellet production with a new Andritz pellet mill.

The Italian-designed Turboden power plant installed at Manning Diversified uses Organic Rankine Cycle technology, and is the first system of its kind installed in Alberta.The Italian-designed Turboden power plant installed at Manning Diversified uses Organic Rankine Cycle technology, and is the first system of its kind installed in Alberta.

Arsenault says the sawmill expects to produce about 110 million board feet of lumber this year, an improvement of about 15 per cent over previous years, consuming about 400,000 cubic metres of spruce and pine, producing lumber from 2 X 4 to 2 X 12, up to 16’ lengths. Their primary product is 2 X 6, with the ability to pull higher value material such as lam stock for glulam producers, J-grade, and square edge lumber.

The entire operation provides 117 jobs, with the sawmill operating its small log line on a two shift basis, while the large log line and planer mill operate on one shift.

MDFP’s biomass power system supplier, Turboden, is part of the Mitsubishi group of companies. The technology used in the power generation system is Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC) technology. The company supplied its Turboden 32 HRS model for this installation.

The MDFP system is a combination of both a Wellons energy system, which also provides heat for the sawmill’s dry kilns, and the Turboden ORC power generation system.

Power generation using ORC technology starts with a fuel source, in this case wood waste, that heats the thermal oil in the Wellons system to a high temperature, typically about 300 degrees Celsius. The thermal oil from the Wellons system is then transported to the power generation building where it heats the working fluid in the Turboden ORC system through a heat exchanger. The working fluid vaporizes and drives a power turbine before condensing back to a liquid. Both the Wellons and Turboden fluid systems operate in a closed loop.

“By doing this, as a forest company, we have made ourselves totally sustainable off one tree,” says Arsenault, noting that the company now generates no waste, and has a use for all components of every tree that it harvests to both derive an income and as a fuel source for both its heat and power needs. “I think it is as green as we can get.”

MDFP was operating a teepee burner to dispose of its hog fuel, but had until 2015 to decommission that unit. One alternative was to truck the hog fuel for use in other energy systems.

“But we thought, why would we want to be running up and down the highway with trucks?” says Arseneault. “We really thought that we should try to do something here ourselves. There were several good reasons to make this investment including making better use of a sustainable resource, creating an additional income stream for the sawmill from its sawdust and bark, and removing trucks off the highway.”

At present, MDFP is only planning to use the wood waste it generates at the sawmill, but they have conducted tests of potentially supplementing that wood supply with slash from its cutblocks. Arseneault says they have conducted tests tapping into that source and it looks favorable; but they intend to operate the system for about a year to evaluate exactly how much waste wood it consumes before considering other sources.

Alberta’s Manning Diversified Forest Products has invested $30 million in sawmill upgradesThe Manning Diversified sawmill expects to produce about 110 million board feet of lumber this year, an improvement of about 15 per cent over previous years. Their primary product is 2 X 6, with the ability to pull higher value material such as lam stock for glulam producers, J-grade, and square edge lumber.

When investigating biomass power generating systems, MDFP wanted a low maintenance system that could be operated by staff. The ORC option seemed to be the best fit. The company also had to keep its capital costs reasonable because Arseneault says there isn’t a great deal of income being generated from power generation at the present time. Turboden became the best option because its working thermal oil is less volatile as it is a silicon-based oil.

MDFP has also made a number of investments in its sawmill and planer mill.

A new HewSaw line was installed in the summer of 2013. It is a HewSaw R200 1.1 that includes a V-flight conveyor from Hollins Industries as part of HewSaw’s optimized rotary log positioner. ProLogic+ provided the optimizing technology for the system from the infeed onwards. The new line allows MDFP to increase both accuracy and recovery, and it provides it with edging capabilities. To reduce log gaps and improve throughput, the R200 1.1 also uses internal scan zones so that once a log moves past a given zone, the zone starts setting for the next log.

Arseneault says by making this investment, they were able to dispose of their standalone edger after the old HewSaw, resulting in processing and edging in a single pass, while helping to increase their production and recovery.

“We run this machine at 500 feet per minute versus 400 feet per minute on the old one,” he says, adding that the new HewSaw was a better fit for the increased volume of logs being shipped to the mill, which tended to be on the smaller side. It was also good timing to make that investment as the industry was coming out of a downturn, and upgrading their equipment as the market recovered has helped with a faster payback. Also, the small log line is able to operate continuously on both the day and night shift because there is no additional edging function at the back end of the production line. This has resulted in higher production, and they have noticed a slight increase in recovery.

With just a two-and-a-half week window during the mill’s annual summer shutdown to remove the old HewSaw and install the new HewSaw, it took a great deal of co-ordination and project management on the part of MDFP staff and the equipment suppliers. This hands-on approach by MDFP helped keep the project on track and allowed the mill to complete the project without any significant loss of production.

Installation of the planer mill upgrade was also handled internally. A new Gilbert high speed planer was installed as well as a Comact GradExpert computerized lumber grading system. This project was done in summer 2014. What motivated MDFP to upgrade its planer mill was the higher throughput volume coming from its sawmill. By improving their speed, they were able to maintain staffing levels to one shift in the planer mill.

“We used to be able to do 1200 feet per minute and now we can do 2600 feet per minute on the planer,” says Arsenault. He adds that by installing the Comact GradExpert computerized grading system, they were able to eliminate four grading positions and it is delivering very consistent grading results.

“Our uplift is occurring in more J-grade and less trim loss,” Arseneault says. “It’s been a real benefit to us.”

Alberta’s Manning Diversified Forest Products has invested $30 million in sawmill upgradesThe pellet plant uses shavings from the planer mill as its source of raw material, which Arseneault described as a fairly inexpensive way to manufacture pellets because the shavings are already dry. Some of the shavings are also marketed for horse bedding.

The large log line featuring a CSMI curved sawing system and its board edger will receive an entire scanning upgrade this summer. RemaSawco will provide the scanning system on the main breakdown unit with PHL supplying the board edger scanning system.

The Andritz pellet plant was installed at the same time as the biomass energy system, with construction also handled internally.

All these investments are wrapping up at a time when the labor market in Alberta is undergoing a significant change with the recent downturn in the price of oil. For years, there has been a strong competition between the province’s forest industry and the oil and gas industry particularly for skilled labor.

“I’m hoping that the labor force doesn’t have the same kind of pressure on it because it has been really difficult to find people,” says Arseneault. “We just don’t have enough people in Alberta and it makes it difficult for all industries to try to do business under those circumstances.”

While Arseneault understands the difficulty that job loss in the oil patch can bring for people, he adds that a less heated Alberta economy could have considerable benefit by removing some of the stresses for labor and services on both the
private and public sectors in the province.