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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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shift charge hand Roy Betts
The sound of a well-running sawmill is sweet music to shift charge hand Roy Betts. It means the upgrades at the Tolko Industries mill in Williams Lake, British Columbia are delivering their intended benefits,.

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.

By Jim Stirling

When a sawmill is running well, it just sounds right. It’s an intuitive sort of thing. The Lakeview sawmill is sounding better all the time.

Tolko Industries’ Lakeview Lumber Division in Williams Lake, B.C.It’s sweet music now to shift charge hand Roy Betts. It means the upgrades to the Tolko Industries mill in Williams Lake, British Columbia are delivering their intended benefits. Betts well understands the mill’s rhythms. He’s been patrolling the catwalks there since Lignum ran the operation in the mid-1970s.

Betts’ ears aren’t deceiving him.

“The upgrades have helped out our lumber recovery and our productivity,” confirms Ryan Oliver, plant manager for Tolko’s Lakeview Lumber Division.”We’re up about 15 to 20 points with our lumber recovery.”

The focus for a comprehensive range of upgrades in 2014 was rebuilding the sawmill’s back end, explains Oliver. “We have three breakdown lines feeding a single sorter. We were a back-end constrained mill.”

Lakeview can process logs from four inch diameters to 26 inches on its three breakdown lines: a headrig side, a 10 inch canter line and an eight inch canter line.

The rebuilt back-end begins with a new unscrambler and lug loading system from Comact. Boards are delivered to an Autolog trimmer-optimizer—with options for remanufacturing—before passing through a Carbotech International fence and multi-saw trimmer.

Tolko Industries’ Lakeview Lumber Division in Williams Lake, B.C.Mill Tech Industries manufactured the pusher type log sorter, including adding 20 bins (to a total of 88). Operational speed has also been improved with the Mill Tech sorter running easily at 155 lugs/minute compared with around 118 lugs under the old system.

Other new equipment installed in the upgrade includes an electric dual fork stacker and auto strip system both supplied by Carbotech. AMS Controls provide sequencing for the mill’s upgraded back-end.

Tolko Industries’ Lakeview Lumber Division in Williams Lake, B.C.The sophistication of the new equipment installed in the Lakeview sawmill plays an essential role in the mill’s ability to improve the overall operation’s lumber recovery factor. Autolog’s trimmer-optimizer illustrates the point. “It provides the technology for us to see heavy shade in an individual board,” explains Oliver. “The laser scanning density is so tight you can clearly see the shadowing on the cracks. We can change the trimming parameters for that piece accordingly to increase recovery.”

It’s been a long and painful period that’s felled many an operation along the way but the worst of the mountain pine beetle epidemic has passed. The percentages of green wood coming across Lakeview’s scales is slowly increasing. Beetle killed wood now comprises about 40 per cent of the mill’s diet with the balance in Douglas fir, spruce and balsam.

Tolko Industries’ Lakeview Lumber Division in Williams Lake, B.C.The shift is showing up in longer kiln drying schedules and improved grade outturns, notes Oliver. The development of the Chinese market and its sustained appetite for generally lower grade defect-prone beetle killed wood came at the right time for Lakeview, along with other mills in the B.C. Interior.

One of the other operations to benefit from processing beetle wood during the U.S. market slowdown is a neighbour in Williams Lake. Lakeview forwards blocks from its milling operations to Parallel Wood Products Ltd, where they are finger-jointed into studs.

Tolko’s project priority last year was eradicating Lakeview’s back-end bottleneck. However, the primary breakdown process was not ignored with comprehensive changes made to the mill’s headrig. The project involved having USNR upgrade all the headrig’s controls, incorporate laser scanning and switching drives from DC to AC. “We’re expecting a 25 point recovery impact on that line,” anticipates Oliver. The revamped headrig had only been operational a couple of weeks when LSJ visited but the project will prove a great success if early experience proves permanent. “We’re still fine-tuning the controls but the headrig has been excellent.”

Tolko Industries’ Lakeview Lumber Division in Williams Lake, B.C.The upgrades have helped Tolko Lakeview Lumber Division's lumber recovery and its productivity. The mill is up about 15 to 20 points with its lumber recovery.

A high degree of automation comes with the mill’s new back-end equipment. But the impact on the mill’s work force “has been very minimal,” reports Oliver. “No one lost their jobs and we’ve continued to hire new employees.” That constitutes an extra plus for the Williams Lake job market pool especially during a time when the regional mining industry is throttling back.

The mill’s new equipment, especially surrounding the trimmer-optimizer, allowed Lakeview to further upgrade its sawdust control and mitigation strategies. One of the direct control impacts is the hiring of two full time tradesmen, each working 40 hours a week. Oliver says the clean-up supervisor prioritizes projects and generates work orders. “It’s working well and we’re seeing improvements,” reports Oliver “It’s an old mill and it isn’t easy to keep it in compliance but increasing the labour is achieving that. Everything in the mill these days is influenced by dust control and will continue to be.”

Tolko Industries’ Lakeview Lumber Division in Williams Lake, B.C.The rebuilt back-end begins with a new unscrambler and lug loading system from Comact. Boards are delivered to an Autolog trimmer-optimizer (pictured), with options for remanufacturing, before passing through a Carbotech International fence and multi-saw trimmer.

The Lakeview Lumber Division is coming off a very busy 2014 and one with significant capital investment. Tolko is a private, Canadian owned forest products company and is not obliged to divulge any dollar figures attached to its projects.

”I can say that last year the investment in Cariboo region mills was more than in the rest of the company,” says Oliver. The total includes significant improvements to the planer mill at Tolko’s Soda Creek Division, its sister mill in Williams Lake. The investment represents a corporate decision that speaks volumes for Tolko’s regional commitment to the Cariboo.

The sound of a well-running sawmill is sweet music to shift charge hand Roy Betts. It means the upgrades at the Tolko Industries mill in Williams Lake, British Columbia are delivering their intended benefits.