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Logging and Sawmilling Journal November 2014

December/January 2016

On the Cover:
Getting the timber out to the dryland sorts and the sawmills economically has always been a top priority for the industry. In this issue of Logging and Sawmilling Journal we take a look at how a few different loggers do just that, including very different logging operations in B.C. and Alberta. (Vancouver Island log sort photo by Paul MacDonald)

Logging contractors being left behind in the recovery?
While the forest industry has recovered from the downturn—though the recovery still seems tentative, at times—the logging contractor sector seems to have been left behind when it comes to improved logging rates. What gives?

Changing gears in B.C. coastal logging
B.C. coastal logger Bob Lee has had to change gears with his logging operations in recent years, and this involved some big time changes, with a move to second growth wood, and purchasing and operating bunchers and processors.

Deere delivers with new 748L skidder
The new John Deere 748L skidder is helping Alberta logging operation Forest Trotter Contracting be more productive, especially on hilly ground—and offers more operator comfort, to boot.

Cutting lumber drying costs
B.C.’s Southcoast Reman, a large custom lumber remanufacturer and kiln drying operation, is making use of an advanced new kiln control system that is delivering impressive savings on their power costs—in the neighborhood of 30 to 40 per cent.

Getting past the hurdles of harvesting on Haida Gwaii
Constraints are a fact of life with forestry operations on Haida Gwaii, off the north coast of B.C., but Haida-owned Taan Forest has an initiative underway that would see primary manufacturing of logs from its FSC certified forest operations.

Inside/out sawmilling
B.C.’s McLeod Lake Indian Band is now involved in sawmilling, through Duz Cho Forest Products, and it has taken an interesting approach with an “inside/out” design for its cant mill, which is creating higher valued products from raw material that other potential users don’t want—or can’t economically use.

The Edge
Included in this edition of 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.

Diversifying the industry’s workforce—
with more women

Registered Professional Forester Melinda Morben has had a successful career in the forest industry—having started out operating logging equipment in the B.C. Interior—and she is now encouraging more women to look at working in the forest industry.

The Last Word
Tony Kryzanowski says it’s time to compensate logging contractors on what it costs to run a business in 2015—not in 2008.

DEPARTMENTS

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INSIDE/OUT SAWMILLING

B.C.’s McLeod Lake Indian Band is now involved in sawmilling, through Duz Cho Forest Products, and it has taken an interesting approach with an “inside/out” design for its cant mill, which is creating higher valued products from raw material that other potential users don’t want—or can’t economically use.

By Jim Stirling

Duz Cho Forest Products is inside out. But that’s only one part of a young operation unafraid to blaze its own trail. And successfully so, with its first full year of business—and safely conducted business—under its corporate belt.

Duz Cho Forest Products (DCFP) operates a cant mill in Mackenzie in north central British Columbia. And it is, indeed, inside out: with the processing equipment outside along one side of the mill building, covered overhead but open to the elements on the other. Inside, under cover, the finished cants are stored awaiting shipment to varied markets from Saudi Arabia and China, to North America. Mill staff on each of the two daily shifts learn the production positions in the mill first-hand, through a process of rotation. And as they do so, their safety and that of their fellow workers is emphasized. And emphasized again.

Above: At the Duz Cho Forest Products mill, the processing equipment is outside, along one side of the mill building. The mill
has selective heating at outside work stations.

Left: One of the crews (above) celebrates the one year anniversary of the Duz Cho Forest Products mill in Mackenzie, B.C. The relatively new sawmill has a workforce that is 60 per cent First Nations and 40 per cent women.

DCFP clearly has its own philosophy, but the venture also represents a significant departure from the parent company’s past corporate experiences.

It is the first time Duz Cho has moved into the sawmilling business, creating higher valued products from raw material that other potential users don’t want or can’t economically use. Duz Cho Logging, meaning “big timber” in the Tse’khene language, has been a well established full phase log harvesting and road construction contractor since 1988. The company is 100 per cent owned by the McLeod Lake Indian Band and was named business of the year in 2014 by the Mackenzie Chamber of Commerce.

Several years ago, Duz Cho began its diversification as the oil patch in northeastern B.C. and Alberta expanded with the creation of a civil, oilfield, energy and general construction division offering a range of services to those industries.

The new Mackenzie cant mill is the newest addition to the Duz Cho family group of companies.

When Derek Orr, president of Duz Cho, addressed the Council of Forest Industries (COFI) convention in Prince George this spring, he spoke of “the essence of proudness” the new mill was contributing to band members and their families. He said the cant mill was an additional example of the McLeod Lake Indian Band working together as an equitable partner, in this case toward using more of the forest resource.

“What we’re doing here is utilizing small wood, much of which was being burned before,” explains Bill Barwise, mill operations manager. Much of it is beetle killed lodgepole pine down to about 3.5 inch tops. “But we can extract a higher value product from this fibre and provide the pulp mill a better quality chip,” he adds.

The mill achieves that with mainly used sawmill equipment. The mill can accommodate up to 11 inch diameter logs: it has a 12 inch Nicholson A5 debarker. After passage across a tray sorter and moisture reader, the wood traverses a Newnes grade mark reader.

The mill’s main breakdown machine is a HewSaw R200 from 1996 which despite its history continues to perform well.

“Essentially, we run like a planer on a cut-to-order basis,” says Barwise.

Squared cants 80 by 80 millimetres are normal for Asian markets, down to 72 by 72 millimetres. But the mill can cut other sizes including six inch cants. Product bound for Asian customers is stuffed into containers at Duz Cho’s loading dock in Mackenzie, sealed and not re-opened until it reaches the end customer. Interex Forest Products Ltd., handles DCFP’s export business while BPWood in Penticton, B.C. looks after the domestic sales.

The cant mill equipment is partially exposed to the elements primarily as a sawdust mitigation measure. The emphasis is on protecting people, leaving equipment exposed but with the provision of selective heating at work stations.

The alfresco design ties in with the staff job rotation system employed through most positions in the mill. The mill requires five people per shift and runs two 12 -hour shifts with a total of around 20 people including the maintenance staff. “Sixty per cent of our workforce are First Nations and 40 per cent of our workforce are women,” continues Barwise.

The job rotation and the emphasis on safety is interwoven into the mill’s inclusive culture. And that’s a word that’s used a lot around Duz Cho Forest Products. It’s not just part of safety meetings and field level hazard assessments; the culture involves everyone having a voice in a broad-based communication between maintenance, operational and supervisory people.

And whatever DCFP is doing, it’s working. The first year’s operation resulted in no time loss injuries. Factored into that achievement is that several of the mill’s workers had little or no experience working in an industrial setting. They’ve had to learn from the ground up. Tyler Thomas is a good example. “I never thought I’d work in a sawmill,” he says with a broad smile. “But it’s good. It’s safe here and everyone helps. If you don’t know something all you have to do is ask.”

DCFP was recently in the process of commissioning a log merchandiser that will accommodate both tree length and cut to length logs. “Hopefully it will help give us the right log for our operation and capture as much fibre as we can. Utilizing more aspen is part of that process,” says Barwise, as DCFP moves into its second full year of operation.

The Duz Cho sawmill produces higher valued products from raw material that other potential users don’t want or can’t economically use. It utilizes small wood, much of it beetle killed lodgepole pine down to about 3.5 inch tops, though it can accommodate up to 11 inch diameter logs.

Obtaining the right logs also requires continuing a co-operative relationship with other forest companies working in the Mackenzie area. This includes Paper Excellence, Canfor, Conifex, West Fraser and Dunkley Lumber. DCFP is also working with the B.C. Forest Service. “There’s a lot of dead pine out there that the licencee mills can’t use and the forest service wants to clean more of that up,” he notes.

DCFP’s inside/out mill is clearly a success story for its home team.

“It works for us,” declares project manager Mike Richard. “I’m not saying it’s right for everyone but if we were to build another mill from scratch, we’d do it the same way.”