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Logging and Sawmilling Journal October/November 2011

October/november 2012

On the Cover:

Aspen Planers mill manager Surinder Momrath (right) with long time Aspen Planers employee Shalinder Wahid, who runs the mill’s LeTourneau equipment. Read all about how the LeTourneau equipment is helping Aspen Planers to efficiently manage their millyard, beginning on page 20.
(Cover photo by Paul MacDonald).

Dust audits for B.C. sawmills

Following two tragic mill explosions/fires earlier this year, British Columbia’s major forest companies are creating a third party-certified dust audit that is expected to cover areas such as the equipment used to reduce dust levels in mills, and what can be done to generally create a safer work environment.

Nice growth curve for Nic Pac

First Nations-owned Nic Pac Logging started out with a few pieces of equipment, but has grown over the years, and now has the latest in processing heads, with two 7000XT LogMax processor heads mounted on Deere and Hitachi carriers.

Managing the millyard in Merritt

Faced with limits on the space they have for log storage—and a good appetite for timber from their sawmill—Aspen Planers of Merritt, B.C. has found LeTourneau log stacking equipment to be a good ally in managing their millyard efficiently.

Top of The pack in plywood

The Columbia Forest Products plywood plant in St. Casimir, Quebec, may be the company’s smallest, but it certainly is near the top of the pack when it comes to being resourceful and productive, with a number of changes and upgrades in recent years.

The Edge

Included in The Edge, Canada’s leading publication on research in the forest industry, are stories from FPInnovations, the Canadian Wood Fibre Centre, Alberta Innovates - Bio Solutions, Natural Resources Canada, Alberta’s Agriculture and Rural Development Department and Universite Laval.

What was new…at DEMO 2012 and the Timber Processing & Energy Expo

Logging and Sawmilling Journal reviews what was new at these two recent major industry shows at opposite ends of the continent, DEMO 2012 in Quebec and the Timber Processing & Energy Expo in Portland, Oregon.

Buncher boost

The new Rapid Cycle System (RCS) boom on John Deere bunchers is delivering a productivity boost, generally simplifying and speeding up the feller bunching process.

Ready-made homes

An automated home building company in Alberta is helping to bring an end to on-site framing crews, and could open a new market for direct wood products sales for forest companies and sawmills.

Portland timber/energy show sees a solid turnout

Getting more ROI on your truck tires

Straightforward maintenance checks in tire-related areas such as air pressure and proper alignments can boost the Return on Investment on your truck tires.

The Last Word

The new Wood Innovation & Design Centre proposed for Prince George, B.C., could spur emerging wood use technologies, says Jim Stirling.




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Tire MaintenanceGetting more ROI on your truck tires

Straightforward maintenance checks in tire-related areas such as air pressure and proper alignments can boost the Return on Investment on your truck tires.

Maximizing the “return on investment” (or ROI) is every truck fleet’s goal. This certainly applies to the tires on logging trucks. Proper maintenance is important if logging companies want to get optimal performance and service life out of their truck tires. But sometimes it’s hard to know just where to begin.

According to Tim Miller, marketing and communications manager for Goodyear Commercial Tire, the following three factors combine to provide a smart “jumping off point” when it comes to tire and/or truck maintenance. Keep them in mind when thinking about your truck tire ROI:

Truck Tire Maintenance

Air pressure maintenance

Simply put, maintaining correct inflation pressure is the single most effective thing you can do to positively impact tire wear, casing life and overall tire performance.

“Both over-inflation and under-inflation change the tire’s footprint, which can result in irregular wear and loss of traction,” Miller says. “Although over-inflation can create a handful of issues—harsh ride, for example—it’s under-inflation that can create a number of problems that can cost you time and money.”

According to Miller, air inside the tire actually carries the truck’s load, so under-inflation causes the tire to flex more as it rolls down the road. “That results in internal heat build-up,” he says. “And heat is a tire’s greatest enemy. It causes a tire’s components to deteriorate and may even damage the tire’s steel cords. Insufficient inflation also hurts fuel economy since under-inflated tires force truck engines to work harder.”

Tires are designed to run at specific pressures based on the load they are carrying. To determine the appropriate inflation level for your truck tires, Miller says to gather information about your axle loads and refer to standard load charts, such as the kind you can find at

“Operating speed also plays a role,” Miller says. “The tire industry provides guidelines for allowing increased maximum loads if vehicle speeds are reduced. (Think of large cranes that need to carry heavy loads but move very slowly.) Slowing down has bonuses too—over-the-highway truck drivers can gain a fuel consumption ‘bonus’ simply by using less throttle. Fuel economy tests have shown that fuel consumption increases by 0.1 miles per gallon for every mile-per-hour over 55.

“Another thing to keep in mind is that ambient temperature has an impact on inflation levels. Pressure drops one pound for every 10-degree increase in ambient temperature.”

Truck Tire MaintenanceTruck alignments

Keeping your vehicle properly aligned requires an up-front investment but it pays dividends in helping your tires achieve longer life. Are your trucks on a periodic alignment program?

“They should be,” says Miller. “Over time, a good alignment program can boost your tire mileage by as much as 30 per cent. Alignments can also reduce the occurrence of irregular tread wear. For instance, steer axle toe-out causes excessive wear on the inside of the tire. Toe-in can cause wear on the outside shoulder.”

When thinking about alignments, Miller says to remember that a traditional front-end alignment isn’t enough. Drive axles must be brought into alignment, making sure they are perpendicular to the chassis, and in the case of tandem axles, parallel to each other.

“Misaligned drive axles affect the wear of drive axle tires, but also affect steer axle tire wear when the driver has to turn slightly left or slightly right to keep a truck moving in a straight line,” Miller says. “Similarly, trailer axles that are out of alignment can be problematic. Vehicle misalignment can negatively impact truck fuel economy, as well. If any of the wheels on an 18-wheeler tractor/trailer are not in alignment, the total drag on the vehicle increases. You will want to avoid this if lowering your fleet’s fuel bill is a concern.”

Alignments are a key ingredient of any good tire and vehicle maintenance program—and misalignment is a condition that does not correct itself. An improperly aligned truck requires expert care.

Visual inspections

Chances are, if you’ve been around the trucking industry long enough, you’ve probably heard the old term “kick the tires.”

“While we don’t recommend kicking as a way to measure a truck tire’s roadworthiness, you certainly can learn a lot about a tire through visual inspection,” says Miller. “Regular, visual tire inspections can provide a lot of useful information about a tire’s current (and future) state. Things to check for include unusual wear patterns like feathering or cupping. It’s important to make immediate note of wear patterns. If detected early enough, they can be countered or corrected to help extend tire life.”

Running your hand over a tire’s tread and feeling for abnormalities also will put you more “in tune” with the tire. “While feeling the tread, you should inspect the whole tire for damage such as cuts, cracks, blisters or bulges,” Miller continues. “If the damage is severe, the tire should be taken out of service.”

This story was supplied to Logging and Sawmilling Journal by Goodyear Commercial Tire.