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Visionary at the Helm
Warner Enterprises says “Everything Matters” in this business
By Kathy Coatney
When the company first started, it was very much a conventional operation with hand fallers, skidders, and loaders. “It wasn’t long until my dad started getting into biomass,” Warner says. “My dad loved firefighting, and he loved logging. He always kind of had that duel vision, and I think he saw the biomass as going hand-in-hand with the fire suppression.”
Over the years, Warner Enterprises has been linked with fuels management — performing total forest management. “We like to take it from the stump, to the grinding on the back side. Take it from one, all the way to the other,” Warner says.
Heavy Duty Firefighting Equipment
“We would retrofit them for under $100,000, and we could have done as many as they needed,” Warner says, adding it was cheap in comparison to $250,000 to $500,000 for a fire engine.
Warner felt their equipment was the breakthrough link between air attacks, conventional bulldozers, and hand crews. “We could bring water with the dozers up on the front lines of the fire, and we could do what air attack and helicopters couldn’t do,” Warner says.
They were doing fires and biomass at the same time, and consequently theirshop grew. “It was very large because we had to cover fire tracks, plus maintain our logging and chipping equipment,” Warner says, and at that time, they had 40-50 employees. Working with the governmentwas extremely frustrating for Warner, which eventually led to disbanding the program.
“We basically tapered the whole program off, because we weren’t getting enough calls from the government,” says Warner.
The company has an assortmentof rubber tire feller bunchers used in biomass operation. “My main cutting
He adds, “I have some other machines that I keep kind of in second string if need be. I have a Wolverine Snip, it’s a hydraulic shear, along with a Franklin 3650, which is a hydraulic shear, but 95 percent of the cutting is done with the Valmets.” Four Timberjack 460 skidders move the logs to the chipper, and a V5H High Drive Caterpillar is used for buildinglandings.
Warner also uses a 23-inch Whole Tree Disc Chipper, especially made by Precision. “The disc chipper is sideways at about a 45 degree angle, and it has three knives,” explains Warner. “I like the disc chipper because it makes a better product than the drums.”
Warner’s chipper has a feed chain table where the material is dropped onto the table and fed into the chipper. This allows him to chip small materialsvery efficiently, and that is important because the smaller stems are difficult to feed into just a feeder mouth.
“It’s extremely efficient on the smaller stems,” Warner says, and most of the material they’re chipping is three to nine inches in diameter. “A lot of the material that doesn’t go into that conventional chipper just ends up in theslash pile, but that feed table allows us to efficiently process those small stems.”
“The details, right now, are where things are — keeping your equipment, lack of breakdowns, and efficiency in your cutting and skidding, and even in the way you organize your trucking. Everything matters.”
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