The STRAIGHT and NARROW
Tolkos recently upgraded Quest Wood operation has become even
better at handling small, crooked logs.
Astraight stem at that size is an anomaly. With the opportunity wood licence, we knew wed be in the small pine for the long term, says Ian Lindsay, Tolkos sawmill superintendent. The company also brokers fir and oversize wood from its operating areas to other mills in Quesnel for small pine. Between 85 and 90 per cent of the mills fibre diet is small diameter lodgepole pine. That log profile was paramount when the mill management team went shopping for a new primary breakdown system for its small log line about two years ago. The research was conducted on a widespread basis geographically and was consistently thorough. During the process, Tolko looked at about a dozen small log processing systems in Quebec, including two plants running HewSaws. What we saw was the quality of the product they produced. And from what they were doing with the saw, you intuitively knew the recovery was there, says Lindsay. We were looking basically at getting a good quality product out of our small wood. The mill produces 1X3 and 2X3 and dimension lumber up to 2X10, in finished lengths from the planer from six to 20 feet, as well as lumber in metric sizes.
The larger material is produced by the mills second line, an
optimized CanCar Chip N Saw with double length infeed and log turner. Tolkos new
HewSaw is far from an off-the- shelf model. Its features are the result of successful
design dove-tailing between the Tolko team and HewSaw engineers. Lindsay, a millwright and
saw filer, spent a week at HewSaws Finnish factory as part of a
training/familiarization program. Officially, Tolkos machine is a model R200 MSA-SE
(movable saw assembly, separate edging). Ours is very different from the HewSaws in
Europe, says Brian Ramage, Tolkos maintenance/mobile shop superintendent and
HewSaw installation project manager. Tolko does not have a single, pre-sorted size passing
through the machine at any one given time. We scan and set for all sizes. We vary
our sets constantly, adjusting and optimizing. Every piece is scanned, explains
High-speed throughput is facilitated by variable frequency drives. They also help maintain chip lengths, says Ramage. Tolkos HewSaw has an innovative dual ring log turner with an impressive operating speed capability of 600 fpm. The HewSaw was achieving piece counts of up to 5,200 a shift within its first two months of operation, with the mill was running three shifts a day. The Tolko team is confident the HewSaw will process 6,000 pieces a shift when the logs can be delivered to it. Improving the mills bucking capabilities is an anticipated upgrade. The HewSaws edging ability also translates into substantial reductions in volumes requiring re-manufacture.
Ramage appreciates the HewSaws close internal tolerances and fine cutting deviations along with its high speed, full optimization and variable frequency drive fea-tures. Its a precision machine. Were finding that what was acceptable maintenance on another machine is not the same with the HewSaw. The machine provides the opportunity to upgrade the other equipment to the HewSaw standard. Ramage says HewSaw supplied North American motors at Tolkos request. It also specified North Americanizing mechanical components like reducers for more readily available parts. Tolko carefully monitored its quality and process control setups throughout the de-bugging process. Its an all-new program and were writing it as we go, says Grant Mitchell, quality control supervisor at the Quest Wood Division.
Hes confident the HewSaw will produce better than anticipated recovery. Its significant that the mills 2X3 production has doubled since the HewSaws installation. The curve sawing advantage is significant to increase recovery from our crooked logs. Its a very tight little machine thats far more accurate in positioning and processing the log than the machine we had, continues Mitchell. The benefits flow downstream, delivering a better quality product to the planer. The HewSaw complements and enhances the advantages achieved from the recent installation of a Newnes trimmer with Coe optimizer and 70 bin J-bar sort system. With the HewSaw we have allsawn faces on our lumber and hopefully that better finish will open up new mar- kets, adds Mitchell.
Their chip quality is much better than anticipated, he says, although the HewSaws conical heads pro-duce a slightly narrower chip than before. Tolko involved its major chip customer in the design stages. And HewSaw incor-porated machine modifications to help pro-tect the chips. The pulp mill customer con-tinues to use its existing chip size classi-fication system but chip quality, which has traditionally been Tolkos strong point, is not an issue. Were still getting a sub-stantial chip quality bonus, says Mitchell. The Tolko team is confident the HewSaw will get only better in terms of recovery, grade out-turn, production and ease of maintenance as crews become more familiar with its potential. Other major BC participants in Tolkos HewSaw project included: Central Mill Construction of Kamloops as mechanical contractor; MPM Engineering of Langley for optimization and controls; Del Schneider Hydraulics of Prince George for hydraulic systems and temposonics; and Service Electric of Quesnel as electrical contractor. HewSaw sub-contracted Hollins Industries of 100 Mile House, BC for the infeed and scanning conveyors.
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