Wednesday, November 16, 2016
The farming company first produced dairy, but a long drought in 1996 saw the Anderson’s taking up sawmilling to add to the farm’s income. The start of Patula Products Sawmill and the quick success of the venture, motivated the family to change the sawmill into a structural timber mill.
Structural timber is used for construction in South Africa. Cutting this class of timber can be rewarding, but it is tightly regulated with tough quality control standards. Finding the right sawmilling equipment that could cut the quality and quantity that the mill needed to become competitive, and still have enough reserve capacity to grow output as the mill expanded, was the key investment criteria for Patula.
Patula Product Sawmill selected a sawmilling line from Multisaw with wide bandsaw and circular saw equipment after confirming their specific investment requirements would be met. The sawmilling line, which was completed in 2013, is now known as Wood-Mizer TITAN after Wood-Mizer acquired Multisaw’s intellectual property rights for the sawmill equipment range in 2016.
An upgraded dry mill and expanded drying capacity for the final product completed the sawmill’s transformation to a structural timber sawmill by the end of 2013.
The brief for the Wood-Mizer TITAN line was simple. The Patula Products management team, consisting of Phillip and William Anderson and Troy Cooper, said during an interview in October 2016.
“We wanted high production wideband sawmilling technology that we could rely on to cut the quality that we want and with enough additional capacity available to grow production into the future,” shared Phillip Anderson.
“This is exactly what we’ve now achieved,” Troy Cooper added. “In the last month, we have increased throughput again by 27%.”
The TITAN sawmilling line consists of primary and secondary sawmills, a multirip and two manual edgers, plus all the necessary material handling equipment to automate the movement of timber from start to finish, as well as the removal of waste products.
An elevated operator station at the start of the line gives the operator of the twin vertical bandsaw a clear view of the process, along with all equipment controls at his fingertips.
A log loader at the start of the line loads and rotates the log into the right position for cutting before it is fed into the Wood-Mizer TITAN twin vertical bandsaw, which is designed to cut log diameters of between 120 and 450 mm and log lengths of up to 6, 6 m.
The spiky infeed/outfeed system sends logs through the twin 6 inch blades at up to 60 metres per minute, resulting in a two-sided cant. Powered hold-down rollers keep the log securely resting on the spiky chain during sawing.
The two-sided cant continues down the line to a Wood-Mizer TITAN double arbor circular multirip that can cut cants that are up to 160 mm thick and 580 mm wide.
Optical sensors automatically activate powered hold-down rollers that keep the cant straight and moving through the multirip at speeds up to 40 metres per minute. The TITAN multirip is capable of producing several accurately cut boards from one cant with a smooth surface finish. Precise board thicknesses and the high cut quality of the multirip improves overall timber recovery and reduces the need for further processing.
Finished boards exit the multirip and are stacked for drying, while slabs are sent for reworking outside the mill.
Slabs from the twin vertical bandsaw are sent for additional processing through a Wood-Mizer TITAN twin head resaw
The resaw, which is powered by two 45 kW motors, can produce up to two waney edge boards from slabs measuring 330 mm thick and 450 mm wide at speeds up to 80 metres per minute. Heavy duty slat-chain in and outfeed tables and powered hold-down rollers keep the sideboard straight and flat in the cut.
The waney edge boards then pass through a Wood-Mizer TITAN manual board edging system.
The system is made up of two Wood-Mizer manual board edgers, which can edge material up to 107 mm thick and 640 mm wide at a maximum feed speed of 130 m/minute.
The edgers are installed on either side of the material outfeed conveyor from the resaw. A cross-transfer table at the end of the conveyor sorts the incoming boards into batches that are alternately sent to each of the edgers. This gives each edger enough time to complete each group of boards before the next batch arrives.
Wood-Mizer TITAN’s manual board edger is an alternative for sawmillers that want to process large volumes of waney edge boards without having to invest in an optimizing edger.
The Patula Products Sawmill management team continues to tap into the potential that the line offers them and is excited about how this is adding to their increased strength and competitiveness in the South African structural timber market.
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