A Belarussian oak and alder furniture manufacturer has increased production, reduced wood waste, maintained component quality and slashed delivery times by basing its operation on professional bandsaws using narrow blade technology.
One of the keys to the improvements has been bringing the primary log conversion into the factory. The three middle-range band saws are made by Wood-Mizer, the leader in this sector. The company has 35 000 of its sawmills operating worldwide.10% of the world total are used in furniture production, offering a pointer to furniture manufacturers world-wide in need of relatively low priced, in-house timber conversion techniques.Wood-Mizer’s recent development of an industrial scale bandsaw – using the same technology and able to turn out 40 cubic metres in a single shift – casts this opportunity into perspective.
Use of the more modest versions by the Belarus firm, Molodechnomebel (a high street name in Russian speaking countries) means that the greater potential of the industrial version could bring further benefits. Molodechnomebel gets its name from its location at Molodechno, near the capital Minsk, where it began furniture manufacture during the Soviet period. It retains certain aspects of the original collectivisation with staff owning the shares. However, since the early 1990s it has taken on Western management, design and production techniques.
One inefficiency lay in the sourcing of sawn oak and alder from outside suppliers, decreed from
on high by a central Gosplan committee. With the Soviet yoke gone, a decision was quickly made to improve the supply, quality and cost of sawn timber by doing it on the premises. After comparison studies three medium sized band sawmills from Wood-Mizer – the leader in this field – were installed. Chief engineer Nikolay Piskunov explains:
"The electrically powered, hydraulically assisted band saws cut logs of any diameter with high output and less sawdust because of their inherent thin kerf technology.
"They are also simply constructed, easy to operate and need minimal maintenance and repair.
"We cut Alder logs (diameters between 14-40cm) and Oak logs (diameters 16-100cm) to get boards of varying thicknesses between 25-100mm – and the mills are particularly accurate", says Mr Piskunov.
He also claims that an advantage of the Wood-Mizer technology is that the mills do not need additional adjustment for differing board thicknesses. The same log can be cut in different ways to turn out material of optimum quality.
"Traditional sawmills take much more time in such operations", Mr Piskunov adds.
In eight-hour shifts each of the three mills produces 8 m3
of sawn timber in winter and 10 m3
in summer. Sawn recovery is 70% for oak and 68.5% for alder.
The capital cost of the mills was paid back in one year.
Earlier this year, staff, including chief executive Valery Bushilo, visited the Ligna fair at Hannover and saw the Wood-Mizer LT300 band sawmill demonstrated. Industrial scale Wood-Mizer
Richard Vivers, responsible for Wood-Mizer’s European sales, explains that the new industrial scale band sawmill is designed to bring all the benefits of the small and medium band sawmills to the big scale production sector.
"Called the LT300, the 150 of them already operating worldwide have demonstrated that they can do the job of very big ‘traditional’ sawmills at a quarter of the cost, with no diminution of quality.
"The cost of setting them up on virtually any level surface is a fraction of the installation costs of traditional mills which require significant foundation work", he adds.
Further enhancements were revealed at the recent Ligna fair. The LT300 is now complemented by material handling options for automatic separation of sawn produce and the new E430 Industrial edger, in conjunction with the existing Wood-Mizer MultiHead resaws, means that you can have a fully integrated industrial sawmill that is very competitively priced and allows for full flexibility in layout and material flow.
"El Sector", SpainJune 2005