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Woodworking and bandsaw mills optimization
How to achieve high efficiency?

Woodworking and bandsaw mills optimization In many cases the key question for operators during the purchase of the bandsaw equipment is productivity. Often private woodworking enterprises operate using one or two bandsaw mills, and their main interest is the profit which can be increased due to the growth of productivity.

Productivity is not the most earth shattering feature of bandsaw mills. Their main advantage to woodworking businesses is in another peculiarity - the quality of sawing. However, even working on bandsaw mills, the enterprise has potential gins in productivity.

The sawing process consists of a lot of stages:

1. Loading a log on a bed
For sawmills with hydraulics 1,5 minutes is considered sufficient time to load one log.

2. Sawing process itself
The quantity of cuts is determined by the sizes to be cut and type of material (edged / not edged). Cutting time depends on the speed of the cutting head during sawing which for a log of 30 cm diameter is approximately
- Sawmills with manual feeding - 5 m/min
- Sawmills with electric feeding - up to 14,6 m/min
- Wood-Mizer industrial series LT70/WM3000 - up to 18,3 m/min.

Each cut ends with the cutting head returning to the initial position. Speed of return, as a rule, is fixed:
- Sawmills with manual feeding - 10 m/min
- Sawmills with electric feeding - 20 m/min
- Wood-Mizer industrial series LT70/WM3000 - 30 m/min.

3. Material Handling
After each cut it is necessary to remove the board, sort it and stack it. You also have to turn the log on the bed ready
for the next cut. The closer the operators put the lumber, the faster the work goes. If we speak on 30 cm logs these processes take:
- Sawmills with manual feeding - 5 minutes
- Sawmills with electric feeding without hydraulics - 4 minutes
- Wood-Mizer industrial series without hydraulics - 3 minutes
- Wood-Mizer industrial series with hydraulics - 2 minutes.

The data is based on using employees paid on time. When pay is related to productivity, 20% saving of these times can be achieved. A similar increase is observed in cases when the operator works with two assistants and is not engaged in the stacking of sawn boards. Knowing these figures, you can measure the time taken to perform these functions and can identify areas for improvement.

Three pieces of advice on optimization of space
Analysis shows that the time spent actually cutting in many operations is about 50 to 60%of the available time. The remaining 40-50 % are direct losses because of bad organization of the workplace. We give some advice below on how to achieve greater productivity by improving the organization of work around the sawmill. While organizing the workplace it is necessary to take into account some factors.

1.Weight of product
The heavier the final production, the more time is necessary to carry it from the sawmill and stack it. The conclusion: heavy lumber should be stacked closer to the sawmill, light products farther away.

2.Free area for stacking of final production and waste
As a rule, the assistant is engaged in the sorting and stacking of lumber. He can sort them either by the form, or by quality. Accordingly for each kind of final production a stack is formed. As a result there are often many packages of lumber, and distance from the sawmill to a stack becomes longer and longer. The conclusion: limit the number of stacks.

3. Intrashop transport mechanisms
Forklift trucks are often used for the transportation of lumber stacks. You should ensure that you have sufficient room
for the forklift to operate efficiently. An overhead crane is a very space efficient means of transportation.Just take great care that stacks are not lifted over the sawmill for both safety and productivity reasons.

A well-designed and used conveyor can greatly increase productivity by eliminating labour and wasted time. There are many manufacturers of conveyors. In particular, Wood-Mizer - the manufacturer of bandsaw mills- recommends the use of conveyors to improve efficiency and reduce labor costs.

George Stalbowski, engineer, Belarus

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