The LT20B band sawmill unveiled last year and combining the attributes of two mills –– one small, the other small-to-medium –– has gone remote!
It was an innovation suited to the 2009 credit crunch, enabling operators to promote themselves to a 'chunkier' sawmill without paying for the larger semi-professional machines. Now it has gone a step further, using remote control to deliver particularly large amounts of sawn lumber without sawyers suffering fatigue. Greater productivity and quality result.
Originally, the LT20B band sawmill was designed for use in Eastern Europe to suit specific requests from customers there, who operate the small mills, for a more rugged version with more functions but without recourse to a larger version. It created great interest at the Lesdrevmash
trade fair in Moscow and Russia is now its biggest market, followed by Germany.
Readers will recall that the design of the LT20B sawmill includes a massive lower bed made of three segments. Sawyers were struck by the benefit of further increasing the sawing length by adding extra bed sections. The cutting head is equipped with 'Setworks, power feed and an optional debarker. It is powered by one of three options: an 11kW electric motor, a 22hp diesel engine or a 25hp petrol engine.
The design results in a more rigid, stable construction than that of the widely used LT15 sawmill and the price is slightly higher but less than the LT20 sawmill. Roman Frontczak, Wood-Mizer engineering and R&D manager, comments:
"The combination of the mill's reliability and affordable price have struck a chord with Russian woodworking firms.
"Now, after studying Russian customers' comments we have taken a further step by offering an LT20B remote control
add-on", he reveals. The consensus is that if remote operation leads to simply high quality lumber then remote controls are unnecessary. However, if the priority is for very large volumes of sawn wood — and operators clearly become less tired with remote control — then 'remote' is what they want", Roman Frontczak concludes.
Sawing with remote controls has been available on Wood-Mizer mills for some time. It has long been standard equipment on the industrial scale LT300 band sawmill. On the LT40 and LT70 sawmills it is an optional extra as is a further step to a 'wireless' version. Roman Frontczak explains:
"The initial challenge was to extend remote controls to the small scale, 'personal' LT20 series of mills and fit its price range.
"We solved this by dispensing with the earlier versions' wire tracks and simply locate them above the sawmill, moving them with a taut steel cable between the two masts", he adds.
This approach kept down the costs of the LT20B sawmill price range. It maintains easy maintenance and blade change access, safety standards are not compromised and wire damage risk is minimised.
Ergonomically, the LT20B remote control panel is moveable to be suitably located for operator comfort.
Designed to respond to Russian requests, it is already clear that it has attractions for sawyers all over Europe.