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A collection of stories and articles about Wood-Mizer sawmills in use around the world, new business ideas, and available market niches in the wood industry

Three ideas for small businesses
Dedicated sawmills launch will help small woodworking set-ups diversify

Three ideas for small businesses Understanding that small businesses will play a big role in the recovery of Europe's economies, Wood-Mizer took a long look at what most of its customers are looking for and carefully analysed feedback from its representatives in over 100 countries.

Also, the aim was to assess exactly how the economic crisis has affected sawmilling enterprises. The exercise revealed that as in previous recessions small companies generally adjust to changing economic conditions, therefore suffering less than most big operations.

Indeed, they have responded with remarkable flexibility, cutting operating costs and labour hours and/or switching to the conversion of lumber into differing new product lines. Only a minority of Wood-Mizer owners left the wood processing trade and sold their mills, which are always saleable second hand.

Equally flexible, Wood-Mizer recognised that favourable opportunities warrant greater support for small woodworking operations in the form of a series of new, improved and dedicated mills. Each sawmill is designed as a reliable and crucial pivot to effective timber production and produces more valuable products from less volume of wood. The dramatic response comes in the form of three production concepts served by three wood-processing machinery groups…

Idea 1. Boards and beams on top
The simplest and most effective way to convert log to beams or boards is with a small Wood-Mizer LT15 narrow band sawmill. This machine’s design is simple and robust and provides accuracy of cutting. Its head can saw 70cm-diameter logs. The bed is assembled from segments and increased cutting length is achieved by adding more segments. The sawmill is powered by an electric motor or by a petrol or diesel engine. Fitted with 'Setworks' its head automatically adjusts to pre-programmed sawing positions for differing thicknesses. For contract sawing, a transport kit allowing easy travel to different locations is recommended.

Combinations of functions, reliability, high cut quality and appropriate price have created a good reputation for the LT15 sawmill in Europe, Asia and Africa.

The LT15 design has been improved by an option to swap the manual head feed for an electric one that diminishes operator fatigue, thereby increasing productivity.

Idea 2. Profiled beams and moulded boards for timber housing
A new product has presented itself in the form of a Wood-Mizer MP100 or MP150 moulder/planer that can be added on to an LT15 or LT10 bed. Moulding is achieved by a spindle with four straight knife-shaped blades driven by a 4kW electric motor.

Maximum moulding depth is 4mm but a shallower depth (1-2 mm per pass) results in a smoother surface. If required, the straight blades can be exchanged for figuring- or shaping-blades (with the maximum moulding depth of 29mm in a few passes). In this case production of profiled columns or beams starts with clamping a square beam in a rigid position on the bed. Subsequently, moulding creates both ‘male’ and ‘female’ profiles in a few passes.

Existing Wood-Mizer LT15 or LT10 sawmill owners can buy the MP100 (or MP150) head and an additional bed segment as add-ons.

Idea 3. Profitable pallet woods

Production of pallets can be a profitable activity for small enterprises. With this in mind Wood-Mizer developed its HR115 horizontal resaw. This machine is constructed with an LT15 cutting head through which a beam passes from a rubber belt conveyor. The sawmill, powered by a 7,5kW electric motor can saw 40cm-wide beams.

Cutting accuracy is enhanced by 'telescoping' an upper clamping roller which maintains beam rigidity and ensures that the blade cuts accurately. Up/down cutting head movement is controlled by 'setworks'. In addition, the head can tilt from 0 to 8-degrees, to produce tiles or moulding planks for example. The HR115 horizontal resaw is equipped with a manual conveyor system to pass beams onto the automatic feed conveyor.

Thus, Wood-Mizer reveals a new concept based on equipment for the small sawing business sector. These machines can generate additional profit as a result of their technological flexibility, their ability to produce varying products and, of course, their relative economy. Remember, the narrow band technology produces an average of one board more from each log than any other sawing method. Under identical conditions, traditional sawmills produce an average of 0,43m3, whereas Wood-Mizer sawmills deliver 0,68 m3 of timber from a 61cm x 3m log. Small enterprises are now able, under difficult economical conditions, to spend less on kit, wood and energy in an environmentally sustainable way.

This article was published in the 'Wood-Mizer Today' company newsletter.

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