Government Ministers and wood industry executives were welcome guests at Open Days organised by Wood-Mizer's recently appointed agent in Bhutan, Alpine Builders Pvt Ltd.
The event included demonstrations of the LT40 and LT70 sawmills, and provided an opportunity for Wood-Mizer to explain the production, economic and environmental benefits of its technology. Guests included the Minister for Home and Cultural Affairs, Lyonpo Minjur Dorji and the Minister of Works and Human Settlement, Lyonpo Yeshey Zimba, as well as the Secretary General and Vice President (Industries) of Bhutan Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Managing Director of Natural Resource Development Corporation Ltd, and sawmill owners.
"Bhutan is recognised internationally for its commitment to conserving the forest and developing a sustainable industry, and discussions with our guests centred on the need to modernise the Kingdom's sawmilling industry to minimise waste and maximise value", said Richard Vivers, CEO of Wood-Mizer, who attended the open days together with the company's Regional Manager for Asia, James Wong.
"We believe that our sawmills and thin-kerf bandsaw blades can make a real contribution to these goals through improved productivity and quality of sawn material, combined with increased yield and reduced waste from each log".
Bhutan's far-reaching development strategy of Gross National Happiness embraces good governance, the preservation
and promotion of cultural heritage, balanced and equitable socio-economic development, and environmental sustainability. There are many small, privately owned sawmills in Bhutan, and larger operations have and continue to be developed, with additional added-value processing capability such as furniture products.
Alpine Builders, which was appointed as Wood-Mizer's agent in Bhutan last year, says the open days were a great success.
"The Government supports the need of the sawmilling industry to replace old technology with new, and by demonstrating the Wood-Mizer sawmills we were able to show how well they perform", said Mr Passang, managing director of Alpine Builders.
"Visitors were able to see for themselves that the machines are easy to operate and that they cut accurately and produce a quality sawn surface".
Two machines were operated during the open days, the LT40 Super Hydraulic for logs up to 90cm diameter, with powered arms to load logs onto the bed and hydraulic turners, levers and clamps to adjust the position of the log for optimum cutting, and the LT70 Remote semi-industrial machine for logs up to 95cm diameter, which has a separate operator control console.
During discussions, information was also given about other machines in Wood-Mizer's wide range, including the new MP100 log planer/moulder, which could be particularly useful in restoration work on cultural heritage buildings in Bhutan, such as Dzongs and Monasteries. The MP100 is fitted with four blades - either straight blades for producing a log with smooth planed surfaces, or profile knives to produce shaped beams, columns and other products from the log.
"Guests appeared to be very impressed with what they saw and heard", said James Wong, Wood-Mizer's Regional
Manger for Asia. "There is a desire and need for the sawmill industry in Bhutan to install modern technology, and we are keen to support this development.
"Alpine Builders has many years' experience and expertise in the wood industry, and the appointment of the company as Wood-Mizer's first agent in Bhutan means that we can offer close support to the industry".
With an annual cut of around 230,000m3, including a high percentage of large oak, hemlock and pine logs between 1-1.5m diameter, forestry is one of the most important industries to the Bhutan economy. Wood-Mizer's wide range of machines includes models to suit all sizes of sawmilling operations.
In addition, the company is the only sawmill manufacture that also makes its own blades, which have been developed specifically to achieve optimum performance on Wood-Mizer machines and on other makes of bandsaws and resaws.