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Serbian Wood-Mizer band saw demonstrations pay off
A 1200 Km promotional tour throughout Serbia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina has borne fruit for Wood-Mizer Balkans. Their three-vehicle caravan carted band sawmills around the Balkans, demonstrating the thin kerf technology and the income potential from timber processing with narrow band blades.
Starting point: Kikinda
The odyssey commenced in Kikinda, 100 Km from Belgrade and the location of Wood-Mizer Balkans. "The main promotional message from me is how the sawmills operate so well –– indeed, this is my theme", says Dragan Markov, the representative responsible for more than 100 Wood-Mizer machines currently sawing in Serbia, Montenegro, Bosnia & Herzegovina.
There is plenty of low-cost timber in those countries. Poplar is typical and used in Balkan pallet manufacture which is convenient for Wood-Mizer with its small log processing system. SLP is well suited to profitable pallet production. Indeed, a firm called 'Kum' currently makes pallets for Serbian and Italian customers using three Wood-Mizer LT15 sawmills and a single head resaw. However 'Kum' managers now intend to acquire a twin vertical resaw which is a first step to SLP. Dragan Markov explains:
"In pallet production speed is essential.
"If you take a week to cut a lorry-load of pallets the wood becomes blue but with the new Wood-Mizer kit they fill a lorry in a day".
Furthermore, 'Kum' has halved the 92 workers who used to process 15 000m3 of timber yearly.
To demonstrate the new technology Dragan Markov arranged a promotional tour in four locations where woodworking firms are emerging. He took a TVS, a four-head HR and a 'veteran', mobile, petrol driven Wood-Mizer LT40.
TVS – Twin Vertical Saw
No competitive products compare with the TVS which turns out two-sided beams from small, 10-40cm diameter, 1-3,6m long logs. Two conveyors – in-feed and out-feed – transport materials at 25m/min. Thus, a single TVS feeds a four-head HR which in turn converts the two-sided beams into pallet components. TVS cutting heads are slightly inclined so slabs proceed to a bottom cross-transfer conveyor. Each head has an 11kW electric motor and wheel diameters are increased to 600mm. As a result the TVS blades cut longer and more accurately. The distance between heads (i.e. beam width) is set automatically since heads are on rails and calibration is computerised. Lasers highlight the lines of further cuts.
Safety is a major advantage. Operatives work at a healthy distance from blades and cutting heads have safety switches. The machine only requires one operative.
HR – Horizontal Resaw
The HR is of modular design. Customers can buy a two-head mill and when volumes increase adapt it to a four- or six-head machine. In an SLP line the HR is the final unit that makes pallet woods from beam s. Separately, it is also suitable for flooring, siding and tiling production. It significantly reduces sawing time by making three, five or even seven boards in a single pass.
The famous narrow blade technology in an HR produces 30% more boards and 60% less sawdust from each beam. Its 11kW engine enables it to saw any species. The in-feed conveyor could use either a steel chain or a rubber belt. In addition, cutting heads can work to an incline of from zero to 9 degrees for siding or tiling production.
"This excellent piece of equipment starts saving your money from the very moment of purchase", claims Dragan Markov.
"Although 30-35% cheaper than its prototype MultiHead, its functions and cutting quality are of the same highest level".
LT40 – mobile sawmill
When somebody refers to a 'Wood-Mizer', he or she usually means the 'work-horse' LT40. About 40 000 Wood-Mizer sawmills operate now in 100 countries and 80% of them are from the LT40 Series. Th e model is widely known and its components are tested over many years and continually improved.
If compared with a power-saw bench, a circular blade or even wide band sawmills, the economies of the LT40 are vividly obvious and include:
Wood savings: the narrow cut produces less sawdust and often provides an extra board from each log.
Energy savings: narrow blades need less engine power and less energy equals less expense.
Operating savings: narrow blades cost less because they contain less metal and they are easily sharpened.
Installation savings: no need for massive foundations.
Transport savings: a mobile sawmill travels directly to logs piles First stop: prison!
In all civilised countries prisons encourage training schemes to minimise recidivism. With this in mind the governor of the prison at Pozarevac invited Wood-Mizer Balkan to demonstrate band sawmills.
In three hours, the Wood-Mizer team installed all its equipment in the middle of the prison yard.
When the demonstration started both prison administrators and prisoners were surprised at the cutting speed of both the TVS and HR.
The team took the demos' a step further and with an LT40 sawmill sawed a massive, one-metre diameter acacia log amid general applause.
Second stop: a pallet wood facility
Next day the caravan visited the city of Stalac and parked at a local factory which produced pallets. Here, saw equipment was very old and the owner had a mind to swap his 'antique' for modern technology.
In uncomfortably hot weather the service team set itself a difficult task – the installation of equipment in the limited space of a workshop which had a narrow entrance and a hole in the floor just inside the entrance. A loader could not manoeuvre in such conditions so the sawmills were virtually carried into the workshop.
The customer was impressed and the demonstration went well. Local woodworkers, many of them with their wives, came to watch the new equipment in operation. The 'prison telegraph' had conveyed news of the demos' widely overnight and the prison governor joined the Stalac demonstrations, too.
Third stop: Kokin Brod
In Kokin Brod the Wood-Mizer team demonstrated that 'the show must go on!'
Dismantling their equipment, the team moved to the tourist region of Zlatigor.
Here there are active building projects all the time and thus a need for boards, siding and the ot her hardware. A local log seller decided to start sawmilling and proposed demonstrations in his warehouse.
Everything went swimmingly until it was discovered that the warehouse had no electricity. The petrol-driven LT40 had no need of electricity but the TVS and the HR did!
When the warehouse owner realized the problem, he visited a neighbouring village and purchased a diesel generator. The Wood-Mizer electrician could switch on the equipment and the Wood-Mizer show went on.
Fourth stop: Backu Palanka
Finally, the Wood-Mizer caravan turned north and trundled to Backu Palanka and the Pilana pallet plant. Once again installation of all the kit took three hours.
Mills at the Pilana plant are 20 to 30 years old. The gigantic power sawbenches are difficult to operate and repair and – more important – not conducive to the production of competitive products.
Spectators at this Wood-Mizer show were initially surprised at the lightness of the Wood-Mizer sawmill. Some commented that it was even elegant compared with the old sawbench 'monsters'. The demonstrations convinced them that the Wood-Mizer mills would ideally suit their needs and the team congratulated them selves on the great success of their tour.
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