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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

Wood-Mizer on Safety: A key consideration for a family-run Turkish wood processing company

Wood-Mizer on Safety: A key consideration for a family-run Turkish wood processing company
One of the most interesting features of Turkish culture and lifestyle is the amazing integration of modern innovations into old traditions. They harmoniously blend east and west together. This is very apparent in the Turkish woodworking industry, where firms are often family-owned and clients and business expertise is handed down from generation to generation. In their selection of equipment and technology, however, even small Turkish companies tend to be on the forefront of what is available, valuing the most effective and innovative solutions.

Turkish Marketing
In Kayseri, a large industrial centre in the north-east of the country, we find just such a company - Aysum Agac Sanayi. Family owned, the company is managed by two brothers, Arif and Sukru Aysum. On the wall in their office, they proudly display old photographs of when their father Mukremin Aysum first established the business with a contract to supply logs to a furniture maker in 1971. Their father supplied that first customer for a further 25 years. In 1976, Mr.Mukremin expanded his business by beginning to also saw logs. In 1993, he handed over the business to his sons and retired, although he still comes to the business every morning to assist with his knowledge and experience.

His sons, Arif and Sukru, entered the business with energy and ideas, finding new market niches to explore. They were able to secure a contract with a large Turkish construction company, which they have continued with for 20 years now. Ten years later, in 2003, they began to manufacture pallets. Their pallets were certified in 2011 with the international ISPM-15 pallet certification.
Old photos in the office from 1971, when Mukremin Aysum founded the business

All the expansions and changes required significant attention to machinery procurement through the years. Buying a machine in Turkey, however, requires that certain traditional protocols be adhered to – old fashioned ‘bargaining’.

"Bargaining is an important tradition in our country," shares Erol Kanat, Wood-Mizer’s representative in Turkey. "When a customer is interested in a product, they show respect to the salesman, who in turn has the opportunity to show off the best features of his goods. When a deal is reached, it is important that both parties are satisfied – the customer is pleased with the price, and the salesman is pleased that his product was satisfactory to the customer. The underlying principle is that the transaction should leave both parties with a mutual impression of respect and a desire to do business together again."

The importance of safety
Previous machines in operation at the company had not measured up to the owner’s standards of safety for their workers. Mr.Sukru shares, "The workers had little protection from the blade."

As their business grew, the brothers decided to buy a new horizontal band sawmill that would be able to handle the increase in production and solve the safety issue they were facing.
Erol Kanat, Wood-Mizer’s representative in Turkey, Mr. Sukru Aysum and his accountant Mustafa Kara

"I had read an article in the Istanbul University Journal that described this method as the best way for cutting. The article explained the various benefits. I had also done my research online as well," remarks Mr.Sukru. "And in the end, the decision was easy for us because we personally know Erol Kanat, who represents Wood-Mizer in Turkey. We have cooperated with him for many years." Four years ago, they purchased an LT20 sawmill from Mr.Erol.

Advantages of the new technology
The design of the Wood-Mizer band sawmill has several unique features. The bed is made of durable steel and has an ergonomic shape that makes it easier for the operator or helper to access the boards.

Logs are stored on a loading ramp, from where they transferred to the bed one by one. The hydraulic system consisting of side supports, log clamp and roller toeboards help operator to position the log on the bed and then to clamp it securely before start the cutting.

Then, the operator advances the cutting head, the bandsaw blade spinning, and cuts board after board.Board thickness is made by the computer Setworks that automatically adjusts the head position.

Special covers protect the operator from the band blades while they are in operation or when they occasionally break, and safety switches prevent the motor from starting if the covers are open.

Due to the use of a narrow blade the cuts are only about 2 mm thick,which results in less sawdust and more boards from every log.

"First of all, the machine consumes little power, only requiring an 11 kW motor," Mr.Sukru explains the advantages he has seen so far. "Second, less wood waste is formed with the thin blades. Third, the finished board quality is excellent and our clients are telling us this. Fourth, our productivity has significantly increased. Lastly and the most important for us is the safety of the machine."
Today, the family company employs 20 people. The boy in the center is the grandson of Mr. Mukremin. His name is Mukremin in honor of his grandfather, and he spends much of his time at the workshop. His parents hope that he will continue the family business

"When we brought in the Wood-Mizer, we started working a second shift, and now we produce up to 25 cubic meters a day."

They cut different species, and Mr.Sukru shares that their Wood-Mizer sawmill is an ideal solution for dense wood and logs with resin inside.

"It is a good way to cut resin species like yellow or red pine from the Ukraine."

They order blade maintenance in a local authorized blade service center in Kayseri.

"A professional sharpener is needed to properly maintain blades," says Mr.Sukru. "We calculated the cost of sharpening if we did it ourselves - equipment, electricity, salary. Then I met with a blade sharpening representative in Kayseri, who is experienced with Wood-Mizer blades. After a bit of bargaining, we came to a good agreement, and now we have no any problems with blades."

"Since installing the Wood-Mizer sawmill we have not had any accidents. There is no risk to my workers with this design. The sawmill runs 18 hours a day, but while the second shift is working, I am able to sleep peacefully."

Considering Mr.Sukru is a calm man that enjoys most spending time in the peaceful setting of his garden, the peace of mind with the new machinery in place is worth as much as the increase in productivity.

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