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Estonian outdoor furniture producer increases profitability with in-house sawmilling
Estonia’s largest pine garden furniture company produces from log to finished product with the addition of a new Wood-Mizer WM3000 industrial thin-kerf sawmill.
In 20 years, Sverix has grown into Estonia’s largest company producing outdoor pine furniture. Located in Ruusa, the company produces a large range of furniture, windows, and doors for outdoor uses. Their products are sold to large supermarkets primarily in Germany, Holland, Norway, Finland, and Sweden.
Their factory is made up of several workshops and an impressive range of manufacturing equipment. Up to 400 individual products are completed per shift. Their painting conveyor alone is a total of 480 metres long. Their windows are rated for -18 degrees, and the annual window production is 17,000.
The company obviously requires dependable sources of timber to maintain their high level of production to fulfil orders.
"Three years ago, there was a sudden shortage of ready lumber in Estonia," production manager Kalev Kumar recalls. "Our Russian timber suppliers did not meet new EU FSC certification rules at that time. Unfortunately, nearby sawmills were overwhelmed and also not a source of timber we could rely on. It was at that time we realised that we should simply buy our own logs and cut them ourselves." The owners of Sverix asked Kalev to research whether Wood-Mizer had solutions that would meet their needs.
"Many Estonia woodworkers use Wood-Mizer sawmills, but not on an industrial level. To see Wood-Mizer’s industrial range in use, I simply travelled to Latvia, where many sawmills are using Wood-Mizer’s full industrial lines." Kalev visited many of them. Currently, there are 36 companies using the WM3000 sawmill in Latvia, and Kalev was surprised to hear that not one had gone out of business during the crisis.
Wood-Mizer’s representative in Latvia, Vilmars Jansons, explains further – "Many of our customers had to make significant adjustments in response to the crisis - reduce staff, changed products, found new markets – but not one of them have closed their business. This tells us that Wood-Mizer’s claims of being the most economic and efficient method of producing lumber are well founded."
"I quickly saw that the productivity would match our needs. In addition, the WM3000 is not only a sawmill, it includes a whole system of material handling equipment to reduce labour requirements. We discussed all the pros and cons, and decided to invest in the equipment."
The installation of the whole line took a matter of only three days. One of the distinct advantages of the WM3000 sawmill is that it does not require new foundational support. Since installing the machine, the company has noticed a marked increase in flexibility to respond to changes in market and product demand, thereby increasing competitiveness.
"Last year, log prices rose and it became better simply to buy timber that was already cut. However, the log prices came back down, and it is again more profitable for us to buy logs and cut them ourselves."
Sverix only buys FSC-certified logs harvested from state forests. The most common species they use is pine, but also buy birch for reinforcing the bottom of doorframes. The WM3000 usually runs for one work shift, and typically produces 17m3 of timber daily. They sharpen the DoubleHARD bandsaw blades with Wood-Mizer’s sharpening and setting equipment. One blade will cut a total of 20m3 of timber over the course of its life.
Sverix found that Wood-Mizer’s wide range of various blade profiles is very beneficial in helping customers find the perfect blade for their sawing application. Sverix uses the DoubleHARD 13/29 blade, which allows them to saw more quickly through softwood. This improved performance approximately 10% over the blade they had been using previously.
"We have learned that the sawyer and the employee maintaining blades should have constant communication about the performance of the blades. We document what settings are used so that we can identify issues, and know what works best for certain sawing conditions."
"Just on the savings with log prices, the sawmill makes sense for us. But also, considering that having an outside company supply us with timber, the timber often has to be resized again, which wastes wood, time, and money. With the WM3000 sawmill, we are producing exactly the size boards we require, and the economic benefits are significant!"
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