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Problem Solvers: Solution: Biomass Combustion Wood Heaters Save Money, Last a Long Time and Keep Employees Warm
New York pallet plant combats winter productivity lag with cost effective heating system from Biomass Combustion. Unit uses scrap lumber to cut costs.
Date Posted: 12/1/2012
If your plant operates in an area of the country where you have “real winters”, you know that keeping employees focused and warm can be a challenge in the winter months. Adding layers of clothing only goes so far in terms of boosting employee morale and productivity. Paul Bunyan Products Inc. of Preble, N.Y. chose almost 20 years ago to use hot air furnaces from Biomass Combustion Systems to improve the working conditions of its pallet plant.
Paul Bunyan uses wood scraps to heat its facility, which has more than paid for the price of the unit considering the cost of other alternatives. Bill Oustad, plant manager for Paul Bunyan, said, “I don’t think that heating with oil, national gas or propane would be feasible for this facility. It is just too big and the doors are open too much.”
“The scrap lumber is a byproduct of our pallet mill production. The fuel and labor costs involved in these heaters is nominal,” he said. Paul Bunyan takes a few packages of scrap material each day to heat its main production facility from November through March. These systems work well with limited operation costs. Paul Bunyan installed units in 1994 and 1999 for various parts of its plant.
Oustad said, “The Biomass Combustion units do a good job. There is quite a big expansive area out there in our plant. We have 10,000 sq. feet in one area with a high ceiling, and the other one has 17,500 sq. feet. with a high ceiling.”
Beyond the heating unit, Paul Bunyan has developed a process that minimizes heat loss. It stores finished pallets in a staging area near the pallet machines. These stacks are moved outside to the storage area a few times per shift, which allows the doors to stay closed most of the time.
The hot air furnaces have been very durable through the years. Oustad said, “We have had to do some minor repairs here and there, but these units have done a really good job for us.” Paul Bunyan uses scrap boards, cull boards and other waste to feed the heating units.
Oustad said that the first couple of winters the plant was in operation they went without heat, and it was a struggle. He added, “Keeping our employees warm helps keep them more productive in the winter time. We have a system up here that has been working real well for almost 20 years… Being half way comfortable when you are working makes a big difference for anyone.”
The hot air furnace keeps the shop area about 60 degrees, which is about right for these guys commented Oustad. Maintenance is limited and the workers empty ash out of the unit once per week. Some people have been scared away by the upfront cost. But Oustad said, “You get 20 years out of these things, and you have to look at both sides of the coin.”
Benefits of Biomass Mega Shop Heaters™
1.) Reduce cost of fuel. Can save 70% or more compared to the cost of oil heat.
2.) Reduce cost of waste wood disposal.
3.) Warmer working environment with essentially free heat - no guilt.
4.) Environmentally friendly, local fuel source. Disassembled pallets and scrap lumber are a great fuel source. Help the units burn hot and clean.
5.) Can throw in nails and all, no problem.
6.) Offers three sizes up to 800,000 BTUs per hour. Can heat up to 25,000 sq. feet.
7.) Longevity – Rugged all steel construction – units have lasted 20 years or more in operation.
8.) Available on a lease-to-own. Get into for first and last payment only. Currently offering 15% discount for Pallet Enterprise readers that place an order before the end of the year.
For more information, visit www.biomasscombustion.com or call 508/798-5970 for a dealer near you.