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Dickerson Lumber Makes Significant Move by Cleaning Blades with BioLube
Lube It Right: Proper blade lubrication can make all the difference in preventing blade cracks and wear problems. Dickerson Lumber reveals how BioLube has become its secret to efficient operation even in cold weather situations.
Date Posted: 4/1/2014
Getting the most out of your saw system requires a top-notch saw, a good maintenance program and a few trade secrets. Dickerson Lumber Co. of Glasgow, Ky. has found the right recipe when it comes to lubricating its sawmill thanks to BioLube products.
Dickerson Lumber was having problems with its chains and bearings going out because of rusting blades. Blades were getting hot and stretched too quickly and sometimes broke while running. The company identified that using a better lubricant than the water it used might help alleviate some of those problems.
MacKay Dickerson, sawmill manager for Dickerson Lumber, said, “I am very pleased with our BioLube system. Initially I had some reservations, but the system has performed very well. The cost and initial investment made the decision easy. BioLube has given us good service.”
MacKay did a lot of research before switching to BioLube and adding its first lubrication system; he contacted about a half dozen sawmills in Kentucky and Tennessee to see how they liked the product, and he heard “nothing but praise about the BioLube system from happy customers.”
Third Generation Family Business
Clyde McCreary Dickerson started his family sawmill business in 1964. His sons David and Carl came to work in
the business in the mid-70s. Clyde passed away due to a sudden illness in the fall of 2013. Clyde retired in the
late 1980s and his sons David and Carl took over management of the company at that time. Clyde’s grandson MacKay left college at Western Kentucky University just five credit hours shy of graduating and rejoined the business. MacKay always knew he wanted to work in the family business. He started pulling lumber at age 12 and drove a wheel loader when he was 18. Before taking a leading management role, MacKay worked in the parts shop and operated a resaw for six years.
MacKay, along with his brother Elliott, manage the Glasgow, Ky. sawmill, while their father and uncle oversee the total operation. In addition to the mill, the family has a number of other business interests, including several small cattle operations.
Dickerson Lumber can cut 40,000-80,000 bd.ft. of lumber and cants a day depending on the species. It cuts a center cant out of just about all logs except walnut and cherry. In addition to grade hardwood for a variety of applications, Dickerson Lumber cuts railroad ties and barn pattern timbers from 5x6 on up, dimensional material for any post style building. It also occasionally sells pallet stock from 4x6 to 6x6.
Incoming logs are debarked on either a Nicholson 35” ring debarker or a Precision rosser head debarker. Larger
grade logs are debarked on a Precision rosser head debarker. MacKay said, “A ing debarker is the only thing that can keep up with our headrigs and scragg mill.
Dickerson has two Klamath 7 foot band mills both with Salem carriages and setworks. A Cooper end dogging overhead scragg mill feeds a five ft. horizontal Salem resaw. Dickerson Lumber has three or four certified hardwood lumber inspectors, including MacKay and his uncle Carl.
Real Improvement Thanks to BioLube
Impressed by the results in such a short period of time, Dickerson is seriously considering adding up to three more BioLube systems to its saws, including the headrigs and the Cooper scragg mill. Dickerson just installed its first BioLube system, and the process was easy.
MacKay said that it took less than three hours to get the new system running. A couple of quick calls and a two or three minute adjustment to keep it clean is all that has been required.
MacKay added, “Our BioLube system has been running eight hours a day for three weeks ever since we installed it. The mill cuts virtually all the common hardwood species in this region as well as white and yellow pine. On the inside of the saw there has been a minimum gum buildup, if any. The filers are tickled with this new spray system. Before installation we had cracking problems in the gullets. BioLube has not had to adjust anything mechanical since the installation, and we have only had one small stress crack when we used to have considerable cracking problems.”
During the winter, Dickerson used to have a 30 minute to an hour delay in the morning because of the cold nights. Cold temperatures were a nightmare on its water lubrication system. With BioLube, the saws have performed excellent during cold weather.
MacKay was worried that they would use three or four gallons a day of lubricant. The company has used diesel wick systems on its headrigs as long as MacKay can remember.
BioLube’s systems can control the amount of lubricants applied. Instead of using two gallons of diesel fuel each day, BioLube systems may use only a quart to a half gallon of lubricant. Wick lubricating systems keep drawing fuel out of the reservoir after shutting down the saw, so BioLube systems keep saving money when wick systems are wasteful.
Many sawmillers and pallet manufacturers have utilized various lubricating methods for a long time. Diesel fuel is one of the most common lubricants that has been used, but there are many negative results associated with its use. Sawmillers know that saw blade maintenance is important toward running an efficient mill, and the proper lubricant can make all the difference.
BioLube Lube Master Spray System
Why lubricate blades? Lubricating blades makes them run quieter and cooler. The goal is to keep saw blades clean when cutting both hardwoods and softwoods.
In the 1990s mill lube systems were electro-mechanical, complete with small positive displacement pumps, metering valves, solenoids, microprocessors and a multitude of lights, switches, and things to adjust. These systems were mostly custom manufactured, which meant it took weeks to get parts and were expensive to obtain.
In late 1998, Lubie products was born when Bob Pennycoff and George Barker decided to engineer their own lubrication systems. Their guiding design principles were to keep a system simple to install and simple to operate and adjust. They had to be rugged for an industrial and mill environment.
Many mills and plants have historically used diesel fuel as a lubricant, but it is classified as carcinogenic. Some saw manufacturers, particularly the larger saws for cutting grade hardwood, may install lubricant systems, but many are sold as a dry sawing system. Some mills are just not familiar with the lubricating options and the value of lubricating blades. As explained above lubricating blades makes them run quieter and cooler. Spraying systems do well with narrow band resaws as well. The goal is to keep sawblades clean when cutting both hardwoods and softwoods.
BioLube Lubie products are fairly evenly distributed between grade sawing and pallet sawing applications. The bottom line is for saw lubricating systems to save the mill money. BioLube lubricants have a higher flash point than diesel fuel and many other lubricants. Atomizing lubricants and spraying them on makes them go further, which saves money and does a better job of lubricating.
BioLube’s systems can control the amount of lubricants applied. Instead of using two gallons of diesel fuel, BioLube systems may use only a quart to a half gallon of lubricant. Wick lubricating systems keep drawing fuel out of the reservoir after shutting down the saw, so BioLube systems keep saving money when wick systems are wasteful.
Pennycoff and Barker eliminated all electrical components and used only compressed air. Industry standard components and fittings make their systems reliable under all conditions. They are fast and inexpensive to repair or rebuild.
People who used older blade lubricating systems disliked having to fill small quarter or half gallon reservoirs every few hours, so the decision was made to go with a five gallon reservoir tank. The system utilizes a DOT-certified high pressure propane tank modified with a 2" fill port and a safety pressure relief cap. The standard guard on the top of the tank protects the metering system and manifold.
Parker Pneumatics makes a venture/pressure system that is easily adjusted by simply turning a knob and counting drops through a clear dome. No electricity is used. It is easy to rebuild for less than $100.00, and Parker has stocking distributors all over North America. BioLube simply makes modifications to give a greater flow rate.
Instead of using threaded fittings, BioLube elected for Parker standard SST Preto-Loc fittings on all tubing connections. They are fast to disconnect, are corrosion resistant and are the best quality in the industry.
Sawdust contamination in lubrication always causes metering systems to plug up. In a mill there is no way to avoid this, so BioLube installs a SST double mesh filter on the lube pick up tube. The filter has a Presto-Loc SST fitting that can be quickly removed. It is simply back blown with compressed air to remove any residue.
Except for very unusual cases, BioLube supplies all mounting hardware, nozzles, fittings and tubing. Lube Master is an economical, reliable, easy to operate, maintenance free lubricating system. The Lube Master spray system is designed to keep saws cool and resin free. It is adaptable for all machinery, including head saws, resaws, gang rip saws, package saws, and moulders.
For more information about Biolube Lube Master spraying systems call BioLube at 260-414-9633 (South and East), 260-467-9208 (West) or 260-445-2956 (Midwest).