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Woodlandia Enables Customers to Establish New Profit Centers
Equipment designed to extract the most usable fiber from small logs and stems at heart of Canadian business.
Date Posted: 6/1/2014
BARRIE, Ontario – The halcyon days of looking at tree tops and small diameter stems as brush to be chipped or burned are at end. Competition for wood fiber (and all natural resources) is driving innovation that ties conservation and industry together in a profitable way.
Today, small-diameter stems and branches can serve as the raw material for builders just as assuredly as robust trees can. It is simply a matter of having the appropriate tools to process the wood fiber in an economical way.
Taking the adage ‘waste not’ and making a reality of it is something that Woodlandia Corp. has taken to heart. Since 2007, the company has been designing saw mills for small- to medium sized sawyers and log-home builders, the sorts of operations that often have a keen interest in using the least costly raw material to make the highest value-added product.
The goal of Woodlandia is to offer mill equipment that can take the fiber that is least likely to be of interest to large mills and make it a good fit for small- to medium-sized operations. For example, there are small trees felled during thinning. And there are fiber-filled copses (thickets of small trees or shrubs) that can potentially be harvested and then sawn.
Mill equipment designed to serve smaller businesses must be especially reliable. Small mills and log-home builders have the same interest in productivity as their larger counterparts do. Downtime to do maintenance or repairs is money lost. Hence, Woodlandia aims to provide equipment that requires minimal maintenance.
Customers of Woodlandia span the globe and include sawmills in the United States, Canada, Romania, UK, Austria and Australia. The interest shown by customers on three continents can be explained by the growing roster of products the company offers. We consider a few examples in the following paragraphs:
Five years ago, Woodlandia introduced its LTPS-150E one-pass, rip-sawing machine. The LTPS-150E can handle a minimum top diameter of four inches with a maximum butt diameter of nine inches.
The LTPS-150E can debark and mill green or dried logs, meeting hard or softwood species with equal capability. The one-pass rip saw is literally that, a machine that can mill a small log into marketable lumber in one pass. Depending on the ancillaries to the rip saw, it is possible to operate the machine with a single person. Without automated assistance, two people are needed to operate the saw.
The throughput of the LTPS-150E is between 20 and 50 linear feet of raw
stems per minute (the actual throughput depends on log species, log diameter,
sawing profile and surrounding infrastructure). The saw produces lumber of custom sizes as well as standard 1x4, 2x4, 4x4, 4x6, 6x6. The one pass throughput is possible because the machine has 4 milling spindles to profile a raw log from top and bottom. Up to six radial blades can be installed on a spindle in order to work simultaneously.
One option available with the LTPS-150E is the Woodlandia SP-300 slab processor. The slab processor is designed to work in tandem with other Woodlandia sawmills, too. Recovering slabs and converting them to boards is a perfect illustration of how the no waste – or waste not – philosophy can be a catalyst of ingenious solutions.
The many wood processing machines manufactured by Woodlandia are built with the variety of sawyers (and their purposes) in mind. For instance, the company also offers a two-pass rip saw, the LTPS-260. The LTPS-260 is a multiple rip saw that produces dimensional lumber in two passes. It is a match for softwood and hardwood stems.
Boards for construction are a huge component of the products derived from raw wood fiber. Yet there are many other outlets for wood fiber. During an extended period of tepid economic activity around the world, increasing attention to all products from wood fiber has become important.
Woodlandia not only offers a line of equipment for sawmills, but it also provides equipment for the log home building industry and equipment for round log, post and pole production. Machines for the log home building industry include a log lathe, log moulders (aka, log profilers), machines to notch and round notches, log crosscut saws, log mortising machines and dovetail systems. Machines for round logs, post and pole production include log rounders, small diameter post or pole mills and post cornering machines.
Among the specialty machines offered to log home builders by Woodlandia is a log mortising machine (LJ-1), which quickly makes the slots used for log
butt-to-butt interconnections. Woodlandia can put together a custom system for a
log home builder that includes all the machine components required to mill log home kits.
The series of log rounding machines (RLM) that Woodlandia offers are designed for high production of small diameter trees into poles and post. The RLM-160 and RLM-160S, for instance, convert small logs to dowels. The RLM-320MF can mill logs from seven inches to 17.5 inches in diameter and it does rounding, profiling and sawing. Its versatility provides the functionality of three machines with one footprint. It can be repurposed for a company’s ever changing business.
Custom design keeps the team at Woodlandia busy. In some cases, the prototype of a machine is built on the confidence that there is a market for it. Currently, the team has a log moulder RLM-560 ready to serve. The RLM-560 can process logs with a butt diameter as large as 28 inches.
The two principals from Canada who launched Woodlandia in 2005 did so by determining to better serve the log home industry, beginning with the introduction of a log lathe specifically aligned with the need of that industry.
Always on the lookout for ways to meet the requirements of log home builders, the principals have adopted much state-of-the-art equipment for their customers. In 2008, they partnered with Arunda-Patrick Buli, a company headquartered in Switzerland. And the Arunda dovetail tenoner is a star on the Woodlandia roster.
Although mid-year has all businesses looking ahead and back and doing serious appraisal of the next direction of the global economy, the principals of Woodlandia are quite optimistic about the prospects for growth. They point to several predictions that make them so. For one, at a January 2014 meeting of the Truck Loggers Association in Vancouver (Canada), there was among conference goers a general enthusiasm about a coming “super cycle” in forest products.
In addition, the Southern Forest Products Association recently reported increased lumber shipments for 2013 over 2012 to the level of five percent greater. The trend is expected to continue. There are also projections that new construction in home building is on the increase in the United States. (New housing starts are still well below their peak in 2005, but the uptick is welcome news.)
As the economic climate improves, more construction of all kinds will be underway. Building material will be in greater demand. That makes the team at Woodlandia confident that its machines will reach an ever-wider group of customers. They envision that some loggers may decide to begin recovering lumber from what would otherwise be waste. And they see existing sawmills adding equipment to mill small stems.
Thinking broadly about the possibilities, as it does in the addition of its equipment, Woodlandia also imagines that the quest to do more with less will extend to sectors well beyond the traditional members of the forest products industry. It includes municipalities and businesses that may decide to process stems damaged by a pine beetle and entrepreneurs who want to enter a new market or add a different dimension to an existing business.
The choice of Woodlandia for a company name goes a long way toward encapsulating the vision held by the team behind the firm: There will be wood products and there will be landscapes worthy of the picturesque name – and they will be in harmony.