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Blue Wolf Capital announces sale of the Mulch and Soil Company

Wed, 05/05/2021 - 10:27

May 4, 2021, NEW YORK – Blue Wolf Capital Partners (“Blue Wolf”), a New York-based private equity firm, today announced that it has sold The Mulch and Soil Company, LLC (“the Company”), a leading manufacturer and distributor of mulch and soil products across the Southeast region of the United States. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Blue Wolf formed The Mulch and Soil Company in 2018 by carving out the mulch division from Suwannee Lumber Company, a former Blue Wolf portfolio company, and merging it with Forestry Resources, Inc. and later K&B Landscapes, two founder-owned businesses in Florida. Under Blue Wolf’s leadership, the Company became one of the Southeast region’s leading manufacturers of premium mulch and soil products with a network that now spans four manufacturing facilities and 165 employees across Florida.

“The Mulch and Soil Company is a quintessential Blue Wolf investment, which involved a complex carve-out and integration of three companies and demonstrates the value of our niche sub-sector specializations,” said Adam Blumenthal, Managing Partner of Blue Wolf. “By carving out Suwannee’s mulch division; integrating two founder-run businesses; and recruiting a best-in-class management team comprised of industry veterans, we built a strong platform of scale that is now well-positioned for long-term growth in one of the most attractive U.S. markets for landscape products.”

“Our experience investing in the forest products sector in the U.S. South combined with our expertise in organizational transformations and human capital management enabled us to support The Mulch and Soil Company from its inception through its evolution into the robust platform it is today,” added James Shovlin, Vice President at Blue Wolf. “We are proud to have partnered with Mark West and the entire management team, and we look forward to following the company’s continued evolution in this next phase of its growth.”

“In 2018, Blue Wolf recognized the incredible potential to create and scale a regional leader in landscape products – and with their support, The Mulch and Soil Company has grown into one of Florida’s leading manufacturers and distributors of mulch and soil products. Over the years, Blue Wolf has served as a true partner and their operational expertise has played a critical role in enabling us to successfully integrate three distinct companies and cultures into one cohesive workforce and network of plants across the state,” said Mark West, CEO of The Mulch and Soil Company. “We are excited about the growth opportunities that lie ahead as we continue to expand our platform and meet the growing demand for our products.”

Brown Gibbons Lang & Company LLC served as financial advisor and Robinson Bradshaw served as legal advisor to Blue Wolf in connection with the transaction.

About Blue Wolf Capital Partners

Blue Wolf Capital Partners LLC is a private equity firm that specializes in control investments in middle market companies. Leading by experience, and with a commitment to excellence, Blue Wolf transforms companies strategically, operationally and collaboratively. Blue Wolf manages challenging situations and complex relationships between business, customers, employees, unions, and regulators to build value for stakeholders. For additional information, please visit www.bluewolfcapital.com.

About The Mulch and Soil Company

The Mulch and Soil Company is a manufacturer and distributor of mulches, premium soils, decorative bark, and other ground cover products to lawn and garden retailers and commercial landscapers. Headquartered in Fort Myers, Florida, the company operates a network of manufacturing and distribution locations from which it serves customers throughout the southeastern United States. For additional information, please visit www.themulchsoilco.com.

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MiCROTEC announces new branding strategy with FinScan and WoodEye

Tue, 04/05/2021 - 14:20

Microtec, global leader of scanning and optimization solutions for the sawmilling and wood processing industry, today announced the official integration and inclusion of FinScan and WoodEye within the Microtec family.

From now on the two companies situated in Finland and Sweden will work under the common corporate brand of Microtec, reflecting the merge and enhanced cooperation between the companies. “All together, we will work towards a common goal: to be even stronger together for our customers and partners, to act globally while maintaining a local and regional presence”, states Frank Jöst, CEO of Microtec Headquarters in Bressanone/Brixen.

“After the acquisition of WoodEye in 2015 and FinScan in 2018, the integration was a natural fit for the expansion of our business. The new branding will help us to underscore the importance of our responsibility to not only satisfy continuous evolution of customer needs and expectations through innovation, but also to anticipate them.”, confirms CEO Jöst.

The ever-growing Microtec family now employs more than 290 people at its sites in Bressanone, Venice, Linköping and in Espoo. The new Microtec organization will consist of different competence centers and offices in 6 countries around the world: the headquarters in Bressanone and Venice in Italy; former FinScan now Microtec Espoo in Finland; Microtec Rosenheim in Germany; Microtec Linköping, former WoodEye in Sweden; Microtec office in Vancouver, Canada; and Lucidyne – a division of Microtec in Corvallis, USA.

Customers will have access to an extended product portfolio based on integrated scanning and optimization solutions through all the woodworking processes: from the logyard, to the sawmill, green – and dry mill, planermill and remanufacturing applications.

The aim of being one brand is to combine in all Microtec’s solutions the competences, key technologies and experiences of all these companies. Therefore, the company brands Finscan and Woodeye will be integrated as product brands under the corporate brand MiCROTEC.

For the sawmill sector, we will complement our product portfolio with the Boardmaster Nova, which will come under the Finscan product brand in the future. This will add a module to the product range of scanners in cross transport, Goldeneye 900 and Wanescan.

The Woodeye scanners complete our product range for remanufacturing applications. Especially for scanning and optimizing of hardwood we extend our product portfolio decisively. The scanners will appear in the familiar color design and with the Woodeye product brand.

The mission of Microtec is, as usual, to make the woodworking industries perform better and offer to all customers’ worldwide excellent service.

“We will have a stronger presence in the markets and thus be closer to our customers. All sites will present the complete product portfolio, including the Woodeye, Finscan and Lucidyne product brands. With the different competence centers in the group, we can use our resources optimally and support all activities for the benefit of our customers”, states Frank Jöst conclusively.

Frank Jöst – CEO Microtec Headquarters (Bressanone/Venice, Italy)

“We will be available to all our customers in the same way as before, with the same teams, and support them with our usual professionalism. This applies to all locations.”

“The main goal of the new branding is to bring together and bundle our strengths, knowledge and potential in order to develop them further together. We want to use our ability, experience and commitment for joint success in order to be able to offer our customers innovative and creative products and solutions at the highest level.”

Leif Erlandsson – CEO Microtec Linköping (Sweden)

“We will combine competence and capacity from people to bring together a unique team to cover not only a great number of technical areas but also mixing technology with geography to provide the woodworking business with outstanding sales and service in order to build systems for the future.”

“The market and customer knowledge, the know-how, as well as the individual experiences combined with the cultural influences of the individual locations, should form the foundation for the MiCROTEC Group. This new corporate structure will enable us to apply our technologies, products, solutions and commitment even more strongly and specifically for the benefit of our customers in the future.”

Allan Flink – CEO Microtec Espoo (Finland)

“Thanks to the new branding strategy, the new Microtec family will be the largest wood scanner producer in the world! Having the same brand is not just changing the company name. The change is actually more significant. We will have more common products, shared activities and teamwork across the group companies. This will strengthen our business and will create more opportunities for all employees in our common company.”

“We will continue to develop and sell our transversal scanner to the sawmilling customers. We will also improve the service of all our equipment through a service agreement system we have introduced from the beginning of this year. In the sawmilling business, Espoo will also start selling Microtec log scanners on designated markets.”

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New SERRA sawing mill at Full Tilt Timber Framing in Clancy, Montana

Tue, 04/05/2021 - 12:47

Right time, right place

New SERRA sawing mill at Full Tilt Timber Framing in Clancy, Montana

Nate Schuele, 22 years old and a 4th generation sawyer, has a new best friend: the SL130i SERRA mobile sawmill. The previous one (another company) had to be replaced due to a motor damage. As a demonstration machine, the SERRA sawmill was immediately ready for use – in the right place at the right time.

Nate got his first impression of SERRA and the saw mills by YouTube videos. He found the videos hugely impressive and especially liked the receivers for offloading sawn lumber. For the decision he explains: “We were looking at multiple alternatives but the SERRA seemed to have so many good features, larger band, thinner kerf, receivers for sawn lumber, better band wheel technology etc.” The availability of the SERRA demo machine in Nashville convinced them, too, because it was already stateside and built.

Walt and Nate Schuele, the 2 owners of Full Tilt Timber Framing in Glancy, Montana, produce dimensional lumber and timbers for timber frames (around 150,000-200,000 board feet/year). The SERRA mill has fit into their process perfectly and they had not changed either of their businesses.

The most favored machine features

When asked for what Nate Schuele likes best at the new mill, he comes up with a long list: “The independent loading arms are a huge improvement. The computer is actually worth using. The previous computers we are used to are not worth turning on. The power toe board for moving cants back and forth. The increased number of bed rails, the band wheels that are light years ahead of anything other portable manufactures are using, the toe boards with dogs for pulling cants into the bed for the mill. The dogs have a steep learning curve but once we learned how to use them, they are also much better than anything we’ve had in the past. The operators station is also a huge improvement to walking with the head or the exposed remote operating stations we had before.”

The switch to the new machine was easy for him. Nate learned the computer and calibrating the joystick. He had no major changes, just re-learning the setup. The employees get along with the machine very well, too, and also the clients are impressed.

Nate is happy with the SERRA customer service and says: “The best customer service I’ve ever received. We are very satisfied and we want to tour the factory and thank everyone.”

Your SERRA Contact: Mr. Jason Fry 1035 Parkway Dr. Spring Hill, Building #10, TN 37174 +1 801 550 4878 jason.fry@wintersteiger.com

www.sawmills4us.com

Photo: Walt and Nate Schuele very satisfied with the SERRA SL 130i

Immediately ready for action after the demonstration in Nashville

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Invitation to the launch of the new Ponsse harvester head

Fri, 30/04/2021 - 12:21

The new PONSSE H7 HD Euca harvester head will be launched on 5 May. The web events will be held in English at 9.00 and 16.00 EEST – both events will be subtitled in Spanish and Portuguese.

The harvester head has been designed for eucalyptus processing with our customers in response to their needs. The new harvester head strengthens Ponsse’s strategy of being one of the world’s leading manufacturers of harvester heads. The Ponsse harvester head’s reliable heavy-duty frame structure promises safe operation and high-quality barking in even the toughest conditions.

Ponsse experts have prepared a unique web event to present all the best features of PONSSE harvester heads!

Register now and save the event in your calendar:

https://www.ponsse.com/ponsse-studio-live#/

We wish you a warm welcome!

Ponsse Plc
Marko Mattila
Sales, Service and Marketing Director

FURTHER INFORMATION:
Janne Loponen, product manager, harvester heads, janne.loponen@ponsse.com,
Tel. +358 40 502 8018.
Ryytty Marika <Marika.Ryytty@ponsse.com>

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John Deere partners with Tiltrotator Company

Wed, 28/04/2021 - 10:57

John Deere has announced a preferred supplier agreement with engcon, a tiltrotator manufacturer.

As a part of the agreement customers can purchase select engcon tiltrotators through John Deere construction and compact construction equipment dealers and Hitachi excavator dealers, starting in the U.S. and Canada in the second half of 2021.

Tiltrotator models ranging from the EC204 up to the EC233 will be available – these tiltrotator models match with the John Deere 26G through 345G and Hitachi ZX26 through ZX345 excavator models.

Tiltrotators have long been popular in Scandinavian countries such as Norway, Sweden and Denmark, as well as some other countries in Europe, but their usage in North America has traditionally been low.

When equipped, a tiltrotator enables an excavator bucket or other attachments to rotate 360 degrees around the axis and tilt up to 45 degrees side to side. A tiltrotator-equipped excavator offers enhanced value for customers, especially those working in tight, challenging job sites or tackling applications that require precision and versatility, such as site development, underground work and landscaping.

“We strive to provide our customers with product and technology offerings that improve their performance on the job site. When we launched our Smart Industrial strategic direction, we committed to investing our resources in solutions that deliver increased value to our customers, such as this agreement with engcon,” said David Thorne, senior vice president, sales & marketing, John Deere Construction & Forestry.

“Our excavators are known for their multi-functioning capabilities and hydraulic control, and, with the addition of the engcon tiltrotators, we’re providing additional solutions to help our customers increase productivity and efficiency on the job.”

Photo: John Deere has partnered with engcon for tiltrotators

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Hekotek to supply equipment for Atlant sawmill

Wed, 28/04/2021 - 10:12

AS Hekotek has signed a contract for the supply of equipment to the sawmill of Atlant LLC located in Jantal village, Irkutsk region of Russia.

Hekotek is to supply a set of own-manufactured equipment for this new sawmill complex, including lines for log sorting, log in-feed, sawn timber sorting, as well as conveyor system for collecting and removal of sawdust. The sawline itself is to be supplied by USNR.

With respect to the legislative rule in Russia prohibiting round logs export starting from beginning of 2022, the construction of the new sawmill facilities is an important step, – comments Dmitry Gidenko, Atlant LLC project manager. – It ensures maintaining jobs in the region’s forest sector, as well as local processing of Siberia’s high-quality logs.

The first rail-cars with the equipment are to be shipped to Siberia already this summer, while the start-up of the whole sawmill complex and reaching of the project capacity are planned for the summer 2022.

Looking back, it’s worth mentioning Hekotek first supply of sawmill equipment implemented to the village of Jantal for the local company JantalLes in 2002. After some years of successful operation, this sawmill got through the period of several owner changes, and its production volumes remained low. The current owner, Atlant LLC, acquired the sawmill several years ago and has by now made a significant step forward to develop the sawmill, including strong well-timed investments in expanding its production facilities.

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The FAE line of excavators with Bite Limiter technology goes beyond limits with the new BL4/EX/VT forestry mulcher

Tue, 27/04/2021 - 12:55

FAE is expanding its line of forestry mulchers for excavators with Bite Limiter technology with the new BL4/EX/VT. The new model is perfect for tackling and removing vegetation in wooded areas, especially for jobs that require a large shredding capacity and speed.

The BL4/EX/VT can mulch logs up to 30 cm in diameter, is compatible with 18-25 ton excavators, and comes in two working widths, 135 e 160 cm.

For the BL4/EX/VT, the biggest innovation is the rotor with Bite Limiter technology. Steel limiter rings limit the reach (bite) of the teeth, reducing the amount of power needed, guaranteeing constant working speed and excellent performance. The heat-treated forged-steel BL blades are made to last and can be sharpened to keep operating costs lower. The BL4/EX/VT has a Variable Torque (VT) motor for noticeably better performance, increased torque when needed, and minimal risk of rotor stalling.

The sturdy steel frame is built to last, and the Poly Chain belt drive transmission guarantees optimal power transfer and reliability.

The BL4/EX/VT can include the optional Sonic system, which keeps the operating machine and the FAE mulcher perfectly aligned by automatically calibrating and constantly regulating the mulcher’s hydraulic parameters for a significant increase in productivity.

ABOUT FAE
FAE is the world’s leading designer and manufacturer of heads for tractors, excavators, skid steers, special vehicles and tracked vehicles for forestry, agricultural, road and demining operations.

With a range of more than 90 products and 400 models, FAE is capable of satisfying the most diverse customer demands. FAE’s range of heads includes forestry mulchers, cutters, stump cutters, stone crushers, stabilizers and multifunction heads. Our line of tracked vehicles includes tracked vehicles with cabs and radio-controlled tracked vehicles.

FAE focuses on technological innovation and build quality to ensure that its machines offer the greatest performance and reliability.

FAE was founded in 1989, and the company’s main office is still located in the town of Fondo, in the province of Trento in the north of Italy.

Production, sales, after-sales service and distribution of spare parts are handled by our 4 production sites, main office, 6 commercial branches and a network of authorized dealers all over the world. FAE has more than 250 employees worldwide.

www.fae-group.com

Contact Information
FAE Group Marketing Team
Francesca Carlet – Press Relationship   Mob. +39 342 743 9709
fcarlet@fae-group.com

Elia Grando Mattiazzi – Marketing Manager   Mob. +39 328 742 8661
egrandomattiazzi@fae-group.com

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John Deere adds Smooth Boom Control Technology for Tracked Feller Bunchers & Harvesters

Fri, 23/04/2021 - 13:26

John Deere announces the release of Smooth Boom Control for its M-Series Tracked Feller Bunchers and MH-Series Tracked Harvesters.

Developed in global collaboration between the John Deere Wheeled Cut-to-Length and Full-Tree Forestry teams, Smooth Boom Control ensures full and responsive hydraulic function actuation, improving overall machine reactiveness and controllability.

Smooth Boom Control is available as a standard feature on new tracked feller bunchers and harvesters or as an upgrade for existing M- and MH-Series machine owners.

Further enhancing the machine operation in demanding forestry applications, John Deere adds its Smooth Boom Control (SBC) technology to its M-Series Tracked Feller Bunchers and MH-Series Tracked Harvesters. Developed in global collaboration between the John Deere Wheeled Cut-to-Length and Full-Tree Forestry teams, the SBC system instantaneously responds to operator input while smoothing out the acceleration and deceleration of hydraulic functions on the machine, improving overall control.

“Machine response is important to efficient machine operation, especially when working in challenging conditions day in and day out,” said Jim O’Halloran, product marketing manager, John Deere. “With SBC, we’re improving machine functionality, making operation easier on both the operator and machine. As a result, operators can control the machine movements more effectively, especially when reversing motions. SBC delivers a smoother experience for the operator and less wear and tear on the machine over time.”

The SBC software further refines the motion of the boom, swing and travel functions using advanced signal control to keep the machine ready to go. This results in a significant improvement in overall joystick and foot pedal response, reducing the signal delay at the start and end of each operator command. “One operator told us during our evaluation, it made a really good machine even better,” said O’Halloran.

The SBC software is now available as a standard feature on new tracked feller bunchers and harvesters or as an upgrade for existing M- and MH-Series machine owners. To learn more about Smooth Boom Control as well as the John Deere lineup of forestry equipment, visit www.JohnDeere.com or your local John Deere dealer.

Contact:
Amy Jones, imre
Email: amyj@imre.com
Phone: 410-821-8220

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SFI announces new standards focused on solving some of the world’s biggest sustainability challenges

Fri, 23/04/2021 - 12:16

Washington, D.C. and Ottawa, ON —The Sustainable Forestry Initiative Inc. (SFI) has developed new standards to support SFI’s leadership in offering solutions to some of the world’s most pressing sustainability challenges. SFI certification is a powerful tool to ensure healthy forests that mitigate climate impacts, are resilient to fire threats, and support a diversity of communities.

“SFI has the scale to make a difference with more than 375 million acres/152 million hectares certified to the SFI Forest Management Standard, and tens of millions more certified to the SFI Fiber Sourcing Standard,” says Kathy Abusow, SFI’s President and CEO. “Because the standards require independent, third-party audits, organizations that use them are responding to the ESG expectations of investors, customers, and communities.”

Requirements for a new SFI Climate Smart Forestry Objective are one of the highlights of the new standards. Forests play a central role in the carbon cycle and with proper management, can be one of the most effective nature-based solutions to the climate crisis. SFI-certified organizations will now be required to ensure forest management activities address climate change adaptation and mitigation measures.

“Our hopes to mobilize forests for climate will depend on influencing forest practices across as many acres as possible, helping to infuse them with science-based approaches to achieve resilient carbon sequestration and healthy forests for our future,” said Jad Daley, President and CEO of American Forests. “Forest certification is the dream device to make this connection with landowners across North America, and SFI has done an outstanding job of assuring that this new SFI standard will help catalyze the climate-smart forestry we need.”

SFI is elevating its role in addressing fire by introducing a new SFI Fire Resilience and Awareness Objective. Forest fires have long played a role in the evolution and function of natural ecosystems, but we are now seeing an increase in catastrophic fires that have dire consequences for our forests, wildlife, and communities. SFI-certified organizations are now required to limit susceptibility of forests to undesirable impacts of wildfire and to raise community awareness of fire benefits, risks, and minimization measures.

An important component of the SFI standards is Objective 8, Recognize and Respect Indigenous Peoples’ Rights. The SFI standards promote respect for Indigenous Peoples’ rights, representative institutions, and traditional knowledge, and are aligned with the principles of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Specific measures require that SFI-certified organizations are aware of traditional forest-related knowledge, such as known cultural heritage sites, the use of wood in traditional buildings and crafts, and flora that may be used in cultural practices for food, ceremonies, or medicine.

“The SFI standard requires organizations to recognize and respect Indigenous Peoples’ rights and traditional knowledge,” says Lenny Joe, President, Scw’exmx Tribal Council. “SFI’s programs and certification requirements are unique in that they focus on relationship building that creates trust. This is important to many Indigenous communities like mine and a reason for SFI’s earned respect and growth.”

SFI’s standards are built on mutual trust and engagement. They help SFI-certified organizations meet societal expectations by ensuring that important issues such as civil rights, equal employment opportunities, gender equality, diversity inclusion, and anti-discrimination and anti‑harassment measures are addressed.

SFI revises and updates the SFI standards to incorporate the latest scientific information, respond to emerging issues, and ensure continual improvement. This open and transparent process began in 2019 and included engagement with the conservation community, Indigenous communities, the forest products sector, brand owners, private forest landowners and public forest managers, government agencies, trade associations, landowner associations, academia, and the public. The SFI Board of Directors approved the SFI 2022 Standards and Rules at their April 2021 meeting.

About the Sustainable Forestry Initiative® Inc.

SFI advances sustainability through forest-focused collaborations. We are an independent, non‑profit organization that leverages four interconnected pillars of work: standards, conservation, community, and education. SFI works with the forest sector, conservation groups, academics, researchers, brand owners, resource professionals, landowners, educators, local communities, Indigenous Peoples, and governments. Collaborating with our network, we leverage SFI-certified forests and products as powerful tools to help solve sustainability challenges such as climate action, conservation of biodiversity, education of future generations, and sustainable economic development. Learn more: forests.org.

Media Contact
Daniel Pellegrom
Vice President, Communications
Sustainable Forestry Initiative
202-596-3452 / daniel.pellegrom@forests.org

Standards Contact
Jason Metnick
Senior Vice President, Customer Affairs
Sustainable Forestry Initiative
602-374-6539 / jason.metnick@forests.org

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Forests extending to 745 hectares on market for £14m

Fri, 23/04/2021 - 11:21

Almost 750 hectares of prime commercial forestry in the Scottish Borders has come to the market for offers over £14 million. The sale of the Ramsaygrain East Forests, which extend to 745 hectares or 1,841 acres, are available as a whole or in three lots. The large scale commercial conifer forests are part of the renowned Teviothead Forest Complex.

The mid-rotation forestry comprises 92% Sitka spruce with a mix of age classes thereby offering a regular income.

Additionally, some native broadleaves improve biodiversity and add structural diversity to the landscape.

Goldcrest Land & Forestry Group, which has launched the sale, said the forests were ‘outstanding’.

“[The forests] include second rotation crops planted with improved seed stock, to the market,” said Jon Lambert, partner at the firm. “The results speak for themselves with exceptional growth rates and superb yields. They occupy a prime forestry location, benefitting from an excellent internal forest road network and access to major timber processors via agreed timber transport routes.” 

The launch of the Ramsaygrain East Forests comes at a time of continued buoyancy in the commercial forestry sector. The market continues to perform extremely well with demand far outstripping supply and a seemingly insatiable appetite for timber.

Source: Farming UK
Photo: The launch of the forests comes at a time of continued buoyancy in the commercial forestry sector

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Antti Koulumies appointed as Head of UPM Timber

Fri, 23/04/2021 - 10:53

Antti Koulumies has been appointed Senior Vice President, UPM Timber as of June 1st 2021. He will be based in Helsinki reporting to Bernd Eikens, EVP, UPM Biorefining.

Koulumies holds a M.Sc., Industrial Management from Aalto University. He joins UPM from REEL International that acquired Metso Outotec Aluminium business this year. Prior to aluminium business leadership position, Koulumies led the business control, strategy and M&A at Outotec. Before joining Outotec he worked as a consultant at McKinsey and Company.

The position as Head of UPM Timber became vacant after Aki Temmes was appointed Senior Vice President, Business Control & Finance Operations at UPM as of 1 January 2021.

UPM Timber produces redwood and whitewood sawn timber for the joinery, packaging, distribution, and construction industries. Their sawmills are powered entirely by renewable energy. They use certified Nordic raw material and the latest sawmilling techniques to produce high-quality sawn timber that fulfills customer requirements. UPM Timber has four sawmills in Finland with a total annual capacity of 1.5 M cubic metres and its own sales network in Europe and Asia. UPM Timber employs around 400 people and has its headquarter in Tampere.

Antti Koulumies has been appointed Senior Vice President, UPM Timber as of June 1st 2021. He will be based in Helsinki reporting to Bernd Eikens, EVP, UPM Biorefining.

Koulumies holds a M.Sc., Industrial Management from Aalto University. He joins UPM from REEL International that acquired Metso Outotec Aluminium business this year. Prior to aluminium business leadership position, Koulumies led the business control, strategy and M&A at Outotec. Before joining Outotec he worked as a consultant at McKinsey and Company.

The position as Head of UPM Timber became vacant after Aki Temmes was appointed Senior Vice President, Business Control & Finance Operations at UPM as of 1 January 2021.

UPM Timber produces redwood and whitewood sawn timber for the joinery, packaging, distribution, and construction industries. Their sawmills are powered entirely by renewable energy. They use certified Nordic raw material and the latest sawmilling techniques to produce high-quality sawn timber that fulfills customer requirements. UPM Timber has four sawmills in Finland with a total annual capacity of 1.5 M cubic metres and its own sales network in Europe and Asia. UPM Timber employs around 400 people and has its headquarter in Tampere.

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Forestry England tackle tree disease with specialist helicopter felling technique

Fri, 23/04/2021 - 10:22

Forest, within the Lake District National Park in Cumbria, which were affected by the tree disease Phytophthora ramorum. The two-day operation involved an 18-strong Forestry England team and a contract harvesting team working alongside Swiss and Scottish operators, brought in for their expertise in helicopter felling – a forestry technique common in Switzerland but used only once before by the same team in the UK.

A stand of 150 diseased larch trees around Whinlatter Forest’s Wild Play and Go Ape high-wires course needed to be lifted vertically to avoid damaging the play equipment and climbing infrastructure. Helicopter felling was the most cost-effective approach to remove each tree, as conventional felling techniques would have led to extensive damage, costly rebuilding and loss of access for visitors and families wanting to enjoy the area.

The felling operation involved several steps and careful co-ordination between ground and climbing teams, and the helicopter pilot. First, the climbing team assessed the weight of the tree, dividing it into sections weighing no more than two tonnes – the maximum weight that the helicopter could lift – before securing a rope to each section. The specialist KMax heavy lift helicopter hovered overhead, lowering a steel cable to the ground which was attached by rope to a section at a time of each tree and pulled taught as the helicopter rose vertically. A cutter, communicating by radio with the pilot, then cut the tree by chainsaw and the helicopter flew the tree stems away over the forest to an area a kilometre away where another team processed the wood with a harvester. Because the helicopter was faster between lifts than a climber, three climbing teams served the helicopter in turn in a non-stop operation which successfully removed the larch trees and left the play and high-wires infrastructure undamaged and ready for reopening.

Kevin May, Forestry England Forest Management Director for North District, says;

This was a complex forestry operation which needed meticulous planning and co-ordination between ground, climbing and flying teams. It was vital we removed these diseased larch trees to stop the spread of P. ramorum in the forest but we were determined to also protect the facilities which so many visitors enjoy each year. The whole operation had to be COVID secure with special permission needed from the UK and Swiss governments to bring in the specialist team to work alongside us. Fair weather and good visibility in Whinlatter Forest Park– England’s only ‘mountain’ forest – meant the whole job was done seamlessly, felling and extracting approximately 300 tonnes in two days with public safety maintained at all times.

We now have the opportunity to look ahead and ensure Whinlatter Forest is as resilient as possible in future decades supporting our people, nature and economy outcomes. The cleared site will provide a valuable open habitat for many wildlife species in the short term, and we have a detailed replanting plan to replace the felled larches with a mix of species resilient to changing climate conditions and future pests and diseases. The felling operation is the beginning of a new and exciting phase for this wonderful landscape, and we look forward to welcoming visitors back.

You can watch the helicopter felling operation in action. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6VT3XhXTWFY

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Major new contracts for Raumaster at Metsä Fibre Kemi new bioproduct mill

Wed, 21/04/2021 - 14:24

Raumaster Oy and Raumaster Paper Oy have signed major contracts to deliver process machinery to Metsä Group’s Metsä Fibre Kemi new bioproduct mill in Northern Finland.

Raumaster Oy delivers significant share of wood chip and bark handling area machinery as well as conveyor systems for gasifier and recovery boiler and main part of lime, caustic sludge and causticizing conveyors. Raumaster Paper Oy delivers automatic pulp bale unloading and loading systems for Kemi Ajos harbour. Degree of Finnish origin for these deliveries is ca. 70 %.

When commissioned in second half of 2023, Metsä Fibre Kemi new bioproduct mill will be the most efficient and productive wood processing plant in Northern Hemisphere. The Kemi bioproduct mill will be the global leader in environmental, energy and material efficiency.

“Raumaster and Raumaster Paper are pleased about the opportunity to participate in an important Finnish project such as this. Raumaster’s solid insight into customer needs, as well as its machinery and process competence and reputation as a reliable Finnish machinery supplier and partner helped it secure the agreement. The value of the deliveries and the contribution to employment in design, production and installations are significant to both companies”, state Petri Lounasaho, Manager, Wood handling Division, Raumaster Oy, and Pekka Leino, CEO, Raumaster Paper Oy, with one voice.

“We have set high targets for the material, energy and environmental efficiency for the Kemi bioproduct mill. Only the best available technique is being procured for the mill. This is why we require our partners to supply technically reliable solutions and have understanding of our production needs. The solutions provided by Raumaster Oy and Raumaster Paper Oy meet these requirements. We are well positioned to build together an efficient and reliable bioproduct mill in Kemi,” says Jari-Pekka Johansson, Director of the bioproduct mill project at Metsä Fibre.

As an independent internal development project, Raumaster is investing in its’ Sampaanala workshop in Rauma. This project will improve competitiveness of the workshop. Based on the contract with City of Rauma, the workshop and warehouse lot is expanded which provides additional storage areas and room for further workshop investments, allowing also improvement of the functionality of the area.

“All mentioned contracts and projects are important for Raumaster and Raumaster Paper. They reflect high customer confidence for Raumaster’s competence manufacture and supply machinery and processes for demanding targets with high availability and excellent run over the planned lifecycle. Sustainability, environmental efficiency and environmental friendliness are essential part our total delivery”, says Raumaster’s CEO Kari Pasanen and continues, “by investing in Rauma workshop we secure our competitiveness and sustainable operations.

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HASSLACHER Group first in Austria to invest in Valutec’s TC continuous kiln

Wed, 21/04/2021 - 13:43

HASSLACHER Group, one of the world’s leading producers of glulam and Cross Laminated Timber (CLT), invests in TC continuous kilns from Valutec. The deal means the well-known timber industry group becomes the first in Austria to own the groundbreaking lumber kiln. This is also a new prestigious order for Valutec, which strengthens its position as a global leader within the field of continuous kilns.

“We want to increase the drying capacity at our sawmills in Preding and Sachsenburg and saw that TC kilns were right for us. They offer a combination of high capacity and flexibility, without compromising on quality,” says Michael Fercher, CTO at HASSLACHER Group, which has seven sawmills in three countries.

The investment in TC continuous kilns is the third order where Valutec has earned the confidence of family owned and lead HASSLACHER Group.

“We are extremely happy and proud that HASSLACHER NORICA TIMBER will be first in Austria, also when it comes to TC kilns. Both because they prioritize quality, just like us, and because they have such a fantastic reputation in the sawmill industry.”

Five years ago HASSLACHER Group became the first company in Austria to use Valutec’s OTC continuous kiln technology, when they invested in two OTC continuous kilns for their sawmill in Sachsenburg. The following year, yet another order for the same type of continuous kiln for their sawmill followed.

“We are attracted by Valutec’s continuous kiln technology. It is superior from a capacity perspective. Adding to that, it delivers high quality and requires less material handling than traditional batch kilns, at the same time as its continuous operation is gentler on the boiler,” explains Fercher.

Clear trend

With its investment in the TC kilns, HASSLACHER Group follows a clear trend in the sawmill industry. During the past year, the new generation of TC kilns from Valutec have been sold to sawmills around the world and the company has reached new markets.

“Behind the technological advance lies thousands of product development hours, where we studied, evaluated, tested and invented new things in all parts of a type of kiln that was used, in its first form, back in 1927,” says Larsson.

The TC continuous kilns for delivery to HASSLACHER Group have eight drying zones and will solely be used to dry siding boards.

The maximum annual capacity is approximately 75,000 cubic meters (31,783 MBF) per kiln. The kilns are built from stainless steel and are equipped with pressure frames for minimal deformation of the uppermost layer of lumber, heat recovery system and the Valmatics 4.0 control system.

Together with the investment, two batch kilns in Preding are being upgraded with Valmatics 4.0. This is the only control system for lumber drying combining simulator technology with adaptive control, and allows for simultaneous optimization of capacity, quality and energy consumption.

The new kilns and the control system upgrades are planned to begin in the fall.

Facts about TC continuous kilns. TC is the abbreviation of the Swedish for “cross circulation”. The principle is based on the lumber package being fed lengthwise through zones where the air circulates laterally across the drying channel. This enables the separate regulation of the climate in different zones according to a schedule that comes very close to the ideal schedule of a batch kiln. The significant improvement relates to the way the temperature and the air speed are controlled individually in different zones by utilizing integrated simulator technology. Thanks to this development, the sawmill has greater freedom to mix the dimensions of the lumber it wants to dry, which is something that was previously impossible in a continuous kiln.

CONTACT INFORMATION:
Eric Johansson
Marketing Manager, Valutec
+46 767 676968
eric.johansson@valutec.se 

The desire to increase the use of wood is the ultimate reason for Valutec’s existence. We have been combining Nordic expertise in lumber drying for almost 100 years with a deep understanding of the challenges facing our customers. Our goal is to expand opportunities not only for value-adding lumber dry kilns, but also in intelligent control systems. The Valutec Group is a part of Addtech Industrial Process and has offices in Sweden, Finland, Russia and Canada and has an annual turnover of around EUR 40 million. With more than 6 000 lumber drying installations delivered, we are a world leader. Find out more about our corporate philosophy “Good for wood” at www.valutec.ca.

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Germany’s export value of logs and lumber has increased 63% the past five years, reaching 2.5 billion dollars in 2020

Wed, 21/04/2021 - 13:13

The softwood timber harvest in Germany is likely to reach almost 50 million m3 in 2020, about ten million m3 more than a typical year before the spruce bark beetle-infestation in 2018. In addition, Germany has harvested 6-7 million m3 of hardwood species annually for the past five years. The total timber harvest in 2020 will be the highest since 2007, when the cyclone Kyrill swept in over Central Europe and damaged approximately 45 million m3 of timber.

Practically all of the additional ten million m3 of annually harvested softwood roundwood the past three years was exported, either in the form of logs or domestically processed lumber. In 2020, the estimated log export volume was 11.5 million m3 , up by 54% from the previous year and more than four times as much as 2016, according to Wood Resource Quarterly. With the dramatic increase in export volume, Germany has become a net exporter of logs (an estimated six million m3 in 2020), a reversal from having been a net importer of 4-6 million m3 annually during 2010-2018.

Lumber exports from Germany have also gone up due to the large volumes of beetle-killed and storm-damaged timber. However, the increase has been more modest than the spectacular rise in logs flowing out of the country. Lumber exports in 2020 reached an estimated 9.5 million m3, six percent higher than the previous year and 34% higher than in 2016.

The total value of German softwood log and lumber exports has surged by 63% the past five years from 1.5 billion Euros in 2016 to just over 2.5 billion Euros in 2020, reports the WRQ. The log export value has gone up more than three-fold since 2016, practically entirely driven by increased shipments to China. This destination has rapidly become the largest market for logs exported from Germany, surging from almost non-existent in 2017 to account for just over 65% of the total export value in 2020. Other significant destinations included neighboring Austria (14% of total export value) and Belgium (5%).

Are you interested in worldwide wood products market information? The Wood Resource Quarterly (WRQ) is a 70-page report established in 1988 and has subscribers in over 30 countries. The publication tracks prices for sawlog, pulpwood, lumber & pellets and reports on trade and wood market developments in most key regions worldwide. For more insights on the latest international forest product market trends, please go to www.WoodPrices.com

Contact Information Wood Resources International LLC Hakan Ekstrom, Seattle, USA info@WoodPrices.com

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The new PONSSE Scorpion’s Future Cabin wins the esteemed Red Dot product design award

Wed, 21/04/2021 - 12:37
The new Future Cabin included in the PONSSE Scorpion launched in February has won a product design award in the internationally acclaimed Red Dot design competition. The award in question was the Best of the Best award in the Product Design category, granted for the cabin’s innovative design. This was the highest recognition that could be achieved in the competition, granted to the best products of the various award categories.

In February, Ponsse introduced to the market a thoroughly modernised Scorpion harvester range that meets all the requirements of today’s forestry work. The Scorpion’s characteristics include its excellent visibility and handling. One of the most prominent changes is the new one-piece windscreen that extends to the roof of the cabin, offering even better visibility and work safety under all conditions. In addition, the unique crane solution offers an excellent visibility in every direction. The new Scorpion raises productivity and ergonomics in harvesting to an even higher level, and sets a new standard for the operator’s working environment.

“The starting point for the development of the new Scorpion’s cabin was once again forest machine operators and their feedback. This discussion is extremely important to us, and we engage in it continuously as part of our everyday work. The cabin workspace, for which we received this great award, was modified to make it more practical and to develop it into a quiet workplace with a view to support the operator’s comfort and well-being. The operator’s well-being during work is key to the machine’s productive operation. It is great that the cabin has received such an esteemed award for innovative design as well. Thanks for this award go to our customers, partners and all Ponsse employees”, says Juha InbergTechnology and R&D Director at Ponsse.

The Red Dot design competition is one of the most highly regarded design competitions in the world, with a history of more than 60 years. This was the second time that Ponsse received the esteemed product design award: the PONSSE Scorpion harvester of the previous generation was awarded in 2015 in the same category.

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=US5mnZRo2BQ

More information from Ponsse Plc:
Juha Inberg, Technology and R&D Director
Ponsse Plc Ponssentie 22, 74200 Vieremä, Finland

Tel. +358 400 661 368
juha.inberg@ponsse.com
www.ponsse.com

Ponsse Plc specialises in the sale, production, maintenance and technology of cut-to-length method forest machines, and is driven by a genuine interest in its customers and their business operations. Ponsse develops and manufactures sustainable and innovative harvesting solutions based on customer needs.

The company was established by forest machine entrepreneur Einari Vidgrén in 1970, and has been a leader in timber harvesting solutions based on the cut-to-length method ever since. Ponsse is headquartered in Vieremä, Finland. The company’s shares are quoted on the Nasdaq Nordic List.

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Foundation stone of Rauma sawmill laid

Fri, 16/04/2021 - 14:22

Metsä Fibre, part of Metsä Group, is building the world’s most modern sawmill in Rauma, Finland. The construction work began in May 2020, and the sawmill’s foundation stone was laid on Thursday 25 March 2021. Due to the coronavirus situation, the foundation stone was laid by Harri Haapaniemi, Project Director, and Liisa-Maija Perävainio, Sawmill Director, without external participants.

“The sawmill’s foundation stone has been laid, and both the engineering and construction have progressed according to plan. The roof and external walls of the sorting line are complete. Piping and plumbing work is underway as we speak, as are the floors. The installation of the wall elements and the construction of the roof at the sawline have also begun. At the debarking department, they’re working on the foundations and the first drying plant structures are up. The construction work will be completed at the end of September, and most equipment and machinery installations will get underway in late summer. The sawmill’s production will begin in the third quarter of 2022,” says Harri Haapaniemi,  Project Director of the Rauma sawmill project.

Metsä Group is systematically developing its chemical and mechanical forest industry production units with a long-term approach. The sawmill under construction in Rauma will be a forerunner in terms of its efficiency and the technologies employed.

The value of Metsä Fibre’s investment in the Rauma sawmill is around EUR 200 million, and the new unit will produce around 750,000 cubic metres of pine sawn timber annually. The annual use of logs sourced in Finland is estimated to be around 1.5 million cubic metres. Sawn timber produced by the Rauma sawmill will be sold mainly to Europe and Asia.

Metsä Group’s investments in Finland create both regional and national wellbeing. The Rauma sawmill will create a great many entirely new jobs. It will employ around 100 people directly and some 500 people within its direct value chain. The employment impact of the construction phase amounts to some 1,500 person-years, and the project’s degree of Finnish origin is approximately 70 per cent.

You can follow the progress of the work at the construction site in real time through web cameras at any time of day: www.metsafibre.com/webkameratrauma

More information:

Harri Haapaniemi, Project Director, Metsä Fibre, Rauma sawmill project, tel. +358 500 361 632

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Metsä Fibre and Eltel sign agreement to build power line for the new Kemi bioproduct mill

Fri, 16/04/2021 - 13:28

Metsä Fibre, part of Metsä Group, and Eltel have signed an agreement to build a power line from the new bioproduct mill being constructed in Kemi to the Keminmaa substation via the Pajusaari–Isohaara–Keminmaa route. The new 110 kV power line will be about 15 kilometres long.

The bioproduct mill, which operates completely without fossil fuels, will produce 2.0 TWh of renewable electricity every year, equivalent to about 2.5 per cent of Finland’s total electricity production. The mill will have an electricity self-sufficiency rate of 250%, and this will further strengthen Metsä Group’s position as a major electricity producer relying on renewable Finnish fuels. The new power line will transmit bioelectricity from the bioproduct mill to the national grid.

Metsä Fibre and Eltel co-operation in the Kemi bioproduct mill project has already started earlier with the planning of power line. Actual construction work will begin in spring 2021, with the contract being completed by summer 2022. The degree of Finnish origin of the contract is very high, 85%.

“We want to partner with the best professionals in every field to build a cutting-edge bioproduct mill in Kemi, Finland. We require our partners to commit to the goals of the project in terms of safety, schedules and quality. Eltel’s operations comply with all of these principles. Together, we will build a significant part of the mill complex – a new power line that will supply the bioelectricity produced at the mill to the national grid,” says Jari-Pekka Johansson, Project Director for the bioproduct mill at Metsä Fibre.

“This is a significant agreement for us, and we’re excited to be part of the largest investment in the history of the Finnish forest industry,” says Juha Luusua, Managing Director of Eltel Networks Oy.

The agreement between Metsä Fibre and Eltel also includes dismantling the existing power line as well as modifying six transmission line towers  in Kemi. The delivery also includes 110 kV underground cable works at Isohaara and Keminmaa substations.

Metsä Group’s Kemi bioproduct mill project is progressing according to plan, with earthmoving and pile driving currently being carried out at the mill site. About 300 people and about 130 different companies are working at the site. The bioproduct mill project’s degree of Finnish origin is estimated to be high, about 70%. During the construction phase, the mill’s employment effect is estimated at nearly 10,000 person-years, of which more than half will be in Kemi. The total number of employees working during the construction phase is estimated to be about 15,000. The investment will secure the 250 jobs at the current Kemi mill for the coming decades. Through its direct value chain, the new bioproduct mill will employ around 2,500 people in Finland, some 1,500 more than the employment effect of the current Kemi pulp mill.

Totalling EUR 1.6 billion, the investment in Metsä Group’s Kemi bioproduct mill is the largest in the history of the Finnish forest industry. The mill will produce 1.5 million tonnes of softwood and hardwood pulp per year, as well as many other bioproducts.

More information:

Jari-Pekka Johansson
Project Director
Metsä Fibre
jari-pekka.johansson@metsagroup.com

Anna-Liisa Pennanen
Communications Manager
Metsä Fibre
tel. +358 50 574 8071
anna-liisa.pennanen@metsagroup.com

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Bushfire detection – within one minute of ignition

Fri, 16/04/2021 - 12:11

Imagine a system that could detect any bushfire in Australia within minutes of ignition so firefighters could tackle the blaze before it spreads. Recently, an important development on the road to this future: a Queensland-based company, Fireball, announced the first purpose-built satellite for fire detection in Australia.

Scheduled for launch a year from now, the satellite is the first of a planned constellation of 24 that will monitor Australia from low Earth orbit. Once the full system, including ground-based cameras and aerial drones, is up and running, Fireball says it will be able to spot any fires within one minute of ignition.

That may sound like a bold claim, but it’s consistent with the goals of other organisations working on similar technology. Within five years, experts say, we could have a national system of automated bushfire surveillance. And we’ll need it, too. With climate change, the continent is drying out and the summers growing longer and hotter, and bushfires are predicted to become more frequent and intense. According to Marta Yebra, director of the Australian National University (ANU) Bushfire Initiative, advancements in satellites, drones and AI will drive big changes in firefighting. “I strongly believe this will radically change the way we fight fires in Australia,” she said.

At the same time, the challenges to making it happen are daunting. A national system to detect fires in one minute one would produce vast amounts of data and require unprecedented cooperation between the patchwork of authorities and organisations. The system would amount to automated surveillance of millions of square kilometres, accurate down to a few square metres and working non-stop all year.

Source . AFPA & Friday Offcuts

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HASSLACHER Group first in Austria to invest in Valutec’s TC continuous kilns

Thu, 15/04/2021 - 12:19

HASSLACHER Group, one of the world’s leading producers of glulam and Cross Laminated Timber (CLT), invests in TC continuous kilns from Valutec. The deal means the well-known timber industry group becomes the first in Austria to own the groundbreaking lumber kiln. This is also a new prestigious order for Valutec, which strengthens its position as a global leader within the field of continuous kilns.

“We want to increase the drying capacity at our sawmills in Preding and Sachsenburg and saw that TC kilns were right for us. They offer a combination of high capacity and flexibility, without compromising on quality,” says Michael Fercher, CTO at HASSLACHER Group, which has seven sawmills in three countries.

The investment in TC continuous kilns is the third order where Valutec has earned the confidence of family owned and lead HASSLACHER Group.

“We are extremely happy and proud that HASSLACHER NORICA TIMBER will be first in Austria, also when it comes to TC kilns. Both because they prioritize quality, just like us, and because they have such a fantastic reputation in the sawmill industry, says Robert Larsson, CEO, Valutec.”

Five years ago HASSLACHER Group became the first company in Austria to use Valutec’s OTC continuous kiln technology, when they invested in two OTC continuous kilns for their sawmill in Sachsenburg. The following year, yet another order for the same type of continuous kiln for their sawmill followed.

“We are attracted by Valutec’s continuous kiln technology. It is superior from a capacity perspective. Adding to that, it delivers high quality and requires less material handling than traditional batch kilns, at the same time as its continuous operation is gentler on the boiler,” explains Fercher.

Clear trend

With its in investment in the TC kilns, HASSLACHER Group follows a clear trend in the sawmill industry. During the past year, the new generation of TC kilns from Valutec have been sold to sawmills around the world and the company has reached new markets.
“Behind the technological advance lies thousands of product development hours, where we studied, evaluated, tested and invented new things in all parts of a type of kiln that was used, in its first form, back in 1927,” says Larsson.

The TC continuous kilns for delivery to HASSLACHER Group have eight drying zones and will solely be used to dry siding boards. The maximum annual capacity is approximately 75,000 cubic meters (31,783 MBF) per kiln. The kilns are built from stainless steel and are equipped with pressure frames for minimal deformation of the uppermost layer of lumber, heat recovery system and the Valmatics 4.0 control system.

Together with the investment, two batch kilns in Preding are being upgraded with Valmatics 4.0. This is the only control system for lumber drying combining simulator technology with adaptive control, and allows for simultaneous optimization of capacity, quality and energy consumption.

The new kilns and the control system upgrades are planned to begin in the fall.

Facts about TC continuous kilns. TC is the abbreviation of the Swedish for “cross circulation”. The principle is based on the lumber package being fed lengthwise through zones where the air circulates laterally across the drying channel. This enables the separate regulation of the climate in different zones according to a schedule that comes very close to the ideal schedule of a batch kiln. The significant improvement relates to the way the temperature and the air speed are controlled individually in different zones by utilizing integrated simulator technology. Thanks to this development, the sawmill has greater freedom to mix the dimensions of the lumber it wants to dry, which is something that was previously impossible in a continuous kiln.

More information
Eric Johansson, Marketing Director Valutec
+46 767 676968
eric.johansson@valutec.se

Photo: Michael Fercher, CTO at HASSLACHER Group,

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by Dr. Radut