E-Newsletter - A Publication of Interstate Resources

Monday, September 1, 2008

RB Lumber Company Invests in Sawmill Assets

Interstate Resources News homepage: http://news.interstateresources.com/  

Source: Interstate News, Fall / Winter 2008

When RB Lumber purchased the sawmill assets and began lumber production, we knew the key to being successful was the Hew-Saw. The Hew-Saw is the piece of equipment that converts cut-to-length logs from the merchandiser into lumber.The saw, which was new in 1999, was purchased by RBL in 2006.
As we began operations in the Spring of 2007, it became apparent that the saw was functional, but, with a manufacturer’s rebuild and the addition of a laser scanner and computer controls, we could improve performance.The sawmill converts, on average, approximately 6,000 to 7,000 logs per day into lumber, or one loge very 5.5 seconds.

Before the upgrade and modificationsto the Hew-Saw, this operation was being done manually by one operator. This operator was responsible for visually inspecting every log on the conveyor and choosing which saw set to use to cutthe log, based on criteria that management supplied as to the desirable lumber to produce.

This was very time consuming and, as the day went on, very mentally taxing on the operator to perform this operation over 6,000 times in one day.Over the last year, RB Lumber has been upgrading the Hew-Saw to improve productivity and automate saw sets.

Besides having the manufacturer perform a running rebuild over the course of several months, a laser scanner and optimizer were added to the saw. This allowed the computer to scan every log and choose the optimum cut to make based on criteria supplied by management.

This has allowed RBL to maximize yield and quality from every log. We have reduced overtime in the sawmill from 2-4 hours daily due to the increased thru put, and we are able to better control quality and product mix based on market conditions.

During these current tough economic times, this conversion has been extremely important to reduce costs, as well as to control product mix by optimizing sales revenue while anticipating customer needs.

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