We recently found an interesting article by Terence Brown, at one point a member of Oregon State University faculty and a member of the Department of Forest Products. Surprisingly, the document is about 35 years old, yet the messages are are timeless. There are countless inefficiencies and issues that can lead to losses of productivity and profits in sawmills. Everything from wasting valuable parts of each log to unmotivated employees. The ten page article breaks everything down from log storage, to kiln drying, to log sorting – potential problems and solutions mill managers can put into place.
You can read the article here (clicking the link will open a new window).
One area of concern that keeps coming up is proper maintenance of machinery. While this might make sense, the article really stresses that a regular maintenance schedule and proactively dealing with wearing parts will avoid further damage later. But do we really value maintenance as much as we should? Often it seems parts made of premium materials that may cost slightly more than basic plastic parts are not selected: even if they may greatly increase part life and reduce the amount of maintenance required. But it also seems that when times are good (such as with the Canadian sawmilling industry, due to American and Asian demand) and funds exist for maintenance, at times, the pressure to run more logs makes it enticing to let maintenance slide. Unfortunately that increases the potential of catastrophic failure and when that happens you lose control over the situation (as well as profits!).
The solution? Be proactive. If you have a dry kiln, keep extra kiln wheel bushings on hand. Same goes for carriage wheels, chain channel, trimmer lugs and bearing inserts. The panic inspired by our customers when one of our bearing inserts is not in stock is not a fun thing to deal with. Supporting the sawmill industry like we do, we understand our customers frustration when parts cannot be “rushed” fast enough. When a single broken or worn part brings the mill to a halt. Being proactive with your maintenance will go a long way.
For assistance with plastic maintenance solutions for your sawmill please contact us.