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Flexible planing of small batches up to 8 m long

3 April 2022
Holzwerke van Roje installs a new planing mill in its existing facility at the Oberhonnefeld-Gierend location (Rhineland-Palatinate).

Holzwerke van Roje strengthened its own processing with the installation of an automated planing mill last year. Connected to the sawmill, around 50 % of the main product is processed further here. The company invested around 3.7 million euro for this purpose in the new plants.

Holzwerke van Roje GmbH & Co. KG operates a sawmill at its Oberhonnefeld-Gierend location (Rhineland-Palatinate) with an annual timber output of around 450,000 solid cubic metres. 90 % spruce and 10 % Douglas fir are currently processed, but Managing Director Gerhard Hauschulte estimates that pine will be added to this again to ensure the availability of timber logs in future.

A planing mill and pellet production facility producing 80 000 t per annum are attached to the saw mill, and a cross-laminated timber production facility is currently under construction. Holzwerke van Roje currently has a workforce numbering 160 employees.

The planing mill was completed last year as a completely new installation at the plant and adapted to meet the special needs of sawmill production. The objective is to clearly strengthen processing of sawn timber. Up to 70,000 m³ of planed workpieces will be produced per annum from the main product, which is equivalent to about 50 % of the main product produced in the sawmill.

Kallfass GmbH in Baiersbronn delivered the complete fully automated mechanisation technology for the new Rex “Big Master” planing machine from Georg Schwarzbeck GmbH & Co KG in Pinneberg, including a wrapping station. A cupping and moisture meter, a “Golden Eye” quality scanner from Microtec, a marking station from REA JET and the strapping unit from Fromm are integrated in this facility.

During conversion planning in April 2020, the two existing planing lines were dismantled in June of last year. Kallfass began at this time to install parts of the mechanisation technology in cleared areas of the facility while production was still underway. Commissioning of the complete plant then followed at the beginning of September. The plant was producing around 400 m³ of planed workpieces a day in 2 shifts by the end of the year.

Production at the van Roje sawmill is very customer-oriented, serving buyers all over Europe. There is a focus on markets in the Netherlands and United Kingdom with the majority of orders for lengths exceeding 6 m. Van Roje has also concentrated on the European market in recent years, exploiting domestic sales opportunities freed through the booming US sawn timber market. Stock dimensions up to 620 mm and log lengths of 3 to 14 m are cut. The maximum length in the timber sorting system is 8 m. Frequent product changes of up to four times an hour are part of everyday production at van Roje.

This means that, when it comes to the cross section and length, a broad variety of dimensions is encountered in the planing mill, and it is necessary to work with relatively small batches. The smallest batches frequently involve only two packages per dimension. The planing mill therefore needs to be very flexible and produce everything from roofing battens with numerous special dimensions to raw solid structural timber. The maximum dimensions of completely planed products at van Roje are 150 x 320 mm. In particular, the maximum possible length of up to 8 m means the plant differs from the majority of industrial planing mills.

The flexibility required at van Roje is reflected in the configuration of the Rex “Big Master” planing machine: With ten planing cutterheads (four horizontal and two vertical tools and four individual chamfering tools for an all-round workpiece chamfer) finished product widths of 60 to 400 mm and heights of 15 to 200 mm can be created with continuously adjustable feeds of 30 to 150 m/min. In addition to planing and profiling, single and multiple cutting to length of the workpiece is also possible, and van Roje uses up to five saws.

Different board widths can be processed in layers simultaneously on the machine with only narrow gaps between them. Width adjustment is servo controlled at an adjusting speed of 20 mm/s. The Rex profile management control system enables storing of working shaft positions which have been configured. If a particular profile needs to be repeated, the operator, after deploying the required tools, can select the profile using the assigned workpiece name. The machine then automatically moves each spindle into the correct position. Shafts not required for a procedure go into idle mode, leading to a palpable reduction in the electric power input.

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