This new sawmill in Germany is an excellent example of how to design and build an integrated facility while sending the right log to the right mill or line.
Sawmillers in Australia and New Zealand face many challenges, one of which is the huge range in log diameters they contend with on a daily basis. In many cases, a “one size fits all” solution just doesn’t make economic sense, and this is where adding a small log line to the mill can ramp up productivity and profitability.
Finland-based HewSaw is recognized globally as a leader in small to medium-size log lines and produces equipment for logs ranging from a 75mm small end diameter to a 550mm large end diameter. They are also very familiar with Sawmilling in Australia and New Zealand and Australia (Victoria) has been home to HewSaw Pty Ltd. for the last 16 years. The HewSaw team at this facility serves Australasia, including Sales, Spare Parts and Service.
HewSaw is well known for their single pass R200 and R250 machines where all functions are handled in one machine. These machines, which take up very little real estate in the mill, scan the log prior to positioning it for optimum recovery with a rotary log turner. A ripsaw then processes the cant followed by an edging function which removes wane (depending on the grade selected by the mill) from the top and bottom boards.
HewSaw also offers a range of Sawlines, which include several in-line processing units and the ability to turn the cant during the process, which enables the edging of side boards from all four sides. This can provide higher recovery or yield along with added flexibility.
These Sawlines are available in two sizes for log diameters of up to either 350mm (SL200) or 550mm (SL250). The smaller SL200 fits well in Australia and New Zealand for mills that want to take smaller logs off their large line to improve overall mill productivity. The SL200 can process logs as small as 75mm in diameter.
HewSaw recently installed one of their highly efficient SL200 2.2 sawlines at the new GELO Timber facility in Wunsiedel, in north eastern Bavaria in Germany. This new line will deliver a high volume of lumber while feeding a new pellet production plant with the sawmilling by-products.
This new HewSaw line, which runs at speeds up to 200 m/min, processes logs ranging in length from 2.5 to 5.5 metres. In this case, the maximum log diameter processed by the new line is 250 mm as GELO Timber has a second sawmill close by to handle larger logs.
The pellet plant that will benefit from the HewSaw by-products is located next to the new sawmill in an Energy Park that GELO is also a partner in with several other stakeholders, including the local energy company in the town of Wunsiedel.
“The sawmill is a small but important part of the energy park where our by-products, in the form of chips and sawdust, are used in pellet production and fired in a biofuel boiler,” says Wolf Christian Küspert, CEO of GELO Timber. “We, in turn, can benefit from the waste heat from pellet production during lumber drying,” adds Wolf.
The energy park includes the modern pellet plant, which was commissioned in 2019, along with wind turbines, solar cells and energy storage. Recently, Siemens also presented a major investment in a hydrogen plant at the park that will run entirely on renewable energy.
For GELO Timber, the new sawmill investment allows the company to be more efficient in handling their raw material as they can now deliver the optimum sized log to each mill.
“We have done a market analysis and seen that we have plenty of raw material, especially in the smaller diameter ranges, and we also have good sales for what we produce,” explains Wolf. “Most of the production at our new saw line will be smaller and used for the production of glulam beams.”
Production from the new line is estimated at around 175,000 m3 of sawn lumber per year, compared with around 140,000 m3 of sawn lumber at the older plant in Weissenstadt, where the company will now focus production on larger diameter logs.
“With the new sawmill, we will have better opportunities to control production between our units and we can have more efficient processing, both in terms of small and large logs,” adds Wolf.
Assembly and Installation
HewSaw’s technicians handled the assembly and installation of the new sawline and HewSaw was also responsible for the project’s electrical and hydraulics, along with the scanning and optimization equipment.
“HewSaw’s staff have been very professional and we are very satisfied with their work,” notes Wolf. “The collaboration between the various suppliers has also worked very well.”
In terms of the decision to go with HewSaw for the new line, Wolf says it is actually a long story, at least in the making.
“Like HewSaw, we are a family business and I was part of their very first Wood Safari we took part in almost 20 years ago. Since then we have had contact and I have seen how HewSaw has built up its professional know-how and developed its sawing machines, so it is great that we can finally do business together. When it comes to small timber, the choice was obvious to us. HewSaw has the best solution available on the market.”
HewSaw’s sales manager for the region, Tuomo Kauppinen, has worked for many years with Wolf and GELO.
“We have exchanged experiences over the years and I have also watched GELO grow and develop their business and now that they have chosen to invest in a new sawmill, it is very gratifying of course that it is a HewSaw,” Tuomo says.
Other major suppliers on the 40 million Euro investment include Holtec, which supplies log sorting and log intake equipment, and Kallfass, which is responsible for lumber sorting. With all of the suppliers working together, the first log passed through the line ahead of schedule.
“We chose to hire the best suppliers in each area and work together with those who are world leaders in each niche,” concludes Wolf.