Schnittholz in Pufferspeicher, cut wood in buffer levels

Optimales Kurzholzhandling EN Optimum short log handling

Tailored solution for an exceptional sawmill

With log lengths of 1.1 m and over, the Lithuanian Juodeliai Group recently commissioned a high-performance sawmill for producing raw material for pallets. Machine suppliers were also faced with major challenges, given the short logs involved and a planned output of 250,000 m³ of sawn timber per annum. Extensive experience and the level of commitment on the part of suppliers such as Kallfass ensured the success of the project.

The latest and, simultaneously, largest sawmill in the Juodeliai Group is currently operating in Marijampole/LT. The largest sawmill group in the country encompasses four locations and is responsible for cutting over 1.3 million solid cubic metres of logs per annum. Juodeliai aims to produce around 650,000 m³ of pallet timber in 2022, generating over € 200 million in turnover as a result. With customers in over 40 countries, the company is highly export oriented, although, according to CEO Andrius Zimnickas, no business relations are cultivated with Russia or Belarus, despite their geographic proximity. The company mainly obtains its spruce and pine logs and, also, hardwoods from Lithuania, a fact that also makes Juodeliai the largest consumer of timber in the country.

The company commissioned a fourth sawmill in 2020 in Marijampole, about a two-hour drive west of the capital Vilnius. Designed for an annual capacity of 250,000 m³, Juodeliai also produces pallet timber there for the global market. When it came to machine suppliers, the company opted for proven plant solutions from companies such as Linck, Holtec, Microtec and Kallfass. The latter is responsible for the mechanisation, sorting and stacking of main products and side boards.

„A practical, solution-oriented approach is the main reason we are cooperating again with Kallfass.“

Andrius Zimnickas, Juodeliai Group CEO

A challenging project

Kallfass takes charge of the main product upstream of the two multi-blade saws. A vertical system transports the separated logs as a whole to a peel-off system. Aided by gravity, these form a veritable carpet of boards. After passing a visual inspection station, layers are formed and the boards are cut at both ends before being fed layer by layer to a stacker.

Kallfass Abblätterer, peel-off system

Separated logs are transported to the Kallfass peel-off system to create layers of boards.

Adequate capacity

Kallfass collects the side boards in buffer levels. “As we had little experience with these short dimensions, the design was partially based on assumptions that, ultimately, worked out very well indeed”, reported Kallfass Project Manager Matthias Link.

Solution-oriented approach

This was neither the first nor the last joint project for Kallfass and Juodeliai. The German plant engineers had already been involved in a greenfield project for the Lithuanian timber industry in 2014. “We’re delighted to have opted again for Kallfass. They never try to offer us prefabricated solutions, but rather concentrate on our ideas and implement these. This practical approach is the main reason we decided to work with Kallfass again”, emphasised Andrius Zimnickas, adding that the next project, a second main product stacking system for Marijampole, has already been commissioned. This will be commissioned in the 1st quarter of 2024 at the latest.

Holz Imprägnierung, impregnation of wood

Application of an impregnation agent

Kallfass Abblätterer, peel-off system

Separated logs are transported to the Kallfass peel-off system to create layers of boards.

Sortierförderer, sorting conveyor

Kallfass sorting conveyor for ejecting unsuitable products.

Pufferetagen mit Seitenware, buffer levels with side products

Side view of the products buffered in 4 levels.

Versandpaket mit Kufen und Umreifung, shipping package with strapping and supporting runners

The completed shipping package, with triple strapping and supporting runners.

Images: Kallfass, text: Günther Jauk, Holzkurier

Holzkurier 17/2022

Die Leistensortierung mit Roboter

Automatisch im Vorteil EN Automatic Benefits

Murray Timber Group has installed a Kallfass stacking line to increase automation and boost capacity. Sally Spencer reports

Installing a new stacking line at a busy sawmill in the middle of a pandemic might be a challenge too far for some, but for Murray Timber Group (MTG) and Kallfass it was pretty much business as usual.

The Irish sawmiller, a major processor and exporter of construction, fencing, pallet and packaging timber, had been keen to increase capacity and reduce manual handling at the Ballygar mill and back in May 2019 had placed an order with Kallfass for a stacking line for squared timber for kiln drying and dispatch packages.

The working relationship between MTG and Kallfass stretches back to the installation of a cross-cut and stacking line in 1995. The quality and technical ability of that line had impressed, said Matthias Link, Kallfass sales manager and the companies had maintained contact since then. So when the time came for an upgrade, Kallfass was the name in the frame and after visiting the company and seeing some examples of similar installations in Germany and Austria, the deal – worth around €2m – was struck.

At that point, of course, no one had even heard of Covid-19, let alone knew the impact it would have, but MTG was determined to press ahead and installation started in June last year. Prior to the work starting, the existing building was extended and a new concrete floor was poured, but the mill continued to operate as normal and there were no shutdowns during the installation.

“MTG wanted to have the machinery installed and they did everything to realise that. The pandemic didn’t hinder the early stages of the installation."

Matthias Link, Kallfass sales manager

The Kallfass operatives on site included one mechanic (sometimes two), two electricians and, at the end of the year, one programmer – but Matthias stresses that they “had very good support” from the MTG team. “It was very good to work together with them,” he said, adding that the company was always in step with Kallfass’s schedule and always ready for the next stage of the installation.

However, at the end of the year it became more and more difficult for Kallfass to travel to Ireland and a lot of improvements had to be made via remote service. “MTG had installed cameras at different points of the installation so it was possible for us to see what was happening, recommend adjustments and then to look back to see if they had helped,” said Matthias. It also helped that the MTG team is very skilled technically and was able to describe issues and relay information very precisely.”

The cross-cutting and stacking line can be charged in two different ways. One entry point is from the existing sorter, where the material is taken in batches via an angle transfer and transported to the new line. The complete content of a sorting box (the maximum wood length is 5.3m) is emptied in a batch onto a cross conveyor and transported to the new part of the line. The other entry point takes material from the kiln or from other packages and is de-stacked, cut to length, stacked again and strapped.

If the material is fed via the tilt destacker, the packages (maximum size 1240mm wide x 1500mm high x 5300mm long) are destacked and the sticks removed from the wooden boards and then ejected into a deposit box via a belt conveyor. The boards are transported in layers via an angular chain conveyor to a step feeder. An unscrambler separates the material which is then aligned on a common zero line. Now the operator visually assesses the timber and if end trimming is necessary, pulls the board for subsequent trimming of flaws and wanes.

The boards are now fed layer by layer to the multiple cross-cutting saw, which is equipped with five variably positioned, pneumatically controlled chop saws. Two of the saw units can be pivoted by 30°. The indirect drive allows boards to be sawn to a minimum length of 750 +/- 1mm. A maximum of 10 layers per minute are stacked into packs. The packs are either taken from the front with the forklift, or transported to the strapping machine.

“If the material is going on into the kilns it doesn’t need to be strapped, but packs ready for dispatch will be strapped,” explained Matthias.

“The big decision maker was the robot sticking machine, which was the solution we had been searching a long time to find.”

Spokesperson Murray Timber Group

Die Leistensortierung mit Roboter

The robot sticking machine in action

One of the main attractions of the new stacking line for MTG was Kallfass’s patented automatic stick feeding system with a performance of 80 sticks a minute. This is the first installation of its type in the UK and Ireland. The stick bundles are placed with the forklift between the guide walls of the buffer conveyor and are then transported to the unscrambler. The separated sticks pass a scanner and damaged sticks are ejected. The sticks then move to the stick bundling part of the process where they are grouped into packs of 12. These are fed to buffer conveyors and, following alignment, Kallfass’s patented robot grabs the bundles and feeds them into eight double magazines equipped with two shafts each. The double magazines are needed to handle two different stick sizes.

The automatic stick feeder is used for the sticks measuring 44x22mm that are used in the kilns. The smaller sticks (44x10mm and 35x10mm) used for timber packs ready to be dispatched are placed manually in a designated buffer conveyor from where the robot picks up the sticks and feeds the second shaft of the stick magazines.

The strapping is equipped with two bearer magazines. The bearers are strapped together with the pack. A strapping cycle, including pack positioning, takes no longer than 18 seconds. The packs are taken off the subsequent angular transfer with a forklift.

Matthias estimates that the line is running at around 90% capacity and says that as soon as Covid restrictions ease and international travel is allowed, Kallfass will return to the Ballygar mill to carry out some final fine-tuning.

MTG says it is very familiar with the Kallfass equipment and is very comfortable with it from a quality, design and performance point of view.

“The big decision maker was the robot sticking machine, which was the solution we had been searching a long time to find,” said a spokesperson. "It was perfect for what we wanted, fully automated, high performance and completely flexible as to where the sticks can be placed,” he continued. “We are very proud to have one.”

Stapelanlage mit Leistenmagazinen, Befüllung durch Roboter

The stick sorter line - the robot can be seen in the background

Installation of the new line began in June 2020

TTJ Timber Trade Journal May/June 2021, pictures Murray Timber Group and text Sally Spencer
TTJOnline May/June

A&J Scott, UK investiert in neue Linie EN A&J Scott, UK invests in new line

A&J Scott has made its secondary/value-added production automatic with the addition of a new line by Kallfass. A&J Scott MD Robert Scott tells Stephen Powney how the investment has revolutionised its operations.

Long established family sawmilling company A&J Scott was one of those timber industry businesses which kept operating right through the Covid-19 lockdown period. Based in Alnwick, Northumberland and with an extensive product range which is heavily focused on fencing components, landscaping and garden products, the company has experienced huge recent demand. Recent significant investment in technology – an automatic value-added product line from Kallfass – has helped service the demand during this unique period.

“We managed to keep working two shifts right though the whole period, including the initial 2-3 week lockdown period when it appeared quite bleak for many people,” said Robert Scott, managing director of A&J Scott. “We only dropped two shifts in total when we had a bit of self-isolation.” The sawmill ran at about 75% for a couple of weeks initially and was up to normal speed within a couple of weeks. “In the main it has been good. The fencing and landscaping sector has been very busy, so I feel we have capitalised on it as best as we could. The demand has been insatiable since April and we have been struggling to keep people satisfied with timber.

“It’s been a perfect storm, you had a lot of people sitting at home on 80% pay, mortgage holidays, not having to work but they can’t go anywhere, they can’t go to the pub, there is no sport on and they’re sitting looking at the fence which probably blew down in February. They’ve all taken the decision to invest in the garden which is great.” The decision of some other mills to shut for a period also opened the door to new customer conversations for A&J Scott. “We have a far greater customer base then we did prior to this episode. So, it’s been a difficult but overall positive experience.”

Investment with Kallfass

A&J Scott has a primary sawmill line – (hybrid of Soderhamn Eriksson and Brodbaek technology) for cutting small to medium sized logs and another line (EWD) for cutting the oversized logs. The new Kallfass line installed in May, 2019 is focused on secondary processing.

“We had quite a sprawling, manually-operated secondary processing department which over the years had grown arms and legs and consisted of lots of small machines across the site,” said Mr Scott. “We wanted to consolidate it and upgrade the machinery in the process. Essentially the aim was to increase the volume of wood processed per hour per person – which we have done with the Kallfass line. We have also improved health and safety / environmental provisions and future proofed secondary processing/value-adding for the next 10-20 years.”

Conversations started between A&J Scott and Kallfass three years ago and included some visits to Kallfass customers in Germany and Holland, as well as several visits to Alnwick to find a solution to automate the mill’s secondary production processes.

“We looked at what was available in the market,” added Mr Scott. “We deemed the Kallfass solution and the equipment to be the best and chose them as our supplier and further developed the project with them.” A&J Scott had not previously worked with Kallfass as a technology provider – Kallfass was the turnkey technology partner for the project. “We designed the line, integrated the different machinery and also installed the complete line in the building,” said Matthias Link, Kallfass sales manager.

Kallfass technology included cross-cutting, strapping, pointing, round-topping, stacking and destacking. It also integrated an existing resaw, a new Rex planer, Mosca mini-bundling and a Fromm bundling system. The cost of the entire project was in the region of £4m and installation took about six months. All work steps for the manufacturing of fencing products are now integrated in one fully automated production line in a confined space. The line process starts with a forklift truck feeding the line with raw material ranging from 800-4900mm in length, 75-250mm in width and 16-200mm in thickness. This is followed by destacking, cross-cutting to length, post pointing, radius trimming of fence boards, resawing of single parts/cants, singling out and planing, mini bundelling and multiple crosscutting and stacking/strapping.

“We have an extensive range of everything from a 450mm 50x50mm peg which is 4-way pointed to a piece of decking and everything in between – panel battens, featheredge boards, panel cappings,” added Mr Scott. “Everything we produced up until the installation for the Kallfass line we did on smaller machines so the idea was to consolidate, take out those smaller machines, upgrade and also build in some extra capacity as well.”

New line features

One of the biggest advances for A&J Scott has been the revolution of its post-pointing operations. “We expanded into the highways post and rail market, not long before we commissioned the line,” explained Mr Scott. “That market involves a lot of post-pointing. Previously, we had a man working full time, overtime, all sorts of hours just to keep-up doing it all manually. Now we can comfortably cope with the level of demand within normal hours in a fraction of the time using the Kallfass line. “We’ve gone from doing 1-2 posts per minute at the very most to doing 10-12 a minute, so it’s a huge uplift in productivity. It has revolutionised that product operation.”

Kallfass designed a fully automated post pointing machine with four motors for pointing posts with a biggest section of 200 x 200mm. Mr Link highlighted the haunching machine for profiling fence boards as another important feature. “In this line Kallfass shows the ability that we can build up the whole process of fencing and post pointing in a line. There is not another line which includes so many functions as this line. It was not so easy to design it, but at the end it is really impressive. “In this line, the post pointing, haunching and feeding the planer were important, as well as integrating the existing resaw.

“In conjunction with other parts of the line, the post-pointing can offer a very flexible very versatile, very extensive product offering,” added Mr Scott. “In the line we can post-point, incise, bundle and stack and crosscut. We can do everything, it’s a bit like a Swiss army knife!”

Mr Scott said producing the featheredge boards in the resaw and then stacking them as a pack afterwards in the stacker was a highlight and had increased feed speeds. “The stacking and destacking functions are integrated so it’s fully automatic. We now have end-to-end production whereas previously we had to have a slight wait.” Mini-bundling is another interesting feature of the line, giving A&J Scott the ability to build mini-bundles as part of a larger pack. “Mini-bundles has been something the company has been asked for over the years, so it’s something we wanted to build into the line. “This helps for the DIY chain business. Bundling 8-10 featheredge boards together in mini-bundles keeps the quality of the product better, so if takes a while to finish the pack off, you don’t get that horrible banana-shaped featheredge board that you get when it sits in the sun. “The DIY market isn’t a huge market for us, it’s something we dip into and out of, but it’s always nice to be able to do it.

Increased productivity

A&J Scott ran the new line on a double shift in April and again in July. “Because the new line requires so few people to staff, we now have the ability to easily increase the shifts without taking on lots of people,” said Mr Scott. “Essentially we can double the throughput for a short period of time very easily. So operationally it’s far easier to turn up and turn down so it has allowed us to capitalise on the market and help internal pressure with customer demand and backlogs. “That’s given us something we didn’t have before because previously to double shift a department required an extra 25-30 people which isn’t easy. “It is far more efficient and we are getting a lot more cubic metres per head per hour per day than we were previously. We are processing about 600m3 of value-added products a week now and we could easily double that if we wanted to.”

Mr Link said the UK fencing market was very big and very specific in terms of its requirements. “This installation gives A&J Scott the ability to produce everything automatically and that is the unique feature of this installation,” he said. Mr Scott agreed, adding that there are fencing lines in the UK that destack and stack automatically but none that have as many features. “They may only be for featheredge or for battens or grading but there’s nothing that does everything.”

Kallfass is working with other UK and Ireland sawmillers and it is currently installing a line at Murray Timber. Other installations include at Glennon Brothers, James Jones & Sons and Ransfords. “At the moment the market is really good and we have a long delivery time,” said Mr Link. For A&J Scott, further operational tweaks will be made to the new line in the coming months. While business has been very good in 2020, Mr Scott is mindful that Q4 and early next year may be more challenging. “As a company and as an industry we need to be aware of what’s coming around the corner. When you look at the job loss numbers in the UK it can’t be good in the medium term.”

However, having invested in a flexible, automated value-added line, A&J Scott seems ready to deal with future challenges and market opportunities.

The Kallfass line was installed in May last year

The line focuses on secondary production

Post Pointing is now 10-12 posts per minute

The line enables A&J Scott to double the throughput for a short period of time very easily

Neue Nachsortierung EN New re-sorting system

The Pfeifer sawmill in Uelzen has been in business for almost 30 years and, while timber production was originally around 200,000 cubic metres p.a., the anticipated volume this year is 500,000 m³. This enormous increase over the years means that bottlenecks are experienced at a variety of production stages. One of these was remedied around the turn of the year 2018/19.

The Pfeifer Group sawmill in Uelzen/DE is primarily involved in the production of packaging material and timber. “We’re a completely integrated location, utilising every product created at the site”, stresses site manager Marco De Gennaro in reference to the associated block production and CHP plant. Timber production has more than doubled since the mill was commissioned in 1991. The target volume for 2019 is 500,000 m³. The Pfeifer Group invests constantly to maintain its state-of-the-art technological capability and continuously enhance performance. A further step in this direction was taken in the autumn of 2018 when Kallfass (Baiersbronn/DE), specialists for mechanisation, installed a new sorting system for dry material. A re-sorting plant was already in operation Uelzen, but this had reached the limits of its performance. “We liked the Kallfass concept very much, and the company had proven to be a good partner”, explained De Gennaro. The new system is designed for a volume of 90,000 m³/p.a. “All our dry timber will run through this line in future”, says the site manager. He is particularly satisfied with the millimetre precision with which boards from 600 mm in length are cut, a point he emphasised in our discussion.

Sophisticated solution

The new dry sorting system enables Pfeifer to process raw material from 2.5 to 4 m in length. Karsten Gottschalk, project manager at Pfeifer in Uelzen, quantifies board cross sections at a thickness of 12 to 100 mm and a width of 70 to 250 mm. The generously dimensioned sawn timber discharge is suitable for either double packets with a width of 1.2 m or 2 m wide large packets. A tilt destacker separates the timbers in layers, whereby the stack battens fall automatically onto a conveyor belt. Kallfass installed an additional automatic batten collector for this purpose which, in effect, is a miniature sorting system. “As packets are often stacked in double layers, we separate the boards using a separation stage. In the case of single-layered packets, this can be passed over for a higher output”, explains Kallfass Managing Director Hans Haist during the tour. The boards pass by the operator in a transverse run-through, with the operator assessing them and ejecting substandard examples. This is followed by the tong loader that separates the board film. Kallfass guarantees a performance of 120 cycles per minute. A moisture meter measures the wood moisture. Material that is too moist is separated and dried again. The downstream Kallfass CNC crosscutting saw in Uelzen has four chop saws. This means that cutting with millimetre accuracy is possible as of a capping length of 600 mm. The stacking unit is equipped with magazines for automatic batten positioning. The finished packets are lowered using a hoisting unit where they are strapped and coated in film by an existing plant. The clean packets then stand on a roller conveyor ready for removal. Kallfass project manager Enrico Goldhahn summarises the advantages of the system: “No time is lost during destacking by the buffer, and just as little during packet assembly, thanks to continuous stacking with the auxiliary hoisting unit”. The new Kallfass re-sorting plant currently operates in two shifts. “But we can add another shift if necessary”, says De Gennaro.

Discharge: Kallfass installed a cross conveyor that provides space for several packets – then the process continues to the tilt destacker

Kallfass_Lattensammler

During separating in layers, the stack battens fall automatically downwards to the automatic batten collector.

Kallfass_Beurteilung

The boards run in the transverse transport past the worker who assesses them and, where necessary, ejects substandard examples.

Pfeifer-Kallfass_Lattenmagazin

Packet assembly and removal: Batten magazine with automatic stick placement.

Kallfass_Zuteilung

Individual cycling with tong loader: This has a capacity of up to 140 pieces a minute.

Kallfass_CNC-Crosscutting

The Kallfass CNC cross-cutting system enables cross-cutting of boards to the desired length.

Holzkurier 42/2019, pictures and text Martina Nöstler