Visuelle Qualitätskontrolle von Schnittholz

Für alle Dimensionen gerüstet EN Equipped for every dimension

Planing unit no. 5 has been in operation at Rettenmeier Holzindustrie in Ramstein, Germany since April. During the design phase, those responsible placed enormous importance on achieving a high level of flexibility, as Rettenmeier specialises in particular in supplying DIY stores.

The goal of Rettenmeier Holzindustrie is to increase added value in the company. “That’s why we invested in a further planing line in Ramstein”, explained Rettenmeier CEO Dr. Stephan Lang. He indicated that timber production in Ramstein is 600,000 solid cubic metres per annum in two shifts. The capacity of the planing units is about 200,000 m³ per annum. The sawmill group distributes around 35 % of the products it produces in the DIY sector. 35 % goes to the specialist German and international trade, 20 % to the industry and packaging sector and 10 % involves sawmill by-products.

Hobeleinzug

Rettenmeier CEO Dr. Stephan Lang and Kallfass Managing Director Hans Haist (from l.) in front of the planing machine feeder.

Rapid output achievement

Those responsible primarily focused on flexibility and, simultaneously, a high level of availability with regard to the new planing line. For this reason, mechanisation was entrusted to Kallfass in Baiersbronn-Klosterreichenbach, Germany. “We knew Kallfass would supply the solution we wanted”, Lang emphasised. The mechanisation specialist had already converted an existing planing line in Ramstein, and this worked out perfectly. In retrospect, Lang is more than satisfied with handling of the project. “I’ve rarely experienced such a perfect commissioning. We achieved almost 100 % output after four weeks, and 6000 m³ of battens had already been bundled in this period. If we had to, we’d construct the plant in the same manner again”.
Kallfass adapted the new planing line to fit an existing facility exactly. The plant can process lengths ranging from 2 to 5 m, widths of 60 to 300 mm and thicknesses of 14 to 120 mm. Issues relating to available space mean the vacuum lifting device destacks the dried timber packages in layers. A stick stripper brushes the stacking strips down and conveyor systems collect these. An operator initially assesses the workpieces visually in the transverse transport. Following this, they are checked with a Brookhuis moisture measuring. “Unsuitable timbers can still be ejected here”, explained Kallfass Managing Director Hans Haist. Kallfass subsequently installed the longitudinal feed in the direction of the WJS planing machine. Depending on the timber length, this can achieve up to a maximum of 80 cycles a minute.

„Kallfass handled the entire project impeccably. We achieved almost 100 % output within four weeks.“

Dr. Stephan Lang, CEO of Rettenmeier Holzindustrie

Zwischenlagerung Schnittholz in Filmetagen

Unsuitable dimensions can be stored temporarily onto a conveyor in film layers and then fed into the production process again.

Resorting for higher quality

There are two options downstream of the planing unit. Timbers that can be classified as a higher quality through cutting are sorted out to the left onto a conveyor in film layers. These can be fed into the process again if, for example, a dimension change occurs in the planing machine. “This resorting dispenses with the need for a further stacking system and complex trimmer station”, said Haist. The majority of planed workpieces are pulled onto a cross conveyor behind the conveyor with the temporarily stored film layers. An operator examines the workpieces here, ejects timber pieces of unsuitable quality and, by drawing on the timbers, can determine the chop cuts. In addition, Rettenmeier opted for a bundling system. In the case of single pieces, this simply involves “running over” these with transport chains. Kallfass also integrated a labelling system in this section. Kallfass was already involved in the development of this solution at Cordes, and it is also employed in Ramstein. “Both the bundles and wooden strips can be labelled”, explained Haist.

Following this, the timbers pass through the tried and trusted multiple cross-cut saw from Kallfass. The saw is equipped with four variable saw aggregates. The layers are then transferred to the stacking system which is equipped with magazines with automated stick placement. The stacker is also suitable for DIY packages (i.e. quarter packages). Finally, the finished packages are foil-wrapped and prepared for shipping. When it comes to foil wrapping, Kallfass provided yet another machine that mills the grooves in squared timbers. “This has proven its worth on numerous occasions”, said Haist.
“The new planing line allows us to achieve classic four-sided planing and, also, separation, or simply tongue and groove sections. That makes us extremely versatile. Kallfass provided us with a simple, but extremely efficient solution that allowed us to cover all requirements”, Lang confirmed.

Holzsortiment

Rettenmeier processes four types of timber in Ramstein (including Douglas fir) to create products for the construction industry and specialist trade.

Leistenabstreifung mit Leistenbesen

Following destacking in layers with a vacuum lifter, a stick stripper brushes the stacking strips down.

Visuelle Qualitätskontrolle von Schnittholz

A worker examines the workpieces and can realise chop cuts by drawing on the timbers.

Bündelungsanlage

Kallfass also provided Rettenmeier with a bundling system complete with marking station…

Mehrfachablängsäge mit vier Sägen

… and the tried and trusted multiple cross-cut saw with four saw aggregates.

Leistenmagazine zur Holzleistenlegung

Hans Haist and Stephan Lang observe stick placement and the stacking of packages.

Images and text Martina Nöstler, Holzkurier

Holzkurier 38/2021

Kallfass Sonderlösungen für Deckenelement-Werk

Leimholzwerk spielt alle Stücke EN Glued timber plant has it all

Multi-storey production for multi-storey timber construction

Step-by-step, Best Wood Schneider has filled its new ceiling element plant with more and more processing steps over the last few years. On three floors it now has a BSH line (glued-laminated timber) and a BSP line (cross-laminated timber) line, from which trimmed and glazed rib elements can be produced downstream. The bulk of the highly complex production was planned and realised in close cooperation with Kallfass.

With the “best wood CLT Box Ceiling”, Best Wood Schneider from Eberhardzell in Germany, has successfully combined the positive properties of BSP and BSH. The combination of glued-laminated timber and ribbed beams results in a structurally effective and at the same time space-creating timber element which is comparatively low in weight. Finish-trimmed and glazed, the result is a high degree of prefabrication with quick installation times on site.
Explained in a few short sentences here, these wooden box elements are the result of many years of development work, which also posed major challenges in terms of machine and plant engineering too. “We produce exclusively to order and offer our customers a wide range of products and finishing steps,” explains Schneider Project Manager Andreas Schilling and adds: “In addition, there is the complex arrangement of the production lines over a number of levels.” Schneider realised the plant over three storeys with numerous interim levels – the timbers are transported back and forth for the individual processing steps between the levels at 0 m, 6.5 m and 12.5 m by two lifts, before the automatic transfer of the finished elements to a high-bay warehouse. “This arrangement saves building land and above all means shorter distances within production,” says Managing Director Ferdinand Schneider, explaining the advantages of this arrangement.

Vollautomatisches Regalbediengerät

A fully automated storage and retrieval system links the individual processing steps with each other.

New production process

As one of the main suppliers, the tradition-steeped Swabian company Kallfass was commissioned for much of the planning work and also supplied large system components for all three levels of the production system. The Kallfass installation begins on the top floor where the single-layer boards are taken in. Elements which are later used for the transverse layers of the BSP, which is up to 1.25 m in width, are cut to length by a chop saw. The transverse layers are then lowered by a lift table and rotated through 90°. The downstream lay-up station uses longitudinal and transverse layers as well as a glue application station to produce the 16 m long layer package, which is transferred to the CLT press of another manufacturer.

“For the production of the ribbed ceilings we developed and realised a process with Schneider which had not previously existed in this form before.”

Hans Haist, Managing Director at Kallfass

After the press the boards seem to be spoilt for choice – but they always end up exactly where they are supposed to be, in dependency on each order. “A roller conveyor on rails installed by us picks up the boards and, in accordance with the instructions from the master computer, brings them to the glazing line, planer, trimming centre or to the storage and retrieval system realised by us,” says Kallfass Managing Director Hans Haist, explaining the options. The latter is fully automated, places the components in interim storage and links the individual processing steps with each other. For example, the storage and retrieval system also charges the rib element production system, whereby Haist does not wish to provide further details about this part of the installation, with the following reasoning: “For the production of the ribbed ceilings we developed and realised a process with Schneider which had not previously existed in this form before.” The rib elements can be finish-trimmed and/or sanded and glazed after production – just like the BSP elements.

Ready-made laminated beam ceilings

On the middle floor, 6.5 m above ground level, Schneider produces the laminated beam elements. This is dealt with by Kallfass and it transfers them on – depending on the order – for further processing or stretch foil wrapping, after which the elements are moved on to the high-bay warehouse immediately downstream.
In the same way as for the box elements, Schneider also offers its customers glazing for the laminated beam ceilings. If this is required, an inclined lift, also from Kallfass, brings the parts to the ground floor. Here, Schneider employees rectify any surface damage before the elements run through a two-stage sanding and glazing process. On this level Kallfass is responsible for the complete mechanised solution between the machines.

The glazed elements are transferred back to the middle floor again by the same inclined lift, where they are also packetised, packaged and placed in storage. From the high-bay warehouse the packages are transferred via a conveyor system to a central truck loading station, which was realised by Kallfass some years ago.

Erfolgreiches Projekt von Kallfass und best wood Schneider

Following the successful project at the headquarters, talks get straight under way about the next major project together in Meßkirch.

Maximum flexibility

In the event of a fault – for example, the failure of one of the two glazing lines – Schneider can reschedule the elements along the running line at any time. “This maximum flexibility in terms of production, namely that every element can run through all possible production stages and can be fed in and out at any point was demanded by Schneider and was one of the biggest challenges of this project,” stressed Haist. That this worked out successfully and all other promises made by Kallfass were fulfilled to the satisfaction of Schneider is perhaps best confirmed by the follow-up order: In Meßkirch, Best Wood Schneider is currently realising a production line which is envisaged to set new standards, especially in terms of logistics – from log deliveries to the finished BSP, the aim is to completely dispense with stackers. The systems from Kallfass will once again play a central role here too.

Kallfass Wender zur Positionsausrichtung

A turning device moves the element into the correct position. Since many of the timbers are produced in exposed quality, this is particularly gentle on the material.

Zwei Kallfass-Aufzüge verbinden drei Produktionsebenen

Two lifts from Kallfass connect the three levels for the timbers.

BSP-Platten lasiert und abgebunden

Depending on the order, the BSP boards are glazed, trimmed and/or processed further into rib elements.

Kallfass Sonderlösungen für Deckenelement-Werk

Kallfass is one of the main suppliers at the Schneider ceiling element plant and supplied numerous special solutions.

Erfolgreiches Projekt von Kallfass und best wood Schneider

Following the successful project at the headquarters, talks get straight under way about the next major project together in Meßkirch: Max (left) and Ferdinand (third from left) Schneider and Andreas Schilling (right) from Best Wood Schneider together with the Kallfass managing directors.

Images and text: Günther Jauk, Holzkurier
Holzkurier BSP-Special 2021

Etikettierung und Bündelung

Alle 50 Sekunden:
ein 4m-Paket EN
A 4 m package every 50 seconds

From S10 to KVH structural timber – planing, marking, labelling, bundling, foil wrapping, stacking of everything at up to 200 m/min

The extraordinary business success of Cordes Holz in Bremerhaven has compelled it to upgrade the planing unit after only two years. The plant was developed, expanded and modernised, and the result is a completely new Kallfass planing mill.

Kallfass had started the planing unit at Cordes Holz at the turn of the year 2018/2019. At that time, the line was, in essence, explicitly designed for DIY store products all over Europe. “The plant was extremely robust and very quick. In fact, it went so well that, despite our complete satisfaction, we were obliged to order an upgrade of the machine from Kallfass two years later”, explains Andreas Cordes, the owner. His primary wish was to enhance the level of flexibility with regard to dimensioning. And, while they were at it, they could also expand the marking options and, once again, increase the performance of the planing machine.

“The success of the machine forced us to upgrade after only two years”

Andreas Cordes

Takes on everything up to 290 mm and 6 m in length

What emerged was a universal plant that can do everything “from an S10 batten to raw solid structural timber, and from rhombic sections to square planing”, as Cordes describes it. That is considerably more products than could previously be manufactured. The maximum cross section is 290 mm by 165 mm and length of 6 m. Output was increased, despite comprehensive marking, labelling, foil wrapping, bundling and stacking options. The mechanisation is so powerful that the Rex Bigmaster could be enhanced from 100 to 200 m/min. The planing unit was designed for smaller solid structural timber cross sections, but it can now reach twice the speed and handle a much broader dimensional spectrum.

22 fitters for “open-heart surgery”

Kallfass realised the conversion during continuing operation. Up to 22 fitters were required to ensure that the general reconstruction could be achieved within ten weeks with only a single brief shutdown. “Actually, everything was changed, with the plant being expanded in three directions, and a lot of scanners, sensors and marking units were added”, explains Kallfass Project Manager Enrico Goldhahn. “It was open-heart surgery, and we performed it by working in two shifts, including over the weekend. We’re proud that, in spite of all the changes, hardly any stoppage occurred”.

Lagenweise Entstapelung, Leistenscanner mit Leistenabstreifung

There is a lot going on at the planing facility entrance: layer by layer separation, stick discharge, stick scanner, dimension check and feeding into the Bigmaster

Joint concept

“The plant, as it now exists, was a joint development undertaken by REA Jet, Cordes and us”, says Goldhahn. Among other things, he recommended that a buffer conveyor be installed upstream of the destacking device. The plant picks up an uninterrupted stream of packages for vacuum destacking. “We suggested here that a vacuum destacker with a hoisting unit, stick stripper and ATB stick scanner be selected, and that’s exactly how it was constructed”, relates Goldhahn.
At Cordes, timbers that are too short or unsuitable can be separated upstream of the planing unit. “It’s not unusual for a short piece to be delivered with a package, but I can do without that in the planing mill”, explains Cordes, which is also why a warping meter from ATB in Roggenburg, Germany and a turning device were installed here.

Powerful, despite many processing options and cutting

The first REA Jet labelling run then followed, printing all the required information on the DIY products. The downstream multiple cross-cut saw is from Kallfass. “We can now trim with millimetre accuracy. From 800 mm short timbers to 6 m excess lengths – that means we’re extremely flexible”, says Cordes with delight during the tour of the new planing mill.
He can also call up the plant performance data live on his mobile phone. During the on-site visit of the Holzkurier, a 4m DIY package was completed every 50 seconds.

Folierung, Umreifung, Paketzettel

Foil wrapping, strapping, packet note – everything compact

Six strapping units for small and large pieces

“We delivered the first plant to Cordes with six strapping machines for bundling small and large pieces”, continues Goldhahn. Finally, the packages can also be wrapped in foil. Kallfass also provided an offsetting station for quart packages. The stacking system can handle both small and large packages up to a package height of 2.4 m. “The automatic squared timber stacking is accelerated further, making everything perfect”, says Goldhahn, explaining the success.

Only two operators for the plant

Only two employees work in the plant on each shift. The team monitors the process and ensures that material such as labelling rolls is filled. Just how well the two work together became apparent during the visit. One of them focuses on feeding timber pieces up to the rear of the planing machine. A fault must be remedied here in the case of broken raw timber, or labelling rolls inserted. The second man stands beside the package assembly system. Bearers (squared timbers) or sticks are refilled there.

Praise from the biggest name in Germany

If Andreas Cordes accepts the plant by saying “We’re very satisfied”, his words carry weight. This is the judgement of a man whose corporate group includes German planing specialists such as Osmo Holz in Warendorf, Holz-Henkel in Göttingen and Krages Holzindustrie in Hamburg. In addition, Rettenmeier, a subsidiary, also creates planed workpieces at several locations. This means that the Cordes Group probably has the greatest planing capacity in Germany.

Cordes still has major plans for Bremerhaven. Solid structural timber will be increased to 200,000 m³ per annum, along with an additional 50,000 m³ a year of glued laminated timber. Kallfass is a significant partner for deliveries of these systems. A test run should commence this year.

Three stacks wait in front of the facility, with timber fed in automatically

Enrico Goldhahn und Andreas Cordes

Enrico Goldhahn and Andreas Cordes (from left): The Kallfass project manager and the Cordes Group owner

Hobelbeschickung mit Hochgeschwindigkeit

Enhanced planing unit: the Rex Bigmaster now runs at up to 200 m/min

Integrierte Etikettierung

Marking at full speed: units supplied by REA Jet

Millimetergenaue Kappung mit Mehrfachablängsäge

Trimming with millimetre accuracy, whether 80 cm short timbers or 290 mm solid structural timbers

Automatische Paket-Kantholzlegung

Automatic package squared timber stacking

Text and images: Gerd Ebner, Holzkurier
Holzkurier 26/2021

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

Schrägboxensortierung

Schmuckstück:
Neues Schwachholzsägewerk EN
An Absolute Jewel:
New Small Diameter Sawmill

Smart, clean and safe

Kickoff in Wunsiedel was December 2019, with the first trunk being fed through the new line exactly one year later. Construction of the GELO Timber sawmill continued during the most difficult times imaginable. Despite all the adversities the Corona pandemic presented, it proved possible to adhere to an already tight schedule.

The main product, predominantly lamellas for glulam timer, is intended for the supply of glulam plants. Side boards which cannot be processed are supplied to packaging customers. “In future, the sawmill will reduce purchasing considerably for both companies in Wunsiedel and Weißenstadt. However, 100 % self-sufficiency is not possible”, explains Küspert. Wunsiedel primarily proved attractive as a location because GELO Timber had in WUN Bioenergie a pellet producer and cogeneration plant operator as a neighbour. But WUN Bioenergie is not just any neighbour: Küspert is co-initiator of the energy park and, additionally, a shareholder and Managing Director. This creates attractive synergies with, in essence, sawmill waste being exchanged for electricity and heat. Küspert calls the sawmill the “Smart solution 4.0”.

An enormous feat

Construction commenced in Wunsiedel in December 2019. An already tight schedule was adhered to, despite the Corona pandemic, and the first trunk was fed through the saw line a year later in December 2020. “It was an enormous challenge for everyone involved, but we were able to commission the plant within the given time”, says the Managing Director, and he is proud of how successful this cooperation has been. A second shift was already launched a few weeks ago. The sawmill has been designed for an annual output of 350,000 solid cubic metres in two shifts. “That may not seem a lot at first glance, but more than 18 million linear metres of logs need to pass through the plant every year to achieve this output. Our sawmill in Weißenstadt, where we process larger diameters, is only handling 4 million linear metres for an output of 250,000 m³/per annum”, relates Küspert. The Wunsiedel sawmill is intended for thin-end diameters of 8 to 25 cm and a timber length of 2.5 to 5.3 m.

Gelo Boxensortierwerk

Excellent cooperation: Wolf-Christian Küspert (l.) with Kallfass Project Manager Matthias Link.

Clean sorting

Main and side boards are conveyed via a tilt destacker onto two separate decks towards the sorting and stacking system from Kallfass in Klosterreichenbach/DE. The mechanisation specialist also installed an automated stick feeder. The main and side boards are fed through an unscrambler onto a curved conveyor. The worker assesses the timbers on the downstream conveyor. If a face section is necessary, he pulls the board up to 0.5 m from the conveyor. During the visit, Kallfass Project Manager Matthias Link pointed out the rollers that make handling of even heavy boards extremely easy.

Single feeding with a TongLoader towards the wane scanner and trimmer occurs in the transverse run-through. The TongLoader grips each piece in a manner similar to a hand, separates the board film, singulating and feeding it into the next conveyor. The significant advantage of the TongLoader is that it can also handle different timber dimensions, piece by piece. Link indicates that the Kallfass sorting system output is up to 120 cycles per minute.

A Microtec scanner determines the dimension and detects the wane. The Variosort sorting control system assigns each board an appropriate box number and information for the downstream Kallfass trimmer. The latter has seven saw blades and can also be used for destructive cuts. “The operator can also indicate additional characteristics for boards through colour marking, indicating conditions such as beetle damage, blue stain or rot”, explains Link.

“This is an absolute jewel, and we’re proud to have commissioned the plant on schedule, especially in such a challenging time”.

Wolf-Christian Küspert, Managing Director GELO Timber

Boxes up to 30 % larger

GELO Timber decided to pick 40 inclined boxes. In order to reduce stacking on the premises, the Kallfass system can stack packages with a width of up to 1.65 m and a height of 2 m. These dimensions also facilitate best possible exploitation of the Valutec continuous kiln. Kallfass created larger inclined boxes than usual for this reason. “The boxes are around 30 % larger”, says the Kallfass Project Manager.

Full boxes are emptied downwards onto a cross conveyor and separated by a step separator. Kallfass also installed the re-sorting system for kiln packages above the cross conveyor, with one kiln package making up to two or three shipping packages. These are separated in layers through tilt destacking. The stacking sticks fall automatically onto a conveyor belt and are collected separately.

A worker can even assess the quality of both damp and kiln timber again if necessary, or reject undesired pieces. Subsequent to this, the Kallfass mechanisation system creates the layers according to the package specification, and these are conveyed through the Kallfass multiple cross-cut saw. This is equipped with a zero line and four variable saw aggregates. Placement forks then transfer the completed layers to the stacking system. Stacking output is up to twelve layers per minute.

The Kallfass stacking system is equipped with eight double magazines for kiln and dispatch sticks. Kiln sticks are 1.6 m long, while dispatch sticks have a length of 1.2 m. Strip laying is automatic. Finished packages are lowered using a paternoster lift. Damp material is conveyed from there to the Valutec continuous kiln opposite. Shipping packages are conveyed to a Fromm strapping station which Kallfass has retrofitted with an automated feeding system for squared timbers.

As initially mentioned, Kallfass also provided the automated stick feeder for kiln and dispatch sticks. The feeder was automated to cope with the volume of kiln sticks required. Stick bundles are transferred to a cross conveyor and separated. A scanner checks the dimensions and detects damage to sticks such as knotholes and splitting. Unsuitable sticks can be ejected downwards through a flap. Following scanning, the sticks are collected and bundled with ten sticks per bundle. Dispatch sticks are provided using a manually charged belt conveyor. A robot grips the stick packages, filling the stacker magazines with them. The major advantage of this solution is the option to position the magazines variably and still fill them automatically.

 

Successful project

Complete administration of the sawmill is handled by GELO in Weißenstadt. This enabled them to keep personnel figures low in Wunsiedel. “We currently have 32 personnel working in two shifts. The sawmill can be operated by a mere eleven people during each shift. We wanted to build an absolute jewel – and we’ve succeeded in this in every respect. All the solutions involved were implemented exactly as we imagined. The new sawmill means we are well equipped to face the future”, says Küspert. He is particularly proud of the overall concept involving the neighbouring pellet and cogeneration plant – “It’s a location advantage that nobody can take away from you”.

The complete investment involved EUR 38.5 million. The sawmill location covers an area of 11 ha, 7 of which are presently in use. Küspert also has a few pleasant ideas regarding the rest of the location. “But first, our main focus will be on the new sawmill”, concluded the Managing Director.

Vereinzeler

The main and side board assortments are fed to the Kallfass sorting and stacking system via two buffer decks and a curved conveyor.

The worker pulls the boards forwards for the end section, with rollers facilitating the work.

Eintaktung mit Tongloader

The TongLoader ensures a rapid cycle feed towards the scanner and inclined boxes.

Mehrfachablängsäge mit vier variablen Sägen

The multiple cross-cut saw from Kallfass trims the layers with a zero line and four variable saws.

Leisten-Doppelmagazine

GELO Timber employs a stick robot from Kallfass to facilitate filling of the double magazine.

Gestapeltes Schnittholzpaket

One of the first completed timber packages from GELO Timber in Wunsiedel – cleanly cut, stacked and dried and destined for laminated wood production.

Images and text: Martina Nöstler, Holzkurier 11/2021
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Kontinuierlicher Zufluss
mit Leistenroboter EN
Continuous inflow with stick robot

Handling of stacking sticks often appears to be something of a “side issue”. However, the Kallfass installation at the Sägewerk Egger sawmill in Brilon demonstrates the enormous workload reduction automatic feeding brings in packet assembly.

Several thousand stacking sticks need to be handled daily at the Sägewerk Egger sawmill in Brilon. “Previously, the continuous filling of stacking plant magazines during main and side board sorting was an enormously laborious task”, relates Jens-Michael von Werder who is responsible for production technology at the sawmill. Up to nine workers were involved in each shift, which meant a considerable number of personnel were working during three-shift operation. For this reason, it was decided to invest in an automated stick handling system with robot charging of magazines at Egger.

Flexible solution

“We found the standard variants available too rigid. We wanted a flexible solution which we could use to handle both drying chamber and stabilisation battens and squared timbers”, continues von Werder. Kallfass, Baiersbronn/DE, offered Egger the perfect solution. “We’d already gain a positive impression of Kallfass during a project in the planing mill. Aside from this, Kallfass has always proved to be a good partner when it came to tackling challenging tasks”, says von Werder. The mechanisation specialist presented those responsible at Egger with a flexible solution that appeared to offer them cutting-edge technology. “We had already installed other automated stick systems in the past, but the project at Egger in Brilon was the most comprehensive to date”, explains Kallfass Managing Director Hans Haist.

Geschäftsleitung Kallfass mit Projektleiter von Sägewerk Egger

In front of the sticks being fed in: Ernst Kallfass, Jens-Michael von Werder and Hans Haist (l. to r.)

Two lines, three robots

The “open-heart surgery”, as von Werder describes it, was performed from April to September, with Kallfass realising the entire automated stick line installation while plant operation continued. The actual installation took two months. “The project went very well and, most importantly, free of accidents. We had practically no downtimes”, confirms von Werder. Egger in Brilon cuts around 1 million m² per annum. The timber is sorted in main and side board plants which are installed in parallel. The new Kallfass line charges both plants with drying chamber and stabilisation battens and squared timbers. Stacking sticks from the dry sorting station are fed together with the squared timbers in uprights to the new Kallfass line. The uprights are discharged onto a buffer conveyor. The system automatically separates the squared timbers from the sticks. The squared timbers are then fed to a stacking system via a separate chain buffer line. The Kallfass control system assigns the squared timbers to both stacking plants based on package data. The sticks take another route, with the Kallfass mechanism separating these and feeding them through a scanner. This determines the dimensions and curvature. Unsuitable sticks are discharged through a flap. The system handles eleven sticks together in each case on an inclined conveyor.

“We anticipate the new stick handling system paying off within a very short space of time”.

Jens-Michael von Werder, responsible for production technology

Andrea, Hubertus and Paul

Andrea, the first robot on the line, grabs these eleven stacking sticks and cycles them into the buffer conveyor. “This is designed for around 3000 sticks”, explains Haist. Hubertus and Paul, the two other robots with swivel arms, pick up the stacking sticks if necessary and deposit them in the new Kallfass packet assembly magazines. “The system is designed for an output of 100 sticks per minute”, estimates Haist. “We hold the property rights to this robot charger”, he adds. There is only one stick length for all package widths in the case of stabilisation battens. These are adapted to the package through positioning and shifting of stick placement. “This solution means we are considerably more flexible than with different lengths, but the cost of materials is higher”, says von Werder. Kallfass also upgraded the stacker and delivered the entire control system over the course of this investment. This means that it is now possible to control the placement of more sticks in the lower five to six layers to prevent timber breakage. From Egger’s point of view, operation of the new stick handling system has been both smooth and absolutely satisfactory. “The goal in the area of stick handling is to now manage with four employees per shift. This means the investment will pay off within a very short space of time”, concludes von Werder.

Zuführung Stapelleisten in Richtung Scanner

Feeding the stacking sticks towards the scanner that determines the dimensions and curvature.

Leisteneintaktung Hauptware

… while "Hubertus" is responsible for the main board plant.

Zusammenfassung Leisten

The Kallfass system picks up eleven sticks in each case which are cycled onto the buffer conveyor by Andrea.

Leistenmagazine

Kallfass also upgraded the stacker during the course of the new system installation.

Befüllung Leistenmagazine mit Roboter

"Paul" grabs these sticks and fills the side board plant magazines with them …

Stapelpaket mit Stapelleisten

More stacking sticks can be placed in the lower five to six layers to prevent timber breakage.

Photos and text: Martina Nöstler, Holzkurier 51-52/2020

Kallfass-Hegener_Zufuehrung-von-Saege

Flexibilität auf eine neue Ebene gehoben EN Flexibility raised to a new level

Hegener-Hachmann Sawmill

The 12 October 2019 saw commissioning of the new sawmill at Hegener-Hachmann. This involved probably the most flexible production processes every realised in a medium-sized sawmill enterprise, posing a planning and technical challenge to all involved.

“Hanxleden 4.0 online sawmill – innovative, resource-efficient sawmill concept for SME” was the project title of the approx. € 11 million investment made by Hegener-Hachmann, Schmallenberg/DE. The new construction took exactly a year from October 2018 to October 2019. After a further twelve months, the planned cutting volume has, in terms of figures, been achieved – but right from the outset.

Hegener
Kallfass-Hegener_Sortimente-gemischt

Exploiting as many resources as possible

Hubertus Hegener-Hachmann heads the company in what is now the fourth generation. He receives significant support in this role from Markus von Weichs who, as his business partner, is primarily responsible for purchasing logs. Having started as a forestry business with an originally small sawmill as a sideline, Hegener-Hachmann had a used head saw and a circular saw when he invested in the first expansion in 2007. “We decided in favour of a completely new construction to ensure the sustainability of our business and, insofar as possible, to be able to cut a broad variety of log types, including in part from our own forestry. Among other things, this enabled us to continue production independently at the location during the production phase. Our goal is to ensure careful and effective use of the resources used during the entire production process”, says Hegener-Hachmann. “We want to process everything at a single location. As a medium-sized enterprise, we can only continue to exist on a broad basis”. What he means by this is not only classic sawn timber such as the raw material for solid structural timber, construction timber or landscaping timber. Hegener-Hachmann is well known in the region for his solid wooden flooring consisting of hard and softwood that goes by the name of “Gutshofdiele”. Larch, Douglas fir and Norway spruce are also processed.

As the entire endeavour is regarded as somewhat of a supra-regional flagship project in terms of flexibility, efficiency and conservation of resources, it received ERDF funding from the Ministry for Environment, Agriculture, Conservation and Consumer Protection of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia as part of the “Ressource NRW” call for projects. This covered 50 % of the components eligible for funding.

What has been created is a modern sawmill with a planned annual cutting capacity of at least 40,000 m³ for soft and hardwood. This has proven highly complex in terms of the processes involved. When it came to the cutting technology, Hegener-Hachmann chose an inclined log bandsaw with a chipper-canter for logs up to 10.5 m in length and with a diameter of 1.3 m. Around 70 % of the timber comes online from the log yard for cutting without presorting. Hegener-Hachmann placed his trust in the know-how of Kallfass (in Baiersbronn, Germany) when it came to mechanisation and the sorting and stacking system. “Aside from the economic viability of the investment, what was decisive for us was the supplier we placed our faith in to accompany us on this journey. The Kallfass solution also impressed us very much, and the company gave us a commitment to realise the project within the estimated time” reasoned Hegener-Hachmann. “Online cutting and the wide variation in product dimensions posed major challenges for us”, remembers Kallfass Managing Director Hans Haist. Kallfass also provided the control unit for the sorting system. “The demanding timbers and varied dimensions meant our programmers were faced with a difficult task“, explains Haist.

A lot of things are possible

The log is in all cases precut on the bandsaw and, following trimming, conveyed on to the Combimes BNK and/or head saw in the Kallfass sorting and stacking plant. However, two other options are also available: “Products with a length exceeding 6 m and a thickness of more than 105 mm, blocks or individual high-quality pieces can be conveyed into special discharge 1 on the head saw or special discharge 2 behind the BNK. These can then be lowered with care to the lower level using a hoisting unit”, explains Hegener-Hachmann. 

50 boxes and multiple occupancy

Timbers with a thickness of up to 105 mm, a width of 300 mm and a length of 6 m are fed into the Kallfass sorting system at Hegener-Hachmann. 50 inclined boxes are available here. With inclined boxes, the timber slides down more gently onto the chain conveyor during emptying. This is primarily an advantage where hardwood is involved. “Due to the enormous diversity of our products and the numerous wood types involved, the computer frequently assigns three different types to a single box if necessary”, says Hegener-Hachmann. In this case, the box is emptied when the filling level is reached and the dimensions which are not required are fed once again over a return run and sorted anew.

The timbers to be stacked are separated and assessed again by a worker with regard to quality in the transverse run-through. Inappropriate workpieces can be ejected or shortened here again. The boards are then fed through the Kallfass CNC multiple circular cross-cut saw. This cuts the timbers with zero and four variable saws, depending on requirements. “Cutting is perfect and realised with millimetre accuracy”, confirms the operator. This is followed by layer formation and packet assembly. Haist estimates the output to be up to ten layers or 60 boards a minute during cycling in. The packing system is equipped with eight magazines with automatic stick placement.

Finished packages are lowered using a hoisting unit. Space conditions mean that they are deposited on a roller conveyor located on one side. This pivots the package (which is on rails) through 90°. The package is then strapped and prepared for shipping. Half packages or packages that need to be unpacked without sticks after drying can be picked again using the connected tilt stacker during a renewed passage through the stacking plant.

Both the Hegener-Hachmann sawmill and Kallfass confirm their satisfaction with implementation and commissioning. The focus now is on ensuring together the continuous improvement of in-house processes and the data flow.

Kallfass-Hegener_Zufuehrung-von-Saege

Kallfass is responsible for a major part of the mechanisation at Hegener-Hachmann in the sawmill and the complete sorting and stacking plant.

Kallfass-Hegener_Sortimente-gemischt

A special feature: Hegener-Hachmann can sort different dimensions in a single box.

Hegener_Beurteilung

A worker takes a final look at the boards before they enter the stacking plant.

Hegener_Crosscutting

Kallfass also installed the reliable CNC multiple cross-cut saw.

Hegner_Paket-Drehung

A speciality, thanks to the space conditions: The packages arrive on the right from the stacking plant on the lower level, are pivoted through 90°on rails and then enter the strapping station.

Hegener

Excellent cooperation: Markus von Weichs, Kallfass Managing Directors Hans Haist and Ernst Kallfass and Hubertus Hegener-Hachmann (l. to r.).

Hegener_Gutshofdiele

Gutshofdiele: The Hegener-Hachmann sawmill markets its high-quality solid hard and softwood flooring under the Gutshofdiele name.

VerleimenVerpressen_Erzeugen_Querlagen

Alles aus einer Hand EN Everything from a single source

Kallfass, located in Baiersbronn/Germany, is well known as a mechanisation specialist. The same applies to the fact that the mechanical engineering company equips cross laminated timber systems. With this in mind, we can refer to some well-known projects. Recently Kallfass has added a CLT press (Cross Laminated Timber) and a CLT turning device.

The mechanical engineering company Kallfass from the Black Forest has already been involved as a supplier in several cross laminated timber projects in Austria and Germany. The most recent work completed was that of Stora Enso in Gruvön/Sweden. Construction work on this site began in 2018 and the system has been running in automatic mode since the beginning of 2019.

To date, this is the largest project for Kallfass in the area of cross laminated timber applications. The company not only supplied the entire mechanical equipment—from the feeding of packages to the acceptance of the finished pressed elements—but was also responsible for the overall layout and the complete safety control system. The fact that Stora Enso has selected Kallfass as its supplier is probably also due to the fact that Kallfass has already been involved in the Austrian CLT plants in Ybbs and Bad St. Leonhard, Austria. The total capacity in Sweden totals 100,000 m3/year.

Large packages also possible

Stora Enso also operates a sawmill in Gruvön, Sweden which supplies the raw materials for the laminated timber elements. The sawn timber (dried and battened or pre-planed) is transported by truck to the Kallfass feeding station. This feeding station is also designed for large packages up to 5.8 m long, 2 m wide, and 3 m high. A vacuum-operated de-stacking device separates the packets layer-by-layer. If stacking strips are available, a brush automatically scrapes them off and collects them. The Kallfass mechanism separates the layers and feeds the boards piece by piece to Finscan's quality scanner. In this area, the strength and the moisture of the timber is also measured. Any unsuitable workpieces are ejected from the process.

Two paths for the boards

“The scanner provides us with the information whether there are cracks on the front sides or knots in the base of the finger joints. If this is the case, we trim the front sides," says Kallfass Managing Director Hans Haist. The boards pass through a front end cross-cut with adjustable servo stop. Subsequently, the zero line is changed and the same process takes place on the other side of the board. If the scanner also finds undesirable wood features in the centre of the board, these pieces are ejected to an upper level where a cross-cut system made by PAUL Maschinenfabrik GmbH cuts out these areas. “However, this concerns only about 5% of the total quantity. Most of it goes straight on to the Grecon finger-jointing system”, describes Kallfass Project Manager Helge Widmann.

The Kallfass mechanisation cycles both the long workpieces and the cross-cut lengths from 800 mm upwards at a rate of up to 50 boards per minute. They travel in the direction of the finger-jointing system with the continuous press. Subsequently, the mechanisation takes over the finger-jointed lamellas again downstream of the moving cross-cut saw. These lamellas are between 8 and 16 m long. The applied adhesive can now cure on a 25 m long buffer section before Kallfass feeds the lamellas into the Rex planing machine. After the lamellas are pre-planed, they are cycled in the direction of the board press: First, a system provided by OEST Mineralölwerk GmbH, applies a layer of adhesive to the the lamellas. Subsequently, these lamellas are fed into the glueing press made by DIMTER GmbH. The single-layer boards produced in this way are then taken over again by a Kallfass system.

This is where the paths split: A VOITH crane picks up the longitudinal layers and transfers them to the intermediate storage. Previously, a chop saw, installed downstream of the glueing press, has already cut the longitudinal layers to the width required by the order. In order to make the best possible use of the DIMTER press, the longitudinal layers are always produced in 16 m lengths wherever possible. If shorter boards are required, Kallfass has developed a special system to recycle the remnants of the longitudinal layer.

Transverse layers measuring up to 1.5 m are stacked by Kallfass to a height of 2 m and are also transported by a VOITH crane to a second storage area. These processes are fully automated. A controller determines the suitable storage location.

Vereinzelung der Pakete

Sawed with millimetre precision

Now, the longitudinal and transverse layers are combined to form a layer package. The longitudinal layer already has the right format. The transverse layers, measuring up to a maximum of 1.5 m long, come from five buffer locations and are transferred to a 16 m long conveyor. Several boards are placed one after the other on this conveyor until the required board length is reached. If the length is exceeded, a saw cuts the transverse layer accordingly. The timber offcut then becomes the beginning of the next layer. Subsequently, vacuum systems alternately lift the single-layer boards onto a conveyor belt upstream of the press until the layer package is completely assembled. “Several CTL boards can also be laid on top of each other using a dry joint”, explains Widmann.

Downstream of the MINDA CLT press, Kallfass again takes over the multiple press layer package, separates the elements by means of a push-off process, and transports the elements to the grinding machine. Downstream, they are supplied to a VOITH crane, temporarily stored or transported to one of the three Hundegger machining centres.

In the interview Widmann mentions two more figures regarding the safety concept: “At the Stora Enso factory in Gruvön, 1.2 km of fencing and 82 safety doors were installed”.

Full-service provider

However, Kallfass cannot “only” supply the mechanisation for a cross laminated timber factory. Since last year the company also has a CLT press in its product range. “We have developed this CLT press in response to numerous customer requests”, explains Haist. Thanks to it modular and stand-alone segmental design, it makes no difference whether the layer package is built up of boards or pre-glued panels. The customer also has flexibility when it comes to the design of the workpiece. The board dimensions range from 7 to 20 m long, 2.2 to 3.6 m wide, and 6 to 60 cm high. The hydraulic system forms the core of the system. It enables an almost isobaric (without pressure difference) pressing process. In addition to vertical pressure, Kallfass also equips the cycle press with cross pressure units on request. The area-dependent pressure control enables a pressure in excess of 1 N/mm2 even at maximum plate width.

Kallfass will complete its CLT product range with a further innovation in the future: “We have developed a board turning device for cross laminated timber, which can turn the elements very easily and quickly”, explains Widmann. The turning device handles CLT up to 16 m long, 3.6 m wide and 300 mm thick. It is designed for a weight of more than 10 t. “With this device, CLT can be turned over without any risks and without hurting anyone. For example, in joinery centres, one area of application is for two-sided processing", concludes Haist.

Kallfass presented its new CLT press for the first time last year at the LIGNA Expo in Hanover, Germany.

Vereinzelung der Pakete

Kallfass supplied Stora Enso with the entire mechanisation in the cross laminated timber system – the picture shows the separation of the packages in layers.

The scanner (A) detects cracks and knots, the Kallfass saws (B) cut off the front sides accordingly.

Pressen Taktpresse

Modular design: Kallfass manufactures the CLT press in segments so that it can be adapted exactly to customer requirements

Mechanisation of the longitudinal (left) and cross layers (right) before they are assembled into the layer package.

Verleimen, Verpressen, Wenden

Turn once, please: To bring the longitudinal layers to the correct side, Kallfass installed a board turning device.

Text Martina Nöstler, Pictures Kallfass, Holzkurier BSP-Special 2020

Sortierung_Etagensortierung

Produktion verdoppelt EN Production has been doubled

Claude Schnepf, Managing Director of SCS, employs 70 personnel, 40 of which are working directly at the sawmill in the Alsatian commune of Steinbourg/FR. SCS generates an annual turnover of € 22 million. Schnepf’s goal is to reach € 30 million per annum, which is why he decided to double the capacity of his existing plant. Construction of the plant and conversion of the premises cost around € 10 million.

Scierie et Caisserie de Steinbourg (SCS) is one of the largest beech wood sawmills in France. It began life as a sawline consisting of a log bandsaw from the French manufacturer Rennepont, a Techrnan mechanization system and a trimmer. There was no automated sorting system. The beech wood is dried and dampened (steamed) using twelve fresh air/exhaust air dryers from Mühlböck, and there are plans to add a further five. The original line produced 50,000 m³ p.a. of high-quality beech timber for furniture manufacture, squared timber and wood for pallet production. 80 % of products are exported to China, Asia, the Levant region, Spain, Italy and Germany. A number of reasons led Claude Schnepf to choose Kallfass as a partner for this major project.

The two most important were the geographical proximity (the Kallfass plant is only about 100km away) and linguistic commonality. “Kallfass played a leading role in the planning and realisation of my new sawline, and our cooperation worked perfectly”, stressed Claude Schnepf.

The project was completed at an impressive speed. The planning phase started in autumn 2016, with the new line commencing operation in the summer of 2018.

Doubling capacity

The new line consists of a Primultini log bandsaw, with the mechanization, sorting and stacking systems being supplied by Kallfass. The trimmer was provided by EWD, with a multi-blade circular saw being supplied by Primultini.

The part of the plant provided by Kallfass commences downstream of the EWD trimmer. The trimmed timber is conveyed through the contactless measurement system by a cross conveyor. The dimension measurement system from Kallfass measures the thickness and width using a laser/encoder and length with a safety light barrier. Quality is assessed with the aid of chalk markings and luminescence sensors. The beech timber is then classified in thirteen levels. The customer can individualise sorting as required.

Sortierung_Etagensortierung

13 levels are available following sorting

Simplified variation options

When a box is filled, it is forwarded automatically to the packet assembly station, with stacking selectively possible using wooden or aluminium battens. The batten magazine is equipped with an automatic stick placement system. The completed packets can be collected by a forklift truck through a packet discharge on the outer wall.

“We configured the entire Kallfass plant with great care to avoid any damage to the high-quality timber involved”, explains Hans Haist, CEO of Kallfass.

Everything for pallets

Timber that does not meet quality criteria for furniture manufacture (e.g. squared timber with red heartwood) is cut to the desired length on a separate line using the Kallfass CNC crosscutting saw. The CNC crosscutting saw has four chop saws, enabling cutting of square timber with millimetre accuracy. Crosscut lengths ranging from 800 to maximum 3200 mm can be achieved. The capped square timbers are automatically forwarded downstream to the multi-blade circular saw for separation.

Training for employees

The second complete sawline has enabled SCS to double its capacity. Full exploitation of the machinery is only possible with training of additional personnel. Four employees working in two-shift operation are currently responsible for two band saws.

At least one additional machine is planned. Four employees are also working on the trimmer, with another worker currently undergoing training. “This completely new increase in production capacity is of little use to me without competent machine operators. We’re trying to give our current workers effective instruction while training new personnel to assist us”, adds Claude Schnepf.

Hans Haist, Claude Schnepf and Matthias Koch (EWD) in front of the new Kallfass sorting plant

The CNC cross cutting saw consists of four chop saws working with millimetre accuracy

Sortierung_Etagensortierung

13 levels are available following sorting

The batten magazine has an automatic stick placement system

The completed wood packages can be transported away from outside

Holzkurier 10/2020, pictures and text Ulrike Knaus

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