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Articles & Stories

First WM1000 sawmill commissioned in India

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

First WM1000 sawmill commissioned in India

Sri Murali Krishna & Co (SMK) has been an active and dynamic player in the sawmilling and timber wholesale sector in Chennai for the past 53 years. A third generation family business that is now headed up by timber expert and family patriarch Khimji Patel together with his son Pankaj Patel, SMK can trace its origins back to 1947 when the Patel family first settled in Chennai.

Originally from a farming background, the family’s decision to rather focus on sawmilling saw their Sri Krishna Sawmill opening its doors to the public for the first time in 1956.

The mill’s output was originally only focused on sawn hardwoods but as time passed laminates and veneers for composite board surface upgrades increasingly became popular which saw SMK & Co in 1979 branching out into board upgrade manufacturing.

Their diversified product range also now included a global hardwood procurement programme that tapped into markets in Africa, Asia, the America’s and Europe.

Growing the business organically was one thing. Wasting less timber, addressing skills shortages, reducing production costs and providing for more competitively priced end products were some of the other aspects SMK considered when they decided to opt for Wood-Mizer’s LT70 hydraulic thin-kerf narrow band saw sawmill.

SMK uses the LT70 to process the large diameter hardwood logs that they cut at the mill every day. The LT70’s 910mm log diameter capacity and its robust six meter log bed (13m with extra bed extension) makes it easy for SMK to cut the 600 to 800mm diameter logs that pass through the mill. The hydraulic log loading and positioning function makes it easy to load the large and heavy logs onto the saw and position it for cutting which reduces manual inputs and improves productivity. 

The LT70’s computer controlled sizing unit also allows the operator to adjust the cut size on the fly. This increases sizing flexibility and productivity.

 

WM1000 strength

The next round of mill improvements saw SMK commissioning Wood-Mizer’s WM1000 sawmill in June 2013, which now gives SMK further capacity to process extra-large diameter hardwood logs.

“We decided to get the WM1000 after we saw what the LT70 was capable of,” Pankaj Patel says. “The LT70’s performance, which has now been redeployed to process teak and semi-hardwood logs of up to 500 mm diameter, convinced us that the WM1000 can only improve our long-term competitiveness,” Pankaj says.

The WM1000 is the largest Wood-Mizer sawmill to date and is designed to saw large diameter (<1,7m or 67”) softwoods, hardwoods and tropical species into high value product.

It was specifically developed to provide Asian and African markets with an affordable solution for sawing large tropical hardwood logs. It combines robust, durable construction with easy installation and simple operation.

The WM1000 uses 50-75mm wide bandsaw blades and as a result retains Wood-Mizer's world-leading thin-kerf technology to reduce waste and maximise recovery of valuable wood.

The WM1000 is available in two versions.

The headrig can be purchased on its own for mounting on standard 'I-beam' tracks. The head has four driven wheels for travelling along the track - which can be as long as required.

This method makes it possible to lay the log directly on the ground between the two beams, and the WM1000 can then cut logs with diameters of up to 1.7m.

The other option is to buy the head and the modular log bed as a unit. Extra bed sections can be added to extend the cutting length. In this configuration the WM1000 can cut <1.5 m log diameters.

The control panel and operator rides on a platform during cutting operations making it possible to oversee the entire cutting operation.

The WM1000 is equipped with Wood-Mizer’s proprietary Setworks operating system which allows for pre-set board thicknesses to be cut and after each cut to automatically adjust down to the next cut.

Variable forward and reverse speeds makes it easy to adjust the cutting speed according to the hardness of the timber and to use 'full speed' for the return journey for maximum production efficiency. Wood-Mizer is the only sawmill manufacturer that manufactures its own range of thin-kerf narrow bandsaw blades. The 50-75mm wide blades used on the WM1000 are therefore readily available when new blades are required. The blades can also be used on other makes of bandsaws.

The WM1000 includes an additional feature on the hydraulic blade tensioning system that allows the distance between the band wheels to be adjusted by approximately 200mm. This makes blade tensioning possible and also gives room to shorten the blade if it has broken. A reduced new blade bill and longer blade lifespan are some of main benefits of this system.

“The affordability of the WM1000 when compared to sawmills in the same league has also given us an advantage,” Khimji shares.

“We’re getting high performance wide bandsaw capacity from the WM1000 without having to spend the money to buy a wide bandsaw mill. It was also easy to install while its operation is simple, minimal operator training is required, high productivity is achieved and waste is reduced to a minimum”. The WM1000’s commissioning has allowed SMK to address the challenges that it faces head-on, Khimji Patel says. “We can continue to deliver into the market that we have built up over time but do so in a more effective and cost-efficient manner.

“Our optimisation capacity gives us a leading edge while our reduced workforce can now be more productive. We can also assist our producers to preserve their resources better with us using our log volumes better.

“We are also now able to claw back some of the market that we lost to alternative products that cost less as we are now better able to produce competitively priced product on time,” Khimji concludes.

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