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Timber Automation will be attending the Timber Processing and Energy Expo, October 17-19.  We invite friends and business partners to visit us at booth 627 and meet with representatives from each of our divisions, VAB, LogPro, Baxley and Timber Automation Construction.  We will be showcasing our latest innovative solutions for the industry.

Get your free Timber Automation complimentary  Pass

The Groups’ Vice President and General Manager will speak at the Lumber Manufacturing Workshop Presentations

Mr. Seth Vance, VP and GM of Timber Automation will be the first speaker of the TP&EE workshop presentations.  The title of Mr. Vance’s session is : Don’t leave dollars on the table. He will be exploring innovative ways Sawmills can use scanning, optimization and controls to maximize value.

When: Thursday October 18, 10:00 am

Where: TP&EE workshop présentations.


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Baxley Equipment Company, LLC and Price LogPro, LLC (Baxley-LogPro) are proud to announce the formation of Timber Automation, LLC.  Together, we have combined our strong presence in complementary product categories to take full advantage of our long history, extensive industry experience, and unmatched technical knowledge to deliver the highest quality services to our customers.  With our combined resources, our increased investments in engineering, technology, quality and production, we will continue to exceed our customer expectations.

Today, Timber Automation is also proud to announce the launch of Timber Automation Construction, the next step in provide complete end-to-end solutions.   We expect to be sharing the details with the industry as we spread the exciting news!  Timber Automation will continue to provide our high-quality Baxley Equipment and LogPro products in the future alongside our turn-key solutions.

Please join with us in welcoming John Steck, the President of Timber Automation, who joined us this January to lead our business forward in one cohesive manner.  John, who rose through the ranks by exceeding expectations at Danaher Corporation, received his education at University of Virginia, first with his BS in engineering and later, at the Darden School, where he earned his MBA.  John has the full support of an incredibly strong organization; Founding partners Chris Raybon, Russell Kennedy, Pat Conry and Jim Krauss will remain committed and active in operations.


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Baxley Equipment Company and Baxley-LogPro is pleased to announce its recent partnership agreement, with Blue Sage Capital, in a combined effort to make Baxley-LogPro a stronger and more formidable leader in the industry.  The influx of growth capital will ensure continued product development and allow Baxley-LogPro to increase present production capacities through the addition of automated manufacturing equipment and outside acquisitions.

With a large backlog of work, Baxley-LogPro plans to increase employment to meet current commitments and service the growing industry.  New positions will be added, allowing Baxley-LogPro to grow beyond our present constraints.

In entering into the agreement, our overriding desire was to do what is best for the company’s long-term success.  After months of research, it was decided that the Blue Sage team was the most capable to add management platforms, ideas, and processes to take Baxley-LogPro to the next level. As a team, the unique combination of skills and resources will allow Baxley LogPro to better serve the needs of our customers, provide eventual retirement opportunities for senior team members and advancement opportunities for other team members; while providing the financial capital necessary to secure the future of Baxley-LogPro shareholders and employees.

We thank all our many loyal customers for the part you have played in making Baxley-LogPro a success and we pledge to continue offering the high quality equipment, technical solutions and committed service that the company is known for.


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Cross-Cut Edger [Patent Pending]

Yield or recovery is all about fitting the sawing profile to the shape of the log as best possible. Optimum rotation of the log at the primary breakdown, curve sawing at the secondary, and proper skewing and positioning at the edger, are all working toward the goal of the best fit possible – for the best yield possible. Curve sawing cants, which has reached almost 100% acceptance, has led many users to wish they could adapt this technology to their board edger. Since almost 40% of boards in a normal mill are edged, the wish is understandable. Sawing around the curve in a swept flitch, while possible and would certainly give a longer board, results in a swept board – totally undesirable.

Now a breakthrough has occurred using cross cut saws in the edger infeed, to cut candidate boards in two; and edge them individually. Both portions are positioned simultaneously. Separate skew and best offsets or even different saw sets are possible for each portion of the cut in two board. Swept flitches, edged this way, pick up markedly more overall length for the two boards compared to the conventional single board. An example is a swept flitch that a conventional edger would make into the most valuable board, usually the longest. Say the flitch is nominally 20’ long and considering the sweep, selected to make a 2x4x14’. With CrossCut Technology the most valuable solution might be to cut the flitch into 2 boards and edge one into a 2x4x10’ and the other into a 2x4x8’. The example in many instances could be a 2x6x8’ on one end and a 2x4x10’ on the other.

In normal primary breakdowns, horns down is almost always the best choice. This automatically gives a swept side board. Cross cutting effectively straightens out the board, by cutting it in two.

Additionally, tapered boards, with or without a little sweep, benefit by CrossCut Technology from the possibility to edge different width boards from each end, plus around a different center line and different skew angle. On multiple saw edgers, the advantage is even greater, allowing a two or other multiple board solutions on one end and different multiple or single boards on the other. This cross cut sawing pattern in a rudimentary form has already been in use very successfully for years in what is known as trimsave. Trimsave is where the trimmer optimizer decides it can give more value by trimming the good end of a board and sending the smaller end for re-edging. This has always yielded ½% or more increase and is very popular in most mills. The CrossCut pretty much eliminates the need for trimsave, by already performing that function and a lot more, while the flitch was being edged initially. Trimsave requires a flitch to pass through the edger twice using valuable edger capacity. CrossCut does not require an additional pass. Even more importantly, the CrossCut saws in ways that trimsave can’t, greatly increasing the benefit. An example is a swept flitch that has been edged conventionally into a board say 16’ long. When this board, which was contained in a 20’ long flitch, reaches the trimmer, it can’t be trimsaved because it has already been edged. The saw line on the inside of the sweep has cut across the portion of the board that the CrossCut could have made into the second board. The CrossCut could have made into two boards containing 20’ total length.
Yes, it takes a lot of computer power for the optimizer to solve all the potential solutions, but with today’s microprocessors, it is possible without slowing down the line. In fact, the only slowdown required is when a different saw set is picked for each end of the board, requiring a gap to be automatically generated to allow the set. Saw sets at different offsets and separate skew angles require no gap (assuming the outfeed landing chain can accommodate).

Yield improvements can be predicted using simulations. A typical 20’ system gains 6.5 – 7.0% edger board volume for a mill run sample which averages around 18% cross cut candidate boards. Taking into account the relative value of long and short boards, a typical value increase of 6.0 to 6.4% is realized. If the 40% edger board approximation is used, then a staggering 2.0 to 2.5% mill wide value is gained. This is almost half a curve sawing system gain for a fraction of the price. Furthermore, the CrossCut requires no mill level technology leap like the curve saw – and adds very little complexity and no footprint to the edging function. Generally speaking, the CrossCut Technology can be adapted to existing systems or, at worst case, pays for a new system to replace an out of date or under capacity old system.

Just When We All Thought We Are Doing Everything Possible To Squeeze All The Value Out Of A Tree And Production Out Of A Mill, A New Idea Like This Come Along To Move The Bar A Little Higher. With Market Conditions Like They Are, It Couldn’t Come At A Better Time.


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Canfor-New South (Timber Processing Article)

Canfor-New South’s most recently acquired mill undergoes a green and facelift and renewed emphasis on maintenance to see improved yield and production.

By David Abbott

New South Companies, Inc., a member of the Canfor group of companies, purchased what was then Chesterfield Lumber here in late 2007 with the understanding that it would need additional resources and capital improvements to be competitive. With the addition of Darlington, there are now four New South mills, all in the Carolinas.

“When New South acquired this site, there was no formalized maintenance program,” according to Chief Engineer, Travis McDonald.  In 2008 and 2009, management started a cultural shift in processes and mindsets in an ongoing effort to implement preventative and predictive maintenance.

The shift was a long-term strategy. One of the first steps was stocking critical parts and housing them in a central location. A parts warehouse was created, converted from an old planer mill in 2008, and it serves not only this location but also contains a consolidated inventory of specific components for the other New South mills in the region. A purchasing agent and warehouse shipping manager were brought in to oversee this area, working with a maintenance planner dedicated exclusively to running the new computerized maintenance system, planning workloads and tracking progress. “You want it to happen overnight, but there is significant work in changing a mill’s operational philosophy,” McDonald comments on the time involved in making this transition.

The general manager of New South’s Camden operation, Steve Singleton, served dual functions for two years, overseeing the transition at Darlington while continuing in his duties at Camden. In November 2009, veteran New South manager Joey Jones was transferred to take over as general manager of Darlington. Starting with the company in 1980, Jones spent 17 years at the Conway location and another 11 as sawmill manager in Camden. Jones says the goal at Darlington is to model its maintenance programs after Camden. “It’s developing here, no doubt, but it’s a gradual process,” Jones says. “The Camden (maintenance) program continues to evolve and improve, but it has been in place for about 10 years and has been successful, so we want to mirror that.”

The Camden plant ran 80% uptime 10 years ago and hovered in the low 80’s for a long time, but over a period of a few years it ramped up to almost 90% consistently.  It was an incredible improvement and done without much capital expense, just a focused effort on reliability-centered maintenance.

One of the benefits of New South’s acquisition by Canfor is the expanded capital availability it brought.  The Conway mill spent about $5 million in upgrades on a sharp chain conversion and installation of a new curve-sawing gang in the fall of 2008, bringing it to a level on par with the Camden, SC and Graham, NC mills. With $6 million in upgrades in the last two years, Darlington hopes to achieve a similar boost. Its location (almost exactly in the middle of the other three mills), solid timber basin and proximity to several major interstates and highways helped make it a good strategic fit. Additionally New South believed there was opportunity for meaningful improvement without large expenditures.

After getting parts and maintenance on the right track in 2008, the next phase was to install new equipment to improve production and yield, but it went beyond that. “It was a total mill upgrade and required more than just dropping an edger in,” McDonald says. “We touched just about every piece of machinery in the mill, either speeding it up or tuning it up.”  The project came in ahead of schedule and under budget, and the mill has reached its targets in terms of production rate and yield with the primary focus now improving uptime throughout the mill.

The centerpiece of the upgrade was the addition of a new edger. New South believed that adding the edger and improving the trim line would eliminate a major production bottleneck and bring production up by 25%. With the increased throughput, other mill systems used to running at a slower pace required tweaking. New South brought in USNR to tune up the gang saw, including both controls and modifications to the gang infeed and outfeed systems. Finally, the project involved some minor mechanical improvements to the sharp chain and primary log line.

The edger was the first Baxley Equipment lineal edger. “When you purchase serial number 001, you normally have some design issues to work through no matter how thorough the company is,” McDonald notes. “But we were comfortable going with Baxley’s because they had so much experience with transverse edgers. Their infeed line is basically the same. We added some bells and whistles on this one, with wane detection and auto turning. We were also satisfied with their knowledge of curve-sawing gangs so we figured that a skewing saw box was not going to be a stretch for them. It turns out they produced a very good machine that we have been very satisfied with.”

McDonald says Baxley did a great job handling the issues that arose with the design. “Conscientious is a good word for it. They understood what we were trying to accomplish here, and they really got involved, all the way up to the president of the company, Russell Kennedy. He was very easy to work with, and there was a good level of trust and communication between us.”

Regardless of the problem encountered, Baxley dealt with it very quickly, and within two months of installation the bugs were worked out. “Where we sit right now I am pretty happy with the new machinery and I have been pleased with Baxley’s support,” Jones said.

Bob Brouer Consulting, LLC of Apex, NC helped with engineering the project. DR Reynolds in Star, NC was the mechanical installer, and Sellers and Sons of Marshville, NC handled the electrical work. The project required a large amount of demolition work removing structural steel and machinery from an old gang and resaw.

Longer term, New South isn’t finished with its improvements to the Darlington mill. Down the road, they envision upgrades on sharp chain optimization, optimized log bucking, and a new trimmer.


Like all of the New South mills, Darlington is a southern yellow pine dimension lumber mill, making 2×4 through 2×12 in lengths up to 16 ft. Annual production on a one-shift basis is projected to be 90MMBF. Procurement and sales are handled through New South’s corporate headquarters, as well as trucking for all four mills.

Before the New South purchase, Chesterfield Lumber had added a second log line and crane. The two Fulghum cranes feed the log lines, which feature MDI metal detectors and Cambio 30 in. debarkers. The two log lines come together at a separated quad Newnes (USNR) sharp chain and a Log Boss (USNR) headrig with Lewis controls. It is followed by an early generation Newnes transverse curve-sawing gang. The new Baxley edger leads to a CSMI (USNR) trimmer with Hemco sorter line, to which was added a new infeed unscrambler, board feeder and lug chain and a new trimmer optimizer. The trimmer scanner features new Dynavision 3150 heads. “They’re almost plug and play,” McDonald says. “We get more speed and accuracy, and going with the Dynavision heads hopefully gives you flexibility later for upgrades with grade scanning on the green end.”

Two 60 in. USNR Forano chippers handle trimmings. Darlington uses Key Knife disposable blades on the edger and gang. Both band saws and circle saws are repaired in-house with Armstrong grinders and a Simonds leveler for bands and Vollmer for circle saw repairs.

On the dry end, two Hurst and IBC boilers power four USNR Irvington-Moore steam kilns with Kiln Boss controls. The planer mill, built in the mid-1990s, is well laid out, McDonald says. It has all USNR equipment with some recent upgrades by Baxley to the strapping line, compression station, and controls to get it ready for the higher volume the improved sawmill would be sending its way. Jones describes it as a typical U-shaped planer with a first generation USNR electric planer, tilt hoist, manual grading line and trimmer-sorter-stacker all by USNR. The Darlington location has an incredible amount of storage available, Jones notes. “The shed capacity is much greater than any of our plants. We bought a lot of infrastructure for a lot cheaper than if we had to build it from scratch.”


The corporate philosophy at Canfor-New South is called “One Factory.” The goal is to have the mills standardized and all on the same page in terms of customer focus and service, equipment and operational objectives. In this way, all four locations benefit from shared knowledge and operational synergies. This goal was partly in place even before Canfor came into the picture.

“Our mills had sometimes gone in different directions in terms of equipment and now we have a more repeatable strategy,” McDonald says.

Since Jim Shepard became CEO of Canfor about a year and a half ago, one corporate focus has been Lean Manufacturing and continuous improvement—officially known as the Canfor Operating System. The changes at the Darlington mill, particularly the shift to a predictive and preventative maintenance culture, typify this philosophy and point toward the bright future of New South and Canfor as a whole.

Reprinted with permission: