Wednesday, March 3, 2021
Zanchin Timbers directors
Annatjie and Hennie Visser occupy a rare position in the South African timber
Their experience over decades
trading in the segment has afforded them elder statesman standing amongst
peers, this giving the innovative business team the ability to steer Zanchin
consistently towards the best opportunities.
Hennie’s early association
with Mondi’s drymill activities built his experience and gave him an eye for
gaps in the timber market that innovative small businesses could fill.
Annatjie’s can-do attitude,
fast wit, and determination to succeed saw the director-pair launch Zanchin
Timbers in 1993.
The new company first
focussed on profiled timber, ceilings and panelling, the profile components in
part going to manufacturers producing storage and housing units called Wendy
houses in South Africa.
Zanchin Timbers’ custom timber drying service rewrote the rules for timber drying on the continent.
But the alert-to-opportunity
business pair knew that profits would expand if they sourced wet-off-saw timber
that they could dry in-house instead of buying dry timber from outside
A used kiln sourced from a
sawmill near Piet Retief in one of South Africa’s key timber production areas,
the Mpumalanga Highveld gave Zanchin the break it needed.
But the ever-restless
business pair soon hunted for even larger margins – the potential that their
kiln offered priming their interest?
Their decision to start a
custom timber drying service available to manufacturers, sawmillers and timber
retailers in South Africa and Africa that need timber dry without having to
invest in dry capacity themselves, rewrote the rules for timber drying on the
Manufacturers, sawmillers and timber retailers in South Africa and Africa using Zanchin’s drying service can now dry timber affordably and sell their product at a premium.
By using the service,
producers now could increase margins and slash costs.
Instead of selling
wet-off-saw timber at a loss, sawmillers could now dry their timber first
before selling it on to customers at a premium. Customers could also use
Zanchin’s burgeoning timber marketing division to find buyers for their dried
Manufacturers now had a
direct and flexible route to dried timber that cost less than the dried product
from traditional suppliers.
With Zanchin’s sawmilling
operations also taking off Africa, timber merchants now also had a ready supply
of exotic dried product that the market paid a premium for.
Ready-to-sell hardwoods from Zanchin’s sawmilling operations stand ready for shipment to customers.
Even more important was that
sawmillers in Africa with no access to drying could now use Zanchin’s expertise
to dry product for them before selling it on to customers abroad at a premium.
With their drying service taking
off, the fearless business pair next turned to even more business refinement.
Instead of relying on timber
suppliers from Africa to supply Zanchin with hardwoods from Africa and South
Africa, Hennie and Annatjie in 2017 started Zanchin’s sawmilling division.
Headed up Hennie Visser
Junior, the division sawmills in Botswana and Zambia with Zanchin investing in
Wood-Mizer sawmilling capacity to produce their own sawn timber. The extra cash
and reduced overheads allowed for even further expansion.
A timber marketing division
to ensure a ready market for sawn timber was the next step. So too the decision
to deepen their value addition processes, the production of profiled flooring
and decking boosting Zanchin’s income and allowing for yet a further stage of
Zanchin Timbers Director Riaan Visser says the MP260 4-sided planer moulder gave them an affordable planing and profiling solution that cost far less than a heavy-duty moulder.
The addition of a Wood-Mizer
MP260 four-sided planer moulder allowed Zanchin to flexibly produce a range of
profiled products without the accompanying price tag of larger planer moulders.
MP260 – affordable industrial planing and profiling
“The decision to buy the
MP260 was an easy one,” says Riaan Visser, Annatjie and Hennie’s son and
co-director of Zanchin Timbers.
“The unit gave us access to
affordable planing and profiling capacity that cost far less than a heavy-duty
moulder without compromising on quality and output,”Riaan continues. “With
MP260’s ability to lane and mould in one pass, we also needed fewer machines to
produced ready-to-sell profiled product.
Manufactured by Wood-Mizer to
exacting European standards, the MP260 four-sided planer moulder is a
versatile, compact machine engineered to allow for cost-effective planing and
moulding with a large 4-sided cutting capacity of 260 mm x 100 mm.
An easy-to-use centralised
control panel allows the operator to start/stop all four cutters and power feed
It can produce a variety of
professionally finished products including flooring and decking, planed boards,
profiled mouldings, cabinet trim, panelling, door and window frames, and
The unit’s four cutter heads
are all driven by 3 kW motors with five powered feed rollers (4 steel and one
polyurethane) ensuring the smooth and precise movement of the workpiece through
Zanchin Timber’s Damian le Roux checking on the quality of tongue & groove flooring exiting the MP260.
Optional 1.2 m long in and
outfeed beds allows for the safe, convenient, and accurate positioning of
components during in and outfeed for maximum accuracy and quality. infeed and
outfeed of product
A variable feed rate allows
for feed speeds of between 2.5-14 m/minute. Height and width adjustments are
easily made with manual hand cranks.
The unit’s small footprint
makes it easy to slot into existing production spaces with minimal
The unit’s affordability also
makes it easy for jobbing shops that run multiple batches with varying
parameters to add the MP260 to their existing production line-up for more
A last take
Speaking to Annatjie Visser,
it was hard not to be inspired. She eats and breathes timber, her eyes shining
when she comments, “we are still building this business after 30 years, and I
Timber doyen Annatjie Visser doing a moisture test on a dried timber batch exiting Zanchin’s kilns.
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