Friday, September 3, 2021
A recently commissioned Wood-Mizer TITAN sawmill
line at Panbult Denne Saagmeule in Mpumalanga flexes its muscles.
The Drakensberg or Dragon Mountain range that runs
1000 kilometres from north to south across South Africa, splits Mpumalanga into
high-altitude grasslands and low-altitude subtropical savanna.
Warm tropical air from the Indian Ocean that hits
the Dragons back results in high rainfall.
This makes Mpumalanga, one of South Africa’s nine
provinces the most productive timber production region in the country. Some
489,073 hectares or 41% of the roughly 1.2 million hectares of land planted in
SA planted to trees grow in Mpumalanga.
It’s on the high elevations of the Mpumalanga
Highveld that Panbult Denne Saagmeule is located.
Headed up by veteran sawmiller Henry Bruwer, the
family has timber in their blood.
Henry’s brother, Bennie heads up nearby Nu-Scotland
and Churchill Sawmills. The Bruwer’s are also founding members of the Private Sawmillers
Its timber farmer members grow trees, trade logs
and negotiate for better log prices when they buy logs from commercial growers
in the area like Mondi and Sappi.
Henry’s timber business includes forests,
harvesting teams, sawmilling and logistics to move logs from in-forest to mill
and finished products to customers.
Panbult Denne Saagmeule is the heartbeat of this
highly successful timber enterprise that Henry started in 2000.
Seize the moment
Panbult’s first investment to increase productivity
came in the shape of a sawmill line from Brazil in 2010.
It gave Panbult the critical mass it needed to
expand production with supply contracts to furniture, pallet and crate
manufacturers building the mill’s profitability.
2020, the COVID pandemic, the lengthy lock-down
that resulted from it, and a slower economy offered opportunities that Henry’s
entrepreneurial spirit could not refuse.
“Ongoing forest maintenance and harvesting
schedules went on despite Covid,” Henry says.
“Suddenly we had an oversupply of thinnings and
small diameter, short-length logs in the area. From experience, we invest when
the market dips.
“We saw this as an opportunity to invest in a new
line to build greater capacity,” Henry smiles.
Panbult Denne Saagmeule’s new Wood-Mizer TITAN line now boosting production to 120 m³/day.
What to buy?
Panbult’s checklist of requirements for the new
line to suppliers bidding for the contract included innovation, speed –
simplicity - automation, robust design, local spares and technical support and
a can-do attitude, the ability to tick all these boxes vital to Panbult’s
ability to makes the new line a success.
“In 2019, a trip to Europe included a visit to Wood-Mizer’s
manufacturing facility in Koło in Poland there stand at Ligna in Hannover,
Germany. I liked what I saw,’’ Henry shares.
“The innovation across the range is impressive. The
level of engineering and design, the production facilities - it was all an
eye-opener. Wood-Mizer is going places. I liked what I saw.”
Infeed into the line. The material handling solutions that come with the TV2000 line has shrunk Panbult’s workforce on the line to only four workers.
Speed – Simplicity - Automation
“Panbult’s daily sawn timber output is roughly 120
m³/day. For us to meet that quota sawing small diameter, short-length logs we
needed speed and accuracy. Estimates showed that Wood-Mizer TITAN TV2000 Twin
Vertical Saw matched to a TITAN EG800 Edger/Multirip could deliver on that.
Since installing the line, and still easing it into full production, the line’s already delivered on its promise,”
The simplicity of the process – cants ripped into
board adds to the speed. The automation of the line also contributes to the
speed, a slashed salary bill for only four workers a further bonus,” Henry
The log loader standing ready for the next log with the log rotater turning each log to the best position before it is fed forward on the spiky feed chain through the cutting head.
“Panbult is located in a high rainfall and
lightning strike area. The line’s electronic cut size control systems are
robust, simple to fix and use which is ideal for our climate. The majority of
the line is also mechanical, making it reliable and easy to maintain,” Henry
Local Spares and Technical Support
“Spares for the line from Brazil has always been a
problem, the delay getting spares from that country to SA slowing production
“With Wood-Mizer, it’s completely different. Weekly
deliveries of consumables, blades, and spares from the company’s branches in
Johannesburg and Nelspruit ensures full inventories and we don’t lose money with
drawn out stoppages when we have technical issues.
Overhead hold-downs and side-supports accurately guides the cant as it exits the head with the sideboards discharged for recovery.
Wood-Mizer’s technical support is also exceptional.
They go beyond the call of duty to keep us running,” Henry enthuses.
“Wood-Mizer has from the design, installation,
commissioning, and now initial production phases never shirked from going the
extra mile for us. Nothing is too much effort – the team’s can-do attitude is
admirable. This is also not exclusive to Panbult. Nu Scotland and Churchill, my
brother’s mills have the same level of service.” Henry concludes.
The pneumatic cant kicker kicks the cant from the outfeed onto the infeed into the EG800 multirip.
What’s in the tech
The TV2000 is an efficient and affordable twin
vertical primary breakdown solution to cut logs into a two-sided cant.
The EG800 configured as a multirip splitting the cants into multiple boards. The simplicity and speed of the line contributes to the productivity that it offers.
It bridges the gap between narrow and wide-band
technologies in the small to medium-sized sawmilling sector with customers
having more flexibility to run wider blades for more performance, or narrower
blades that makes for a simpler saw maintenance process.
TV2000 tech offerings:
The TITAN EG800 Manual Board Edger is a robust
edging and multirip solution for small and medium-sized sawmills.
Accurately sawn timber from the Wood-Mizer TITAN line ready for drying.
Designed to offer a two-fold solution, the EG800
can edge boards up to 40 mm thick or rip cants or blocks of up to 110mm thick
Used as a multirip at Panbult, the EG800 is
configured as follows:
EG800 (Configured as multirip)
Throat Height: (Max mat. thickness)
Main saw motors:
4 x bottom 2 x top
Henry Bruwer is a
High quality sawn timber entering Panbult’s kilning facilities.
With an eye for
backing the right horse and buying at the right time, he’s partnered with
Wood-Mizer to bring innovation onboard, alleviate bottlenecks, opt for service to
build and strengthen his business.
Watch this space.
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