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HewSaw Introduces Next Generation Machine
New R200 PLUS Features Many Improvements, Wide Range of Optional Equipment
By Alan Froome
Date Posted: 6/1/2005
HewSaw Introduces Next Generation Machine
By Alan Froome
ABBOTSFORD, British Columbia — HewSaw manufactures a unique, all-in-one machine that processes smaller logs to lumber in a single pass. It combines a four sided chipping canter plus a circular saw box and edger to convert unsorted logs into lumber. The machine is extremely compact with a small footprint on the sawmill floor; in fact, it could be the shortest complete log breakdown line in the world.
Although usually found processing low quality softwood logs, the HewSaw also can be used on hardwoods, but naturally at lower feed speeds. For example, Forest Enterprises of Australia uses a HewSaw R200 to process logs from its large radiata pine and eucalyptus plantations. Eucalyptus is not only a hardwood, but the species is notorious for internal stresses and tensions in the wood, which produce a twisting action as it is cut and the stresses are released. The HewSaw has proved ideal for this application, however, as the tensions are released more gradually as the logs pass through the machine — rather than all at once as in other types of primary breakdown methods.
Although often purchased by smaller companies, the HewSaw also has been selected by many large companies to efficiently process their lower grade and smaller logs into good quality lumber and chips. The machine sometimes is installed as a separate profit center running independently from the main mill.
HewSaw Machines Inc. is a division of the Veisto Group, which is headquartered in Mantyharju, Finland. Veisto comprises a group of companies that specializes in high production sawmill machinery. It employs around 200 people and has installations and agents around the world. HewSaw lines are at work in 23 countries, including the continents of Europe, Asia, South America, and Australia; the company is focused strongly on markets in Scandinavia and North America.
To go back to the very beginning, in 1950 there was a steady demand from Egypt for square timbers called balks. The balks were cut manually in Finland using huge axes. The four Rautio brothers and their father saw an opportunity and started to plan a machine that could do the work. In 1960 they built their first machine; it was crude, but it worked. By 1964 they had their first contract to supply Egypt with machine-cut timbers. The Rautio Company was then formed, and by 1976 there were 10 Rautio-built hewing machines supplying Egypt’s demand for balks. In 1979, however, the Egyptian market collapsed. The brothers set about adapting their hewing machine to suit other lumber producers and widened the machine’s use by adding rip-saws.
In 1983, the first production machine was sold to a Finnish sawmill. Eventually the Rautios built many more machines and became full time machinery suppliers. In 1994, HewSaw Machines — as the company became known — opened its North American division, which last year celebrated 10 years in business. Simultaneously, parent company Veisto held a joint celebration in Finland to mark 40 years since it started building sawmill machines. It is interesting to note that today’s HewSaw lines are running at speeds three times faster than when the company opened its U.S. and Canadian sales and service center only 10 years ago.
HewSaw’s plant in Abbotsford, British Columbia also serves as the parts and service center for the U.S. and Canada. It is located about an hour’s drive east of Vancouver and provides installation and trouble-shooting service. It also has all the parts on the shelf that are normally required to keep the machines running. In addition HewSaw has support offices based in Folkston, Georgia and Saint Romuald, Quebec.
At the plant in Abbotsford recently, an older machine was being stripped down and rebuilt after many years of service. The machine is due to be replaced by a new R200 PLUS at the same mill as part of a novel trade-in exchange program.
The modular concept of the HewSaw allows flexible operation for both high recovery and high production requirements. Most mills set up the machine to provide a combination of the two. The compact HewSaw machine, which can process small to medium logs directly into chips and saleable lumber, has high production capabilities, requires a small number of operators, and is simple to maintain. For example, a mill in Washington has produced half a million board feet of softwood lumber per shift with its one HewSaw.
Although headquartered in Finland, HewSaw has targeted the North American sawmill industry as a most important market for its chipper-canter machines. HewSaw has about 300 machines in service worldwide, including 70 machines in the U.S. and Canada.
HewSaw recently redesigned its popular R200 machine in response to years of customer feedback. The new HewSaw R200 PLUS single pass machine is better suited for the rugged U.S. and Canadian conditions. The new model was introduced in Finland, where it was thoroughly tested and proved very successful.
Ledwidge Lumber Co. in Nova Scotia was the first North American mill to invest in a new HewSaw R200 PLUS, and its new machine began running in February. Ledwidge is using the new HewSaw R200 PLUS to process unsorted logs ranging from 3 inches to 13-3/4 inches in diameter. Another HewSaw R200 PLUS line has been delivered to Ponderay Valley Fibre in eastern Washington, and the third machine to be installed in North America will go shortly to the J.D.Irving Co. in New Brunswick.
R200 PLUS Features
The new HewSaw R200 PLUS provides higher feed speeds, increased lumber recovery and longer uptime, according to the manufacturer. It was designed to reduce gaps between logs and run at faster feed speeds to suit — what is for many — ever-shrinking log sizes. The machine typically runs on unsorted logs. Customer feed back had a lot to do with the redesigned machine, in addition to field experience from HewSaw maintenance personnel and service technicians around the world.
The HewSaw R200 PLUS is built in a modular format and has numerous options available to meet any mill’s requirements. Options include Scan-N-Set control, 3-D scanning, optimized log orientation, controlled curve sawing and optimized edging — all in a compact machine center that processes the log completely in one pass. Increased recovery is made possible by the use of offset and asymmetrical sawing patterns, which provide more cutting solution flexibility. In addition, a new downstream ‘flying’ edger module enables skewed and asymmetrical edged solutions.
Depending on the options selected for the individual sawmill, logs entering the new HewSaw R200 PLUS first are fed through a 3-D log scanner that accurately measures the log’s true shape. The available 3-D scanner normally supplied by Prologic of Saint Georges, Quebec, can also measure log sweep and crook before the logs enter the log turner module. Under Prologic optimization computer control, the system orients the logs to the optimum position for canting and sawing.
With the HewSaw process, the logs first enter the canter module, which chips off the top, bottom and both sides of the log. The chipper heads can be combined with a circular saw to give an accurate, sawn finish without knot tear-out, which is sometimes found with chipper-canters.
The resulting squared-off cant then passes directly through the close coupled circular saws, which features controlled curve sawing capability on the latest machines. With ‘flying’ edging, the edger solutions are optimized for each tool, which are positioned independently to allow live skewing of the cant as it passes through the machine.
It is noteworthy that all stages of the HewSaw process — canting, rip-sawing and edging — take place consecutively within a space of only 39 inches.
The HewSaw R200 PLUS is designed to handle logs ranging from 2-1/2 inches to 14 inches at feed speeds from 250 to 650-plus feet per minute. The machine is set up to produce cants between 3 inches and 8 inches wide and 2 inches to 10 inches high. It requires 1,200 to 1,800 hp, depending on the application, and the machine weighs about 30 tons.
The new HewSaw R200 PLUS maintains the original concepts of simplicity and easy maintenance. It features heavier construction compared to earlier models; it is fabricated from heavy steel plate with over-sized components for increased operating life in the harshest of sawmill environments. Other features include variable chip length, plc (programmable logic controller) controls to reduce log gaps, stainless steel chipper heads, and reduced dust and noise.
HewSaws also are available as ‘side board’ machine lines to recover profiled solutions from all four sides. These come in various configurations, depending on log size and the customer’s needs.
The new model opens laterally in two places, so service personnel can walk inside for saw changes and routine maintenance. As with other models, the machine features easy access to saws, chipping heads, and other components via wide doors.
For more information on the new HewSaw R200 PLUS or other HewSaw machines, call sales at (604) 852-7293 or see the company’s Web site at www.hewsaw.com.
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