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Logging Company Turns to Fuel Chip Market: Ontario Business Invests in Bandit Industries Beast Recycler to Produce Wood Fuel Chips

Henson & Tregonning Logging – Ontario Loggers Turn to Biomass Fuel Market with Bandit Machine

By Staff
Date Posted: 8/1/2009

            As the North American housing industry continues to struggle, and the sawmill and lumber industry along with it, some Canadian loggers are adapting by taking advantage of government environmental incentives.

            It is becoming increasingly popular – and profitable – to become involved in joint ventures that utilize logging slash and other traditional waste material from forestry operations as a source of renewable energy.

            Bandit Industry’s Beast Recyclers and whole tree chippers are involved in numerous applications worldwide that are converting dead or dying trees into wood grindings or chips for raw material in fuel pellet operations, pulp and paper mills, and other wood biomass energy operations.

            One such application is with Henson & Tregonning Logging in Sault Ste Marie, Ontario. Founded in 1960 with just a dozer and a skidder, Henson & Tregonning emerged as one of Ontario’s largest logging and slashing operations.

            The company became a primary producer of pulp wood and saw timber for one of Sault Ste. Marie’s largest manufacturers, St. Marys Paper Corp. St. Marys Paper produces 240,000 tons of super calendared paper per year. The paper company is participating in the Ontario CHP III Energy RFP with a plan to construct a new co-generation facility at the mill.

            The wood-fired power plant at St. Marys Paper currently consumes about 450 tons of wood per day, including 150 tons of wood waste generated in the wood yard. The new co-generation plant would require an additional 750 tons of wood per day – wood that Henson & Tregonning would be happy to supply.

            Henson & Tregonning began to explore new markets that would enable it to grow and sustain the company for decades to come, including providing biomass fuel for the growing needs of St. Marys.

            Henson & Tregonning invested in a Bandit Industries machine in August of 2008; the company purchased a Bandit model 3680 Beast Recycler. Henson & Tregonning has transformed itself from what was primarily a logging company into a booming biomass fuel producer.

            Henson & Tregonning founder Barry Henson saw an opportunity for future growth by utilizing more than just the log. Adding the Bandit Beast Recycler to the equipment line-up was the first step.

            “A majority of the fuel we produce from the logging slash and tops is going into a wood-fired power plant for St. Marys to produce heat and steam for the paper making process,” explained Vance Henson, Barry’s eldest son. “The paper mill is extremely happy with the high-quality fuel we are producing.”

            Vance attributed the quality of the fuel chips to the new knife system for the Bandit Beast Recycler. This new system, developed in early 2008 for the emerging European wood energy markets, converts existing Beast Recycler horizontal grinders into whole tree chippers by exchanging traditional cutterbodies for cutterbodies with knife inserts.

            The Bandit model 3680 Beast Recycler owned by Henson & Tregonning is equipped with a Caterpillar 700 hp engine. It has a thrower attachment for loading chips into open-ended trailers. The cutterbody has 30 knives and counter knives. The machine produces a high volume of screened, dimensional chips that are ideal for wood-fired power plants.

            In addition to processing its own logging residues, Henson & Tregonning recently began a project to harvest 3,000 acres of burned jack pine; the charred trees are being removed to assist in reforestation.

            The burned jack pine trees are cut with feller-bunchers, skidded out of the woods, and then fed tree-length with an excavator into the Bandit Beast Recycler and processed into fuel chips.

            The Hensons plan to replace the excavator with a more conventional loader with grapple because of the brittle nature of the charred material.

            “It’s difficult to keep the Beast fed to its capacity with our excavator,” said Vance. “Right now, we’re easily loading a 53-foot trailer in under 30 minutes. If we could keep the material fed, we could probably load the same trailer in 20 minutes or less.”

            When chipping green wood, a full trailer carries a 32-ton payload. Chipping the charred, dry material, a 53-foot trailer hauls about 20 tons of high-BTU fuel.

            Michigan-based Bandit Industries offers a line of whole tree chippers as well as horizontal grinders. The company also manufactures hand-fed chippers, stump grinders, PTO-drive chippers and other chipping equipment.

            For more information, call Bandit Industries at (800) 952-0178 or visit


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