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Chipper from Trelan Mfg. is a good fit at Arrants Logging, Inc.

Arrants Logging, Inc. Adds Trelan Mfg. Chipper to Machinery Options – Arrants offers variety of services, including thinning, clear-cutting, and reforestation.

By Staff
Date Posted: 10/1/2009

JAMESVILLE, North Carolina—Ability to “change with market conditions” has carried Arrants Logging, Inc. across 32 years, said Frankie Arrants, the owner and president of the company. Arrants Logging and its associated companies can offer a customer virtually any sort of timber-related service, including the core efforts of thinning, clear-cutting, chipping and helping with reforestation.

            “We harvest timber,” said Frankie. “We buy our own timber on sealed bids and negotiate tracts. We encourage land owners to reforest the land. We try to be a good steward.”

            To ensure that the strongest expertise in forestry would be an integral component of every initiative, 12 years ago Frankie

entered a partnership with Mason Lilley, the president and co-owner of Woodridge Timber.

            Mason is a forester. “His role is procurement,” said Frankie. Mason and two other foresters on the Woodridge staff procure timber and give advice to landowners on maintaining their tracts. Arrants Logging gets all its timber through Woodridge.

             “We cut grade logs, pulp wood, round wood,” said Frankie. “Mason will do the marketing.”

            Frankie also owns Frankie Arrants Trucking, a firm he started in 1973. It

was the trucking that put him on a path to logging.

            “I was hauling for Georgia Pacific and Weyerhaeuser,” said Frankie. “The gentleman in charge of timber at Georgia Pacific suggested logging.” So, Frankie decided to give it a try.

            “I had no experience logging,” said Frankie. But he did have a long-standing interest. “Logging always fascinated me,” he explained.

            The fit with logging was a good one. Frankie immersed himself in the logging industry. Today, Arrants Logging has 35 employees. It runs two job sites with company crews and two with contract crews.

            With merchandising of wood more important than ever, Frankie takes the purchase of equipment seriously. In early August he put in service a new chipper from Trelan Manufacturing, which is headquartered in Remus, Mich.

            The Trelan 26-RC chipper is the third chipper on the equipment roster at Arrants Logging, but it is the first Trelan. “I just decided to try Trelan,” said Frankie. “So far I’m tickled to death with it.”

            Arrants Logging runs two jobs simultaneously. The chipper is used where it is needed. Depending on the destination of the fiber, the Trelan is deployed in different ways. “At times, we have a Peterson debarker that we put in front of the chipper to produce clean chips.” Those chips go to paper mills.

            The Trelan 26-RC is also used to produce fiber used for boiler fuel. Both pine and hardwood species are fed to the

chipper. Chip sizes from 1½ inch down are possible.

            Remote controlled (hence, the RC), the Trelan 26-RC allows loggers many options for use. Arrant Logging feeds its Trelan chipper mainly round wood that is unsuitable for lumber. Yet the same Trelan model can be used to chip tops and remnants produced by a slasher.

            One version of the Trelan 26-RC is equipped with a three-knife wheel. A second version has a four-knife wheel. Horsepower choices range from 760 to 1000.

            With a workload of eight hours each day during its first 100 hours of service, the Trelan 26-RC earned the highest marks from Frankie. “It’s been great,” he said. “It makes good, uniform chips. It’s easy to work on. It’s very easy to move and relocate on a job.”

            The Trelan 26-RC, like all Trelan chippers, has a pintle hitch. “We can pick it up with a grapple-skidder and move it to where it’s needed,” said Frankie.

            Moreover, the ever-important knives are excellent. “Knives are easy to change,” said Frankie. Trelan designs its knives for maximum strength and longevity.

            The remote control on the Trelan chipper can be achieved in one of two ways. Either a cable relay or a wireless radio can be used to send signals.

            Bryce Arrants and Kris Dotson, Frankie’s son and his son-in-law, work on a jobsite together. Bryce often operates the Trelan. With two company crews working on different jobs, Frankie is always ready to help. “I fill in wherever I’m needed,” he said.

            As a forester trained at Wayne Community College in Goldsboro, N.C., Bryce began following in his father’s steps. “He’s been working, helping me, ever since he was young,” said Frankie. Bryce worked for Arrants Logging during the summer when he was still in high school.

            Frankie’s wife, Danette Arrants, and his daughter, Hillary Dotson, also play significant roles in the office.

            Of the 35 employees at Arrants Logging, approximately 18 work on one of the two logging crews. Typically, seven are engaged at one site and nine or ten at a second jobsite. Sixteen other employees fill out the team as office personnel, mechanics and truck drivers.

            Arrants Logging completes all its work within a 100-mile radius of its home base in Jamesville, N.C. Jamesville, which is part of Martin County in the northeastern part of the state, has approximately 500 residents.

            Eastern North Carolina shares in the abundant, even rainfall that characterizes the state. Scrub oaks, long-leaf pines and loblolly pines are found along the coast. In the elevated areas there are oaks, gum and poplar. The diversity of the hardwood species is quite high.

            Being able to satisfactorily chip hardwood and softwood species with a single machine is important. It eliminates the need for two chippers on a complex site where mixed species are being harvested. So the Trelan 26-RC chipper is particularly welcomed in the types of stands which Arrants Logging harvests.

            Trees are harvested with several different machines. “We are running track feller bunchers – Tigercat 860 and 822,” said Frankie. In addition to track machines, Frankie owns two Tigercat 724E rubber tire machines.

            The feller bunchers are aided by Tigercat and Prentice loaders and John Deere skidders. Morbark chippers are in the lineup, too.

            Deliveries are made within the same 100-mile radius from Jamesville that trees are cut. “We run nine company trucks, ITI,” said Frankie. “And seven or eight contract haulers” are used. Three lowboys stand ready to move equipment to work tracts.

            Although chippers do not require installation, they do demand the same attention for correct use as any other piece of equipment. Getting it right ensures safe use and long service.

            Consequently, Frankie was particularly pleased with the help he got from Trelan Mfg. “I dealt with Neil Schumacher,” said Frankie. “When they delivered the chipper, he [Neil] had men here three days” to do training on maintenance and safety. “[Trelan] was very good about startup,” he explained. 

            Neil is the president of Trelan Mfg. His involvement with a new customer exemplifies the philosophy of his company. It is a philosophy that encompasses engagement with customers, learning their requirements and being up-to-date on changes in their approach. At the same time, Trelan believes that the old days were good and that there is wisdom in learning from the past.

            The patented design of the Trelan chipper is something the company is proud to describe. In short, the cutter wheel (disc) is mounted at a forward angle. The pitch of the wheel makes it possible for Trelan to mount the anvil horizontally. This configuration encourages material being chipped to move toward the center of the disc. That, in turn, allows for more even wear of knives.

            The Trelan chipper also has a side anvil which adds to the uniformity of the chips emerging from the chipper.

            Strength and finesse of chippers and great startup service are just part of the equation of what a customer can expect from Trelan Mfg. After a machine is in place, Trelan offers technical advice by phone.

            With a connection to logging that began more than three decades ago, Frankie has been a witness to steady advances and challenges. “I’ve seen tremendous changes in the industry, a lot of changes in equipment,” said Frankie. But as much as anything else, the products have also changed.

            “There’s a lot of changes going on in products,” said Frankie. “Things are changing so fast. With the economy today, you’ve got to be versatile and change with market conditions. Be able to do it all. Be flexible.”

            The Trelan 26-RC adds to the flexibility at Arrants Logging - precisely the sort of contribution that Trelan Mfg. would want it to make.

            Patented chipper design enables Trelan to offer customers exceptionally even knife wear. For quality control Trelan fabricates many of its parts at its Michigan factory. The company has been in business for more than 30 years.

            Minimizing risk is important to Frankie. “I encourage my employees in safety first,” said Frankie. “I tell them if we work safely, everything else will follow. We have monthly safety meetings.”

            Emphasis on safety cascades into all other things good. “I like to maintain my equipment,” said Frankie. “I like to take pride in my work. When I’m talking to landowners, I like to take them to a tract” that Arrants Logging has completed. Then, the landowner gets a picture of the kind

of high-quality job that the company


            But Frankie also sees a higher power at work. “You’ve got to credit all this to God above because He’s been good to

us, even in these challenging economic conditions," said Frankie. “We’ve had some months that we weren’t running 100 percent.”

            Even with being forced to drop back to 80 percent of capacity at times, Frankie was still able to keep all his employees. “Long-term employees are the backbone” of the enterprise, he explained. “I’ve got to give credit to my employees.”

            When Frankie was out three months following back surgery, he was able to depend on his people; they kept the business going. “I’ve been blessed,” he said. “It’s a team effort. It all starts at the stump. It’s got to follow a chain action.”

            Sequence, integration and commitment are the pieces that keep the chain strong; all are in place at Arrants Logging. Frankie’s embrace of professional logging extends to his participation in many associations. “I’m a member of the North Carolina Association of Professional Loggers [NCAPL] board,” he said. He is also a founding member of the NCAPL.

            The NCAPL requires its members to be participants in the N.C. ProLogger Program or in a comparable state-certified program. The NCAPL is an affiliate of the American Loggers Council.

            Besides the NCAPL, Frankie’s company is a member of the North Carolina Forestry Association, the Forest Resources Association, Inc. (FRA) and the American Trucking Association. In 1996, Frankie was named the FRA’s Southeastern Region Outstanding Logger.

            The strong ties that Frankie has to his profession are illustrated by a few examples of initiatives he has undertaken beyond the day-to-day focus on running the business of Arrants Logging. For instance, Frankie and his employees have at various times worked on technical releases with the FRA.

            FRA Technical Release 01-R-4 describes the novel way that Arrants Logging created a confidential and easy system of information that might be required in medical emergencies. In April 2006, the FRA issued a technical release, “Hazardous materials transportation,” which was authored by Jo Ann White while she was serving in the capacity of safety director at Frankie Arrants Trucking.

            Although the chips produced at Arrants Logging are used now for paper or boiler fuel, changes may be coming. Frankie keeps evaluating the chip market. “Pellets —biomass fuel — are going to be coming fast,” he said. “More co-generating plants” are also being built, he explained.

            Doing everything possible to contribute to a sustainable supply of fiber, Arrants Logging and Woodridge Timber endeavor to help landowners keep trees growing. “We encourage [landowners] to reforest,” said Frankie. “We do not do site prep work” though.

            Most landowners do reforest, explained Frankie. Indeed, from his vantage, he sees an industry defined by professionals who understand the extra time brings great returns in the short-term and the long-term, both locally and in the larger economy.

            Like Arrants Logging, Trelan Mfg. is a forward-looking company built on strong foundation. Quality governs all ties and activities. Just as Trelan makes many of its components to ascertain they meet exacting standards, it also expects firms that are sources of the remaining components to meet precise specifications.

            Trelan Mfg. produces chippers to satisfy the full range of applications for converting standing fiber to a working form of chip. Cabs on larger models are climate controlled and the newest cabs offer a 360-degree view. Grapples are standard on many larger models. Besides offering knives for its own chippers, Trelan has knives for chippers produced by other companies.

            When he gets free time, Frankie has two great interests. “I like to play golf,” he said. “I haven’t played this year.” Business always comes first.

            Classic cars are his second passion. Frankie restores them. And he is particularly interested in “muscle cars,” or those with horsepower that signals they are potentially stronger and faster than any other in their size category.


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