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Innovation Propels Select Sawmill: Double-cut band mills known for their high production, durability
Innovation propels Select Sawmill; Double-cut band mills known for their high production, durability
By Tim Cox
Date Posted: 8/3/2016
Select Sawmill will be marking a milestone in 2017 – 20 years in the industry as the manufacturer of heavy-duty band sawmills.
The company, located about an hour east of Ottawa, has made a successful name for itself with an innovation that was incorporated into its first sawmill and has served the business – and its customers – well ever since. Its success also has allowed it to expand into a manufacturer of ancillary sawmill equipment.
Select Sawmill manufactures band sawmills – a stationary model and a portable model – that run a two-edged blade and cut the log in both directions, going and coming. Most other band mills use blades that cut in only one direction; after sawing the length of the log, the head returns to the starting point to begin the next cut.
When it comes to offering a modular band sawmill that cuts in both directions, most will think – Select Sawmill – according to Luc Tourangeau, the company's Sales Manager. "The brand recognition is definitely there."
The ability to saw a log in both directions significantly increases production. The company’s flagship model, the Select 4221, can cut up to 3 feet per second. That speed was achieved while sawing an 18-inch cant of pine.
“The ability to cut fast, the productivity is proven,” said Luc.
“When people talk about Select Sawmill, they talk about speed,” he added.
Select Sawmill was started by Luc Carrière and his wife, Patricia. He operated a portable sawmill business for about five or six years that provided custom sawing services. (With some training in electronics, he previously owned and operated a retail business but sold it to start a company to provide custom sawing.) Luc tried several band mills that were on the market at the time but found them lacking the features he wanted in a sawmill. Whenever he took a new look at what machinery manufacturers were offering, he reached the same conclusion.
He had an opportunity to build his first sawmill for a customer, subcontracted the services of a technician who could help with the welding and metal fabrication, and together they built the first band mill in a small garage attached to the side of his home. The first one proved to be a success, and immediately afterward Luc began operations to continue building band mills and marketing them. Patricia, who did bookkeeping and took customer orders in her husband’s custom sawing business, began performing similar administrative duties as they launched their sawmill manufacturing company.
“Select Sawmill is a brand to be reckoned with,” said Luc, the company’s sales manager. “We have built a good brand. Over 20 years, people can attest to that.”
Select Sawmill has been exporting its mills for a number of years and now has sawmills operating on every continent. The company’s sawmills are equipped with full hydraulics for log handling and automated for optimum speed and accuracy.
The fast cutting speed of the company’s sawmills is based on the right combination of three things, according to Luc: saw blade, band wheel size, and engine horsepower. The company’s sawmills have been based on this same premise since it began although it has continued to make improvements in its machinery.
Saw blades are manufactured to the company’s design and specifications and are supplied by an exclusive distributor. The blades can cut four to five hours before being re-sharpened, according to Luc, and they can be re-sharpened 40-50 times if they are not damaged.
The company’s flagship model, the Select 4221, can cut logs up to 42 inches in diameter and 22 feet long. Thirty-six inch band wheels turn a 6-inch blade, and the sawmill is powered by either a John Deere 115 hp turbo-diesel engine or 75 hp electric motor. It features computerized setworks with 12 pre-set board thicknesses. The sawmill is capable of cutting such tough wood as frozen maple or tropical hardwoods.
The Select 3620, a portable model, is capable of cutting logs up to 36 inches in diameter and 20 feet long, runs a 4-inch blade and is powered by a John Deere 68 hp diesel engine or a 40 hp electric motor and 10 hp electric motor for a dual hydraulic pump.
The pine operation that does 30,000 bft a day averages 2,000 bft per shift per employee on the floor according to Luc. Most industry leaders are happy at 1,000 bft in the same conditions. Another way to look at it is that the mills can process 150-200 logs per day in hardwood and almost double that number in softwood, he said.
Select band mills also are known for their heavy-duty construction and durability. “People recognize our brand,” said Luc. “They last. They last for a long time.” The company has sold some sawmills that are still running after 15-20 years. For example, the company has one customer who has been operating one of its mills for 16 years, cutting 4/4 and 8/4 lumber from white pine. That business, with seven employees, operates two shifts and cuts about 30,000 board feet per day. The customer has just purchased a second Select Sawmill and will use its original model as a resaw. “Our units are built to last,” said Luc.
The company’s customer base is divided roughly equal between hardwood and softwood producers.
Select Sawmill began manufacturing peripheral sawmill equipment – for material handling – about 10 years ago when it was first asked by a customer who had operations in Washington and was expanding into Argentina. It purchased two mills from Select Sawmill and asked the company to design and build all the other equipment it would need for the new sawmill - edger, debarker, log infeed, outfeed for slabs and flitches, transfer deck, edger, trim saw, and more, from log to final board.
“We’ve expanded on that ever since,” said Luc. The company can provide a band mill or a complete turnkey sawmill with all the ancillary equipment.
Luc Carrière and his management team supervise the daily process of building a new band mill, and he personally approves each one after testing.
For more information, visit the company’s website at www.selectsawmill.com, call (613) 673-1267, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. The website allows visitors to download brochures, view videos, and request DVDs and additional information.
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