UK’s Most Advanced Sawmill Planing Line Begins Production

North Lincolnshire-based timber importer and timber products manufacturer Arbor Forest Products has begun production on its new sawmill planing line – thought to be the most advanced system of its kind in the UK.

Last year the company announced it was investing £6 million in the new facility which features unique timber scanning technology, allowing Arbor Forest Products to eliminate defects in lengths of timber – reducing waste and saving time for Arbor Forest customers.

The planing line was developed in conjunction with Swedish company System Hall AB, which designs, manufactures and supplies many different types of mechanical handling systems and conveyors for the woodworking industry, primarily – up to now – in its neighbouring Nordic countries.

Arbor Forest Products collaborated closely with System Hall to devise the production line that best suited its needs, and which would offer the best possible value to end users – which would include shed manufacturers, those building farm and equine facilities, and the general construction market.

Phil Yell, operations director at Arbor Forest Products, and Phil Bott, sawmill production director, worked closely with System Hall’s Jaokim Blixt to agree the design and layout of the facility, travelling to Scandinavia in late 2019 to see how similar sawmills, where facilities operate with faster line speeds and higher levels of automation than has hitherto been available in the UK.

With the line now fully operational, it is now processing up to 200m of timber per minute. The technologically led process involves each piece of timber being scanned as it runs through the line, allowing defects such as splits and knots to be identified and trimmed out, with the result being more useable lengths of timber in each load that arrives with customers.

Commenting on the new line, Phil Yell said: “This new facility represents a significant investment for us at Arbor Forest Products, and a large leap forward in terms of the standards being achieved in the UK timber market. Technology like this has so far only existed overseas, and we’re very proud to have worked with System Hall to bring this level of processing power to the UK for the first time.

“We are now able to accurately assess each piece of timber that passes through our facility and can therefore guarantee a specified level of quality for each batch, in line with our customers’ expectations. With some industrial users  reporting wastage levels of around 10 per cent due to faults with the timber, this is a genuine game-changer for UK timber.” This is the first phase in the company’s biggest investment in a single year, with upcoming plans for additional storage taking the total investment to around £12 million.

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