AS spring turns into summer, we look back on the Spring Open House Sawmill Demonstration for Wood-Mizer UK, which took place near Edinburgh. 

PENTLAND Biomass of Loanhead, on the southern outskirts of Edinburgh, made a very welcoming venue for Wood-Mizer’s recent open day, showcasing a range of equipment to new and existing customers. The two-day event was supported by Jas P Wilson Forest Machines, which brought a range of firewood and forestry equipment to complement the saw-milling and biomass machines on show. Pentland Biomass not only provided an excellent location, but added great value to the proceedings by showing their own machinery and highlighting their services.

Forestry Journal: Dave Biggs working the LT70-Wide.Dave Biggs working the LT70-Wide.

Guests had each responded to an invitation to attend from one or more of the three host businesses. Those who visited were welcomed by the rare sight of businesses working together to illustrate what can be done to provide a complete solution for the customer.

The overlaps between the businesses, their services and the opportunities on offer were all on show. Many of the guests have already been enjoying these overlaps. Some, for example, own a Wood-Mizer mill, a Botex roof crane and hire the chipping services of Pentland Biomass. 

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The Wood-Mizer event was represented by Scottish Agent Keith Threadgall, UK General Manager Dave Biggs, Sales and Service Manager Damien Marden and two representatives from Wood-Mizer Europe, Hubert Powietrzynski and Dorota Dudzinska. All worked tirelessly to show the wide mix of mills and secondary processing machines to their full professional capability. The mills on show included the 22 hp Kohler engine LT20, the 42 hp Kubota Diesel engine LT40 and the 18.5 kW electric LT70-Wide, which proved a real crowd pleaser. 

Also on show were two of Keith’s favourite additions for a productive sawmill set-up, the MP260 planer moulder – which can act as a four-sided planer or plane profiles such as shiplap cladding or tongue and groove – and the EG100 Edger, which has two blades and can edge boards up to 50 mm thick.

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Pentland Biomass owner Richard Spray was on hand to greet guests and discuss some of what was on offer. Pentland’s main aim is to help its customers get the most from their biomass systems. It produces and retails multiple grades of woodchip (including CHP chip), pellets and logs. Its retail network covers the whole of Scotland and further afield too, if demand presents itself. The business runs multiple walking-floor trailers to distribute fuel nationally with ease.

What’s more, it also offers a high-speed commercial woodchipping service to enable customers to utilise their own trees. Its prime location allows contracts to be carried out in a cost-effective and timely manner. The company owns a tractor and chipper set-up to ensure any site clearance work, no matter the terrain, can be readily accessed and that the chip is processed to a uniform grade – something larger set-ups can struggle with. This also provides a lower-impact option, when damage to terrain is a concern.

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As well as handling the fuel, Pentland Biomass designs, supplies and installs commercial heating systems for large premises to ensure, from tree to boiler, customers are getting the most from their investment.

To help further improve its fuel quality, Pentland Biomass recently invested in a Posch LogFix XL. How recently? Well, it was originally brought to the the open day for a demonstration by John Wilson, who soon had a word in his ear from Richard to inform him “that machine wouldn’t be going anywhere”. It took bucketloads of logs from the AutoLogger 420 during the demo and screened waste out at speed. Richard and his team have now worked this machine for a few weeks, and have got the process of drying, screening and packing logs down to an art form. 

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Richard said: “Two workers can now fill 150 bulk bags in just under two hours, which isn’t only a big time saver. The screening of waste removes up to five cubic metres of waste from a typical artic load, meaning customers get more clean logs per load.” 

The LogFix XL can be operated from a remote control, allowing one operator to fill the machine with a bucketful of logs, and then start the cleaner from within the cab of their tele-handler or tractor, which can be a huge time-saving feature.

The logs on show were all produced during the event by Jas P Wilson’s own John Wilson, working the New Posch AutoLogger 420, a machine John and the visitors all seemed to be very impressed with. The concept for the AutoLogger is simple: it’s an automated firewood machine which produces high volumes of logs from large-diameter rounds and slices, along with slabwood offcuts. This machine has the potential to add great value to materials which are typically seen as a waste product due to the difficulty of processing.

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This is most evident when processing large ARB off-cuts or twisted timber, which would never suit a mill or conventional firewood processor. The machine works in a similar way to the smaller Posch AutoSplit 250 kindling machine, with an automated X-shaped knife which splits rounds into logs as they pass over a powered infeed and outfeed conveyor. The speed at which the rounds pass through the splitter can be quickly adjusted with one dial to change the thickness of the finished logs.

Wood-Mizer, Pentland Biomass and Jas P Wilson were grateful to all who attended and made it a fun and social affair.