Dry Kiln Improvements at Leslie Forest Products Ltd. Increase Productivity and Reduce Energy Costs

Posted by Rumin Mann
August 26th, 2011

By Dave McRae


Ron Sangara, owner of Leslie Forest Products Ltd. has been involved in the remanufacturing business since the 1980’s, and has seen many changes in the industry over that time. Recently, smaller production runs and higher quality tolerances have forced the company to evaluate all of its manufacturing processes, including the way it dries its products.

Realizing that he had to do something to improve his drying performance, Sangara contacted FPInnovations for help to reduce the length of its lumber drying time and improve drying quality. FPInnovations’ Drying Specialist, Dave McRae began by collecting data and observing the drying process at the Delta-based company. Together with company staff, all thermocouples (wet bulbs and dry bulbs) were checked for their accuracy. An airflow audit was then conducted with the results showing that the airflow (volume/speed) within the kilns was unacceptable for drying to the standards demanded by the company.
The audit showed that the volume and balance of airflow in the kiln was significantly out of balance, even though the lumber stickers were perfectly in place and package placement in the kiln was very good. Further investigation showed that there was insufficient airflow entering the drying chamber from the fan deck, and the plenum space to balance the airflow from top to bottom was inadequate.

Solutions were found to help alleviate the airflow problem and recommendations were made by FPInnovations, then implemented by mill staff to address the cause of the problem. These recommendations allowed the air to flow properly from the fan deck level into the kiln chamber.

With the airflow volume and balance corrected, drying times decreased while quality increased. “When we measured the changes made in our kilns, we found that we reduced out Heat Treating time by 18% and our overall drying time by 30%, says Sangara. In addition, he estimates that they have reduced their energy costs by 25%, and that the changes made have allowed them to dry an additional 25% more loads per year.

For more information on this story, please contact Dave McRae at 250-713-1721 or dave.mcrae@fpinnovations.ca



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