By Serafin Chan, Operations Officer, LATIMCO
La Union Quality Timber Manufacturing Corp. (LATIMCO) is located inSan Fernando, La Union, the Philippines. The company recently upgraded to Wood-Mizer’s new WB2000 wideband sawmill to process Southeast Asian hardwoods into timber for export and for their own door manufacturing plant in the Philippines.
My father had a lumber business since I was young. After he turned the business over to us, we started importing logs and started manufacturing and milling our own timber. We manage everything—from importing to manufacturing finished products such as doors, jams, mouldings, facia boards and other wood products for private clients, government projects as well as for export.
We are also exploring expansion into Japan, a market that makes high demands on quality. Our timber must therefore be accurate and precise, which is why we were looking for sawmill machines that can deliver quality output. Our Japanese and local clients have been very happy with the quality of our products since we bought the WB2000!
The sawmill process
Our logs come from Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, New Zealand, Australia, and as far away as Brazil and Uruguay. The timber comes from suppliers who possess necessary permits to cut down trees and have a reforestation programme. If this isn’t in place, we don’t do business with them. Previously, we only cut Meranti but now we also process other types of Malaysian hardwoods as well.
The logs are cut to length based on our clients’ specifications. Then we send these cut logs to the Wood-Mizer WB2000 wideband sawmill for milling. Next is edging using the EG300 twin-blade edger and lastly the slabs are cut on the HR115 horizontal resaw. A bigger vertical saw processes larger diameter logs that the WB2000 cannot process. (The WB2000 is for processing diameters under one metre; it gives us a high recovery percentage.)
After milling, the timber is packed and sent to another LATIMCO plant for kiln drying and subsequently made into doors, jams, mouldings and other wood products. We also supply kiln-dried timber to Japan.
The importance of upgrading
Before, speed was the primary objective and a 50 per cent recovery rate was acceptable. Now it’s the other way around. I’d say Wood-Mizer machines help achieve that, on top of less sawdust and less waste.
We are unique in that we have now upgraded to the latest technology to achieve better cutting for each board. More importantly, this machine gives us a better recovery percentage during the cutting process. If we continue to cut logs in eight-hour shifts daily, our return-on-investment can be easily achieved. We actually did the figures after a few months of using the WB2000 and saw the difference between the vertical saw and the Wood-Mizer bandsaw.
In addition, energy savings have also halved. The WB2000 now runs on a 60 hp motor as compared to the vertical saw which has a motor of around 120 hp. That’s a big difference.
Upgrading is necessary otherwise you will be left behind. It’s like using an old rotary telephone in this digital age when people are already using Androids and Apples.