Expanding rubberwood production with Wood-Mizer sawmills in Kannur, India
By Rafaela Laurentino, Wood-Mizer
Colonial Hardwoods is situated in Kannur which is a coastal city in the south Indian state of Kerala. The region’s strong agricultural economy has been a good fit for this once small operation that has grown significantly since its inception in 1984. Today, Colonial Hardwoods is a well-known name in the wood processing industry, serving dealers and manufacturers in India and other countries.
The company possesses almost 40 years of experience in the industry and has grown in both production and size of operation. “In 2006, our production level was 2,000 ft3 per month with 30 employees,” said Mr. Shabeer K.P., Colonial Hardwoods Managing Director. “Now, our production is 20,000 ft3 and we have 240 employees.” With a belief that the overall performance of the firm is measured in terms of customer-satisfaction, the company’s in-house manufacturing unit is managed by well-trained professionals and segmented into divisions such as R&D, product testing, packaging, and distribution.
The sawmill's most popular product is treated Rubberwood. “Rubberwood is cheaper compared to other types of wood,” explains Shabeer. “We have customers all over India who purchase finger joint boards and kiln dried wood that is used to build furniture, handicrafts, toys, wooden floors and interiors.”
Mr. Shabeer K.P. believes in continuous monitoring and analysis of the production process. His 15 years of experience in the industry has helped the company attain success by keeping a very strict quality control over their products. In addition, Colonial Hardwoods has a reputation for providing competitive prices, timely delivery and excellent customer service which distinguishes them from the competition.
Their process begins with the purchase of Rubberwood logs sourced from local plantations. “The logs are sourced locally and have an average diameter of 75cm and 4.25ft length,” he says. The logs are perfectly suited to be processed on the company’s Wood-Mizer LT40 sawmill. Shabeer explains, “They are easily converted into blocks and production becomes easier and faster.” This piece of equipment is the first step in their lumber process and provides the company with complete hydraulic log handling, easy-to-use powered saw head controls and an onboard computer that automatically moves the head into position for the next cut while referencing from the previous cut in order to produce lumber more quickly and accurately.
The next step consists of two HR115 single head resaws. They easily complement the existing process and help maximize sawmill production by efficiently resawing blocks and boards. Plus, with these machines Colonial Hardwoods can efficiently recover valuable lumber from low value boards.
“Once processed, the lumber undergoes impregnation by vacuum pressure,” describes Shabeer. “The wood is dried under controlled temperature and humidity, staying inside kilns for around 8-10 days before they are ready to be dispatched.”
Before Wood-Mizer, Colonial Hardwoods used the conventional sawmilling method to process their lumber. When the company upgraded to Wood-Mizer equipment it allowed them to use thin kerf blades and produce more lumber using the same number of logs than with traditional blades. In addition, the thin-kerf bandsaw blades generate up to 10 to 15% less sawdust than traditional blades and provide a smoother surface. This meant that Colonial Hardwoods would get more out of their purchased logs and be able to provide a higher quality product. “We chose Wood-Mizer because it is easy-to-use. It does not require a skilled operator and it also reduces waste,” he explains. “We are producing approximately 350 ft3 per shift and our customers are very satisfied with the cost and quality of our products.”
Looking to accelerate the development rate of their business, Colonial Hardwoods has been investing in more infrastructure. “We have settled over a land that features adequate expansion ability,” says Shabeer. “We see an even brighter future ahead of our corporation.”