R.F. Gevers continues to assert its leading position in the field by refining its daily operations to keep ahead of the demand for quality timber.

The sawmill recently underwent a major upgrade bolstering both its wet mill and dry mill capacities and, according to mill manager, Kelvin Bland, there are still more of these in the pipeline.

Bland tells Wood Southern Africa & Timber Times that these are all geared at optimizing operations wherever possible.

“Over the years, we have proved to the market that we are one of the local sawmills against which others should be benchmarked. We have always placed significant credence upon technology and skills training and it is has certainly continued to pay off,” he says.

Both R.F. Gevers’ new wet and dry mill production lines are brand new, and these projects were designed and installed by Nukor and Bland himself.

Gevers says that the company has nurtured a long-standing business relationship with this vendor and therefore entrusted it with the expansions.

The wet mill was the first to be rebuilt from scratch. This extensive upgrade started in 2011 and was completed in 2013.

Over-and-above the installation of a brand new EWD frame saw and EWD Combimes optimising edger from the forestry and sawmilling equipment specialist, the mill incorporates advanced processing technology, such as programmable logical controllers, complementing the inverters in the dry and wetmill, providing maximum control over the entire operation.

In addition, it has provided R.F. Gevers with significant cost savings in terms of energy efficiency – a major focus for the operation that brings it line with most other heavy industries in the country.

Bland says that this was an intricate exercise considering that the entire operation was kept running despite the extensive works under way, including significant bulk earthworks and site terracing from the outset.

“Everything kept operating while we were doing this upgrade. We never stopped production once. We basically built around the old mill. It was a very challenging exercise but we managed to get it done with some perseverance,” he says.

Work then commenced on the dry mill. Here, the main objective was to mechanise and automate as much as possible to improve efficiencies of this aspect of the operation.

Noticeable aspects of this component of the plant are the two new REX Timber Master planers, valued at about R2-5million each, complemented by the installation of conveyors and gantry cranes for efficient handling of timber.

Bland reports that as much as a 30% gain in productivity has been achieved through the extensive mechanisation implemented at the operation.


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