Arbor makes £4M sawmill investment

Arbor Forest Products (Arbor) – the UK’s leading independent timber importer and processor – has invested £4m to install a new state-of-the-art sawmill planing line at its site in New Holland, North Lincolnshire. An integral part of Arbor’s long-term strategy, the new line features cutting-edge equipment that is the first of its kind in the UK. This will allow the company to further automate its production processes, stay ahead of market demand and pass on efficiency savings to its customers.

arbor forest Sawmill in Action

The new system was developed in conjunction with System Hall AB, a Swedish company specialising in the design, manufacture and supply of material handling systems for the woodworking industry, primarily in the Nordics. Replacing a 12-year-old system, Arbor and System Hall worked closely to define the best-possible solution, delivering a sawmill line that comprises a WEINIG H4200 moulding machine and a unique range of in-line cutting options, as well as a 5.4m long chop saw (both the first of their kind in the UK).

With a new configuration, Arbor has been able to remove an entire step from its production processes, increasing efficiencies and making a more cost-effective final product. In an industry where an excellent surface finish is crucial, the sawmill’s unique timber scanning technology will help to reduce defects, reduce waste and save time. Online monitoring, data collection and the ability to check moisture levels have also been incorporated, allowing Arbor to further optimise its processes, target maintenance more efficiently and ensure continuous improvement.

In total, the new sawmill system can custom-cut and process 200m of timber per minute –around 40,000km a year and roughly equivalent to the circumference of the Earth. In tandem with its ‘Warehouse on Wheels’ concept, which brings customers a mixed product delivery on just one vehicle, Arbor is ensuring maximum product availability and consistency, as well as working towards greener solutions.

Arbor’s operations director, Phil Yell, said: “Our strategy is to stay at the forefront of the industry and guarantee the best quality for our customers – that’s why we’ve invested over £15m in automation (such as the sawmill) over the last couple of years. We’ve always been driven to push the limits when it comes to technology, and in a tough labour market, it’s even more important to question how we do things and to critique what we’re using. This is the only way to improve efficiencies and productivity.

“That’s why System Hall were so exciting to collaborate with. This is the second major investment with them in three years, and they continually push us to think differently and aim high with new equipment. The result is one of the most advanced sawmills in the UK, helping us to exceed customer expectations. We love showing the system to customers –it’s a ‘wow’ moment for them and we’re delighted to have such a sophisticated set up here in New Holland.”

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