FPInnovations recently completed a kiln audit of Lavern Heideman and Sons Limited’s (Heideman’s) new kilns. The audit identified opportunities for significant improvements in dried lumber quality and cost reductions and included coaching for the kiln operator. Heideman is a fully integrated forest products company including forest management, two sawmills, a remanufacturing operation, a planing mill, and a distribution yard. Located in the Ottawa Valley, they have been a fixture of the community since 1974. They are known for their high-quality red and white pine lumber and finished products include pine siding, flooring, and paneling.
Heideman recently invested in a multi-million dollar facility upgrade including the installation of two state-of-the-art sawmill lines and two new kilns. The kilns were bought to dry pine for their own use and for custom orders for customers who have precise needs. The addition of the kilns helped them expand into new markets, building on their reputation as an established quality supplier.
FPInnovations was called for assistance after VP Kris Heideman and the newly hired kiln operator Rob Agnew noticed quality control issues with the new kilns. FPInnovations’ Ontario Industry Advisor Team brought in Francis Tanguay, senior kiln technologist as well as kiln expert Peter Garrahan, a long-time FPInnovations kiln expert and now independent consultant. After a long career in kiln drying, Peter is known nationally as an authority on kiln drying, especially pine.
Peter methodically assessed the issues with the new kilns and found significant control and airflow issues. As a result, the kiln manufacturer replaced six faulty fans and provided support to correct control-related issues. Without these changes, the kilns would have never performed as intended and would be incapable of meeting Heideman’s needs. Peter also coached kiln operator Rob Agnew in kiln operation and provided supporting documentation catered to Rob’s and Heideman’s drying needs.
This project would not have been possible without the ongoing support of the Value to Wood program toward FPInnovations’ Industry Advisor Network. Heideman’s kilns now operate as intended, producing dried pine at a lower cost and higher quality. They feel more confident in their operation and are now producing high quality dried pine lumber for use in their own finished products such as pine siding, flooring, and paneling.
For more information on FPInnovations’ Value to Wood program, please contact Alain Chabot, Industry Advisor.