Timber yard powerhouses

18 March 2017
Puukentän voimatekijät

Solid expertise and efficient machinery ensure an uninterrupted wood feed at pulp mills.

UPM’s Kymi pulp mill’s timber yard is a busy place on a January morning with temperatures well below zero. Pulpwood is unloaded from trains and trucks directly to the mill’s two debarking lines or stacked onto field storage piles, after which bark is removed from the trunks at the debarking plant before chipping.

As one of Finland’s largest pulp mills, Kymi pulp mill’s timber yard processes thousands of cubic meters of wood a day. The storage cycle of timber must be optimised to allow the trunks to move on to production right away instead of remaining at the yard unnecessarily.

Since November 2015, a new arrival has been feeding wood at the debarking plant, and it is impossible not to notice this newcomer: a bright yellow Liebherr crane picks up pulpwood bundles from vehicles and moves them to the debarking plant.

“The crane is custom-made. It is the largest electric timber processing machine supplied by Liebherr in Finland, if not Europe,” says Petri Joutjärvi of Joutjärvi & Joutjärvi Ky, the crane owner.

Handling log bundles from a cabin dangling at the height of 12 metres requires the operator to have an extremely accurate depth perception and solid expertise. In fact, before machine type-specific training, the operators complement their skills with training in harbour crane handling. The introduction of this huge timber processing machine has been rather straightforward.

“We still have a lot to learn,” Petri Joutjärvi continues. “For instance, we are planning the handling of train and truck unloading together with UPM and VR, the Finnish state-owned railway company. We intend to keep improving our operations.”

Key factors for timber yard work

  1. Safety: Many people and machines operate in the area, and safety should always be the priority number one.
  2. Personnel: Cranes and other timber processing machinery are operated by skilled employees with appropriate specialised training.
  3. Collaboration: Operations are planned daily together with all parties.
  4. Uninterrupted logistics chain: Equipment usage is optimised and the flow of wood to the pulp mill is maintained as evenly as possible.

Illustration: Junnu Lusa

Thomas Freundlich

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