Maximum performance and high quality at Hasslacher

In 2015, the Hasslacher Group was the first Austrian company to choose Valutec's OTC continuous kiln. Since the performance data and drying quality from the first project were convincing, the Carinthian company invested in two Valutec TC continuous kilns in Sachsenburg and Preding – a global success that has now also gained its first foothold in Austria.

“We carried out a detailed requirements analysis at the sawmill and came to the conclusion that a continuous kiln would best meet our needs,” explains Roland Arztmann, operations manager at the Sachsenburg sawmill, on the reasons behind their investment decision. Thanks to an additional drying capacity of around 32,000 MBF, we can now dry all the sawn lumber the sawmill produces.” Michael Fercher, Hasslach Group Technical Director, adds: “The combination of different drying technologies is crucial for a modern sawmill. The new TC continuous kilns fit our overall concept perfectly.”

Flexibility and performance
In both Sachsenburg and Preding, the TC continuous kilns are mainly used for drying side boards.

“Quality is always our top priority. The energy-efficient TC continuous kiln solution can also boost performance significantly,” says Valutec Marketing Manager Eric Johansson.

Each sawn lumber package passes through eight drying zones, each independently controllable, before leaving the kiln with the appropriate target moisture content.

“With smaller dimensions, throughput time is only a few hours. The TC continuous kiln can be used to dry e.g. 22 mm side boards to less than 18% in under 30 hours. This results in an annual capacity of more than 32,000 MBF,” report Johansson and Bierbacher, adding: “Making sure the kiln never comes to a standstill requires sophisticated production planning.”

Individual control
The individually controllable drying zones are distributed along the length of the 85 meter system including the infeed and outfeed. Packages of different sawn lumber can be dried in each zone. Valutec's Valmatics 4.0 smart control system makes sure each sawn lumber package is dried to the appropriate target moisture, regardless of the packages upstream or downstream. The control system is also able to selectively compensate for the occasionally very different input moisture levels, e.g. with damaged lumber, thus ensuring a uniform drying result.

“We soon lost our initial skepticism. The kiln delivers perfect results without our having to make complex adjustments,” declares Karl Gigerl, in charge of sawn lumber drying in Sachsenburg.

“While Valutec's standard programs and simulation technology are already very mature, there's always room for further optimization,” says Bierbacher.

“The Hasslacher Group has been familiar with our kilns for many years. Working together with the customer, we can thus adapt our systems to suit their precise requirements. This also enables us to exploit the full potential of the kilns for the customer without having to compromise on quality or capacity,” declares Johansson.

Constant consumption
A well-known disadvantage of discontinuous drying processes is the often highly erratic energy and heat consumption. Accordingly, the Hasslacher Group has decided to provide several buffer spaces in front of and behind the kiln, thus ensuring a constant supply of sawn lumber. Because the fans inside the kiln do not switch off when packages change chambers, constant heat treatment is ensured and thus also compliance with the highest IPPC standards.

It also ensures a stable, uniform consumption in the CHP systems. “We strive to level out our peaks as far as possible. Continuous kilns with constant consumption are the optimal solution for this,” explains Fercher.

Many years of loyal service
“Our latest investment in Preding is already the fifth Valutec kiln in the Hasslacher Group. The first OTC continuous kilns in Sachsenburg have been running almost nonstop for many years now. Thanks to the high quality components, our service costs are kept to a minimum,” explains Fercher. He sums up by adding: “Valutec has been convincing from the very beginning. A coherent overall concept that provides the right results.”

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