Timber Process Flow Chart
MLT undertakes timber harvesting for MWTI as well as third parties. Timber harvesting is dependent on seasonal factors and timber prices. As the LRB Group has its own concessions, it is often cheaper for it to source logs through extraction rather than to purchase logs from third parties. However, this is not always the case and thus the LRB Group’s strategy is to purchase logs when their prices are competitive and to extract logs when prices are high. This also enables the LRB Group to preserve its log resources which is of a depletive nature over a longer period of time.
Pre-harvesting activities including boundary survey, marking of buffer zone, access road construction are carried out under Jabatan Perhutanan Negeri Perak’s (JPNP) supervision. Guided by the conditions imposed as per the logging permit (such as minimum cutting girth for various species, gazetted prohibited species etc.), JPNP will then carry out timber enumeration and tag the trees accordingly.
Heavy equipment such as bulldozers, excavators, log grippers and logging trucks are employed for logging activities including skidding, hauling and road construction and maintenance.
During felling, chain saws are used to fell the selected trees. The skilled fellers apply directional-felling techniques to minimise damage to the logs as well as the surrounding trees. In this respect, it must be noted that the fellers can only fell those trees that are predetermined by JPNP by reference to the tags.
Prior to removing the logs from the log yard for delivery to MWTI’s sawmill in Gerik or for sale to third parties, it is necessary for the logs to be cessed by JPNP for royalty payment which is determined according to the species and volume of the logs concerned.
The volume of logs transported from the operating area currently worked on by MLT to the log yard, which is approximately 30 kilometres away, is dependent on weather conditions. As the log yard is situated about 5 kilometres from the trunk road leading to MWTI's sawmill in Gerik, (a distance of 50 kilometres), it only takes approximately 2 hours for MWTI to transport logs from the log yard to its sawmill.
Depending on the production requirements, logs of required species are selected for in feed onto the breakdown saw. Thereafter, it will undergo further sawing by several band saws. Supervisors at the various sawing stations will supervise the sawing taking into consideration the production requirements and the sizes and conditions of the logs in order to optimise logs recovery and value of the output. These supervisors will also conduct periodic checks to ensure different grades and sizes of sawn timber are appropriately segregated.
The rough sawn timber is then sent to an inspection yard where it undergoes further grading. By this process, timber with defects such as bore holes, excessive knots, compression failure and others will then be sent to be crossed-cut or ripped as appropriate and thereafter, re-graded.
The graded sawn timber will then undergo seasoning by air-drying before being bundled for delivery to buyers or sent for further processing into kiln dried sawn timber.
Certain customers require kiln dried sawn timber. Kiln dried sawn timber is also required as a material for MWTI’s timber moulding operations.
The kiln drying process reduces the moisture content of the sawn timber without damaging the structure and strength of the timber. In this process, the rough sawn timber is dried in oven-liked structures called kilns before they are rolled out for sale or further value added manufacturing. The kiln drying process takes between one and half weeks to six weeks depending on the species and thickness of the rough sawn timber.
Timber moulding involves planning (sanding) and shaping the kiln dried saw timber into required forms, shapes or profiles. Common moulding products such as S2S, S4S, E2E, and E4E require simple machining process whereby the timber is planned and shaped with round edges. Among the products that require more complex moulding works are decking and flooring products. Decking products normally require one surface of the timber to be “reeded” with multiple “ripples” whilst flooring products would require tongues and groves.
The finger-jointing process converts “off-cut” and short-length timbers, which are in essence “scraps”, into usable timber products. This process increases the recovery rate of the sawn timber as it enables the recycling of the odds and ends for further processing into other downstream products. The pieces of off-cut and short-length timber are joined together by applying glue and then pressing the jagged joints together. This would result in the pieces of “off-cut” and shot-length timber becoming full-length commercial timber strips, hence the term finger-jointed products.
In addition, the finger-jointed products can be processed further into profiles of general moulding and laminated beams. Certain finger-jointed timber also commands some premium over normal sawn timber due to the following reasons:-
- Joinery timber is stronger than normal sawn timber due to the strength built in the joints; and
- The length of the joinery timber can be specially tailored to meet the needs of the end user whereas the length of the normal sawn timber depends on the length and quality of the logs.