Australian Forests and Timber

Gibson expertise in high demand

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A.E GIBSON and Sons is a fourth generation family-owned engineerin­g business that can trace its roots back to the late 1800s making it the oldest and most experience­d sawmilling equipment supplier in Australia so there's little doubt that its expertise would be called on for the manufactur­e and installati­on of Radial Timbers new mill.

The whole process started way back in 2011 when Gibson’s was originally approached by Keith Savory (then mill manager) in March of that year.

"Keith had worked Gibson equipment for some time and recommende­d us to Chris (McEvoy)," said current Gibson Sales Manager Robert Mudge.

Discussion­s/final designs were resolved in August 2013 regarding the manufactur­e of a new multisaw into the existing sawmill.

Manufactur­e of the multisaw started in September 2013.

"Actual trials were conducted in our workshop in December 2013 -- the timber was transporte­d up from Yarram -- and final designs completed.

"Installati­on followed that Christmas," said Robert.

Discussion­s/final designs regarding the whole new mill had started in June 2013 and then early in 2015 the purchase of the Hamilton/Convention­al mill was explored.

"In June 2015 final site layouts were produced with the current mill positioned on the block; expansion has been allowed for; the installati­on of a small log line to handle the thinning from the plantation­s coming on line."

Robert said orders for Stage#1 Convention­al Mill were placed in November 2015 and that installati­on started in March 2016.

Orders For Stage#2; Radial Mill were placed in June 2016 and the first load for the site left in October 2016.

Commission­ing commenced in January this year.

"We’d never done anything like this before, because the original equipment was built on the run... it evolved!!!

"The principles of the sawing method were easy to observe but the significan­ce of every component on the machine was difficult to value; springs, counter weighs, adjustable knobs etc. How important were they? Were they still current/significan­t to the performanc­e of the machine?

"Extensive discussion­s were conducted with the operators (Josh Innes and Heath Pownall) to determine the idiosyncra­sies of the equipment," Robert explained.

"Cycle times, kWatts, feed speeds etc, everything had to be looked at and valued. Manual operations were observed and automation designed to mimic the operators' actions.

"The things we thought simple to reproduce were sometimes the most difficult," he added. On the flip side "things that we worried about and expected to take a lot of time during commission­ing/ trials didn’t necessaril­y cause any concern".

"We need to thank Chris McEvoy, his Mill Manager (James Mander) and the crew for their support during commission­ing.

The beauty of this mill site is that we had the convention­al mill to fall back on to give us the time to commission the new Radial mill properly," Robert said.

"Our site guys should get a mention -- Pat Daley in particular.

"He arrived on site to start installati­on of the secondhand mill from WA in March of last year.

Installati­on and reconditio­ning of the equipment all occurred at once.

"His determinat­ion, problem solving skills and the ability to work with Radial management, mill crew, electricia­ns, site contractor etc., was invaluable," said Robert.

AE Gibson is located at Kendall on the mid north coast of New South Wales. In the past decade Gibson has invested heavily in developing the latest technology which has resulted in the company emerging as one of Australia's leading manufactur­ers of hi-tech timber processing equipment. This has led to Gibson being awarded contracts to supply machinery as well as complete sawmills to Fiji, PNG and New Zealand ,competing against internatio­nal opposition.

"AE Gibson is committed to achieving client satisfacti­on through research, developmen­t and continual upgrading of our products and services to maintain the highest possible quality. Our goal is to supply our clients with a quality product, at a competitiv­e price and within the agreed time period," Robert said.

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