Good practice

Sawmill optimises timber drying

Sawmill optimises timber drying
© imfotograf, #125893173, 2019, source:
Timber and woodworking
High cost
Payback time:
7 - 8 Year(s)
Resource savings: Raw material:
Better optimisation of drying process improves product quality and reduces material loss due to drying faults
Associated cost savings: Energy:
20 - 30%
Payback time:
Significant energy savings from the kiln investment (heat recovery system) mean a payback time of 7-8 years
Premises and operation areas:
Production processes
Size of company:
Large (more than 250)
Advancement in applying resource efficiency measures:

Making the most of a heated situation

  • Finnish sawmill company improved its energy efficiency by 22 %
  • Major savings were achieved by investing in new continuous drying kilns and related heat recovery and control systems

Versowood is a Finnish timber and wood products company. Among its production facilities, it has four saws for processing raw material. These saws produce around 1.35 million cubic metres of timber which needs to be dried onsite.

Wood drying is a precise procedure and needs to be done at the right temperature and speed to avoid cracks and other issues that can compromise the end product. At the Versowood sites, the heat for drying comes mostly from burning its own byproducts, such as saw dust and wood bark. As the drying facilities use 85 % of produced heat, their energy efficiency has a huge impact on the overall energy usage of the sites.

In 2017, Versowood invested in two new continuous kilns at their Vierumäki sawmill. The investment allowed them to increase sawing volume from 1.3 m3 to 1.5 m3. The kilns, provided by Valutec, also include a heat recovery system and an automated control system which optimises the drying rate and quality of the wood.

Between 2008 and 2016, the company signed up to national energy efficiency agreements, setting an energy savings goal of 9 %. At the end of the agreement period, Versowood had exceeded the goal by 143 %. Besides the kiln investments, other measures included improved fans, radiators, and better automation.

In addition to the investments at drying facilities, the company has invested in automated led lightning and improved heat seals at the openings of warehouses where trucks and other equipment are being used. The company's plans also include an investment in heat recovery systems in search of more efficiency gains.

Key benefits

  • Significant energy savings thanks to more advanced automation, drying program software and heat recovery
  • More accurate and user-friendly software improves the drying quality which also brings cost savings
  • The investment allowed Versowood to increase its production capacity

“The investment enables the production capacity at Vierumäki mill and improves the drying quality.” -- Ville Kopra, CEO at Versowood

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