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Author Topic: Material Handling  (Read 6395 times)

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Offline Ohio_Bill

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Material Handling
« on: December 01, 2020, 09:45:31 PM »
I have been thinking about starting a post on Material Handling for a long time. Have been sawing for 22 years now and have come to understand moving the lumber and logs takes a lot of time and energy. So Im going to share what equipment and techniques I have used over the years, some good and some not so much. My one man operation is currently sawing 80,000 bf a year supporting industrial customers and the oil and gas industry.  Mostly timbers and blocking. So I will have about a dozen posts to get through the 22 years. My Mill is a 2001 LT40 supper with remote and board drag back. I drag back the slabs and place them in a rack and also drag back the fitches and stack them to be moved to the edger .Finished timbers go off the other end of the mill onto dead rollers with a cutoff saw inline if trimming is needed .Over the years I picked up on a lot of great ideas form the people here on the forum. Over the years I have used tractors, forklifts, Wheel loaders, skid steers, and Compact track loaders to move logs and lumber around the mill and load trucks. So I started with a farm tractor with a loader and forks it would handle about 2500 lbs at that time I was sawing mostly Ties and a bundle of 20 weighed close to 6000 lbs. was able to scrape up enough money to buy a old rough terrain forklift, which would handle the 6000 lb bundles of ties and so my journey begins.


 



 



 
Bill
USAF Veteran  C141 Loadmaster
LT 40 HDD42-RA   , Allis Chalmers I 500 Forklift , Allis Chalmers 840 Loader , International 4300 , Zetor 6245 Tractor Loader ,Bob Cat 763 , Riehl Steel Edger

Offline mike_belben

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Re: Material Handling
« Reply #1 on: December 01, 2020, 10:25:51 PM »
Im in.
Revelation 3:20

Offline Cruiser_79

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Re: Material Handling
« Reply #2 on: December 02, 2020, 01:42:42 AM »
This will get interesting. At the moment I'm using the wheelloader at my brothers place, but when I need to leave (his company keeps expanding) I would like a Volvo LM641 or maybe a rough terrain forklift. 
Can you get far enough in the shed to get the logs on your mill with the forklift? 

Offline stavebuyer

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Re: Material Handling
« Reply #3 on: December 02, 2020, 04:47:42 AM »
Been down the same road. My first sawmill loader tractor was a wore MF30 Industrial 2wd. It would lift 3000# but you could only travel downhill with that much weight on the front and forget about stopping! I could only move about 8 sawn ties at a time and then finish building the bundle on the trailer.  Next was an old Case rough terrain forklift. It would lift 6000# and go anywhere loaded but better be on hardpacked gravel if empty. Worked very good for handling sawn materials; no reach and unloading logs was a real pain with not much "curl" at the forks.

Offline Rigg

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Re: Material Handling
« Reply #4 on: December 02, 2020, 06:15:10 AM »
I'm at the tractor and front end loader stage of the game.

What do you do with the slabs in that rack? 
Frick 00, International UD-14A

Offline Crusarius

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Re: Material Handling
« Reply #5 on: December 02, 2020, 06:21:07 AM »
yup, I just have a little Kubota L2800, at least its 4wd. it works, but it can be very challenging. you get really good at steering with the throttle.

Crab walking is fun when the load is balanced so perfectly your only on the front tires. Then as you turn the tractor just moves the direction of the tires not actually turning.

Offline Peter Drouin

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Re: Material Handling
« Reply #6 on: December 02, 2020, 06:42:18 AM »
 

 

 
The reach is the thing for me. Here I chain the log to the underside of the forks to 'set' the log on the mill, not role it on, and bang the stops hard on the mill.
With a lull all things are possible. :)
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45' of Wood Mizer, cutting since 1987.
License NH softwood grader.

Online Bruno of NH

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Re: Material Handling
« Reply #7 on: December 02, 2020, 07:24:06 AM »
I started with a MF 1560 then Mahindra both 4x4
MF 2,500lb lift
Mahindra 3,000lb lift 
I now have a Bobcat 974 .

 
Lt 40 wide with 38hp gas and command controls Riehl Steel edger,F350 4x4 dump and lot of contracting tools

Offline longtime lurker

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Re: Material Handling
« Reply #8 on: December 02, 2020, 07:38:09 AM »
The problem with most forklifts is that they aren't much good around a pile of logs. That float down business is a nuisance.... try and slip your tines over one log to get another and they just hang there with slack in the chains.

At least until you convert them across to a double acting lift cylinder. That makes a big difference. (Lessons learnt along the way - always make sure your about to be new forklift has a valve bank that can support that... it makes it a whole lot cheaper and its a really useful conversion if you might want to lift round things with a forklift)

One of the biggest issues I faced when I started was trying to get things done with equipment that was inadequate/ too small. I fixed the log handling issue quick enough with a wheel loader ( Cat 966 equivalent machine) that was probably the smartest purchase of my first 5 years of operation. And the big girl is still going strong though yeah - she takes half a square mile to turn and she's slowwww - but she can lift a decent log or a whole whack of littluns. Problem being that there are limits to what she can do inside a shed and well... there's 7'10" of gap between the forks so don't be trying to handle pallets or something.

The 4000 lb capacity forklift I started with was forever standing on its head under something or other. So I went to a 6000lb capacity JCB all terrain that didnt have that in-shed agility of a regular forklift and only stood on its head sometimes. :D So I went to a 9000lb lift forklift and well - it can handle most anything except on the end of the slippers when you're loading the other side of a trailer. Seeing as that is becoming a more regular issue I foresee a 7 tonne /14000lb lift forklift in my near future. 

Ahhh the joys of growing businesses: I need another wheel loader to take some pressure of the old one so I can do a heavy maintenance cycle on her, and any forklift big enough to be useful doesnt have the off the hardstand mud season capability of a loader and if it did it would be too big to turn in a shed. So really I need 2 machines, or at least upgrade the forklift and hire a loader in for 6 months.

Or a Patrick ARR8 and a bigger shed!


The quickest way to make a million dollars with a sawmill is to start with two million.

Offline YellowHammer

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Re: Material Handling
« Reply #9 on: December 02, 2020, 07:59:58 AM »
We've settled on two machines, a nimble Cat P5000 solid tire forklift that goes effortlessly on gravel and concrete and in building's with pallets of wood, and a custom New Holland semi skip loader for everything else.  I can't say enough about the Cat P5000, its a nimble little beast.  I lifted a 7,700 lb piece of machinery with it.
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If it wont roll, its not a log; its still a piece of tree.  Sawmills cut logs, not pieces of trees.

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Offline doc henderson

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Re: Material Handling
« Reply #10 on: December 02, 2020, 08:17:44 AM »
I use my track loader 277c, with either forks, grapple or crane depending on where the log/slabs/boards are coming from.  I often move a log with the crane to pick it up off a trailer with sides and or fenders, and then just set it on the mill.
timberking B 2000, 277c track loader, PJ 32 foot gooseneck, 1976 F700 state dump truck, JD 850 tractor.  2007 Chevy 3500HD dually, home built log splitter 18 horse 28 gpm with 5 inch cylinder and 32 inch split range with conveyor 12 volt tarp motor

Offline customsawyer

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Re: Material Handling
« Reply #11 on: December 02, 2020, 01:07:25 PM »
I have a tractor and grapple with 3500 lift, skidsteer with 4000 lift, forklift with 8000 lift, a Lull with 10000 lift, a backhoe with 9000 lift, and a front end loader with 10000 lift. Still looking for more.
Two LT70s, Nyle L200 kiln, 4 head planer, 30" double surface planer, Lucus dedicated slaber, Slabmizer, and enough rolling stock and chainsaws to keep it all running.
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Offline Walnut Beast

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Re: Material Handling
« Reply #12 on: December 02, 2020, 01:10:50 PM »
I like your thinking 👍😂

Offline stavebuyer

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Re: Material Handling
« Reply #13 on: December 02, 2020, 03:39:22 PM »
I went from the Case 586 rough terrain forklift to a JD 344 Wheel Loader. The JD was not a bad fit for a small mill. It would handle a full bundle of 25 7x9 ties if you were cautious. The main downfall was it didn't have the reach to clear the bolsters on some of the tall tandem log trucks or the front bunks on a pulp trailer. Next up was a new Hyundai 740 tool carrier. Very nice loader. It would handle 2 full packs of lumber or ties. When I opened the second yard I started with an older Volvo L60 and a Barko 160 Knuckleboom and then added a Case 521XTD(extended reach). When I added a firewood processor it didn't take to long to figure out I needed a smaller loader so the Cat 289D CTL showed up. The CTL shined sorting logs and yard clean up, handy for a spare loader for loading/unloading trucks in a pinch but was way too dangerous and did not have enough reach for general truck loading duties. It also made a mess of the yard tending the firewood operation and was a royal pain to get in and out of every few minutes. I settled on a compact JCB wheel loader for the firewood operation and sorting incoming logs and the Hyundai 740's for the main log and lumber handling.






Offline mike_belben

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Re: Material Handling
« Reply #14 on: December 02, 2020, 03:58:56 PM »
Nearly everyone is the fieldstone business has gone to the midsize articulated loaders from either wacker or JCB for same reasons as a sawmill would.  You cant use fork on a skid steer without tossing boards off in turns.. They just shudder too hard.  And ya really need about 6k lift capacity for palletized stone which is asking to break a skid steer.  


But ya also gotta be fast so hulky old iron with no brakes slamming into a nice w900L or 379 is frowned upon.


I have a 4wd articulated nassco forklift.  Has its place but a wheel loader with a bucket and grapple forks would be much better.   No one is gonna deliver me one of those for $4k so this will have to do. 




Revelation 3:20

Offline Ohio_Bill

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Re: Material Handling
« Reply #15 on: December 02, 2020, 09:23:47 PM »
Wow there is a lot of people that have gone down the same road and I suspect like me did not have an unlimited budget. To answer about the slab rack I band them and they are used for fire wood. It works out that the rack holds about 10 logs worth of slabs and my log deck also holds 10 logs so each time I fill the deck I remove the slabs. Slabs can become a giant mess if you dont have a plan. If you are sawing part time and can handle the weight with a tractor equipped with a loader, in my opinion thats a pretty good way to go. If you need a little more lifting capacity I think used forklifts are a great value. I bought my Allis Chalmers I500 about 17 years ago and it has been very reliable. Rough Terrain forklifts have built in problems like a mask that sticks way up in the air and gets taller as you raise the load .They also dont have the best traction when you dont have a load on them. Also you can only reach as far as your forks are long, so you have to go to both sides of the truck when loading or unloading on the plus side they can be bought for not much money; they can handle a lot of weight and are very agile. I love being able to take a 10 ft stack of lumber through an 8 ft door. All of the large Mills in our area use Wheel loaders for loading, unloading and moving lumber. 
 
 
Hear are a few pictures of lay out and product.



 



 



 


 

Bill
USAF Veteran  C141 Loadmaster
LT 40 HDD42-RA   , Allis Chalmers I 500 Forklift , Allis Chalmers 840 Loader , International 4300 , Zetor 6245 Tractor Loader ,Bob Cat 763 , Riehl Steel Edger

Offline bushhog920

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Re: Material Handling
« Reply #16 on: December 02, 2020, 11:10:48 PM »
 
I've been very happy with a moffett it is light, handles mud, can turn around in its own footprint, and plan to get a delivery truck I can hang it off the back.
 

Offline customsawyer

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Re: Material Handling
« Reply #17 on: December 03, 2020, 08:07:57 AM »
One thing I like about the Lull is that you can tilt the machine to match the forks to the bed of the truck or stack of logs. This really helps as you don't have one fork digging into the trailer or the other one digging into the lumber.
Two LT70s, Nyle L200 kiln, 4 head planer, 30" double surface planer, Lucus dedicated slaber, Slabmizer, and enough rolling stock and chainsaws to keep it all running.
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Offline moodnacreek

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Re: Material Handling
« Reply #18 on: December 03, 2020, 08:09:03 AM »
Wow, this is my kind of subject. My biggest  sawmill improvement was getting the sawn material out of the mill and on green chains push button sort of with no help.  My yard is the worst, very small and side hill. Logs and 12x12s are handled with a picker truck. For lumber I have 2 #10,000 forklifts. There is not enough turning space for a handler or articulated loader or I would have one. I started with a big wheel [tractor] forklift but no capacity but they sure have traction.

Offline Dana Stanley

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Re: Material Handling
« Reply #19 on: December 03, 2020, 05:51:53 PM »
I just have a hobby mill, but have a Kabota B7800. Not much lift, so I can roll logs up ramps, and the real heavy ones get rolled up with the winch (par buckled). As some have alluded to here the problem comes when moving the finished product. Beams don't roll so good and boards don't roll at all, so I need to often stack and sticker before I'm done a 24" log. I make small stacks 3 or 4 in one pile, so a bit of shuffling when I need something that isn't in the top stack. 

I was surprised when I realized that the finished boards were more an issue than logs. Unless a machine with more capacity falls in my lap, I need to be content with what I have. I just try to think of it as a challenge! I tell myself how clever I am when I just max out the loader, and I bounce the back wheels over to the stack. Hopefully when it is a little dryer un-stacking is easier! 
Making Sawdust, boards and signs.
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Matthew 3:10


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