Project SCS Scierie et Caisserie de Steinbourg

Energy-saving and efficient drying technology

Mühlböck has stood for timber drying at the highest level, state-of-the-art technology and reliable service quality ever since the company was founded 40 years ago.

In the course of expanding its operations at the SCS Scierie et Caisserie sawmill in Steinbourg, 8 new combined drying and steam kilns made by the Austrian drying specialist were put into operation.

In the course of extensive investments and expansion of the existing premises, SCS Scierie et Caisserie has extended the existing drying capacity for sawn timber with another 8 drying kilns. In the course of this investment effort, a new 3.5 MW Urbas biomass boiler was also put into operation, supplying the new drying kilns with heat. In addition to the existing 7 combined kilns and 5 drying kilns supplied by Mühlböck, the new systems expanding the firm's drying capacity to approx. 20,000 m³/year have now been put into operation.

What makes the combined Mühlböck drying and steam kilns special is the fact that they combine 2 processes into one system. The sawn timber heated in a steaming process and stacked on special aluminium stacking laths remains in the drying kiln and is optimally prepared for the subsequent drying process. The temperature-controlled cooling process downstream from steaming is already used for drying.
The strength of this system includes nuanced colouring during steaming, and the subsequent rapid and uniform drying to a fixed final moisture content in a single cycle. In addition, the combination of the steaming and drying process in a single unit saves energy, handling effort and process time. The risk of mould formation during intermediate storage, for example, is thus avoided.

Speaking of energy savings: another advantage of the combined drying and steaming kilns lies in the special supply and exhaust air system of this type of system. “Due to a special arrangement of the supply and exhaust air units, all the air circulated via circulating air fans is used for drying. This prevents exhaust air loss common in other chamber systems,” Lionel Andre of Andre Technologies explains. “Combined with a heat recovery system, heat savings of around 20 % - 25 % can thus be expected,” Andre continues. Separating supply and exhaust air systems enables high dehumidification capacities even without the use of exhaust air fans. “This additionally reduces electricity costs and increases the availability of the drying system,” adds Harald Kroiss, who is responsible for Mühlböck system sales in France. Especially in times of steeply rising energy prices, saving money and careful use of existing resources is essential.

The uniform introduction of fresh air over the entire length of the kiln further increases the uniformity of the kiln climate and improves wood quality in all combined kilns installed at SCS Scierie et Caisserie de Steinbourg. Since a large part of the goods produced is exported, the quality of the steamed beech is a decisive factor in order to be able to compete on the international market.

The software for operating the plants in Steinbourg is another element that has been brought up to date. All 20 units were converted to the latest Mühlböck K5 control system and linked. For the operators, this results in intuitive operation, maximum reproducibility of all processes and support for all drying activities. With the extensive reporting tools built into the K5 control system, they are now also able to evaluate and further optimise all processes.

In addition to all these technical factors, Claude Schnepf of SCS Scierie et Caissiere de Steinbourg considers the long-standing trust-based cooperation with Mühlböck to be a decisive factor. The high quality and durability of the systems are just as important to the business owner as the support and service for the machines’ entire service life. In this regard, SCS Scierie et Caisserie de Steinbourg can rely on the competence and availability of the Mühlböck service and sales staff at any time.

“When we say full service we refer not only to the complete handling of system installation and commissioning, but also customer support during the operation of his systems,” concludes Mühlböck’s Harald Kroiss.