Sunday, September 9, 2012

Fall Trip to Sutton, WV - Appalachian Timber Services

The second stop on our trip to Sutton was Appalachian Timber Services. The facility manufactures treated wood products. These include railroad ties, bridge timbers, and mine supports. The milled lumber arrives via truck and undergoes final cuts and treatment before being shipped to customers. One of the largest customers for ATS is MTA New York City Transit. The subway system in New York City runs on railroad ties built in Sutton, WV. Heat for the creosote process is provided by burning wood product that would be waste in the past creating an eco friendly facility. They also sell sawdust to fuel pellet manufacturers when excess is produced.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Fall Trip to Sutton, WV - Weyerhaeuser

Timber Yard at Weyerhaeuser OSB Plant
After a full school day, the Cabell County Forest and Rail group met at the Central Office to load up and head to the Days Inn at Flatwoods, WV.  Traveling up I-79 to the Sutton, West Virginia area, the participants planned to visit two more wood manufacturing facilities. The Weyerhaeuser OSB Plant and Appalachian Timber Products showcase two products that the group could not examine during the summer trip.

The Weyerhaeuser OSB plant produces oriented strand board that features strands of wood that are arranged in cross layers and pressed to form sheets. The result is a product similar to plywood with a different appearance. OSB is mostly used as a sheathing material in building construction. The facility can process 110,000 tons of timber in a six week span. Little waste is left from the process as the plant uses the bark and other unusable material to fire the furnace. After the debarking and shredding process, the particles are dried to a moisture level of 5% - 8% and sorted before being laid into layers on a screen that can be up to seven or eight inches thick depending on the product being produced. A press then compresses the mat using 850 PSI on the board. 108 boards are fed into the press for each load and the procedure lasts roughly five minutes from loading of the press until the product leaves the press. The product is then cut into 4 x 8 sheets and readied for shipping.

Timber Yard

Close-up of shredder wheel

Feed piping for shredded timber
Mat ready for press
Shipping bundler

The plant was built in 1996 and currently employs 135 workers. The plant warehouses the products before shipping via truck or rail. There are six truck bays and an eight rail car loading dock. The current production level requires 60 trucks per day for freight. Weyerhaeuser has four OSB plants in the United States.