Innovating Mill Operations: Blanca Forestry Products' Journey with MiCROTEC
Interview: Blanca Forestry Products' Experience
In October, MiCROTEC sat down with Blanca Forestry Products, a mill situated in the heart of Blanca, Colorado. Established in 2017 as part of a fire mitigation initiative, Blanca Forestry Products has embraced technology and innovation as core drivers of its operations. MiCROTEC began working with Blanca Forestry Products in 2020 with the installation of a Lucidyne scanner and the integrated QC Assist tool, leading to a remarkable transformation in the mill's performance.
Rick Engebretsen, Mill Manager of Blanca Forestry Products, and his team saw a significant improvement in their operations following the integration of the Lucidyne scanner. This advanced technology, coupled with MiCROTEC's grading support, resulted in substantial enhancements, notably in uptime, recovery rates, and reduced downtime. According to Julian Sanchez, a member of the Blanca Forestry Products team, "We have a more consistent board flow. Uptime has increased at least 20%."
Responsive Customer Care & the QC Assist Tool
A pivotal aspect of Blanca Forestry Product’s optimization is MiCROTEC's customer care. Fidel Sandoval, another key player at Blanca Forestry Products, highlighted MiCROTEC's quick response time and real-time support, crucial for making immediate machine adjustments and fine-tuning to ensure seamless mill operations.
The introduction of MiCROTEC's QC Assist tool marked a turning point for Blanca Forestry Products. Sanchez found the tool user-friendly, enabling them to pull boards, identify defects, and fine-tune optimization to meet the desired grade quality. He shared, "It's easy to use. We learned how to use it pretty quickly." The tool has empowered Blanca Forestry Products to operate independently, creating their own rules and optimizations as needed through QC Assist.
Effective Communication & Collaborative Optimization
Blanca Forestry Products specializes in processing beetle-killed spruce, a wood species with distinctive defects. This unique challenge required specialized attention from the MiCROTEC team. Engebretsen explained, "A lot of why this mill was built was to help with fire mitigation, and the biggest fire hazard here is the beetle-killed spruce. We run a lot of beetle-killed spruce. What we're checking for is a lot different than other mill's products." Sandoval emphasized, "At first, it was hard to get the scanning perfect. It was too aggressive in detecting knots, and it was picking up more than it should."
With MiCROTEC's grading support and imaging teams, the scanner was optimized to align with Blanca Forestry Product's unique grading needs, ensuring high-speed operation at an average of 750 FPM and the production of high-quality lumber that meets WWPA grading inspections.
Blanca Forestry Products' journey exemplifies the results of a strong partnership between technology providers in the wood products industry and mills dedicated to continuous improvement and operational excellence. MiCROTEC's unwavering support has not only revolutionized performance but has also empowered Blanca Forestry Products to take control of its grading processes and reach new heights in the industry. Their story serves as an inspiration for operational excellence through technology and innovation.