TS Manufacturing: Complete Mill Capacity From a Family Business

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Lindsay, Ontario, CanadaFresh off a new 16,000-square-foot expansion, the floor of TS Manufacturing’s plant, located here, is already filled with machinery that reflects their diverse offerings. The 90’ Log Scanning Conveyor and Complete 3D Scanning & Optimization (Optimization from Automation & Electronics) System setup for testing, and vibrating conveyor sections stacked next to it is a good analogy for the product line TS Manufacturing has been offering sawmillers for over 48 years. As one walks through the plant today, you can see everything from Log Conveying, Log Merchandisers, Band Mills, a Chipping Gang, Optimized board edgers, and Trimmer and Sorters in various states of manufacture. 

Formed in 1972 by Ted Smith and Tom Smith, TS Manufacturing was created to serve the needs of the regional sawmill and lumber handling industry, both Softwood and hardwood. As time has progressed, the company has grown as has their product offering. “While the past 48 years hasn’t always been easy, it has been interesting. Since buying out my brother in 2007, we’ve been able to focus more on our strength as a manufacturer of custom solutions to our customers’ problems, and the result has been tremendous” explains Ted Smith, President. “We are fortunate to have a great team of longterm employees here, that as our sons have progressed into management roles they have an experienced team excited to work together building new products for the future.” As is common in our industry, the entire family is active in the day to day (and evening to evening) operations of the business; with Co-Owners Ev and Ted Smith and their sons working daily to meet the needs of their customers and their employees, especially in trying times.

TS Manufacturing: Complete Mill Capacity From a Family Business 1
TS Operates from a modern and continually upgraded facility in Lindsay, Ontario.

“Any business today is familiar with adversity, whether it was the global financial crisis of 2007 – 2009, or as we sit today in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic; our job isn’t just building machinery, it’s providing successful solutions for our customers and providing a safe workforce for our employees and their families,” states Ev Smith, Vice President. “When the COVID crisis hit, no one knew what to expect, or even how to mitigate it early on, we’re exceptionally proud of our employees working together to setup remote work for most of our office staff, and changing our shift structure to provide a safe, socially distanced manufacturing environment, and since the outset, we have been able to keep our people employed and haven’t had any cases; 145 days and counting now.”  From remote wash stations to plexiglass separated drawing review boards, the changes from the COVID-19 pandemic are evident throughout the facility, not just in the office spaces left empty as people work from home. What’s not as easily visible are the changes they made to ensure field startups could continue during this crisis. “This pandemic has changed business everywhere, and while we’re fortunate to have been labelled essential, unlike Home Depot and restaurants, Curbside Startups weren’t really an option for us or our customers. Thankfully, our team pulled together to come up with some safety precautions around travel, and has been able to safely travel and do critical startup on site throughout the USA and Canada during these challenging times,” says Riley Smith, Sales Manager.  “If all we did was standard equipment, we could probably have done remote support like many, but providing constantly improving machinery, installation and controls means you need to be onsite.”

TS Manufacturing: Complete Mill Capacity From a Family Business 2
Twin 6’ Bandmills on a Sharp Chain System – one of many styles of Log Breakdown systems TS offers.

One of these projects is a turn-key sawmill facility they’re building in Vance, Alabama for KyKenKee Inc. This greenfield sawmill gives about as good a cross-section of the equipment and services that TS Manufacturing has to offer as any. With a log diet from 8’ – 65’ long the system will run through a Nicholson Ring Debarker (one of the few pieces of equipment in the mill not directly built by TS Manufacturing) and then is 3D Scanned and merchandised on two parallel log merchandising lines producing up to 16 logs per minute to the Sharp Chain system. 

TS Manufacturing: Complete Mill Capacity From a Family Business 3
Lineal Optimized Board Edger in operation.

One of these projects is a turn-key sawmill facility they’re building in Vance, Alabama for KyKenKee Inc. This greenfield sawmill gives about as good a cross-section of the equipment and services that TS Manufacturing has to offer as any. With a log diet from 8’ – 65’ long the system will run through a Nicholson Ring Debarker (one of the few pieces of equipment in the mill not directly built by TS Manufacturing) and then is 3D Scanned and merchandised on two parallel log merchandising lines producing up to 16 logs per minute to the Sharp Chain system. 

The Sharp chain system is designed for 6” – 25” diameter logs at piece rates up to 16 logs per minute, the system features an Automation & Electronics Optimizer, and a canter TS Twin 6’ Bandmill breakdown system that feeds to an optimized Chipping 10” Gang with a shifting cluster and four individually shifting saws that close to 3”. This specialized feature allows the single operator to handle both simple ‘one pass’ center cants as well as the larger solutions where the moving saws produce ‘Doubles’ that automatically return to the gang to be sawn into boards through the shifting cluster. Side boards off the primary then feed to either one of the two 40-board-per-minute optimized lineal board edgers, or if they come off a larger log, they pass to the twin 6-foot horizontal resaw before heading to the edgers. 

TS Manufacturing: Complete Mill Capacity From a Family Business 4
Pictured is one of many TS Sorter & Stacker systems installed worldwide.

The entire line then feeds into an optimized Trimmer and 45 Bin Sorter. The optimization, like every other optimizer in this mill is provided by Automation & Electronics. Packs are transitioned from the bin sorter to the Servo Stacker and Accu-Placer system before leaving the mill. From the moment the logs are loaded on the deep pile log deck, through to the Stickering Stacker there are no more than 10 operators in the mill, and upon completion it should be able to produce 30,000 bdft/hr on lumber 12’ and shorter. If TS Manufacturing seems like an odd choice for such a project, recent expansions in TS’ capabilities has led to an interesting product offering for a company their size.

“After years of subcontracting controls to other vendors, we realized that as our machinery adopted newer and newer technologies that if we wanted to ensure the machinery functioned the way it was designed we would have to do the controls ourselves, so we formed a controls department to handle our projects. As things progressed more and more customers came to us looking for us to do more and more of the controls,” explains Dustin Smith, Engineering Manager. “Fortunately, just as we were growing an opportunity to buy into Automation & Electronics came along, and we took it.” This opportunity now means that TS owns 80 percent of Automation & Electronics, and in addition to a large controls department at A&E they also gained an Optimization and software department. This meant that TS is one of the few companies that can take responsibility from the moment the log is placed on the deck all the way to the pack being shipped, including the controls and the optimization side of things. 

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This is the patented TS Accu-Placer & Stacker system using servo electric controls, capable of handling the most challenging stick inventories.
TS Manufacturing: Complete Mill Capacity From a Family Business 6
Automation & Electronics Whole Log Optimizer and TS Log Scanning Conveyor being tested at TS’ facility in Lindsay, Ontario.

“Our customers often come to us looking for something different than what the ‘Big Guys’ have to offer, and the ability to offer the right machinery, controls AND software to suit their needs has been great. For instance our AccuTally system has let over 20 customers get the control over how they run their line and reporting that was missing in other systems,” says Peter McCarty Southern Sales. 

With a complete line of machinery, controls and software to fit your mill, give this family business a chance to welcome you into their “family of customers” worldwide.

Learn more at visit www.tsman.com.

By Miller Wood Trade Publications

The premier online information source for the forest products industry since 1927.

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