Dardanup-based Wespine Industries Pty Ltd is confident its new continuous drying kiln will help to streamline operations.
Wespine unveiled its new kiln at a special ceremony on January 30, attended by parliamentary figures and company representatives.
Attendees were given a tour, with Wespine representatives on-hand to provide details about the kiln.
The kiln delivers 550m3 of output per day/180,000-200,000m3 per year, making it the biggest single-capacity continuous drying kiln in Australia.
It operates in three stages – heating, drying at 100°c, and conditioning.
The kiln will allow for Wespine to reduce its gas usage by up to 40 per cent, and its electricity consumption by 25 per cent.
Thanks to the kiln, Wespine will no longer be using ground water for drying.
Wespine managing director Patrick Warrand said it would help the company to support the state’s housing construction, landscaping, and industrial wood markets.
“There are opportunities for further development. Because the timber dries at a lower temperature and because we can run it all year round, we’ve got no constraints,” he said.
“It will help us to increase output slightly over the next five years. It’s mainly there to reduce the energy consumption that we have.
“The local suppliers/contractors were thrilled to be part of this.
“Pallet-making companies need a lot of wood at the moment, because of the lithium industry.
“There’s a lot of inter-connectivity between what we’re doing, and what the lithium and mineral sands industries are doing.”
The kiln’s construction required 16,390 hours of local contractor man-hours.
Many local companies – Perkins Builders, Picton Civil, Millers Contracting, Coopers Fabrication etc. – were integral to the project.
Speaking during the official ceremony, Collie-Preston MLA Mick Murray and Wespine Board of Directors chairperson Andrew Webster praised the 30 consultants and contractors involved.
“People are starting to think about the way they use timber for housing, and I think that’s a real positive,” Mr Murray said.
“We’ll see a lot of growth when the next building boom comes, I don’t think that’s too far away.”