Story | 11/29/2023 09:16:31 | 3 min Read time

New investments in modernization and sustainability at Korkeakoski sawmill

UPM Timber invests in a new state-of-the-art split saw technology at Korkeakoski sawmill. It allows the wood raw material to be utilized even more efficiently than before. Earlier this year, the sawmill started using a new heat pump that utilizes waste heat.

At Korkeakoski sawmill, a new split saw technology supplied by USNR will start operation in 2025. This is an investment of nearly 10 million euros in the efficiency and competitiveness of the sawmill. 

"The sawmill industry has a long history of over 60 years in Korkeakoski. Great work has been done here for a long time, and this investment is an excellent continuation of that. The Korkeakoski sawmill has been a model example of excellent production efficiency, and this investment will further strengthen our position", says Janne Klaavuniemi, who started as Sawmill Director at Korkeakoski in April 2023. 

We aim to develop our sawmills more efficient and responsible in the long term. This investment is a great milestone and very much in line with our goals. Korkeakoski has a good culture and a really skilled staff, and they get a great opportunity to develop their operations even further”, says Thomas Westerback, UPM Timber’s Director, Sustainability and Investments.  

Modernization enables more efficient use of raw materials 

In the modernization of the sawmill, the split saw in the second stage of sawing will be renewed, along with automation and other equipment. The investment enables more efficient use of raw materials, as the same amount of logs convert to more end product. Modern equipment also increases energy efficiency. 

“With the investment, we can utilize the raw material more efficiently, as we get more end product from the same amount of logs. This way, we can make our production even more efficient and sustainable,” explains Janne Klaavuniemi. 

The investments in the split saw and heat pump are evidence that we are taking big steps forward and towards more modern technology.
Janne Klaavuniemi

Waste energy can be utilized with a heat pump 

Earlier this fall, Korkeakoski sawmill started using the 52-60 degree waste energy from its two drying kilns with an AmbiHeat heat pump system supplied by Calefa. The waste heat is processed into heat with a high efficiency of over 100 degrees Celsius for the sawmill. The heat pump reduces the amount of wood bark burned. In addition, the kilning capacity can be increased during winter freezing periods.

Petri Lehtonen, Manager, Energy and Kilning at Korkeakoski sawmill, says that the commissioning of the heat pump has gone well.  

”It was brought here by special transport and lifted into place as one piece. The first tests were done at the end of July and the production trial run was started in late August. After the commissioning, some minor adjustments have been made mainly in optimization, but we are in the final stretch and very close to the goal of 1MW efficiency,” Lehtonen says. 

Janne Klaavuniemi, as Sawmill Director, is very satisfied with the direction the sawmill is going. 

“The investments in the split saw and heat pump are evidence that we are taking big steps forward and towards more modern technology.” 

With heat pump technology, emissions are reduced and energy efficiency is increased in the sawmill’s drying process. In the preparation and commissioning, Petri Lehtonen, Manager, Energy and Kilning (left) and Teemu Taipale, Manager, Electrical and Automation Maintenance from the Korkeakoski sawmill, have had key roles.
 
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