Forest products council plugging use of solar kilns

Small operators in the forest products sector were urged at a recent awareness session  to  begin using kilns as an integral part of their manufacturing operation.

A  Forest Products Development & Marketing Council (FPDMC) seminar informed participants on the construction of solar kilns using readily available low cost materials as well as the operation and benefits of solar kiln drying of lumber, a press release from the council stated yesterday.

A model of the solar kiln was on display and this acted as a guide on its  construction and use. The basics of its operation were discussed during the session held at the Guyana Forestry Commission Multiplex in Kingston, Georgetown.

This is all part of the council’s efforts to promote downstream processing of timber and the application of lesser used species in the local timber industry, the release said.

The FPDMC, a government entity, is mandated to promote quality downstream processing in the timber industry. The council through its industry and product development initiative is encouraging the sector to utilize more kiln dried lumber for furniture manufacturing, craft making and other household fixtures.

The FPDMC also noted that although a few operators in the lumber sector are involved in kiln drying, the smaller operators need to get on board and begin using kilns as an integral part of their manufacturing operation.

While there is access to boiler kilns around the country, the FPDMC acknowledged  that there are operators who are not within the catchment areas of these boiler kilns. Solar kilns, the FPDMC maintained,  have proven to be a suitable and affordable alternative for drying lumber.

The release pointed out further that the solar kiln drying system can bring the moisture content of wood down to about 12%-8% in a shorter time compared to air drying of lumber.

The FPDMC also highlighted that furniture manufacturers and lumber yard dealers need to ensure that they manufacture products of the highest quality that would afford value for money.

The wood working sector must also use kiln dried wood to eliminate or reduce to a minimum level, wood shrinkage and other wood defects which are major sources of frustration to consumers.

Kiln dried lumber reduces movement during service and increases the aesthetics and life of the wood product, the release said.

Drying lumber in a controlled environment changes the properties of wood in a positive way and it is these changes that make it beneficial to undertake this exercise. Using local models in the industry as reference to its credibility, the FPDMC noted various benefits to solar kiln use.

The FPDMC added that it is a requirement that lumber along with other value-added wood products that are exported are kiln dried. The seminar also dealt with the technical aspects of constructing and operating solar kilns.

In the meantime, persons interested in constructing solar kilns are asked to contact the office of the FPDMC at Kingston, Georgetown.

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