Oregon company offers wood fiber prep system

By Bryan Sims
Web exclusive posted Dec. 15, 2008 at 3:38 p.m. CST

Salem, Ore.-based West Salem Machinery has completed the design and engineering work of a wood fiber preparation system that mechanically converts wood chips, saw dust and other forest product residuals into densified wood biomass.

The system, engineered and manufactured by WSM, can handle up to 100 dry tons per hour of wood fiber, including pre-screening, shredding and/or milling of material. Specifically, the system includes two WSM drag chain reclaims, which allow bulk loading and metered feeding of wood fibers, a belt conveyor with an overhead self-cleaning permanent magnet, a vibrating screen and a 4272S swing hammer shredder/hammermill. Pre-screening the incoming material provides increased throughput with less energy consumption.

WSM was created in 1947. According to WSM President Mark Lyman, the company's wood products densification and size reduction equipment has evolved over the last 25 years into a large part of its overall business scope.

"We have lots of experience with grinding up, chipping up and screening up different types of wood waste and wood fiber," he said, noting that the systems are designed to minimize energy costs during 24-hour, seven-day applications.

Today, with the emergence of renewable energy, WSM has a range of machines that are amenable for various applications in the biomass power and/or cellulosic industries. According to Lyman, the company is accommodating a growing demand nationally for wood pellets in the biomass power sector.

"We do a lot of [wood] fuel preparation for traditional biomass power plants," he said.

Although the company hasn't had many discussions with cellulosic ethanol plant developers thus far, Lyman said WSM would offer its wood fiber size reduction equipment to those plants. "We definitely have the equipment to get fiber prepped for those processes and that's one we hope to work with in the future," he said.