Wednesday, September 07, 2016
Southport Lumber Mill, North Bend Oregon
Southport Lumber Mill, North Bend Oregon, USA. Published: 16.2.2013. Taken during a tour organized by Leadership Coos.
This is a modern, highly automated mill that specializes in small diameter Douglas Fir logs, 18" in diameter or smaller. They produce green and kiln dried wood products, with bark, wood chips, and other materials utilized as completely as possible.
With logging practices limited to younger stands of trees, this is a market that older mills designed for old-growth and large size logs can't compete with, and in fact there are a shrinking number of mills that have the capacity for those larger logs these days.
This is a video that attempts to show the journey of logs from unloading off the log trucks, being cut to size, and then being sorted and packaged onto rail cars. The technology is fascinating, and as you can see the process is very quick.
As each log enters the mill it is measured and analyzed for the most profitable and productive use according to continually updating market pricing for lumber. Lumber sizes that are getting higher prices will be cut more often, when possible, and continually adjusted to match demand.
Individual logs are debarked, cut to length, and processed through a series of saws while being oriented to make the most of each log. Lasers, optical scanners, and other devices are used to continually scan the wood and evaluate the milling process in real time as it moves to the next step.
Very little human interaction is evident, although there are people observing the line at all times. There is a high degree of technology at work here, and the production volume is high. As a commodity product, producers make very little profit so must maximize their volume to generate the needed revenues to pay operating costs, repay their investment, and continually reinvest into the facility.
- Coos County is heavily investing in natural resources, and it is the major contributor in our economy. Mining, wood products, fishing, livestock, dairy, and food products are all historical and current industries. Many are family owned, as is Southport Lumber.
- They contribute current sustainable and efficient practices in our rural areas, employ local workers, and are often active in our communities. We value our heritage, and appreciate all of the business owners for their investments and contributions.
The Reporter: "Unfortunately, this was takes with a small digital camera and did not have a higher definition option. Some of my other videos in HD were taken with a Panasonic camcorder that I had left at home for this trip. Till, next time, thanks for watching."