“Big enough to supply, small enough to care!”
UCL Sawmills operates two medium sized sawmills namely Seven Oaks Sawmills (29°12’26.40″S 30°35’52.40″E) at Seven Oaks and Küsel Sawmills (29°23’20.31″S 30°45’53.16″E) in Glenside. Both Seven Oaks and Glenside are situated in the KZN midlands (see the map below).
The sawmills cut approximately one hundred and fifty cubic meters of round log per day through their wetmills. The raw material is supplied by farmers in the surrounding districts, ranging from Glenside, New Hanover, Dalton, Greytown and as far as Krankop. Most of the suppliers are shareholders of the holding company UCL Company Limited based in Dalton.
Another load of round log from our suppliers. Boards being stacked at Seven Oaks Sawmills.
UCL, formerly known as Union Co-operative Limited, was formed in 1924 and the suppliers were Co-op members before the conversion to a company. We have a very loyal and committed group of raw material suppliers who have a real stake in the business. As all saw millers know, the key to a sustainable business is a long term supply of raw material.
The saw logs are cut into boards by Link frame saws in both sawmills. The mills differ by cutting patterns. Kusel Sawmill has a log and deal framesaw. The log framesaw cuts a cant (width) and the deal framesaw cuts the thickness producing the finished board. Seven Oaks fly cut the logs, meaning the required thickness is cut first.
The Deal Framesaw at KSM (left) and SOSM (right).
The round logs or saw logs are cut into boards by Link frame saws. The boards are then passed through a board edger to “square off” the boards. The boards, commonly known as “planks” are then stacked and dried in kilns. The stacking of the boards into the stacking bays is done manually.
Seven Oaks Sawmill uses custom built kilns to dry the boards. These kilns were built by the Company and have proved as efficient as any of the commercially produced kilns. Kusel Sawmills on the other hand, have upgraded to more modern TFD kilns. These new technology kilns have significantly improved throughput by drying a larger volume of timber in less time, allowing us to prepare and deliver product to customers a lot quicker and with less drying defects because of better drying controls.
One of the new TFD kilns recently installed at KSM.
The boards are then trimmed, cut to size and finished in the drymill. We have recently installed Leadermac planers in our drymills to improve the quality and the finish of the boards.
New Leadermac Planer
Customers often require the boards to be treated. It increases the timber’s life as it withstands weather conditions and insect infestation. Treated products are essential for most structural purposes, especially near the coast. The products are treated in a high pressure vessel, where the preservative CCA is forced into the board under high pressure. The company primarily treats to H2.
Timber being treated with CCA (top left). Bundles stacked and prepared for dispatch.
Once the product has been cut to size and treated for the customer, it is stacked, strapped and shipped off to the customer.
New Super-link addition to the our Fleet. (left) Truck load ready for delivery. (right)
The company produces various sizes of sawn pine timber distributed domestically and internationally. Although our main line is structural timber for the roofing industry, we also manufacture the following:
- Finger-Joint Timber
- Half round/Cladding
- Pine ceiling and floors
- Low cost doors and frames