by Luke Jones
Posted 5/7/2012 12:00 am
Updated 3 years ago
A $20 million modernization project is under way at a planar mill in Urbana.
According to Kerlin Drake, vice president of marketing for Anthony Forest Products Co. of El Dorado, the project involves the installation of a new fuel silo and dual-path continuous dry kiln at the 75-worker mill.
"We're going to increase productivity by about 50 percent," Drake said. "It's going to increase efficiency by getting more lumber out of the same log. We call that the recovery factor, and it should be improved by 5 to 10 percent."
Anthony Forest Products reported $98.9 million in revenue for the fiscal year that ended April 30, 2011, the latest figure available.
Drake said the improvements were the biggest change ever seen at the mill, which remains Anthony Forest's only sawmill after its second, in Atlanta, was destroyed by fire last year.
The project is currently at phase three, Drake said, and work is being done on building the new kiln.
"It will be late summer before everything's complete," he said. The mill will also have technology to automatically grade the lumber through computerized scanning.
Drake said the end result should increase both production and employment at the mill, which he said is crucial to Anthony Forest's business.
"It's a pretty wild place to walk through," he said.