The new scanning and optimizing equipment increases efficiency and maximizes recovery at Mill Services Inc., located in Cobleskill, N.Y.
Cobleskill, N.Y.–The superior quality of Eastern White Pine (EWP), indigenous to the Northeast region of the United States, continues to play the leading role in the ongoing expansion in personnel and equipment of Mill Services Inc., located here.
Jamie Place, co-owner of Mill Services along with Dan Holt, said, “We believe that Eastern White Pine is just a tremendous species, and obviously it has a long-storied history in the New England area. Its durability and workability are proven throughout this region where homes continue to stand strong that were built with Eastern White Pine in excess of 200 years ago.
“At Mill Services, there has never been a time in which we’ve made a higher quality, better Eastern White Pine product than right now.”
That’s a big statement, but one that Place can back up with figures to prove his point. Mill Services has continuously flourished since Place and Holt bought the facility in 2007. At that time, 38 employees staffed the operations. Today, current personnel fluctuate between 62 and 70 and work one shift, plus a “hybrid” shift that manufactures on Saturdays. Mill Services added six to eight employees last year and are on track to do the same this year.
Mill Services maximizes yield with a new Rose Re-Rip.
“We’ve been able to add personnel and equipment simply because we’ve gotten busier,” noted Place.
Mill Services’ target market consists primarily of wholesale distribution companies and ships predominantly in the northeast quarter of the U.S. No doubt they purchase from Mill Services because they recognize the attention to detail the company pours into its products, and especially its fingerjointing.
“Fingerjointing has been around a long time in the millwork business,” said Place. “It’s in all kinds of applications and the reality is that fingerjointing and the machinery associated with it has gotten better, as well as the manufacturing process.”
Mill Services manufactures fingerjointingin 2-inch through 12-inch widths on a daily basis, and has the capability to produce 14, 16, 18-inch wide boards as specialty items.
Place noted that fingerjointing is 100 percent clear before it’s primed. “It’s defect-free,” he said. “It’s square-edged, no knots. Put one or two coats of primer on it and it’s ready to be nailed up and painted.”
Mill Services processes in the neighborhood of 40,000 to 50,000 board feet of EWP daily, depending on width. To meet demand and fulfill customer expectations, “We’ve added an awful lot of equipment to increase efficiency and most importantly, to increase quality,” Place commented. “In the last few months, we’ve facilitated some major renovations, adding a new Weinig optimizing line to, in theory, double the volume that we can optimize. We’ve also added a new Weinig moulder in the last year to increase our milling capacity and to provide a better product.”
A Weinig moulder helps Mill Services provide a superior finish.
Mill Services also added a planer in front of its optimizing line and the planer “allows us to buy more varied material from more mills,” Place explained. “We can buy rough lumber, sized lumber, wide lumber–a wide variety– and we can mill it and size it to exactly what we want, prior to it going into our scanning and optimizing line. That’s a huge advantage. The better the product that we start with, the more uniform and superior the product we will achieve out of the other end of the mill. Plus, we do it with more efficiency.”
Mill Services also produces most traditional NeLMA patterns. “Although that is not our main thrust because our equipment is busy with fingerjoint,” Place said. “We do some custom milling for some customers and probably will always continue to do so as we have the time to do it. The last couple of years, one thing we’ve been able to do is make panels up to 16-feet long and 50-inches wide.”
New sanding equipment, purchased within the last year, has made this new service available at Mill Services. “We don’t produce large volumes of panels but the addition of this product is exciting and serves a market for us,” said Place, who added, “We have also added another Conception Finger Jointer, which allows us to double our fingerjointing capacity.”
Mill Services custom primes Cedar bevel.
Mill Services primes with multiple coats 4/4 and 5/4, 2-inch through 12-inch widths at its priming plant. “We do a wide variety of coatings, including one or two coats,” commented Place. “For some customers we just use straight oil coatings, and for others, we do a premier product, which is a latex over an oil coating.We have a tremendous amount of flexibility in our priming.”
Place added, “I think people have come to the realization that White Pine has remained strong, is a terrific specie and it has actually grown in demand. There is no reason to shop overseas when the best product is growing right here and employing people right here. At Mill Services, our goal is to meet the customer’s demand, provide a better and trouble-free product.”
Mill Services Inc. is a member of the Northeastern Lumber Manufacturers Association.