FORWARD THINKING COMPANY INVESTS TO HELP CUSTOMERS CUT DOWN
A dynamic company in the far north-east of Scotland has just completed a remarkable investment which will give local construction companies and farm businesses access to vital resources without the necessity of clocking up huge supply chain mileages.
Sustainable biomass supplier and timber products specialist GMG Energy has installed, at a cost in excess of £100,000, a new, high-tech preservation chamber which will supply locally manufactured wood to enterprises which require treated and stress-tested products.
The Sutherland-based business commissioned the 5,500 gallon vessel, which handles more than 440 cubic feet of timber in each three-and-a-half hour treatment session, enhancing the company’s current annual output of 70,630 cubic feet of timber product and widening its range of products to further invest in the circular economy.
The circular economy is a hot topic at the moment. In practice it includes cutting out waste, using local suppliers, rethinking the way goods and services are used and taking advantage of local energy sources.
The new treatment vessel is fully automated having a Programmable Logic Controller (PLC) based control system which controls the pumps and pneumatically actuated valves. A Wi-Fi enabled desk top computer interface enables to operator to start, stop and monitor the process. It also enables remote access for system upgrades. GMG Energy owns the intellectual property for the entire system.
Malcolm Morrison, Director of GMG Energy, said: “Until now, local concerns which needed this type of timber product have had to order from suppliers who, in some cases, were hundreds of miles away.
The vessel is enclosed within an existing building to enhance safe operation and a bund ensures that any accidental spillage will be contained. The vessel is loaded with wood and the door closed. It is first subjected to a vacuum which opens up the pores of the wood. The vessel is then filled with an aqueous solution of preserving agent and pressurised. This suffuses the wood with the agent which will prevent deterioration for many years.”
He added: “I was very impressed by the professional approach of the engineers from Axiom who designed and installed the automated control system and particularly with our technical advisor, Dick Hart, a highly experienced chemical engineer who has spent over 45 years in the energy sector managing projects all over the world.
It was Dick who project-managed the design, construction and commissioning of the whole plant. He was very patient, wanted to do everything correctly and added value at all stages.”
The new facility is the latest initiative by GMG Energy as it invests heavily to reduce its carbon footprint and its reliance on fossil fuels. It has just spent in excess of £70,000 to install a 100-panel solar array on the roof of its main production shed which will, in time, be its primary source of energy.
The company, which originated on a farm in the Strath of Halladale in Sutherland, is able to guarantee customers security of supply following the strategic purchase of a substantial swathe of forest in the north-east to increase its resilience to market shocks.
It processes in the region of 2,000 tonnes of timber a year, and replaces every tree it harvests, with recent replenishment activity far exceeding industry-standard one-for-one targets.