The sawmill would, to quote the Förbundskontakt magazine, no. 3, 1966, “ease the difficult situation for timber and ease price pressure in Östergötland.” The location of the mill in Kisa was not self-evident, but as Kisa was a depopulated area County Governor Per Eckerberg was happy to have the sawmill built in the location. And this is what happened.
COMPREHENSIVE PROJECT WORK
Project work on the Kinda sawmill was comprehensive. The right balance was needed in several different areas. One important decision was the choice of a frame or band saw. This decision required many and long discussions before the frame saw option was chosen. The saw was equipped with two lines, one for small-diameter wood and the other for 8-26 inch wood. Technology was also installed that would allow the facility to receive wood from mixed species, the driers were big enough to dry the entire production and technology was installed for packaging the sawn product. The timber was to be stored in the adjacent lake to avoid the deterioration that may occur when storing on land.
When in full production, the Kinda sawmill was expected to have a capacity of approximately 10 standards per hour, or 38,000 standards per year*. While about 60 m3 of woodchips and approximately 35 m3 of shavings would be produced every hour. Timber consumption was estimated at about 500 logs per hour. In addition to the 140 individuals working at the actual sawmill, nearly 75 shipments to and from the sawmill were needed and demand for wood was expected to create about 500 full-time jobs.
The first logs were sawn at the Kinda sawmill in 1968 and the sawmill was opened on 4 June 1969 by County Governor Per Eckerberg. It was a big day for forest owners in Östergötland who had been looking forward to a better outlet for their timber for some time.
However, it became apparent that the solution chosen was not fully “proven technology.” A series of problems arose when the various stages in the production chain were to be coordinated into a viable entity. Difficulties included the extraction of timber from the lake storehouse and timber storage.
Over the years, a number of investments have been made to improve or replace parts of the sawmill at Kisa. A new small-dimension timber line was introduced in 1974. In 1990-91, a completely new saw line was installed that replaced the original lines from 1968 and the small-dimension line from 1974.
Investments to increase drying capacity have taken place successively and also investments to increase the degree of processing. These included the construction of a finger-jointing plant, which was later closed down. Another measure was the construction of a new planing and processing plant at the Kinda sawmill in 1993. At the same time, the planing mill that had operated in Hultsfred for many years was closed. The degree of processing has successively increased since the mid 1990s. In 1995, 30 percent of production was upgraded, and two years later 37 percent.
DISTRICT HEATING SUPPLIES FROM SAWMILLS
Investments continued at the sawmill in Kisa in the 2000s and 2010s. As part of Södra’s bioenergy venture, the biofurnace was rebuilt in 2007 to use waste heat from the sawmill for district heating in the town of Kisa. The following year, there was a major investment in two mobile driers and in 2010-2011 investments at the sawmill included a new edger and new stacker. In 2012, an automatic sorter was introduced at the trimming plant – an investment of SEK 24 million.
Today, annual production at the Kinda sawmill is 240,000 m3 of sawn timber – 60 percent spruce and 40 percent pine – and the products are primarily sold in the Swedish market. The sawmill has 92 employees.
2018 marks the 50th anniversary of the start of production at the Kinda sawmill. The anniversary was celebrated at the end of the summer with an open day at the sawmill, which was visited by more than 1,000 people.
*1 standard corresponds to 4,672 m³.
The text is based in part on extracts from the book “About pulp, planks and the smell of tar...” [Om massa, brädor och tjärdoft…] by Ingvar Karlsson, 2006.