Dolphin Bay can help you to optimise your timber treatment plant – or design and acquire a new one – at a far lower overall cost and resulting in a far more efficient operation than if you go it alone.
We have now completed many scores of plant refurbishments and engineered a large number of new plants.
“By using Dolphin Bay’s services, you will save on your capital expenditure bill and have a much more efficient plant, with a lower per unit cost and higher throughput,” said our Business Development Manager for Africa, Darren Marillier.
“This makes your operations more profitable.”
Darren is a firm believer in working with what you have. “All too often, clients come along and say, ‘We want a big new plant’, but one should sweat the existing plant first, making it achieve as much as it can.
“The plant should run like a ticking clock. As soon as you’ve stopped one charge, you should be good to go for another.”
“Nine times out of ten, we can help clients to increase their volumes by undoing bottlenecks and improving their existing plant equipment.”
In one recent case, a client believed the plant was churning out as much as it could but needed to treat more poles. When the Dolphin Bay team investigated, we found the trolley system for loading poles needed improving – which boosted the throughput by about 15%.
In another instance, we replaced a client’s pressure pump and shortened their treatment cycle to improve efficiency. They were very happy with the improvements.
Another common improvement is adding an extra door to the treatment plant, so that wood can be loaded and offloaded at the same time. When space does not allow this, we can institute a shuttle system at the front.
Customers often have bottlenecks at the point of loading and offloading, as they use a single forklift or logger for both purposes and must wait for it to be available. “The plant should run like a ticking clock. As soon as you’ve stopped the charge, you should be good to go for another,” said Darren.
Bigger is not always better. The starting point for considering whether to buy a new timber treatment plant is the volume of treated poles you require. How much do you intend treating in the short and longer terms, and how much do you expect your business to grow? “My advice is always to get the smallest possible plant that works for your volume, then make it work as hard as possible,” Darren advised.
A new plant is necessary if your business grows to the extent that no amount of refurbishment can fulfil your clients’ demand for treated timber, or if your plant is very old, resulting in a lot of downtime for maintenance. However, many plants in Africa are decades old and continue to function well, so age is not always a problem, Darren said.
Another client, a new entrant to the market, bought a second-hand plant. “That’s always first prize, if you can find one,” said Darren. “We brokered the deal and refurbished the plant, replacing the pumps and piping, and now the owner has one that’s as good as new. The total cost was about half that of a new plant.”
Any engineering company worth its salt can build a treatment plant, but expertise in timber treatment is necessary too for an efficient plant. For example, the timber preservative should be accurately and efficiently measured, mixed, and circulated.
Dolphin Bay provides a host of services, ranging from greenfield to turn-key projects. “We will help you select a plant that is the right size for your operations. Once you’ve agreed on our recommendation, we help you to complete the process, from procurement to freighting and installation,” said Darren.
Timber treatment plants need environmental authorisation before the first spade goes into the ground. Site selection is a key aspect of this, as hazardous chemicals are used. “You don’t want to embark on a project, then find it’s in the wrong place.”
Dolphin Bay has mastered the uniquely South African wet vacuum process, a quicker and more efficient process that can increase productivity by more than 30%, while many other countries still use the dry vacuum process. Find out more here.