Seasoning sked for gmelina drying is more profitable-A A +A
Sunday, January 26, 2014
IT is more profitable if furniture makers will follow the seasoning schedule for drying of Gmelina lumbers, according to the Laguna-based Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic, and Natural Resources Research and Development (Pcaarrd).
"With a seasoning schedule, temperature in a drying chamber is gradually increased until the wood reaches its EMC," Pcaarrd said in its recently-released Impact Assessment Bulletin No. 5.
EMC stands for equilibrium moisture content. The wood's EMC refers to that state when the wood does not lose or absorb moisture, thus making it in a stable state. Normally, wet wood has moisture content of 50percent or greater.
"Once the wood reaches its EMC level, its moisture content is in equilibrium with the moisture in the environment," the bulletin explained.
According to experts, woods must be properly dried to prevent shrinkage, cracks, deformation, and discoloration. “Incidentally, most attempts in drying Gmelina have been unsuccessful in attaining its wood strength and finishing characteristics required of high quality lumber,” the bulletin said.
The moisture content among lumber within the stack is oftentimes not uniform which make it more difficult to attain the desired wood quality.
"After drying, some pieces of lumber would still have moisture content higher than the desired level," the bulletin said. "These lumbers would have to be dried again in order to attain the required EMC."
Such is the case of Gmelina, which comes from its scientific name "Gmelina arborea" although it is locally called "yemane." Aside from being a raw material for furniture-making, it is also popular in the construction of commercial buildings and residential structures.
The process of drying Gmelina is lengthy and costly. It usually takes two to three months before the wood can reach its EMC of 12 percent.
Countries differ in EMCs depending on their geographical location and atmospheric relative humidity. In the Philippines, the EMC ranges from 14 percent to 17 percent. In Japan, an export market for Philippine lumber, the EMC ranges from 10 percent to 12 percent.
The seasoning schedule, which Pcaarrd has developed and implemented, was done in collaboration with the College of Forestry of the University of the Philippines at Los Baños. The field trial was done at Betis Craft Inc., a furniture manufacturer based in Pampanga.
In adopting the full technology, Betis Craft Inc. had some significant improvements in its operation. It achieved 50percent savings in variable costs and 60percent increase in output per drying cycle. It also shortened drying time from 90 to 45 days, even with an improved wood quality that meets both domestic and export market requirements.
"These improvements resulted in an increase in net revenue by P1.05 million per year using a selling price of P32 per board feet," the bulletin pointed out.
The total cost of the project was P1,698,000. Of this amount, P1,500,000, which consists of the cost for facility improvement, came from Betis Craft, Inc. The additional cost to operate the dryer (excluding depreciation) was P720,000 per year.
The incremental net benefits were estimated to be P1,050,000 for years one to ten. A benefit-cost ratio of 1.74 and a net present value of P6,030,091 were derived using a discount rate of 6percent (the social discount rate used by the Asian Development Bank for government loans) while the computer internal rate of return was 61percent.
"The six other furniture companies which adopted the technology on seasoning schedule also reaped the same positive results," the bulletin reported.
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on January 27, 2014.