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November 14, 2017

AB Woodgrinding

Logging companies use about 60–70% of every tree they cut down. The branches and tops of the trees are considered waste and, by law, need to be removed from the area. Many loggers simply burn the wood waste and, like burning trash, create pollution and an unnecessary risk of forest fires.

AB Woodgrinding transforms this process by taking wood waste and turning it into fuel. They work with logging companies to remove their wood waste and grind it, creating biomass. They bring this biomass either to a pulp mill (to be turned into paper) or to a cogeneration plant to create heat and energy.

The AB in AB Woodgrinding is Andy Bouchard, a “pioneer in the wood grinding business” according to Frontline President Daryl Todd. Since starting their operation in 2001 in Vernon, BC, Andy and his crew have taken their operation deeper and deeper into the backwoods of BC, cleaning up the wood waste from logging companies.

In order for AB Woodgrinding to be productive, they need machines mobile enough to grind in BC’s backwoods while maintaining a high level of production.

The Challenge

Before contacting Frontline, AB Woodgrinding was using another horizontal grinder for all their grinding. With the amount of wear and tear the machines was facing, coupled with the complexity of the machine AB was faced with high levels of downtime and associated costs. But, performing repairs and maintenance wasn’t that simple. Andy would have to shut down his operation and perform guesswork to try and fix the equipment himself. If that didn’t work, they would need to fly in a technician from back east.

AB Woodgrinding’s dealer network wasn’t providing the support they needed, they did not have strong dealer support and parts were not only expensive but difficult to source, quickly compounding the challenges for AB Woodgrinding. Machine breakdowns were mounting and the costs of repairs and downtime were extremely hard on the company.

Without reliable equipment, and strong dealer support as Andy says, “You can lose contracts, so it means a lot to have a machine that will keep running.”

With problems mounting, AB Woodgrinding needed a solution to address the issues he was facing.

The Process

AB Woodgrinding had some previous experience with owning an older Diamond Z tub grinder, and knew how durable, productive and simple they were. During a Google search for Diamond Z distributors, he found Frontline, a full-service equipment distributor in Chilliwack, only a few hours away from Vernon.

Daryl and Royden Todd from Frontline talked with Andy and did some of their own research to discover AB Woodgrinding’s needs. Andy knew that he wanted to go with Diamond Z, but they needed to determine what type of Diamond Z would be best for their particular work.

“We reviewed the type of materials AB most commonly processed, and the type of sites AB operated on,” says Daryl. AB needed something that was durable and quick, yet compact enough to travel in the backwoods. “After our review we felt that the Diamond Z 4000 on tracks would give him excellent production yet be easily transportable and off road friendly,” says Daryl.

Before he bought the DZH4000, Andy wanted to make sure he could trade in his current machine but needed to keep it running until the new Diamond Z arrived. Frontline was, “very flexible,” says Daryl, “and was able to put the whole deal together with taking the trade in as a deposit and arranged very attractive financing.” Frontline understands that business can’t stop while a company waits for a new machine to arrive, so we were able to arrange a trade so AB Woodgrinding could continue working.

The Result

A week and a half after ordering the machine, the DZH 4000 was on the jobsite and grinding wood waste. Like most new machines, there were small tweaks to be made. “All we had to do was phone them and they would guide us through it,” says Andy, “They came down two or three times, when we were at the beginning.”

Once the machine was up and running, Andy started to see a few immediate effects. AB Woodgrinding was able to noticeably reduce operation costs by lowering fuel burn and increasing uptime. “I got a lot of faith in Diamond Z.” says Andy.

While most new machines will run well at the beginning, what’s unique about this Diamond Z from Frontline is that repairs and replacement parts are always a day away, at most. If support requires more than a phone call, someone from Frontline will  “jump in their service truck and come see us within four, four and a half hours,” says Andy. And while Diamond Z’s factory is just in Boise Idaho, not too far away, Frontline’s service is always accessible. “On the weekend or any time,” says Andy, “they answer the phone.” On top of that, “Frontline can get us the parts overnight,” says Andy, “and put the mechanics [at the jobsite].”  Frontline understands the cost of shutting down production and will do what it takes to get the products to the user in time.

Through this process, it became apparent to Andy Bouchard that the biggest machine isn’t always the best machine for the job. “The compact 765HP DZH 4000 replaced a larger machine and has increased production, reduced fuel burn, and has been consistently reliable “Production is not all about horsepower, the efficiency of the cut (how efficiently the grinder’s hammermill design grinds the woodwaste) makes a huge difference in grinding” noted Daryl Todd.

We’re glad that a veteran in wood grinding, like Andy Bouchard, was satisfied with his new machine. It’s always a pleasure to improve the workflow of the industry’s most experienced people.

Frontline distributes equipment that has been proven in the field. To see our full range of equipment, including brands like Diamond Z, Keestrack, and Doppstadt, take a look at our equipment catalogue. Or if you’d like some help finding the best machine for your work, we’d love to talk in-person or over the phone. Call the number below to get in touch with a consultant.