We have reported on this project twice before (Issue 1, 2007 and 1, 2008) and this article represents the third and final part of the story – for the immediate future at least.
Groundworks for this 150,000m3 a year-capacity mill began in October 2006 on a site which was formerly a rubberwood plantation and the site is still surrounded by rubberwood trees in this area of Thailand which is rich in that species.

Commercial production from the Dieffenbacher CPS continuous press began in September 2008 and at the time of WBPI’s visit in early December, the line was running at 80-90% of capacity.
“We rearranged the layout of some of the machinery and we have spent a lot of time in commissioning the line and getting it right, learning all the time,said Hubert Hsieh, general manager of the Green River Panels project from day one. “Also we have not been in any hurry because we could see the market slowing down.”

One area due for modification is the glue blending system, where the performance of the Chinese system originally specified has not come up to expectations. “We are going for an Imal system to improve both board quality and capacity,said Mr Hsieh. “The equipment is on order for delivery in January [2009] and we hope to commission it before the end of February. We also hope that the market may have improved by then!”

Not all the Chinese equipment bought for this project has disappointed by any means. The boiler is in fact performing above expectations, said Mr Hsieh, and the primary chipping line is working well, he added. The only change required there is improvement to the rather cumbersome infeed system to increase the volume of the line. The cut-to-size plant also came from China, from Kunming Wood Processing Machinery Company.

The two flakers are from Maier of Germany and there are two Pal screens. There is room for a third unit of each to be installed, if required, to increase capacity. The refiner mill is also from Maier.

Dieffenbacher supplied the forming, pre-pressing, the CPS continuous press and the star cooler.
Mr Hsieh, recognising the lack of experience in his team with regard to panel production, has taken on the services of a consultant with long experience in management in the South East Asian panel industry to assist with optimisation of the line, market planning and coaching of the Green River staff.

That consultant is also very experienced in panel production utilising rubberwood and is a great fan of that material, seeing it as a big plus for Green River. About half the raw material is in the form of slabs from the company’s own sawmill, while the balance is bought-in slabs and small roundwood such as branches.

Thorough screening is used to keep any latex particles out of the surface
layers of the three-layer board.
“The market is very difficult but this is the best time to show what we can do,said Mr Hsieh. “We are still making a profit right now and I am very confident of our future.
“To see this global financial crisis in the early beginnings of our project is very tough – It would be tough for an experienced company. But we see this as a good opportunity to shorten our learning curve. As for the group, our furniture factory in Malaysia is holding up very well in the current market.”