Raw wood chip at the mill has traditionally been ‘cleaned’ using air density separation where blown air helps to lift the lighter wood chip away from heavier contaminates such as stones, glass and metals.

However the process was proving inefficient as it was producing as much wood chip waste as heavy contaminate collection. This all had to be sent to landfill which was wasteful and expensive.

The waste management team at South Molton came up with a solution: a float-sink process which would allow all the wood chip to float through the system and the contaminants to sink and be collected, followed by an eddy current separator which would further sort the contaminates into non-ferrous metals, such aluminium and copper, and other waste.

The scrap metal now provides a useful source of income.

As the team could not find any one piece of equipment on the market that suited their needs, they had to design and build the pre-cleaning system themselves.

The team is now working on integrating the pre-cleaning system into the rest of the plant so that cleaned wood chip is transported directly into the wood chip silo so increasing the capacity of the new system to meet the entire production demand.