Continuous drying of softwood dimension lumber

A comprehensive review of existing and emerging drying technologies available worldwide was prepared by FPInnovations in 2011. This study showed that progressive-type kilns are more energy-efficient and have a superior kiln uptime due to the continuous loading and unloading process. The progressive-type kilns used by the lumber industry have one to five chambers, can be loaded in a longitudinal or transversal orientation, and can move lumber incrementally in counterflow or uniflow direction. In uniflow designs, all drying parameters (temperature, relative humidity, and air velocity) can be controlled in all zones. In most counterflow designs, only the temperature in the middle chamber and air velocity in all chambers can be independently controlled.

FPInnovations has been studying how to improve current continuous dry kiln (CDK) practices through better-quality lumber or energy savings. A new publication is now available that summarizes our research work on this topic, Continuous Drying of Softwood Dimension Lumber. The publication includes a brief description of CDKs, the main advantages and disadvantages of CDKs, as well as best practice recommendations for the CDKs used in Canada. To request a copy of Continuous Drying of Softwood Dimension Lumber, or a recent publication specific to drying balsam and subalpine fir, Drying of Balsam and Subalpine Fir – For a Better Understanding, contact the FPInnovations library.

FPInnovations’ drying specialists can provide technical assistance in developing potential drying improvement scenarios and adopting the most appropriate methods and techniques for your business. For more information on how we can help improve your wood-drying practices, contact John White or Sylvain Lefebvre, managers of the Advanced Wood Manufacturing group at FPInnovations.

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