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August's Hakki Pilke User of the Month is Christoph Leurer from Hammelburg, Germany. He runs his own business Brennholzservice Christoph Leurer and produces about 600m³ firewood for sale annually.

Christoph purchased his Easy 38 couple years ago and has been truly happy with the investment as he says that Hakki Pilke is the best firewood professor. He has built this interesting complete trailer combination which makes the mobile processing of firewood really easy. According to Christoph, the mobility of the operation also makes working alone easier. Who said that a big mobile firewood operation is “impossible”?

As a loyal Hakki Pilke customer he also purchased the HakkiFeed 422 log table three months ago to increase the efficiency of his operation. The sawdust is usually collected to smaller trailer or grab. In addition to Hakki Pilke stickers, the machine is decorated with text Ich und mein Holz “Me and my wood”. This shows how passionate he really is about firewood processing. Congratulations Christoph for winning the Hakki Pilke product package!

Check out amazing pictures and videos from the Facebook of Brennholzservice Christoph Leurer https://bit.ly/2MGT7DR!

Uutinen

Sharp knives and industrial-strength steel make for a clean split and maximum durability.

 

Different Sizes for Different Segments

Some customers are happy with large and heavy pieces of firewood of varying lengths. Others require precisely cut and cleanly split firewood that measures under 4” per side. The higher the quality requirements, the more customers are usually willing to pay for the firewood.

A business that offers lower-grade and cheaper firewood requires a higher production capacity than an operation that focuses on customer segments that value consistently sized and precisely measured firewood to reach same profit level. Catering to both markets efficiently requires some production planning and the right equipment for the job.

 

What to Look for in a Splitting Wedge?

A splitting wedge with thick knives and wide angles requires considerable force to split the wood. Higher splitting power translates to longer splitting cycles of over four or six seconds, which decreases the productivity of the processor.

Additionally, high force and too wide splitting angles force the wood to tear apart instead of splitting which causes more debris and results in lower quality produce.

Professionally manufactured splitting wedges are staged so that the log will be split in 2, 4, 6, 8 and as many pieces as required in different stages. This way the splitting force requirement is relatively small as the splitting is divided into multiple stages.

Look for a splitting wedge with sharp knives and industrial quality steel for long-term durability. Professionally welded splitting wedges with highest material quality will last for years and split logs with minimal force while keeping the splitting cycles low and firewood quality high.

 

Quality is Key

Reaching high profit margins in demanding segments requires a processor that is capable of producing precisely cut-to-length firewood and splitting the firewood in salable pieces without generating too much debris.

If you can source logs that are mostly under 12” in diameter, you can use a 6 or 8 way splitting wedge to make small enough firewood for bundles and restaurants. Larger logs require at least a 12 or 16 way splitting wedge to avoid time consuming re-splitting.

Splitting hardwoods to 8 or more pieces places extra emphasis on the quality of the splitting wedge. Many box wedges tend to break and tear the logs during splitting which results in a lot of debris and lower firewood quality.

If your logs vary in diameter, sort the logs before processing to split small logs with an 8 or 12 way wedge to restaurant and bundle firewood. Process the larger logs to another pile for customers looking for larger sized firewood for heating.

If the availability of small diameter logs is good in your region, it is cost efficient to have two processors: a small firewood processor with a fast splitting cycle to make bundled firewood with a 4 or 6 way wedge and a mid to large sized machine to deal with the rest of the logs.

 

Splitting Wedges for Every Purpose

Keep a couple of different sized splitting wedges at hand to maintain constant firewood size even when log sizes vary. Customers are willing to pay higher prices for not having to deal with large chunks among nicely split firewood that might not fit into or burn efficiently in their wood stoves.

It is also handy to have an outfeed conveyor equipped with a reverse valve or quick stop function to easily re-split any larger pieces into salable firewood.

 

Uutinen

Starting a firewood business requires in-depth knowledge of your customer base. Firewood heats homes, helps prepare food and produce charcoal – just to name a few applications. Understanding why your clients burn firewood is the key for better profits and improved customer service.

In this article we will cover the most typical segments in the firewood market.

 

For heating - Large predictable quantities, small profit margin

Catering to the heating segment allows your business to grow in size but offers the lowest profit margins. After starting your firewood business make sure to contact all your neighbors and map out all the wood-heated houses in the proximity of your firewood yard. Find customers that purchase in large quantities and try to get pre-orders by offering campaign prices to level out the peak season.

Many customers will accept large firewood pieces that burn slowly through the night mixed with some kindling. However, a growing amount of customers require smaller sized firewood that fits in small wood-stoves and burns with more efficiency. Keep in mind that your older clientele might not be able to carry heavier pieces of firewood inside their house either.

 

For atmosphere - Small seasonal quantities, high profit margin

A large portion of firewood customers rely on different primary heat sources. They still might want to buy small quantities of nicely split firewood to be used in fireplaces for cozy atmosphere or additional heat during colder periods. This segment is willing to pay higher premium for quality, great service and fast deliveries. Make sure to offer a stacking service or use firewood bags to avoid leaving a mess on customers’ lawns.

Always keep some stock in case of cold spells as these customers tend to run out of firewood quickly. It is challenging to build up clientele in this segment without a well-known brand name and necessary investments in marketing including ads in the local newspaper, internet visibility and roadside signs. Do not forget to target resorts that have fireplaces and offer firewood for their customers.

 

Wood-fired restaurants - Profitable long-term accounts, high quality requirements

Restaurant accounts are demanding but generate high profit margins. If you are willing to prioritize punctual weekly orders and stick to the delivery schedules, these accounts can become real moneymakers. Your firewood should be of the highest quality (precisely cut and split). These accounts usually burn only specific firewood species.

Missing a delivery easily results in losing the account as restaurants often have relatively small storage spaces. Succeeding with a reference account makes it easier to attract new ones.

 

Campgrounds - Great accounts for off-season

Having a number of campgrounds in short driving distance from your operation is great because they can fill up your order base during summers when the rest of the market is slowing down. Campgrounds might buy anything from kindling or bundles to a firewood crib filling service. Order quantities might be small but frequent orders and a large customer base keep your firewood yard busy throughout the summer.

 

Retail stores - Profitable accounts with strict requirements

Supplying firewood for retail accounts can be highly profitable but the competition is fierce. It is best for small businesses to focus on locally owned grocery stores, gas stations, bait shops etc. If they have an existing supplier, try to offer them better service or higher quality bundles that feature higher profit potential and make for a more attractive storefront.

Securing a large retail store account usually means that your firewood business already produces thousands of cords and has multiple full time employees making bundles. To have a profitable business and keep up with the demand requires not only having the right equipment but also a good and reliable supply of right sized logs for cost-efficient bundle processing. Most such businesses own a kiln for faster drying and have the necessary certificates for retail sales and transportation across state or international borders.

 

Focus on quality. Consistently split firewood makes bundles more attractive and allows you to raise your prices.

Stay tuned! Our next article will demonstrate why the splitting wedge is one of the most vital parts in your firewood processor for increased productivity and higher customer satisfaction.

Uutinen

June's Hakki Pilke user of the month is Simo Rousu from Finland. Simo processes about 1 000 cubics of firewood annually. He delivers the firewood in bags or with a trailer to customers mainly around Ylitornio just below the Arctic Circle. He has been relying on Hakki Pilke over 15 years and in addition to his modern 38 Pro he has the classic 2X firewood processor.

Simo Rousu got his first firewood processor in 2003 after hearing comments such as “Hakki Pilke 2X is the best processor in the market”. Thinking about those times now, the references were not totally out of this world, as it actually was Hakki Pilke model 2X that revolutionized firewood processing in 90s being the most sold firewood processor globally for many years. Simo’s PTO-powered 2X is still operational but he decided to look for a modern processor with today’s technology.

“I decided to purchase the Pro Series model Hakki Pilke 38 Pro firewood processor because I had been satisfied with the cooperation with the factory and great aftersales service over the years,” says Simo. Simo's choice was also affected by the safety and performance of the machine.

Simo relies on the 8-way splitting knife to make harmonious sized class A firewood even from the biggest of logs. His processor is also equipped with oil cooler, oil heater and a sawdust blower, all useful accessories for a professional firewood business in climate with varying temperatures.

Hakki Pilke 38 Pro comes with HakkiCutTM one-button cutting control. “The joystick is easy to use even in freezing temperatures. This is a crucial feature as I’m mostly operating the processor in wintertime,” Simo says. His 38 Pro is a combi model powered by either PTO (tractor or powerpack) or electricity. He mostly uses electricity due to low operation costs and silent use.

Simo Rousu has been running a professional firewood operation for years next to a major highway close to the border between Finland and Sweden. Congratulations to Simo and good luck for the upcoming sales season!

Uutinen

Our guide gives insight on how to organize a firewood business and create a firewood business plan. Are you aware of the steps you can take to increase the profit potential of your firewood business and add value to your production?

Offering seasoned and high-quality firewood enables you to ask for higher firewood prices. Selling mixed piles of firewood consisting of various firewood species and debris means less work but also translates to lower profits.

 

Understanding Your Customers

Take a moment to consider these questions: Why do people burn firewood in your area? Do you have an understanding of how many people heat their houses with firewood and which firewood sizes they prefer? Look for campsites, wood-fired BBQ restaurants and retail stores that might be looking to buy firewood in bundles.

How often do your customers need to restock and how do they like their firewood delivered? Studying the needs of your customers is crucial for meeting these demands and planning your firewood production accordingly.

After studying the market you need to find the right machine to meet these requirements.

 

Finding a Reliable Supply of Logs

Source your logs from multiple suppliers to ensure that you will always have logs available even when your main supplier might be struggling with deliveries. This also enables you to source different kinds of logs for varying firewood orders helping you grow your business towards new segments.

Finding a log supply with consistently sized logs is best for business as you can purchase the most efficient processor for that specific log size. If this is not possible, purchase a large enough firewood processor with multiple splitting wedge options for most of your logs.

Sort out small and large diameter logs and choose the splitting wedge accordingly for efficient processing of firewood. All irregularly large parts of logs can be split easily with a log splitter.

Process smaller logs into kindling or packaged firewood efficiently using machines with fast splitting cycles and simultaneous cutting and splitting motions. Processing small logs into firewood often means higher profits compared to chipping it.

Large diameter logs requires high splitting power, which means that the same processor might not be efficient for smaller logs. If your business is large enough, invest in several sizes of firewood processors for maximum efficiency.

 

Building a Profitable Firewood Business

While one person operates the firewood processor another person can take care of loading the logs, moving out the finished firewood and taking orders.

Look for a processor with a sufficiently sized live deck to avoid constant need for reloading.

It is usually more effective to plan the movement of logs to the machine than hauling your firewood equipment around the yard. Install your firewood processor on to a concrete slab for easy collection of sawdust, separation of debris and kindling, and build a shed to protect your operator from the weather. 

Establish a process for moving finished firewood to storage and always keep the finished products off the ground for a more efficient drying process. Consider hiring part-timers for packaging, stacking and other duties in the yard or invest in crates or firewood bags for easy deliveries.

 

Extra tip! Having the right equipment is crucial for growing your business. A crane-mounted

trailer comes in handy when doing mobile processing jobs. Transport your processor and live deck on the trailer and after unloading the equipment use the trailer crane to load logs on to the live deck. Pricing your mobile jobs accurately is important because you lose valuable time during the transportation and you are away from your own production-efficient firewood yard.

 

Stay tuned! Our next article will introduce different customer segments and typical firewood requirements for higher customer satisfaction.

We have developed a simple questionnaire to help you find the right firewood processor for your needs. Read more about the cutting-edge solutions Hakki Pilke has to offer by visiting our website.

Tapahtumat
06.06.2019 to 08.06.2019

The leading Nordic forestry fair SkogsElmia brings together the leading manufacturers and suppliers to the forest industry. The entire fair is held at 6.-8.6.2019 in the forests about 30 kilometres south of Jönköping, Sweden, where you can see and test forest machines and tools in their natural environment.

Hakki Pilke firewood processors are presented at our Swedish importer's Trejon AB stand 160. Come to meet us and watch demos to find a best model for you from our wide range of Hakki Pilke firewood processors.

Uutinen

May's Hakki Pilke User of the Month is Brent Wilton from Bombala, NSW, Australia.

Until purchasing a Hakki Pilke, Brent used to do all firewood manually with a strong self-built splitter. He mentioned, that after reorganising the firewood operations around the new Easy 50s the process became much faster and easier.

Now his processor and powerpack are standing on a concrete slab and he dug a hole for his firewood truck for easy filling and transportation between the processing and drying site. The log table is set up for easy loading with his caterpillar and sawdust is collected through an extraction pipe. He fills four truck loads a day and dries the finished product in the hot Australian sun until delivery. Brent processes mostly hard eucalyptus species such as silvertop ash, stringybark, ironbark and woolly butt.

Congratulations Brent! We’ll send you a Hakki Pilke product package to survive through windy winter of NSW.

Uutinen

Safety and ergonomics are two features you should never compromise on when looking for a firewood processor.

We previously discussed the main features of a firewood processor for optimizing your productivity. This time we take a closer look at features that make a firewood processor safe and ergonomic. 

A firewood processor with inadequate guarding and poor safety measures can lead to very serious accidents. Always make sure to check and study the safety features when purchasing a splitter or firewood processor to avoid potential danger to you or your workers.

Ergonomics are also a key factor in preventing workplace injuries. Unergonomic designs and working positions are the most common causes for long-term damage.

 

Firewood Processor Safety

Study the safety guards and features that shut down or lock out the splitter or cutting device. Many older models or semi-professionally built machines lack sufficient guards around the splitting chamber. They might also require handling logs by hand when the saw blade, splitter or saw is in motion, which causes a major safety risk for the user.

Machines designed with a focus in smooth workflow should not require the operator to reach into the cutting or splitting section of the machine. If manual log repositioning or maintenance is required, the operator should have safe and easy access to reach inside the machine without the fear or possibility that the processor could engage in any way.

When looking for a larger firewood processor for commercial purposes keep in mind that the further the splitting knife is from the user, the more difficult it is to re-split large chunks of firewood. Only one person should ever operate or be near the controls of a firewood processor simultaneously to avoid crushing hazard in the splitting or cutting process. This is why you should look for a firewood processor with an outfeed conveyor reverse valve and well-designed multi-part splitting knives.

 

Ergonomics

Firewood processing should not take a toll on your body. The main purpose of owning a firewood processor is to avoid excess manual labor and heavy lifting in order to increase productivity and efficiency of your operation.

Study the user controls of the firewood processor carefully. Separate levers for each function are tedious to memorize and make staying in rhythm difficult even for experienced operators. Hundreds of hours will be saved over the entire life of the machine with controls that are ergonomically friendly. 

An ergonomic firewood processor features…

  • Smartly designed joysticks that give the operator full control while retaining precision cutting and splitting
  • Semi-automated features to reduce delays in the cutting and splitting cycle
  • A simple user interface for minimizing human errors

An ergonomic and comfortable working position decreases the need for downtime and improves operator motivation. Constantly reaching inside the splitting chamber because of difficulty controlling the log cutting, dropping or splitting should be unnecessary with today's modern firewood processing equipment. Even the most comfortable enclosed work station becomes tiresome and unsafe when making any hand adjustments.

Avoid machines that require repetitive and straining hand movements which might cause work-related injuries. If possible, test the firewood processor for a couple of hours to see what it is like to operate in the long run.

Many commercial firewood businesses prefer to keep their operations inside and only move the logs and finished firewood instead of constantly hauling their firewood equipment around. Consider this option to avoid decreases in productivity due to bad weather.

 

Learn more about the safety features of Hakki Pilke Pro Series machines.

We recommend looking for a firewood processor that is manufactured under the highest safety standards and regulations and has features designed together in co-operation with experienced users and firewood professionals. Safe and easy operation of a firewood processor keeps you and your operators in full working condition and leads to higher productivity and greater profits!

Extra tip! Make sure that all safety guards and protective devices are in place and functioning properly when purchasing a second hand firewood processor. Always use and service the machine as instructed and intended by the manufacturer.

Tapahtumat
25.04.2019 to 27.04.2019

 

Come to visit us in Tarto Maamess -exhibition 25.-27.4! You have a great opportunity to see how efficient the Hakki Pilke 43 Pro is in practice and get to know our new distributor Sike Agri. You can find us from Sike Agri stand VP-40! 

Maamess has over 25 year long history. Maamess 2019 is the 27th international rural fair organised by Tartu Näitused AS. Read more here.

Uutinen

During the Easter holidays our factory and customer service is closed from 19-22 April. After Easter we are open normally starting from April 23rd.

Wishes you all a Happy Easter!

-Team Hakki Pilke