Cleereman carriage incorporates Paw-Taw-John setworks.
HOMER CITY, Pennsylvania — Aerospace and wood products? Yes. The two industries do meet in intriguing ways.
Consider the Cleereman model HS380 hydraulic carriage that Cameron Lumber LLP purchased new in July 2016. The carriage has setworks from Paw-Taw-John Services, Inc., a company with a significant reach in the aerospace industry.
Cleereman, of course, has very deep roots in the wood products industry. The first Cleereman carriage was sold to the public in 1955, but Cleereman Industries in Newald, Wisconsin got its start with family members who began operating a sawmill in the Badger State in 1889.
Paw-Taw-John is based in Rathdrum, Idaho. The company’s legacy products serve as automated guides to linear positioning and machining, contributing to precision in cutting and shaping everything from titanium to wood. They also yield exacting tolerances required for aerospace parts.
“Cleereman recommended the Paw-Taw-John setworks,” said Shawn Cameron, partner at Cameron Lumber. Collegial recommendations came into play too when weighing options.
Other mills in the area were using the Paw-Taw-John setworks with good results, said Mike Gromley, the mill manager at Cameron Lumber. And the reports from those colleagues mattered.
Shawn and his brother, Chris Cameron, who is also a partner, operate Cameron Lumber. The company was established by their father, Homer Cameron, 34 years ago in 1983. Homer is also a partner.
Each year Cameron Lumber produces 3.5 to 4 million board feet of lumber and 55,000 tons of pulpwood. A Cleereman carriage has been a part of the mill for more than half the life of Cameron Lumber. An older Cleereman carriage served the company for 18 years, although the newer Cleereman did not immediately replace the older one.
The decision to purchase a new Cleereman carriage was based on two things, said Shawn. “We had one before and we liked the quality and the workmanship.”
Logs entering the mill are debarked on a Mellott 48-inch debarker before moving to the head rig. Working in conjunction with a McDonough band mill, the Cleereman HS380 carriage rides on the company’s track frame which is carefully leveled and aligned during manufacturing to reduce wheel, track, and carriage wear. Equipped with a Cleereman 42″ bar turner and 100 H.P. hydrostatic carriage drive, the carriage is operated from a Cleereman sawyer’s cab. Once the log is squared up at the headrig, it moves to a McDonough resaw. “After leaving the resaw, the boards are graded and sent through the trimmer and then sorted,” said Shawn. The trimmer is a Pendu drop saw trimmer.
In addition to the mill, Cameron lumber operates some felling crews and does its own trucking.
The logging team’s equipment includes a Timbco feller buncher, Timberline stroke delimber, John Deere 648, Tigercat 625, and Tigercat 610 skidders, a John Deere 700 dozer, and Caterpillar and Tigercat loaders.
Besides cutting its own logs, Cameron Lumber purchases logs. Red oak, white oak, soft maple, hard maple, poplar, cherry and hickory are the species of wood that enter the mill, exiting as green and rough grade lumber and pallet cants. Chips produced with a Precision chipper, bark and sawdust are sold as secondary products.
The experience of working with the Cleereman team has been “great”, said Shawn. The 38-inch model HS380 carriage from Cleereman has met expectations.
Cleereman strives to smooth the experience of changing out an old carriage for a new one. Because existing mills often have limited space for reconfiguration, it aims to make its carriage one with a quick fit. The HS380 can be purchased with a horizontal or a tilt frame, whichever can be more easily integrated into an existing system.
Ease of use, durability and accuracy are what Cleereman brought together in the HS380 carriage. To meet the need of a particular mill for log lengths and mixes, two to five headblocks can be set by the customer. Precision-welded structural steel components give strength to the carriage. And the setworks ensure accuracy, which in turn contributes to higher yield and increased productivity.
Cameron Lumber transports products to customers with its own trucks. The company owns four International day-cab tractors, one Kenworth T880 tri-axle log truck and one Kenworth tandem dump truck. Also on its roster are four log trailers, one chip trailer, one walking floor trailer and two flat-bed trailers.
In their operational roles, Shawn focuses on trucking and Chris focuses on logging. Their father, Homer, is still engaged in the business too.
Shawn graduated from high school in 1991 and went to National Hardwood Lumber Association (NHLA) lumber-grading school in 1992. Chris graduated from high school in 1993 and went to NHLA in 1994.
Homers father owned a sawmill. Thus, Homer’s ties to the wood products industry began early. Today, in addition to his partner responsibilities, Homer hauls for Cameron Lumber.
Homer City, Pennsylvania is part of Indiana County, which is in the southwest part of the state. The town, technically a borough, has a population of 1,665. Head west southwest from Homer City for 60 miles to reach Pittsburgh.
Yes, historical references cite the Greek poet Homer as the source of the name for the town. But it’s not clear why. Perhaps the striking landscape – rolling forested hills, early morning fog occluding everything except the hilltops, rich colors and hues year-round thanks to the diverse species of hardwoods, could have put someone in the mind of mythical landscapes and poets. The forests of Indiana County reflect the best of the Allegheny plateau and Appalachian Mountains. Mixed hardwood species thrive in the region where rainfall is plentiful, and rivers and streams carry and mix nutrients, readying them to nourish new forest growth.
The name of Indiana County is a tribute to its earliest residents. Native Americans belonging to at least six different groups were living in the area when settlers arrived. There were times of conflict. By the end of the 18th century, most of the conflict was resolved.
Cameron Lumber is a member of the NHLA and the Pennsylvania Forest Products Association. The PFPA, headquartered in the state capital of Harrisburg, is a strong legislative advocate for the forest products industry.
PFPA has worked with other groups to challenge a ruling by the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals that determined forest roads are to be considered a point source under the Clean Water Act of 1987. If roads are named as a point source, they fall under the expectations and permitting requirements of the National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (an outgrowth of CWA). That means more permitting requirements for loggers.
(The permitting requirements of the NPDES vary with locality because jurisdictions have discretion in how they meet CWA goals. Even so, the possibility that foresters might have to set up barriers or berms to restrict runoff after cutting, is quite concerning.)
The PFPA is also committed to promoting best management practices. Working with state and federal agencies and its members, the PFPA endeavors to work on problems, such as the spread of the emerald ash borer and thousand cankers disease, to solve them in effective and practical ways.
Shawn takes a pragmatic approach to his work. When we asked him what he enjoys most about his profession, he said “stress — amplifying that with a smile. We take it as good stress.
Cleereman Industries understands the complexity and fortitude of contemporary mill owners. As such, it puts efficiency and durability on an equal plane when designing its products. The model HS380 hydraulic proportional carriage is a good example of the outcome of that sort of commitment.
To serve the needs of the widest range of mill owners, Cleereman also offers a linear positioning carriage in several models. The linear positioning carriage makes a good upgrade option for shaft carriage owners. The linear positioning carriages can be purchased with setworks installed or it can be coupled with setworks or optimizing systems that match the preference of the buyer.
Cleereman Industries is also well aware of the many regulations that are a factor in the day-to-day operation of companies. It offers some features that make compliance less daunting. The Cleereman HS380, for example, has an OSHA-approved lockout assembly that increases safety for employees.
Cleereman has developed and manufactured sawmill machinery for over 68 years. The company is guided by three principles: manufacture high quality, durable equipment designed for high yield and production, use simple but effective designs to minimize moving parts while maximizing performance, and provide strong support to customers.
Although the company is probably known more for its log carriages, it also makes related equipment such as material handling systems and sawmill packages. The list of products includes carriage drives and carriage rails and track frames, log turners, and conveying and handling equipment for cant resaw, board edger, and trim and grading machine centers.
The company’s sawmill packages include conventional circular mills with a top saw and log carriage as well as its new Lumber Pro thin kerf band mills, which feature a stationary carriage paired with a traveling 54-inch or 62-inch bandsaw mounted at a 17-degree angle. Multiple blades up to a 10-inch double-cut blade can be used to produce high quality lumber and cants. The modular design makes installation easy and fast and greatly reduces floor space requirements and energy costs. The Cleereman Industries Lumber Pro has been well received by the lumber industry, and the company continues to enjoy strong sales of this innovative think kerf band mill.
Paul commented regarding the growth of Cleereman Industries, “Historically we have been known for our carriages, but Cleereman Industries today is able to provide complete turn-key operations for a sawmill from mill planning, to engineering, to equipment manufacturing, to installation.”
Carriages to track frames and trim and grading lines are all part of the extensive Cleereman equipment line. All of the equipment is part of the legacy of Francis Cleereman Sr., who invented the Cleereman carriage. Even as a teenager in the first part of the 20th century, Francis was so mechanically astute that he was sought ought by millwrights around his family’s mill to help them solve mechanical problems.
Whether the young Francis could have envisioned a time when setworks brought wood and space together, it’s impossible to know. But it does not seem he would be surprised by state-of-the-art setworks to determine the next move of the log to the saw.
Machining tools and parts, particularly those used in the aerospace industry, demands extraordinary accuracy. So it’s exciting to think that somewhere among the orbiting satellites or flying craft there are components that resulted from the deployment of devices that overlap in their technology with those used in the wood products industry.
Getting time away from the long hours of operating Cameron Lumber, they all have some definite interests, including the beach, golf and hunting.