HUDSON, North Carolina – BolDesign Inc. has introduced an innovative design approach to the company’s lumber kilns. The X-Power Kiln, its newest kiln, is so-named because the motors powering the fans are external – located outside of the kiln chamber itself. The first BolDesign X Power Kiln has been operating successfully at Select Hardwoods in Millers Creek, North Carolina.
The external design of the fan motors provides a number of benefits as enumerated by Brett Bollinger, president of BolDesign. Locating the motors outside the kiln provides more even air flow, which increases drying efficiency. There are no working parts inside the kiln that require maintenance, which makes it easier to maintain the kiln. The motors can be serviced from the outside, so there is no need to unload or empty the kiln.
The motors are located in an aluminum column, protected from the weather, that goes into the kiln from the outer wall and is easily accessible via a cavity in the outer wall. Direct drive sends power to the fan without the need for shafts. This configuration eliminates the need for platforms because there are no pulleys, belts, shafts, or bearings. The design significantly reduces kiln maintenance.
The external location of the fan motors means they are not exposed to the harsh environment and high temperatures of the kiln, which extends motor life. In fact, the fans can be powered by any type of motor, not necessarily a kiln-grade motor. Motors likely would last 15 years before they need to be refurbished or replaced, Brett estimated.
The application of the BolDesign X Power Kiln at Select Hardwoods has proved successful, and BolDesign has begun marketing the new kiln design. It is available for any of the company’s kilns, which include package load kilns, dual path kilns, kilns for poles and firewood, and kilns for heat-treating pallets.
BolDesign manufactures custom designed lumber dry kilns and has supplied kilns for drying lumber and heat-treating pallets since 1986. The family-owned and operated business is dedicated to the success of the companies it serves.
Founded by Brett’s father, Howard, BolDesign has followed a path of innovation and continuous improvement since its inception. Howard invented and patented wet air venting technology in lumber drying. The company’s trademarked wet-air venting system yields fuel and energy savings as much as 30 percent, and it allows for more precise control of wet-bulb temperature.
BolDesign, based in Hudson, North Carolina, has introduced a long list of forward-looking kiln features in the more than three decades it has been in business. For example, its master control panel allows the kiln operator to quickly view conditions related to heat spray, vent, power, and fan direction.
Another feature of BolDesign kilns – a signature feature – is the powered bi-fold door – the same type of door used for aircraft hangars, noted Brett. Most kiln-related accidents are associated with operating the doors, he pointed out, after lumber has shifted during the drying process. The powered bi-fold door is operated via a switch on the side of the kiln, so the operator never has to be in front of the kiln, under the load; if the lumber shifts and falls, the operator cannot be injured from his location on the side of the kiln. In addition, If the lumber falls onto the bi-fold door, it simply kicks out the bottom, and the door is not damaged. Other types of kiln doors that are damaged in these types of accidents may require rebuilding or replacing the door at a cost of $30-40,000, Brett estimated.
An additional benefit of the bi-fold door is that, in the open position, half of the door protrudes over the front of the kiln, providing a covering and shelter from rain and snow during the loading or unloading process.
The bi-fold doors utilize a system with a winch and stainless steel aircraft-grade cables with a back-up safety feature. They also feature a simple, easy-to-use latch system that makes a complete closed seal up and down the length of the door.
BolDesign kilns also feature interior walls, not exposed structural framing components. The walls provide smooth surfaces throughout the kiln, from top to bottom, enhancing air flow.
The interior walls also allow the forklift operator who is loading the kiln to stage packages against the wall without damaging the wall or structural components.
Other construction and design features prevent corrosion. The kiln walls are insulated with mineral wood insulation, which sheds any moisture it accumulates. The exterior walls are open at the bottom, so any moisture from the mineral wood drains down and out.
BolDesign kilns are constructed of all stainless steel or aluminum components. They are equipped with 48-inch cast aluminum reversible fan blades that produce about 44,000 cubic feet per minute of air flow.
Kilns BolDesign has introduced a long list of forward-looking kiln features in the more than three decades it has been in business. For example, its master control panel allows the kiln operator to quickly view conditions related to heat spray, vent, power, and fan direction.
With sophisticated design concepts such as equilibrium moisture content (EMC) control, wall-to-wall heating coils without gaps, center pipe from the control header, and more engineered into each kiln, BolDesign helps customers achieve efficiency in lumber drying.
With ever-increasing fuel costs, efficiency takes on greater importance than ever.
The BolDesign dual-path kiln exemplifies the way continuously improved design benefits the kiln owner. Highly uniform air flow results from a push-pull system with fans on both sides of the kiln; one set of fans pushes the air through the lumber, and the fans on the other side pull the air through. Air passes through just two stacks of lumber, not four. The result is more even drying and faster drying because heat is more evenly distributed.
Dual-path kilns are also known as continuous kilns. Green lumber is loaded on two tracks that move in opposite directions. As the lumber moves through three chambers, it is preheated, then dried, and finally equalized and conditioned. The dry lumber exits the kiln at the opposite end.
Values and mission are inextricably linked at BolDesign. The company is committed to the success of every customer with which it works. To help customers achieve success, BolDesign enables them to streamline operations, cut overhead costs, and increase profits.
Removing mechanical barriers from the drying process is one of the driving principles at BolDesign. The other is giving customers more control over their drying or heat-treating operations.
BolDesign has grown from a 10,000-square-foot facility at launch to a 70,000-square-foot plant today. Its pioneering wet-air venting technology has been embraced by other companies.
BolDesign introduced its first kilns for drying softwood lumber in 2018. Customers can now rely on BolDesign for a custom solution for drying hardwood lumber and softwood lumber.
The company also offers solutions for steaming lumber and heat-treating pallets.
For more information about BolDesign, visit www.boldesignsinc.com.
To watch a video about BolDesign’s new X-Power Kiln, visit the company’s facebook page at www.facebook.com/boldesigninc.