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Matson Lumber Uses Onboard Weigh System

Matson Lumber Uses Onboard Weigh System

October 19, 2016 | Corporate News

Onboard Weighing System on Hyundai Wheel Loaders Helps Pennsylvania Lumber Producer Meet New Export Regulation

Complying with a new International Maritime Organization requirement for exporters to verify the weight of containerized cargo could have posed a significant problem for Matson Lumber. But the Brookville, Pa.-based hardwood lumber producer found a timely solution in the onboard weighing system featured on its new Hyundai HL940 wheel loaders.

In the past, the handling of overweight containers has resulted in injuries to workers and damage to vessels and equipment.  Aimed at improving safety, the new rule – an amendment to IMO’s SOLAS (Safety of Life at Sea) Convention – requires shippers to provide vessel operators and marine terminal operators with documentation verifying the weight of all containerized freight. While the new rule allows weighing containers at the port, many marine terminals do not have the type of scales needed to verify container weight.

“We were evaluating new wheel loaders just before the new SOLAS rule was about to take effect earlier this year,” said Paul Soreck, president of Matson Lumber. “We had already decided on trying the new HL940 loaders from Hyundai when we realized the onboard scale system on the Hyundai loaders would give us a solution for meeting the weight-verification requirement. So that has been a huge and very timely benefit.”

Under the SOLAS amendment, shippers either may weigh the container after it has been packed, or weigh the contents of the container and add that weight to the container’s documented weight.

Matson takes the latter approach, using the onboard weighing system on its two Hyundai HL940 wheel loaders to weigh logs and lumber as the material is loaded into the shipping containers.  The system keeps a record of all weighed materials which Matson uses to meet the SOLAS weight-verification requirement.

“We never previously had to weigh containerized logs or lumber,” Soreck explained, “so we didn’t have another solution. We found the Hyundai onboard weighing system to be very accurate, well within the tolerances we needed. It’s easy to calibrate and has worked very well. We couldn’t have picked a better time to buy those loaders.”

Ninth-generation family business

Based in Brookville, a picturesque and historic town of 4,200 people, located 80 miles northeast of Pittsburgh, Matson Lumber is a family-owned and operated enterprise that originated as a logging business in the early 1800s. That was nine generations ago. When Soreck’s grandfather returned from service in World War II, he expanded into lumber production with a saw mill and kiln-drying operation in Brookville. One of nine family members still in the business, Soreck is the third generation of the family to manage the expanded operation.

“We produce logs, green lumber and kiln-dried lumber,” Soreck said. “Species include red oak, white oak, cherry, soft maple, hard maple – all native to western Pennsylvania. Timber comes from a combination of our own timberlands, from state and federal timberlands, and from other private land owners.

“Our finished lumber is shipped all over the world and used to make fine hardwood products, including hardwood veneer, flooring, cabinets, furniture, custom millwork – any fine hardwood application you’d see in a home or office building,” Soreck said.

The company also operates a kiln-drying yard in nearby Corsica, Pa., and a second sawmill in Clintonville, another small town in western Pennsylvania. Matson Lumber also has a distribution business that it uses for delivering less-than-truckloads to customers within about an 80- to 100-mile radius of our locations.

The 20-acre Matson Lumber facility in Brookville annually produces approximately 30 million board-feet of finished lumber and logs. “That’s about 2,000 truckloads a year,” Matson explained.

Mid-sized loaders are the right fit

The workhorses of the operation are the two HL940 wheel loaders, equipped with hydraulic log grapples for a wide variety of material handling tasks, including unloading raw logs from delivery trucks, stockpiling logs, moving logs to any of several processing areas on the property, loading logs into the sawmill and loading containers with finished products.  When outfitted with their standard buckets, the wheel loaders also handle yard-cleaning and snow-removal.

“Over the years we have found that medium-sized wheel loaders are what work best for us,” Soreck noted. “The 3-yard machine gives us the power we need, it’s nimble moving around the log yard, and it’s very fuel efficient.

“These HL940s are our first Hyundai loaders. Our guys enjoy operating them. The controls are intuitive. The cab is comfortable with good visibility. Ride control is also something the operators like because of the rough ground in our lumber yard.”

A culture focused on safety and quality

Matson Lumber is a year-round operation, running two shifts per day, five or six days a week depending on the workload.

“We have a lot of 10-, 20- and 30-year employees – people who know their jobs and do them well without needing a lot of instruction or hand-holding,” Soreck said. “We have 175 employees. Our culture is focused on safety and quality. That’s what we put our time and energy into.

“We produce quality products, and we use that mindset when we go shopping for equipment, too. We are very pleased with what we have found with Hyundai, and with our dealer, Highway Equipment. They pick up the phone every time we call. They’re here any time we need them. You can tell they have a culture of being customer-focused and taking care of their customers.”

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