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3.

WOOD HANDLING

Table of content

WOOD HANDLING .................................................................................................................................................... 1
DEBARKING ............................................................................................................................................................. 1
Purpose of debarking ......................................................................................................................................... 2
Wood losses during debarking ........................................................................................................................... 4
CHIPPING ................................................................................................................................................................. 5
CHIP SCREENING ...................................................................................................................................................... 9
SAWMILL CHIPS...................................................................................................................................................... 11
CHIP STORAGE ....................................................................................................................................................... 12
QUESTIONS ............................................................................................................................................................ 14



Kaj Henricson
Professor Pulping Technology
Lappeenranta University of Technology
August 2004




Educational course material and only for internal and personal use during
the course: An introduction to chemical pulping technology.




1
Wood handling
The trees are cut in the forest into logs of pulpwood. The length of the logs varies between
countries and depending on the type of wood raw material. Log debarking is done in the forest
or as the first process step at the mill.
The debarked logs are cut into chips 20mm to 30mm long. The chips are screened to remove
fines and oversize particles. The accepted chips are transported to the chip storage at the pulp
mill from where the chips are taken to the digester for cooking. Picture 1 shows the wood
handling process for pulpwood. In mills, where also mechanical pulp is used, the wood handling
line is common for both pulping types.
Chips are also brought to the mills mainly from sawmills, where the chips are made from
sawmill residues. In Finland, about 20% of the raw material for fiber production comes from
sawmills. In the USA, the proportion is about 40%.

TREE
CROSS
CUTTING
STORAGE CHIPPING BARKING SCREENING TREE
CROSS
CUTTING
STORAGE CHIPPING BARKING SCREENING


Picture 1. Wood handling process. The process at the pulp mill often starts with precut logs coming
to the mill.
SCREENING
CHIPPING
BARKING
LOGS
CHIP
STORAGE
BARK
STORAGE
SAWMILL
CHIPS
SCREENING
CHIPPING
BARKING
LOGS
CHIP
STORAGE
BARK
STORAGE
SAWMILL
CHIPS

Picture 2. Single-line wood handling
Picture 2 shows a wood handling department consisting of a conveyor feeding the pulpwood to
the debarking drum, debarking drum, chippers, bark presses, bark storage, chip piles and chip
screening.
Debarking
Wood is debarked before chipping and cooking. Bark does not contain proper fibers and can
cause problems in the fiber line. Bark contains extractives, which can cause deposits on the
machinery and lead to dirt particles in the final pulp. Especially hardwood bark may result in
dirt particles in the pulp, and a high degree of debarking is needed for most hardwoods.
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When bark is cooked together with the wood, much of the bark material is dissolved during
cooking and can be found in the black liquor going to evaporation and combustion. The
dissolved organic material will cause an extra load on the recovery boiler, and the bark will
cause extra need of cooking chemicals. A more efficient way to burn bark is in a separate bark
boiler after pressing of bark, where the content of water in bark is reduced.
There are differences in debarking techniques depending on the country and type of wood. Some
tropical hardwoods are debarked in the forest in cases where the bark is easily removed from the
fresh wood. In Scandinavia, most of the pulpwood is debarked in debarking drums at the mills
prior to chipping.
Purpose of debarking
The main purpose of debarking is to remove bark to the extent necessary for the quality of the
final product. The debarking degree is a measure of the bark removal efficiency. This gives the
percentage of debarked surface or bark content in chips, which expresses the share of bark in the
weight of the chips. In Scandinavia for example, a debarking degree of 95% in pulpwood
corresponds to a bark content of about 0.5%.

Picture 3. Debarking drum with easy roll bearing



Picture 4. Typical drum design

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Picture 5. Tumble debarking drum

Picture 6. Parallel debarking drum
The pulp industry usually debarks all round wood that arrives at the pulp mill. Dry debarking is
used in areas where thawing or deicing of logs is unnecessary. Both wet and dry debarking is in
use in areas where thawing of logs is necessary. Dry debarking is today the preferred alternative
for new installations.
There are two types of debarking drums; tumbling (Picture 5) and parallel (Picture 6). In tumble
debarking drums, the log length is smaller than the diameter of the drum. In parallel debarking
drums, the log length is greater than the drum diameter.
The logs can tumble freely in the tumble debarking drum. The drum diameter is 4m-6m and the
length is 20m-40m. The peripheral speed of the drum is 1.5m/s-2m/s corresponding to a rotating
speed of 5.7rpm-7.6rpm with a 5m drum. In the tumble debarking drum, the logs move
randomly through the drum, which rotates around its axis in a straight or a slightly inclined
position. The logs become debarked by rubbing against each other.
Parallel debarking is used for full length trees but is not as common as tumble debarking in
Scandinavia. The debarking forces are weaker than in tumble debarking and the drums are
longer and have a smaller diameter.
Table 1. Effect of bark-to-wood adhesion on debarking
Bark-to-wood adhesion
kg / cm
3
lb. / sq.in
Debarking Examples of wood species
3-4 4055 easy to debark southern pines, maple
56 70110 normal to debark white pine, hemlock, spruce, beech
8-10 140 difficult to debark Elm, birch
1214 170200 very difficult to debark black poplar, ironwood
> 20 Approx. 300 almost unable to debark basswood, hickory

Different wood species have different debarking characteristics. The thickness and structure of
the bark have a significant effect on debarking. Table 1 shows the effect of bark-to-wood
adhesion on debarking for some wood species. The cutting season greatly influences the
debarking degree. For example, spruce bark may attach to wood 100% tighter and poplar 250%
tighter in the dormant season than in the growing season.

Fapet 6A: p. A355
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Table 2. Required debarking times of some wood species and qualities
Wood quality Wood species Required debarking
time in minutes
trees easy to debark, for
pulpwood
oak, maple, southern pine, most
tropical hardwood species
10-15
normal to debark, softwood
for pulpwood
most northern pine species,
spruce
20-25
normal to debark, hardwood
for pulping
e.g. birch 30
fresh groundwood e.g. spruce 30-40
dry hardwood for pulping e.g. aspen, birch 40-60
dry groundwood e.g. aspen, spruce 60

In the northern regions, debarking becomes increasingly difficult as log temperatures fall and the
logs become frozen. The bark may adhere to frozen logs with a force 2.5-5 times greater than
that of thawed logs. Table 2 shows debarking times for some wood species.

Picture 7. Debarking capacity
The cleanliness requirement for bleached sulfate pulp is high (Picture 7). The debarking degree
requirements for softwoods are usually 85%-92%. This leaves less than 1% by weight of bark on
the log. Bark extractives are a problem especially in the manufacture of bleached hardwood
sulfate pulp. The debarking degree for pulpwood should be higher with bleached hardwood
pulps than with bleached softwood sulfate pulps.
Wood losses during debarking
Some wood is always lost during debarking. The amount varies considerably depending on the
quality of wood to be debarked, required degree of wood cleanliness after debarking, debarking
equipment and local conditions. Typically, wood losses as percentage of wood feed are small
when large-diameter and uniform pulpwood logs are debarked, as can be seen in Picture 8.
Fapet 6A: s. A355
Fapet 6A: p. A362
5

Log diameter, mm
%
Log diameter, mm
%

Picture 8. Effect of diameter of log on wood losses
It is possible to reach a wood loss of about 1%-1.5% in wood weight with correct debarking
conditions. Fresh and short pulpwoods that debark easily have wood losses that can be about
1%-2%. Debarking dry hardwood or mixed wood, which consists mainly of thin logs and some
big logs, leads to large wood losses, which can be up to 4% -5% of the wood weight.
Chipping
The wood is cut into chips in order to make
mass and heat transport possible during
cooking. The chips have to be small enough
so that chemicals and heat can penetrate and
diffuse into the wood material so that the
whole chip is cooked in a homogeneous way.
In case of too large wood pieces, the center of
the chip will be at least partly uncooked.
On the other hand, the chips have to be large
enough so that liquids can circulate in the
digester during cooking around the chips
without causing too much flow resistance and
pressure gradients.
The size and shape of the chips is determined
by the raw material used and the geometry
when cutting the chips. A chipper cutting
geometry is shown in Picture 9. The formula
is + + + = 90, where is feed angle,
is pull-in angle, is knife angle, is
complementary angle, c is knife clearance and
u is knife distance from disc cut.

Picture 9. Chipper cutting geometry
The complementary angle influences the chip length-to-thickness ratio and can be used to
control the chip geometry at least to some extent. Another import parameter is the speed of
cutting that influences the formation of oversize chips and fines. Wood species, cutting
conditions, condition of cutting edge and size of the logs are other parameters influencing the
result when producing chips.
Fapet 6A: p. A371
PV
Wood
Loss
6

Picture 10. Effect of complementary angle on
length-to-thickness relationship of
chips

Picture 11. Effect of chipper cutting speed on
chip quality
The size of the chip influences how the cooking liquor can penetrate and diffuse into the wood
material. In Picture 12 is shown how the cooking liquid penetrates and diffuses into a thin wood
plate. The wood plate is 1mm thick and 40mm long. The fibers are oriented in the longitudinal
direction. The cooking liquid can penetrate along the fibers in the longitudinal direction. The
mass transfer is mostly controlled by diffusion. The penetration and diffusion of cooking
chemicals into the wood material is called impregnation.
40 mm
1 mm
A chip
5 min.
0.0
0.0
1.0
1.0
40.0
0.5
0.7
0.9
40 mm
1 mm
A chip
5 min.
0.0
0.0
1.0
1.0
40.0
0.5
0.7
0.9

Picture 12. Transfer of cooking chemicals into a thin wood plate during impregnation. The
concentration of chemicals inside the wood plate relative to the surrounding liquid after five
minutes of impregnation.
Picture 13 shows the impregnation of a wood chip 25mm long and 5mm thick. The fibers are
oriented in the longitudinal direction of the chip and the mass transfer is faster in the
longitudinal direction of the fibers. An impregnation time of 5 minutes is not enough to transfer
the chemicals into the center of the chip. A minimum impregnation time of about 20 minutes is
Fapet 6A: p. A372
Fapet 6A: p. A374
Henricson
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required in order to have the cooking chemicals penetrated and diffused into the center of the
wood chip with a thickness of 5mm. The size of the chip has to be small enough to ensure good
impregnation of cooking chemicals. The most critical dimension is the thickness of the chip.
5 mm
25mm
A chip
0.9
0.7
0.5
~2 mm
1.0
5.0
0.0
0.0 25.0
20 min.
5 min.
0.9
0.7
0.5
5 mm
25mm
A chip
0.9
0.7
0.5
~2 mm
1.0
5.0
0.0
0.0 25.0
20 min.
5 min.
0.9
0.7
0.5

Picture 13. Chip impregnation; transfer of cooking chemicals into a chip. Concentration of chemicals
inside the chip relative to the surrounding liquid after five and 20 minutes of impregnation
time.
During chipping, physical damage to the fibers has to be minimized. The longer the chips are,
the fewer number of fibers are cut by the knife. Picture 14 demonstrates the relationship between
average fiber length in the chip, the fiber length in wood and chip length. When choosing the
length of the chip, a balance has to be found between the number of fibers cut in the chipper and
the thickness and length of chips. A longer chip will also mean a thicker chip and a long and
thick chip will be more difficult to impregnate.
ll

Picture 14. Fiber length in chips as a function of chip length
Fibers are also damaged due to compression forces when the chipper knife hits the log. This
damage is demonstrated in Picture 15. The compression damage depends on the chipper design,
condition of the knife and knife angle.
Fapet 6A: p. A246
Softwood
Hardwood
Henricson
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LENGTH
THICKNESS
COMPRESSION
DAMAGE
WIDTH
LENGTH
THICKNESS
COMPRESSION
DAMAGE
LENGTH
THICKNESS
COMPRESSION
DAMAGE
WIDTH

Picture 15. Compression damage of a chip
In a chipper, the log is fed at a controlled angle towards the rotor with the cutting knifes.
Industrial chippers are usually equipped with multiple motors to balance the momentum with
which the rotor rotates while cutting the log into chips.

Picture 16. Chipper knifes cutting a log

Picture 17. Industrial chipper
PV: p.184
PV: p.195
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Chip screening
Picture 18 shows a wood chip. The chip is characterized by length; industrial chips are typically
20mm-30mm long, and thickness; industrial chips have a thickness typically below 8mm. Width
is as such not critical for cooking. Mass and heat transfer in the thickness and width directions
will be mostly controlled by diffusion and, as thickness is smaller than the width of the chip, the
thickness will be the dimension controlling the time needed by impregnation.

Picture 18. Wood chip
The chips are screened usually after chipping and before transfer to the chip storage in a
gyrating screen to remove oversize particles and fines. Oversize particles are particles not able
to pass through a hole of a certain size, usually a hole with a diameter of 45mm. Fines are
particles that can pass through a hole of a certain size, usually a hole with a diameter of 3mm.
These oversize particles and fines are not considered good for cooking. Oversize and undersized
fractions can also cause mechanical problems in the digester. Another objective of chip
screening is to remove some of the small size contaminants, such as bark, sand and grit.
Chips are also screened at some mills after the chip storage and before the transfer of chips to
the digester. The chips are usually screened with respect to thickness in this position. A chip
thicker than 8mm is often considered overthick and can be partly uncooked in the digester and
cause reject after cooking. Disc screens are used in the thickness screening of chips.

Picture 19. Chip size distribution before and after screening
Fapet 6A: p. A369
KP: p.41
10

Picture 20. Chip screening
There are several kinds of chip screen designs used in the industry today. The most common
screen is the gyratory screen (Picture 21) used after chipping. The gyratory screen is a vibrating
screen plate, usually with round holes of certain size, either for oversize or fines separation.

Picture 21. Gyrating screen
The disc screen (Picture 22) is designed to pass or retain chips based on thickness only. It is
composed of discs which are mounted on parallel rotating shafts. The discs are arranged in a
staggered pattern, leaving slot openings with a width of 5mm to 13mm, usually about 8mm,
between the discs. All shafts rotate in the same direction.
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Picture 22. Disc screen
Oversize particles separated during chip screening are crushed or cut into smaller size and
returned to the chip screens to be re-screened. There are many technical alternatives how this
can be done. The target is to avoid crushing or cutting the oversize chips into too small particles.
Fines can either be taken to a special boiler, for instance the bark boiler, and used for energy
production or taken to a digester to be cooked into pulp. Some mills have sawdust digesters or
other digesters suitable for cooking small material, where the fines can be cooked into pulp.
Chips are also screened in laboratories in order to classify the chips. Picture 23 shows a typical
laboratory chip classifier arrangement. The amount of chips being retained on each screen gives
the size distribution of the chip sample.

Picture 23. Chip classifier SCAN-CM
Sawmill chips
Sawmill residue wood is used in the form of sawdust or sawmill chips for fiber production. The
sawdust and chips coming from sawmills are usually screened at the pulp mill before cooking.
The sawdust has to be free of large wood particles before being taken into a sawdust digester.
Fapet 6A: p. A388
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The sawmill chips have to be screened to remove fines and oversize wood particles before
cooking in a digester for chips.
Sawmills use logs with a large diameter to produce sawn goods, and much of the residual wood
from sawmills is from the outer part of the logs and thus contains long mature fibers. Sawmill
chips are a source of raw material for pulps with good strength properties. Sawmill chips are
treated and stored separately at many mills and added to the chip stream going to the digester in
a controlled way. The portion of sawmill chips added to the chip flow will influence the
properties of the pulp produced especially in the case of softwoods.
Chip storage
Chips are stored at pulp mills in piles or silos. The chip storage is a buffer area between wood
handling and cooking. The amount of chips stored varies but can correspond to a few weeks of
pulp production. Different types of chips are usually stored in separate piles or silos.

Picture 24. Screw reclaimed chip pile
The chip storage is used to homogenize the flow of wood material to the digester. It is also used
to control the portion of various chip types being fed to the digester. This way, the quality of the
pulp produced can be kept stable and controlled with respect to the type of raw material used.
The wood material in the chip storage is influenced by bacterial and fungi activities. Due to this,
the temperature in the chip storage will increase with time and there will be some wood losses.
Wood losses can be reduced by cooling and covering the chip piles with snow.

Picture 25. Temperature profile in a chip pile
PV: p. 278
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During chip storing, especially the extractive content of the wood material will decrease. This
phenomenon is used by pulp mills to lower the extractive content of hardwoods in particular.
Mills may store the hardwood for a minimum time of some weeks to get the content of
extractives low enough to enable easier processing of hardwood at the mill. On the other hand,
the extractives lost from softwoods will lead to a reduced production of turpentine and tall oil.
Chips are transported in the chip handling area with belt conveyors (Picture 26) or pneumatic
systems. In pneumatic systems, the chips are transported inside pipes by air blowing. The chip
piles (Picture 24) and silos are equipped with screws or conveyors that take the chips out of the
lower part of the storage in a controlled way.

Picture 26. Belt conveyor



Picture 27. Wood losses during chip storage in
Scandinavia


Picture 28. Losses of resinous materials
Modified by KH
Fapet 6A: p. A423
Modified by KH
Fapet 6A: p. A421
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Questions
1. Wood losses during wood handling. / Puuhvit puunksittelyss.
2. Storage of chips at pulp mills. / Hakkeen varastointi sellutehtaalla.
3. Problems related to the debarking of pulpwood with low diameter from thinnings. / Ohuen
harvennuspuun kuorintaan liittyvt ongelmat.
4. The effect of chip size on pulp quality. / Miten hakkeen koko vaikuttaa massan laatuun.
5. Effect of chipper cutting geometry on the size and quality of chips. / Hakun tern geometrian
vaikutus hakkeen kokoon ja laatuun.
6. Drum debarking technology. / Rumpukuorinta tekniikka.
7. Chip screening at pulp mills. / Hakkeen seulonta sellutehtaalla.