Peterson Portable Sawmills

Sawing Equipment in South Africa – Harris Sawing Equipment

Layla Robinson

South African company, Harris Sawing Equipment cc have partnered with New Zealand manufacturer, Peterson Portable Sawmills to supply high quality, durable sawmilling machines to South Africa.

HEarly Sawing in South Africaarris company director, Michael Harris first contacted Peterson in July 2015 when asked to tender for the supply of portable sawmills to a customer. Due to Peterson’s reputation of quality manufacture and excellent after sales service, Mr Harris decided Peterson was the company he would like to work with.

The Harris family’s involvement with saws dates back to 1919 when Raymond R. Harris managed the Burnt Forest Saw Mill in Kenya. He then travelled to the United Kingdom to get training and experience in sawing systems, returning to work as a saw doctor in Kenya before starting his own saw repair shop in Johannesburg in 1934.

Members of the Harris family continued to build their experience and expertise in the sawmilling industry, with circular hot saws for steel mills accounting for about 60% of the business. The company started manufacturing hot saws from local steel in 1964.

In 1979, Harris Sawing Equipment cc (HSE) was started by Raymond’s son, Roy Harris. Roy’s son, Michael, joined the company in 2002.

The company now concentrates on producing diamond saw bodies, insert tooth saws, slitting knives and specialised tungsten carbide tipped products. They recondition blades to customer requirements, and provide advice on cutting equipment optimisation.

Harris Sawing Equipment in South AfricaWhen Peterson Sawmills were first brought into Africa in the 1990’s, HSE spent some time “getting to understand how the Peterson mills operate and how we could best manufacture sawblades that would suit the machines and the African market.”

As well as making high quality and durable sawblades for the milling industry in Africa, HSE supply products to South America, Germany, Indonesia, Australia, Russia and the UK. In their role as a supplier of sawblades and specialised cutting products, and as a cutting technology advisor, HSE have had contact with a variety of customers running a range of portable sawmills.

“We have also had the opportunity to evaluate two particular machines head to head at Ligna in Germany on numerous occasions. The machines being compared were the Lucas Mill and Peterson. Head to head, we felt the Peterson machine was a much more stable, rigid and basically a much better constructed machine. We have also listened to numerous issues customers have had with the Lucas Mill and very few problems in comparison when it came to the Peterson machines.

“In May 2015 we had a request from a customer to supply 20 swingblade mills and, while this was not normally something we would normally respond to, we had been discussing entering the market as a capital equipment supplier for a while.

“As a company we pride ourselves in producing the highest quality products we can for our customers, focusing on quality rather than quantity. Naturally my first choice when responding to our customer’s request was to contact Peterson. Although the request for the 20 mills never came to fruition due to external factors […] we decided that we could build a strong and long lasting relationship with Peterson that could benefit both parties.”

Peterson Portable Sawmills are the original designer of the commercial swingblade sawmill for portable applications, and have been refining their design for 30 years. Peterson CEO Kerris Browne is also confident that the two companies will partner well.

“Michael [Harris] had initially contacted us because he saw the value in our quality range and mill features, and wanted to offer this to his customers. Once he had informed me of his intention to offer outstanding after-sales service to our customers, something we hold in very high regard, I knew we would work well together.”

Harris Sawing Tensioning ProcessHSE plan to use their blade manufacturing expertise and specialised equipment to produce mill-specific parts such as saw blades, riving knives, and saw tips for the African market. All locally manufactured parts will be required to meet Peterson quality standards, as neither HSE or Peterson will compromise on quality.

Harris Sawing Equipment is a specialist in circular saw blade manufacturing. They stock a range of steels to make circular saw blades for a variety of industries and applications.

Peterson circular sawmill blades are made from high-grade steel, with solid tungsten carbide tips as standard. Modern blade technology and the use of tough tungsten carbide tips means that circular blades require far less maintenance than other blades. However, when blade repairs are needed, Harris Sawing Equipment is well set up for your maintenance and reconditioning requirements.

• Straightening and tensioning of a saw blade ensures that the blade runs true during cutting. At HSE, blades are automatically straightened and tensioned on a PSR 1,200 to reach the desired tension and run-out figures.

• Brazing of tungsten carbide tips to the saw body is done automatically on a fully computer controlled induction brazing machine to ensure quality of the bond and uniformity of placement of the tip.

• Sharpening of tungsten carbide saws is done on CNC controlled multi-axis grinding machines using a diamond wheel.

Local manufacture of spare parts will minimise the final cost to the customer while maintaining Peterson quality standards, and will ensure that HSE are competitive with ‘pirate’ parts currently available in South Africa.

Peterson Sales Manager Aaron Kalan has been impressed with the initiatives undertaken by the HSE team to market Peterson portable sawmills in Africa.

Sawing Equipment in South Africa“Michael Harris has spent some time learning about our circular swingblade technology, and has demonstrated a passion to bring Peterson sawmills to Africa.

“Mr Harris placed advertisements in the two main publications for the timber industry in South Africa – “Wood South Africa and Timber Times” and “Timber iQ – Design and Construction” – resulting in pre-orders for the first container shipment of Peterson Sawmills, before the container had even left New Zealand.”

Director Michael Harris is pleased to be representing the Peterson brand in Africa. “From our dealings with the Peterson team we found that like us they are a small tightly knit team that have a passion for what they do. This excited us, as the level of service offered by Peterson, is far better than any other sawmill manufacturer we have come across.

“We believe that the African market is the ideal market for simple, reliable and yet productive sawmills that can be used anywhere and without specialised maintenance teams on hand. Here the Peterson machines tick all the right boxes.”

For more information on Peterson Portable Sawmills, call +64 7 348 0863, email Harris Sawing Equipment - South Africainfo@petersonsawmills.com or visit the company website: www.petersonsawmills.com

For information about Harris Sawing Equipment cc, call +27 11 496 1334, email enquiries@harrissawing.com or visit the company website: www.harrissawing.com

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5 comments shared

  1. gordon chipango (mr) says:

    I am impressed

    What is your best price for a 720mm dia by6 teeth, by 5 crntersant holes by40mm thickness chrome plated disc..or a tct saws. Price to be ex JHB

  2. Joe Steyn says:

    Please contact me
    Need a demo and advice on a sawmill
    Thank you
    South Africa
    Cell: 0833021982

    • Hi there Joe, I have forwarded your message on to our agent in South Africa, Harris Sawing Equipment who is based in Johannesburg. Michael will respond to you as soon as possible. Cheers, Layla.

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