New Zealand mills headed for Europe and Africa

A New Zealand mill manufacturer, Peterson Sawmills, has carved its way into the lucrative European and African forestry markets after exhibiting its machinery at the world’s largest forestry convention in Germany.

Peterson Portable Sawmills secured a swag of deals and contracts at the annual Ligna Forestry and Wood Industries World Fair in Hanover, Germany.

“It was the first time Peterson had taken its wares to Ligna and the first time a Peterson mill had been shown in mainland Europe, so we were very excited with the results,” marketing manager Rosie Coward said.

Among the orders the company signed were 16 mills to be shipped to South Africa. The company also secured a new distributor for Germany. “We also had about 95 inquiries about our sawmills from people wanting to buy or distribute them.”

The secret of the company’s success was its highly developed circular saw technology, Ms Coward said. Circular saws have traditionally been perceived by the milling industry as inferior to band saws because there is more wastage while cutting. However, Peterson had developed a much thinner circular blade which minimized this. The circular saws were also a third of the cost of bandsaws and needed less maintenance.


New Zealand Mill Producers Peterson Sawmills


Company owner Mr. Peterson said like most of the country’s forestry and milling sector, the company had been hit hard by the drop in the exchange rate with the United States. However this loss of potential income had been offset by the successful foray into the European markets.

Peterson went to Ligna as part of a wood technology group managed by New Zealand Trade and Enterprise.

New Zealand Trade and Enterprise wood technology client manager Lionel Crawley said the company’s success at Ligna was “amazing but certainly deserved by a company which has worked tremendously hard”.

“They have a very high-quality product which is ideal for exporting.”

The New Zealand mill manufacturer’s employ 19 full-time staff. The business, based in View Road, was started in 1989. Next year the company is going to AusTimber, an Australian forestry show, with New Zealand Trade and Enterprise to launch a new automated swingblade mill.

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