New Zealand based portable sawmill manufacturer, Peterson Portable Sawmills are expanding their premises and increasing production to meet global demand which has soared in the past 12 months.
Peterson, the original designers of the commercial portable swingblade sawmill, have been exporting their products worldwide for over 30 years and have never seen such high demand in their industry.
Company CEO, Kerris Browne (nee Peterson) attributes the increase in demand to a change in priorities since Covid-19 emerged in 2020.
“The world has really changed how we all do business which has opened the door to new possibilities. It has also given people the confidence to take risks and get in to something on their own,” says Kerris.
“We are also experiencing travel restrictions which is allowing us to complete the projects at home that were put on the back-burner; the deck repair, new awning, replacing a fence, or completing the cabin in the woods that has always been on the long-term plan.”
In several countries, large commercial mills have either shut down completely or are operating to different parameters – this has resulted in a lack of timber availability for the local market and soaring prices for timber. “All of this means more people are needing timber, and if it’s not readily available then the instinct is to saw it themselves.”, says Kerris.
Despite the extra demand, Peterson is proud to continue the tradition of genuine quality, a key focus and attribute locked in place by Kerris way back in 1994 while working with her father. Kerris explains: “We have resisted the urge to make extra profits by manufacturing sawmills offshore using cheaper labour. Our sawmills continue to be custom-built and entirely manufactured by highly skilled welders and fitters in our factory in Rotorua, New Zealand.”
Peterson mill designer and factory manager, Chris Browne has added four containers to their yard in Rotorua, to be used as storage for mill components. The ground is also being concreted to provide a clean, solid surface for assembling and testing sawmills.
These changes allow for more space in the factory where the sawmills are welded, fitted and fabricated.
Although Peterson’s build time has increased from its standard 6 weeks, the company is still able to provide new sawmills to customers much faster than many of their competitors.
“We have had reports that other sawmill manufacturers are now taking orders for completion in 2022,” says Peterson Sales Manager, Aaron Kalan. “At present, we are sitting at a build time of 14 weeks which means customers will still receive their new sawmill in 2021.”
Aaron is confident that even if the build time does increase, customers who are looking for a high quality, efficient custom built sawmill will wait for a Peterson.
“People who have done their research can see that Peterson is top-of-the-line. Our products are refined and built to a high standard, and that’s also why our time frames aren’t getting shorter,” assures Aaron. “So I do recommend that if you’re wanting to start making sawdust and building your future before the year is out, you confirm your order now.”