Peterson’s ASM – The Best Automated Sawmill

Farmers Review Africa

Peterson’s ASM – The Best Automated Sawmill, Originally published in Nov-Dec 2022 issue of Farmers Review Africa


Automated Sawmill Portable Sawmill


For over 3 decades, Peterson Portable Sawmills have been manufacturing the highest quality portable swing blade sawmills in the world.

“Petersons” for short, began in 1989, when Carl Peterson sold his first portable swingblade mill. Though it was only a basic version, it was a true invention – the world’s first commercially available portable swingblade sawmill. Today, with more than 33 years of research and development, Petersons are proud to promote the smartest range of portable sawmills in the world.

Five top-of-the-line models catering for a wide range of users, from hobby millers to professional high production sawyers. Designed and manufactured in Rotorua, New Zealand and exported globally, from the highlands of Papua New Guinea to the snow peaks of Alaska, Petersons craft machines that are well engineered, adaptable, and built to last.

Designed with safety in mind – all Peterson Portable Sawmills are CE Certified. The CE marking represents the internationally recognized standard for safety compliance, enabling the company to export its sawmills to the European Economic Area.


Swingblade Technology

The Peterson swing blade technology consists of a single, circular blade, pivoting at 90 degrees to intersect at a precise point, resulting in perfectly accurate boards every time. Peterson blades generally last up to six years with normal use, with reports of blades lasting over a decade. With the ability to sharpen Peterson’s circular blades in around five minutes without having to remove them from the mill, maintenance costs are minimal.

Traditionally powered by a choice of 25-37hp gasoline engines, with the option of upgrading to a a 15kw electric motor, the cutting begins at the top of the log where small waste pieces are removed to expose the first useable layer of the log. Once the top of the log is levelled, you can then lower the centre unit to your desired depth and remove the barked edge before cutting your first board and working your way through the log one layer at a time. A Peterson swingblade can handle large, abrasive logs with ease, you can load logs over or under your tracks.


Peterson Swingblade Technology
Big Beam milled with Peterson ASM


A great innovation with the Peterson swingblade is that with a 10” standard cut, you can utilise both sides of the blade to double-cut dimensional lumber of any size up to 250mm x 500mm (10″x20″).

Just like the manual Peterson mills, the ASM can handle beams of unlimited length (subject to track length), logs of up to 1.5m (5′) in diameter and slabbing attachments can be fitted to cut slabs of up to 1.5m (5′) in width. Petersons also custom make Giant Frame mills which have previously been up to 700mm taller and wider for the really big stuff!


Built tough, with quality materials

Petersons are widely admired for the world class engineering of their products. They proudly cut, weld, treat, build, and individually test every single machine with love and care, to the highest workmanship standards.

With the exception of the Junior Peterson – made from mild steel to achieve a lower price point, the entire Peterson range is manufactured using hand polished stainless steel and aluminium. This makes them virtually rust free and means the mills are robust in performance and most importantly they maintain long-term durability in even the harshest conditions.

Petersons use quality Italian gearboxes with bulletproof solid steel mounting and external pillow block which eliminates any sideways pressure. Our transmission design is very efficient and dependable. This maximises power transfer between the engine and the blade without compromising on durability. Our robust transmission design requires little maintenance and is simple to maintain.

best automated sawmill


ASM – The Automatic Choice

Petersons built their reputation with manual push and pull swing blade mills, progressively innovating over the years, expansions to their range include a Dedicated Wide Slabber (DWS) for milling high value slabs in record time, a range of accessories to dress slabs and a unique rigid track system that is interchangeable between standard frame models with unmatched stability and accuracy. 

In 2004, the team at Petersons shook with world with the release of their Automated Swingblade Mill (ASM) after 12 months of research and development from their automated prototype. The team went about developing the best automated sawmill in the world, Delivering even more production with less effort. the ASM was the world’s first automated portable swingblade where an operator can make horizontal and vertical cuts, change the size or depth of the cut, and remove the previous board cut all from the control panel.

In essence, the ASM is an automated version of Peterson’s flagship Winch Production Frame (WPF) Swingblade Mill. The automation is managed by an all-weather, simple control panel. Two buttons change the width of cut, and two buttons change the depth. The drive speed is controlled with a lever, moving forward to go, and pulling to bring back. It’s that easy, to get incredibly accurate boards at a fast rate. This truly makes the ASM the Best Automated Sawmill in the world. The ASM will cut consistently high production hour after hour, day in, day out. New Zealand ASM owner Kelvin Williams agrees:

“I cut more timber in one day on my own with the ASM than I do in a day with two people on my manual mill.” – Kelvin Williams, New Zealand

Unmatched before and after sales service

The staff at Peterson’s factory in New Zealand are proud of the robust, high-quality machines they manufacture and stand behind their products. Providing outstanding customer service and advice both pre and post-sale, the Peterson factory support team are available to you via phone, email, Skype, WhatsApp or Messenger seven days a week.

Petersons also understand that like any new piece of equipment, proper in-person training goes a long way to helping millers understand their machines. Therefore, with each ASM purchase, Petersons offer free one-on-one training at their New Zealand factory which includes up to 3 nights free accommodation and all required PPE equipment. Experienced sawmill specialists will demonstrate the mill operation on real logs and ensure you establish good routines for setting up and operating your new mill. Training will also cover maintenance such as blade sharpening and fitting of accessories.


Best automated sawmill


Feedback straight from the sawyers mouth

Peterson Portable Sawmills’ website is home to hundreds of interesting owner’s stories, and countless testimonials, but they also offer one of the greatest resources in the world for interested buyers. If you’re researching a sawmill purchase, you would agree that the best people to speak to are those who operate the machines on a regular basis. As a result of identifying this need, Petersons have created an ‘Owner’s Network’. A global map of Peterson owners who have put their hand up to take your calls, answer all your questions and even demonstrate their mill to help you make the most informed decision possible.



Smarter sawmilling, why settle for anything less?

Simplicity, accuracy, and cost-efficiency are only a few of the many remarkable product design features that set Peterson apart from other brands with some owners saying their Peterson is the “best forestry or agriculture machine [they’ve] ever purchased.” With a Peterson, you can grade as you go, cut accurate dimensional lumber to within 1mm or high value slabs, all without turning the log or requiring any additional machines to edge, re-saw, plane, sand etc. You really can do it all with a Peterson and with global support only a call away, why settle for anything less then the Best Automated Sawmill in the world?


Credit: Peterson’s ASM – The Best Automated Sawmill, Originally published in Nov-Dec 2022 issue of Farmers Review Africa

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Peterson Portable Sawmills manufacture and export worldwide from our factory in Rotorua, New Zealand. Encountering fluctuating freight, raw materials, currencies and export costs, therefore we have tailored pricelists pertaining to each country.
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