From a sawmill to a worldclass timber complex

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On the eve of the 84th anniversary of the captain of the forest business, who is still at the helm, the LPK Siberia magazine talked with the legend of the forest industry, Alexander Mikhailovich Sumarokov. In his 84 years, which he celebrated on November 13, Alexander Mikhailovich is cheerful and full of energy and will give more heat to any young specialist.

Alexander Mikhailovich, as a guru of the forest industry, please tell us how the history of sawmilling began?

Based on the main postulate of historians who assert that the past must be known not because it has passed, but because, leaving, it did not know how to remove its consequences, it follows from this aphorism that if in the present everything is not all right, then the reasons for this troubles are in the past and in order to eliminate troubles it is necessary to know the past reliably.

Historians argue that history is not a teacher, but a warden — it does not teach anything, but only punishes for ignorance of the lessons.

Studying the history of woodworking is an urgent task, the past of woodworking is always in contact with the present.

Woodworking among the peoples inhabiting the territory of modern Russia originated long ago. Since ancient times, tools for labor and everyday life have been made from wood (housing, dishes, containers for storing food, jewelry, vehicles, etc.) Everything started with the primitive devices of Ancient Russia and developed to modern industries.

The list of events in the manufacture of wood products that took place in the past constitutes the history of the development of woodworking. At the same time, the history of the development of technology and woodworking equipment has always been inextricably linked with the development of the economy, culture, the achievements of science and practice of its time, social relations.

In order to fully disclose the topic raised, let us dwell on a more detailed coverage of the history of the development of primary woodworking (sawmilling) in Russia.

In Ancient Russia, wood of pine, spruce, larch, fir, cedar, oak, birch and other numerous species was used for the manufacture of wooden products, depending on the purpose and use of the product being produced. The most widespread species were and are still pine and spruce. They were used to build dwellings, city fortifications, bridges, water pipes, ships, machines, various craft devices and tools.

In Ancient Russia, much attention was paid to the production of chiseled accessories and household items, for which they used only maple and ash, and oak for barrels.

A special place among the common wood species in Russia belongs to larch, which occupies vast areas of our country, especially in Siberia. Its wood resists decay well and is several times heavier than pine and spruce. It is successfully used for shipbuilding and underwater structures.

For a start, we will consider the past technical revolutions using the example of primary woodworking. In the process of the first and second technical revolutions in the period from the Neolithic to the beginning of the 18th century, machine tools were created in industrial production, which, first of all, greatly facilitated human labor and allowed him to switch from using manual labor to machine tools and tools to them. The beginning of the third technical revolution in human society should be considered the invention of a mechanical support by the Russian master, a graduate of the “Moscow School of Mathematical and Navigational Sciences” Andrey Konstantinovich Nartov in 1715 during the time of Peter I, who invented and built a lathe with a support — a mechanical holder for cutting tools replacing a human hand. According to K. Marx, “this mechanical device replaces not any tool as in the times of the 1st and 2nd technical revolutions, but the human hand itself.” As K. Marx said, “it creates a definite shape, bringing closer, attaching the tip of the cutting tool to the material”.

In 1718, Tsar Peter I sent Nartov abroad, from where he wrote to the Tsar from London “I could not find such turning masters here who would surpass the Russian masters, and the drawings of the colossus that your royal majesty ordered me to do here, I told the masters, but they did not can.“ This remark by Nartov testifies to the relatively low level of development of machine-tool engineering and the art of cutting wood in England compared to Russia in the first half of the 18th century.

This is a historical fact. Only in 1760, the English master Reynolds made a cylinder of a steam engine, for which he invented special machines, while our inventor Ivan Polzunov made a steam engine and, naturally, its parts, as well as machines for the manufacture of cylinders and parts much earlier in the period 1728 — 1750.

How did the production of equipment for sawmilling and woodworking develop?

Thus, the third technical revolution, marked by the creation in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, made it possible to obtain highly mechanized machines for wood and metals and gave rise to a sharp increase in labor productivity, which made it possible to replace manual labor with mechanized and automated ones.

By the end of the 18th and beginning of the 20th centuries, there was a powerful industrial development in Russia and by 1913 in industrial development it took one of the leading places in the world, in many ways outstripping Western European countries such as England and Germany, as evidenced by well-known historical facts on the participation of Russian industrialists in international industrial exhibitions in Paris, London and Berlin.

Unfortunately, the First World War, destructive for Russia and the devastation during the revolution, put Russia from a developed country into a country of devastation and ruin, throwing it back for decades in its development.

On the territory of modern Russia, the first sawmill for mills appeared in 1690, when, by order of Peter I, the merchant Osip Bazhenin built the first sawmill from the German model near Arkhangelsk.

What was the situation with sawmilling in the USSR? Can Arkhangelsk rightfully be considered the birthplace of sawmilling?

In a new era, during the industrialization of industry and agriculture, in the Soviet Union, a powerful rise began not only in agriculture, but also in industry, including woodworking, which in a short time allowed the country to reach not only the level of Western Europe, but and to outstrip the advanced countries in its development, as evidenced by the powerful impulse to the industrial development of the USSR, including the growth of such science-intensive industries as aircraft construction and precision engineering. If the basis of the third industrial revolution should be considered the mechanization and electrification of industrial production, and with it automation, then the beginning of the fourth revolution, in woodworking, should rightfully be considered aggregate sawmilling, which was based on the combination of several operations performed on different machines in one device. This invention was recorded by the inventor’s certificate (No. 317268 “Line for processing logs into lumber”, (authors Lurie L.Z, Sumarokov A. M., Popov F.A., Soloviev S.V.), Canadian patent No. 861277 was received for it “Log Processing Plant», as well as Czechoslovak patent No. 155538, Bulgarian PR, etc.)

This invention of a group of scientists from the Arkhangelsk TsNIIMOD formed the basis for the creation of the first aggregate line for processing logs Lapb-1 in the USSR, which was tested and put into mass production in 1971, about which there is a corresponding message in the journal Technology of Youth No. 6 for 1976. Similar equipment was created at the same time in Canada by Canadian Car, in USA by Stetson-Ross, in Sweden by Soderhamn, and in Finland by Plan-Sell, etc. allowed to keep the palm and the production of modular machine tools itself lagged significantly behind Western European by almost 10 years. And during the years of perestroika in the 80s and 90s of the 20th century, our machine tool industry could not with — stand the competition and yielded the garland to the Western European wooden machine tool industry.

Thus, despite the work of the Soviet scientific and technical school, the machine-building base did not allow the Soviet machine-tool industry to compete with the machine-tool industry, primarily in Canada, USA, Germany, Austria and other countries.

Alexander Mikhailovich, please tell us about your developments in the industry?

Soon after receiving copyright certificates and a Canadian patent for the invention of a line for aggregate processing of logs, I was awarded a diploma and a sign of a laureate of the Central Committee of the Komsomol Prize for NTTM. If this had not happened and if it had not been for the support of the USSR Ministry of Forestry and Industry, which enrolled me in the reserve of UN experts, I would not have received an incentive to learn English and was sent to the UN UNIDO, as an adviser to the Minister of Forestry and Crafts in the Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Lao PDR).

More than 20 sets of LAPB line were produced, one of which worked in Lesosibirsk at LPPK No. 1 until 2015. What is witnessed by the former chief engineer of this plant, Nepeivoda Vyacheslav Nikolaevich, who now works for the Sibles company in Krasnoyarsk.

In the 1970s, this equipment competed on the world market on a par with Soviet missiles. The Russian machine tool industry can hardly boast of such achievements. Why? Because under socialism, all the means of production are in the hands of the people, and not of an individual private owner. Now the country needs to reach some next level of development, probably, it will no longer be communism, but also not capitalism. The capitalist system has outlived itself.

Look at China. They were 30 years ahead of us only in the timber industry.

Alexander Mikhailovich, how does the Arkhangelsk region confirm the title of the motherland of sawmilling in our time?

A striking example is the project of the forest giant in the Pinezhsky district of the Arkhangelsk region, created by the timber merchant V.F. Butorin, which will be described in more detail by the deputy general director for the development of this enterprise A. N. Samukhin.

The ULC Group of Companies believes that the implementation of the project for the construction of a timber industry complex in the Pinezhsky district of the Arkhangelsk region will become the most significant event in the history of the Russian timber industry. The project includes the creation of a timber processing complex for processing two million cubic meters of sawlogs per year using the most modern technologies and equipment. It will annually produce one million cubic meters of sawn timber and 600 thousand tons of pellets. During the development of the project, the rich experience of the ULC Group of Companies was used in terms of operating various technological equipment used at the enterprises of the holding.

The Pinega timber industry complex will consist of several technological zones. One of them will be a sorting and storage area for round timber. It will be based on two sorting lines, for sorting assortments from 4 to 6 meters long, sorting speed up to 200 meters per minute. The sorting lines will be equipped with a curvature finishing section and X-ray scanners. This solution meets the objectives of the enterprise and has a number of technological advantages. One of the key objects of the complex will be the sawmill, which will consist of four sawlogs feed lines with debarkers, which will ensure uninterrupted supply of sawmills. The main equipment will be represented by two lines for sawing smallsized sawlogs using the most complex cutting patterns that meet the demands of the international sawn timber market.

Sorting and sawing of lumber will be carried out at speeds of up to 200 meters per minute, the latest generation scanners will allow you to determine wood defects in accordance with established standards and with minimal deviations from existing standards.

The drying section will be equipped with ten-zone longitudinal-loading tunnels, as opposed to the conventional 2- zone front-loading tunnels. Due to the larger number of zones, the uniformity and speed of moisture extraction from lumber increases, it takes less time to create the required temperature regime when the stacks move. This will increase the productivity of the drying complex and the quality of the products.

The arrangement of the stacks along the axis of motion also offers a number of technological advantages. The productivity with this technology is almost 2 times higher than, for example, at the plant in Ustyany.

The shipment of finished sawn timber to trains will also be quite prompt. It is supposed to load 72 railway platforms in 8 hours.

The power source of the enterprise will be a CHPP based on steam boilers operating on biofuel. Its capacity will be 180 tons of steam per hour and 24 MW of electricity, which will provide the enterprise with completely “green energy”, and the plant will be able to maintain the principle of 100% wastefree production.

Now at the site of the future timber complex, earthworks are in full swing to prepare sites for infrastructure facilities. The construction of a dormitory for 300 places for employees will begin soon.

As of today, contracts have been concluded with the main suppliers of technological equipment and the work on the preparation of project documentation is being completed. There is complete confidence that the world-class sawmill giant in Karpogory will earn money in 2024.

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