Wood chips leave the woodroom via conveyor and are stored in piles to age for a minimum of 30 days before entering a cooking process which breaks them down into wood fibres.
The woodroom is where the process of transforming wood into high quality pulp begins. The majority of our wood supply is hardwood (aspen and balsam poplar). The logs are unloaded from the log trucks by portal cranes where they are either immediately processed into chips or stored in the log yard and chipped at a later date.
Logs are first placed in one of two infeed decks by the crane operators. Next, the logs travel by conveyor. They are then washed with hot, recycled water from the machine room before they enter a tree length drum de-barker which tumbles the logs together to remove the bark. Al-Pac’s tree-length drum de-barker has been in use since January, 2008 and it provides a more efficient, cost-effective debarking and chipping process while producing less wood waste.
The logs are fed from the de-barker into a chipper where they are made into matchbook-sized pieces of wood. They are then transported to one of five chip piles to age. After approximately four weeks of aging, the chips are sent to the chip screen building to be sized and sorted where they are conveyed to the digester.
Al-Pac chips some softwood logs at the millsite, depending on mill demand and the available supply of purchased softwood chips. The majorities of Al-Pac’s softwood chips are purchased as wood residue from other forest companies and are trucked to our millsite where they are placed in a storage pile and processed in the same manner as hardwood chips.