The fertile forests outside Grand Bassam see a worker tending to rice paddies.

To get to the village of Yaou where Transchaines’ brush manufacturing division is located, you pass through Grand-Bassam.

Lying on the Atlantic Coast east of Abidjan near the Ivory Coast’s western border with Ghana, Grand Bassam was the capital city of the country between 1893 and 1896.

Since then, the forests, wide lagoons, and coconut groves that surround the town, together with grand buildings from the colonial era, have allowed Grand Bassam to become a tourist and industrial zone that now adds to the Ivory Coast’s expanding economy.

Two LT40 Remote sawmill lines with log decks and incline conveyors installed at Transchaines’ Yaou brushware manufacturing site.

Transchaines was started in 1997 by Nassiroudine Issany.

Originally from Madagascar, Monsieur Issany’s talent for trading and good management skills resulted in Transchaines becoming the agent of global industrial brands like FAG, LUK, ABB, GATES and REXNORD in the Ivory Coast.

Good sales of these brands in Ivory Coast and the region and support to companies that used the brands ensured that Transchaines grew fast. A tropical hardwood log sales division at the company’s depot in Abidjan also added income.

To boost profits Transchaines started milling the logs into sawn timber that could be used in a brush ware factory that was started to make more money from the logs instead of exporting only raw logs.

A Wood-Mizer LT15 Electric sawmill was purchased to mill boards from the logs that were then shaped into brushbacks and handles.

Transchaines’ first Wood-Mizer LT15 sawmill that started the brush factory. The volumes that the Wood-Mizer sawmills can now produce will allow Transchaines to enter the pallet manufacturing sector.

The choice of the Wood-Mizer was deliberate.

Monsieur Issany knew that to use expensive hardwoods for his brush ware and handle range, he needed to cut carefully. The Wood-Mizer thin-kerf narrow bandsaw blade made it possible to waste less and turn as much of the log as possible into accurately sawn boards. Profits increased steadily.

An LT40 Remote slicing through a rubberwood log.

A brush factory in Yaou

Transchaines’ brush division received a further boost when company managing director, Monsieur Narcisse Toussaint Balley, decided to move the factory closer to the forests in Yaou, near Grand Bassam.

“The larger factory close to the forests allowed us to produce more variety and volumes and we also saved on transport costs to get the logs to Yaou.

“We also replaced the teak brushbacks and handles with rubberwood. It’s a durable, attractive hardwood that is grown sustainably, making it freely available at a much lower cost than teak, Monsieur Balley says.

The company also invested in timber treatment baths and kilns to protect the timber from insect attack and dry the timber before production.

The end result is accurately cut timber from Transchaines’ single Wood-Mizer LT15 passing through treatment and drying and manufacturing to deliver a product that is exported throughout West Africa.

The accurately sawn timber produced on the Wood-Mizer’s is used for a variety of brush and handle products.

Wood-Mizer LT40 Remote sawmill lines to grow company

“The successes of the brush manufacturing factory has made it possible for us to now look at further opportunities in the timber sector, Narcisse Balley says.

This is why we could upgrade brush factory to produce more brushes and handles and to start making pallets,” he continues.

Part of the upgrade has been the installation of two Wood-Mizer LT40 Remote sawmill lines together with new kilns and expanded timber treatment baths.

Two Wood-Mizer EG350 edgers with remote operator stations are used to edge and rip sawn timber into sizes for manufacturing.

The two Wood-Mizer LT40 Remote sawmill lines at Yaou consists of:

  • A remote operator station to control all functions of the mill and timber movement.
  • Setworks 10 provides for easy-to-use machine control functions with the added benefit of pre-programming of set sizes that makes repeatable cuts across these sizes easy.
  • Log decks to stage and load logs onto the sawmill.
  • Incline conveyors at both ends of each mill to move slabs and boards from the sawmill.
  • Two EG300 edger multirips to edge boards
Synthetic and natural palm fibre combine to produce brush ware for use in homes and factories.

Both LT40’s are equipped with powerful 18.5 kW electric motors to cut log sizes of up to 900 mm in diameter and 5-8,6 m in length into accurately sawn timber.

Boards with wane that exist the mill pass through a set of EG300 edgers that can edge or multirip boards depending on the requirements of the sawmiller.

Both edger units have remote operator consoles to make it easy to control all functions of the edger. An electronic setwork system that the operator uses to flexibly pre-set the required width that can be cut from each board improves recovery.

Shovel, pickaxe and rake handles ready for shipment throughout West Africa.

In and outfeed tables at both ends of the edger makes it easy to handle long, heavy boards in and out of the edger.

With the new Wood-Mizer’s, Transchaines is now producing enough sawn timber to make more brushes and start manufacturing pallets. The log decks and outfeed tables make it easy to handle more timber with fewer workers.

The company will also save electricity with many of the old machines that used large motors to cut the timber now no longer needed.

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