What the press says about LINCK
Flexible lumber production for flexible markets
Bétemps Bois invests in a modern chipper canter-circular line – capacity doubled
In the past months, Bétemps Bois S.A., Bonneville, one of the leading sawmill companies in Savoy (Haute Savoie) in the French High Alps in the Mont Blanc area has heavily invested in production. Since beginning of September, a new Linck chipper canter-circular saw-line is in operation providing the company even more flexibility.
Director André Bétemps (63 years old) leads the family-owned company in the fourth generation. The investment made increased the production capacity to more than 100.000 m³ round logs per year. Main products of the company are high-quality lumber and construction timber from slowly grown highland spruce. The company was established in 1925 by Eduard and Joseph Bétemps and has since then exclusively processed softwood from the mountains. The main species processed is spruce and in smaller quantities also fir, larch and Douglas fir. The company’s site in Bonneville in the east of Geneva has good transport connections to the axis Geneva/Chamonix/Mont-Blanc tunnel. Since 1973 the company is led as family-owned limited company. Besides timber harvesting (in France being traditionally the timber purchaser’s responsibility), the connected timber trading as well as the timber processing (in France called first transformation), Bétemps has dealed with the subject “Construction with wood” for the last five years.
Active on national and international markets. Logs are purchased from the French Alp regions Savoy, High Savoy and Ain as well as from the nearby Swiss cantons Vaud and Vallais. This guarantees a log supply on short distance. Generally corresponding delivery contracts are concluded with larger forest enterprises to ensure a continuous and permanent log supply. To a big part, large diameter logs up to approx 60 cm diameter, i.e. logs that are frequently found in this area, are processed, however also an important quantity of smaller diameter logs. Contrary to its competitors in Eastern France, Germany and Austria, Bétemps relies on a local log supply. Log supplies from more than 100 km are not conceivable, but local is in demand. All logs originate from PEFC-certified forest enterprises. Lumber meets the European and French standards which are observed by the FCBA, The French Technical Institute for Forest, Timber, Pulp and Furniture. Among these standards is the local label “BQS” showing the regional provenance of timber products from Savoy. Company owner André Betemps describes the company’s activities as “axes”, i.e. the supply of local business with lumber and construction timber which he translates as axis “Mountain area and tourism”. This means that the predominant part of the company’s turnover is still being achieved in its home region. The second axis “Timber trading and material” describes the trade along the well connected traffic roads into the Rhône valley and the trade with the southern parts Languedoc, Rousillon down to the Toulouse, i.e. areas connected to the French Mediterranean Sea. Exports to Spain and North Africa follow. Shorter transport distances represent certain locational advantages compared with Germany and Austria. The distance to North Africa via the harbour in Sète is relatively short. The third pillar of the company is the export of the products to Italy, mainly to the regions Piedmont, Lombardy and Emilia-Romagna. A look onto the map makes this trade route clear. The geographical position of the company is east of Geneva with easy access to the highway to Italy via the Mont-Blanc-tunnel. Trucks can reach and serve important partners in Italy within one to two hours even during winter. André Bétemps is aware of his strong market position and refers to the fact that he normally doesn’t conclude longterm delivery contracts with his Italian partners, but relies on so-called “spot-affairs” with short-terms negotiated conditions. This is certainly of advantage in times of economic pick-up. Main products for Italy are packaging lumber being directly delivered to industrial end users and higher quality lumber for the construction industry and handcraft. An important partner in Italy is the timber trade which merchandises lumber for the building industry.Regarding the business with Italy, Bétemps is aware of the competition of German and mainly Austrian sawmill companies. Also this was the reason for the recent investment in order to keep up with technology and the market. The company benefits from its involvement in the wood construction which provides for an important advantage compared with direct local competition. Permanent, safe and new sources of revenues could be opened up. The new investment is also a step to more production flexibility allowing the company to be quick off the mark with regards to the lumber market requirements.
Considerable capacity increase. Prior to investing into the new chipper canter-circular saw-line supplied by Linck, Oberkirch, the company Bétemps processed about 50.000 m³ round logs per year. After start-up of the new line, the production capacity increased to about 100.000 m³ logs which shall be achieved next year for the first time. About 75.000 m³ of logs are envisaged for this year. Presently the company employs 50 persons, whereof 32 persons are working in the sawmill. The chipper canter-circular saw line with a chipper canter VM45 can process diameters up to maximum 600 mm and log lengths from 2,50 m on. Feed speed ranges from 30 to 100 m/min., the drive power is 2x132 kW. The saw unit is designed for cutting depths up to 375 mm with 2.50 m minimum log length. The edging- and circular split saw BKO-6-120 operates at cutting depths up to 120 mm with 2.00 m minimum and 6.10 m maximum log length. With this investment the company wants to follow up the improvement of its technical standard to ensure its productivity and competitiveness even in the future. André Bétemps also states a more flexible acting on the markets for standard assortments in Italy, Spain and North Africa, more flexibility with construction timber products and in the supply of the timber trade. “This was achieved. Presently the production capacity of the sawmill could be increased from 17 m³ to 55 m³ lumber per hour. We even reduced working time from 14 to 8 hours per day with 32 employees in the production”. Potential spare capacities could even be realised by extending the production to two shifts. André Bétemps is looking ahead with confidence as he is convinced to be technically well positioned towards any challenge. What is presently still missing is the improvement of the macroeconomic situation, particularly in the building sector.