Looking for an Autoclave for Wood Treatment? Read This First

So, you’re ready to try something new.

Maybe you’re new to the wood-treatment industry, but you’re slightly familiar with it because you’ve been working in a related field.

If you want to generate the revenue you need to stay afloat and prosper, you have to be aware of a few key details.

There’s a lot to learn and some essential things you need to know before you jump in with both feet and purchase an autoclave for wood treatment.

Two questions you have to answer

The manufacturer you choose to build your autoclave will want to know the answers to two main questions before they can design a custom autoclave for you.

If they don’t, you need to ask yourself if you have chosen the right manufacturer.

Two may not seem like very many questions, but they’re pretty crucial to ensure you get exactly what you need.

1. How many preserved wood products will you need to produce per year?

Pretty straightforward, right?

It makes sense that the manufacturer would need to know what your output production goal will look like to make you the right size autoclave.

But, let’s put that in perspective in terms of cost.

If you need to treat a half million railway ties to turn a profit, you can plan on an investment of about $8 million for equipment.

The total for everything you need to get up and running will be closer to $20 million.

2. Which preservative do you want to use?

The kind of chemical preservative you plan to use will also help to determine the design of your autoclave for wood treatment. Not sure which preservative you would need to use?

Here are the more common ones used for various wood products:

  • Dimensional lumber used for consumer applications (think houses, house decks, or DIY wood projects: Micronized Copper, Copper Azole, or ACQ)
  • Dimensional lumber used for commercial projects (CCA or ACZA)
  • Utility Poles (CCA, Penta, or Creosote)
  • Railroad crossties (Creosote or Copper Naphthenate)

For further information regarding which wood preservative options can be used for which wood product, I recommend you purchase a copy of the American Wood Protection Association’s Standards.

You can also contact The American Wood Protection Association and the following for further information regarding providers of wood preservation chemicals:

Great! Now I just need to buy the autoclave and I’m all set!

Well, you’re at least part of the way there.

But what about all the equipment that makes the autoclave preserve your wood product? This would include valves, piping, pumps, instrumentation, automation.

Did you know the proper sizes for each of these so your autoclave will preserve wood with the most efficient and cost-effective means?

Ever thought of how the wood product gets into and out of the autoclave once it has been preserved with the proper wood preservative?

You have two likely options

1. DIY

In this scenario, you’ll likely end up copying existing autoclave and its related equipment that is already in use at your or a fellow colleagues facility. I mean, if it’s not broke, don’t fix it right?

The issue with duplicating a system you may already have is that you may be replicating equipment that was built with an old, inefficient design – yes it may fill your current preserved wood-production needs, but a more efficient design may be more cost effective and may be able to increase your output production needs in the future if needed.

2. Hire an engineering firm

An engineering firm likely won’t have knowledge of the wood-treatment industry, so they’ll have to spend valuable (aka expensive) engineering time learning the process of preserving wood, so they have the experience to properly size the design of the autoclave and its related equipment.

That’s a lot of time and money when you could work with one supplier from design all the way through to maintenance and repair.

Autoclave for wood treatment options

Tank Fab is the only autoclave for wood treatment manufacturer that does our own engineering not only for the autoclave, but also for all of the related equipment that you will need to make the autoclave preserve your wood product. We have over 100 years of combined experience in the design and manufacture of these type of autoclave systems.

We also offer free consultations, so there’s no cost to figure out what you’re really getting yourself into before you’re locked into something.

You can be successful in the wood-treatment industry, but it’s essential that you know what’s involved before you take the plunge.

Have you been thinking about purchasing an autoclave for wood treatment? What questions do you have?

Author: Jeffrey Lippincott

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