Transchaines, an industrial supply company based in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, grows its brush manufacturing division with two Wood-Mizer LT40B Remote sawmill lines.

Two LT40 Remote sawmill lines with log decks and incline conveyors installed at Transchaines’ Yaou brush ware manufacturing site. Credit: Wood-Mizer

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

Transchaines was started in 1997 by Nassiroudine Issany. Originally from Madagascar, 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, as well as 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 brush backs and handles.

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.

A brush factory in Yaou

Transchaines’ brush division received a further boost when company managing director, 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 brush backs 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,” 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 product that is exported throughout west Africa.

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

With the new Wood-Mizer units, 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 less 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.