by Joe Parzych
Beasley Forest Products of Hazlehurst, GA is home to the largest hardwood sawmill in the United States, producing more than 4,000 MBF of hardwood lumber per week. As a part of that process, Beasley Forest Products provides hardwood mats for a number of industrial uses including construction and utility projects throughout North America. With the ability to produce more than 500 mats per day and with an average inventory of approximately 5,000 mats of various sizes on hand, the company is able to ship mats to anywhere in the continental U.S. within 48 hours of receiving a purchase order.
Equally important is the company’s capability to sell or rent a variety of mats to customers who require either method to do their specific job. These projects include bridge mats, crane mats, pipeline mats, logging mats and other specialized heavy timber mats. Rental mats are also available to customers who are looking for crane mats, timber mats, hardwood mats and laminated mats of various sizes.
Recently, as Beasley Forest Products was looking for a more effective way to distribute their product line and to provide improved customer service, they merged with DixieMat, the largest distributor of hardwood timber mats in North America, to form what is called YAK MAT, distributors of timber and laminated mats. As part of that continued growth process, New England Mat Company, LLC (NEMCO) of Winchester, NH, a member of the Beasley Forest Products family, demonstrated their importance as an integral part of the mat assembly process because NEMCO is the primary assembly facility for mats marketed by the Yak Mats distribution system.
Aside from being the premiere crane mat manufacturing facility for YAK MATS, NEMCO’s role as a key rental resource for timber mats, stresses the importance of being able to produce new mats as well as being able to equip contractors with rental mats when needed. Because of their unique capabilities, New England Mat Company is not only able to produce new mats, but they also can quickly clean mats that are returned from leasing, preparing them for use the next day if necessary. At NEMCO, the returned mats are cleaned with a cleaning machine that can process 500 mats a day. The cleaner features street sweeper rotary brooms that sweep the mats clean to avoid spreading invasive species from one job site to another.
NEMCO says that users like to lease mats because the job may call for mats that will only need to be used one time or because it may be too expensive to transport the mats from one job site to another. One example of that scenario is with hi-line contractors who often work in varied and distant parts of the country. Leasing the mats allows companies to write off the cost of the leasing as an expense, whereas buying the mats would require a depreciation schedule to write off the cost of using them. Another issue to consider on the part of the contractor is the storage and transportation of the mats when they are contemplating a purchase of the mats.
Timber mats are made of select hardwood milled into 8-inch x 8-inch x 16-foot timbers bound together to form mats 48-inches wide x 8-inches thick x 16-feet long. These assemblies are bound with 1-inch steel tie rods. Most often, mats of this kind are used to bridge streams, ponds and wetlands temporarily, for logging and construction projects. In the northeast however, many of these mats are largely involved in upgrading the high tension electrical grid.
This upgrading, dubbed the “Northern Pass,” in the region, is a 192 mile transmission line project that will bring 1,090 megawatts of Hydro-Quebec hydropower to feed customers in New England. This upgrade is designed to handle the increased capacity, with its destination in Franklin, NH.
The Hydropower from Canada will be transmitted over these new transmission lines as DC (direct current). In Franklin, it will be converted to AC (alternating current). From there, a new AC transmission line will carry electricity to an existing substation in Deerfield, NH then into New England’s electric grid, according to information found on The Northern Pass Project Overview online.
The Northern Pass project will use 160 miles of existing transportation corridors. Not all of the transmission lines will be overhead. Sixty miles of the route will be underground. Northern Pass will also build 32 miles of new transportation corridor as part of the project. The project will result in 2,600 new construction jobs.
There will be a tremendous need for timber mats during construction. All of the high line upgrading will need mats to cross wetlands, streams and ponds as well. According to unnamed sources, the power transmission lines cable will most likely be laid in a trench across Lake Champlain rather than being suspended from towers.
For more information on YAK MATS, visit their website at www.yakmat.com .