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County Road 12: Coosa County saw mill goes high tech

Published: Jul. 23, 2021 at 1:16 PM CDT
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NIXBURG, Ala. (WSFA) - During the heart of the pandemic, when many businesses were fighting to stay open, one Coosa County business decided to make a major investment and go high-tech.

“We make a lot of lumber and cross ties here,” said Pat McGinn with Central Alabama Wood Products.

McGinn has a joint venture with Bass Lumber Company and Industry Timber. Last June they made a huge change.

“It’s a fully automated mill. People don’t have to put their hands on the lumber. Everything is scanned through the five processes and optimized for what the best value of the lumber is.”

During the heart of the pandemic a Coosa County mill decided go fully automated. We got to take...
During the heart of the pandemic a Coosa County mill decided go fully automated. We got to take a look inside and see how it all works.(WSFA 12 News)

The journey from a huge, cut-down tree to usable building material is impressive. It all starts with removing the bark.

“Then we cut the logs to length based on diameter and length. So a cross tie we try to make it 8 1/2 feet. Then we search the log for the best possible solution. Then we two side it in the primary cut. Then it goes to the secondary saws which run through a machine that makes finished cross ties and lumber on the sides.”

Some of this wood will be used for railroad ties, some to make pallets, flooring, and furniture. It’s a high-tech robotic dance with massive pieces going from station to station.

“I enjoy making a product. I’m an engineer by schooling, so I love to build things.”

During the heart of the pandemic a Coosa County mill decided go fully automated. We got to take...
During the heart of the pandemic a Coosa County mill decided go fully automated. We got to take a look inside and see how it all works.(WSFA 12 News)

All the cutting, stacking, and loading starts in little ole Nixburg, Alabama, but then it’s off to places all over the country, out along County Road 12.

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