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Great South Lumber

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Gilbert Remote Start-up at Great South Lumber – Technology keeps evolving!

The COVID 19 pandemic hasn’t stopped Gilbert from working on 3 planer start-ups in Florida and Georgia.

This spring, only days before the corona virus virtually shut down our countries, Gilbert delivered an S Series model planer to Great South Timber and Lumber in Lake City Florida. No one could have predicted what was to follow! Gilbert, who was to send technicians in late March for the scheduled start-up, was forced to quickly alter its plans when, on March 18, borders between Canada and the USA were closed.

Not willing to accept that the project could potentially be delayed for a long time due to travel restrictions, the Great South team collaborated with Gilbert project managers to develop an alternative strategy.

On April 3, the mill shutdown. Great South, as well as their mechanical and electrical contractors, were left with merely a week to remove the existing planer, build a new substructure and install the Gilbert S Series Planer. A rapid solution for installing the planer from afar, without causing any production delay, was crucially needed. Gilbert’s service team was up to the task! By working together around the clock, our team developed high tech remote systems which would allow them to virtually participate in the Florida installation and start-up.

Amazingly on April 11, the mill was up and running lumber through its new Gilbert planer!

The COVID 19 pandemic did not prevent Gilbert from completing the start-up of three planers in Florida and Georgia.            The COVID 19 pandemic did not prevent Gilbert from completing the start-up of three planers in Florida and Georgia.
Jerry Smith, Head Planerman             Gilbert Service Tech working remotely from home office

Great South’s outstanding workforce dealt with this dramatic change in events with incredible expertise. They installed cameras at the infeed of the equipment which gave Gilbert technicians a live view from our Roberval office. The Planer staff also downloaded software onto their phones allowing for close up views of the equipment.

Mill Manager, Mike Dennard, commented, “even though the planning was more complex, the result was a good plan, well executed by everyone involved, resulting in a very successful project”.

Gilbert’s Southern Service Rep, Jimmy Porter, was also key to the success of this enterprise. Based in Niceville, Florida, he is permitted to travel and participate in all of our start-ups in the South. Porter is in contact with our team in Roberval 24/7–a service for which Gilbert and our southern customers are immensely grateful!

Although we are all looking forward to borders being reopened, one thing Gilbert can say is that this situation has propelled significant technological progress which we can all be quite proud of!