Ten years of productive kiln-drying
After 10 years of using the DOST-FPRDI furnace-type lumber dryer, Mac Builders has become a major producer of kiln-dried builders' woodworks - especially doors - in Region VIII.

This year, MAC Builders, a company based in Ormoc City celebrates 10 years of continuous use of the DOST-FPRDI furnace type lumber dryer (FTLD) – and there are good reasons to celebrate.

The FTLD is was developed by the DOST-FPRDI to help small and medium scale businessmen dry their wood raw materials properly and at relatively low cost.

MAC Builders started in 1978 as a coco lumber and hardware business, and later on as a general contractor of ports, roads, bridges and commercial and residential buildings in Ormoc, Leyte.

In 2005, the company ventured into making its own line of builders’ woodworks. It had no dryer back then, and for one year relied simply on the air and sun to season its supply of gmelina (Gmelina arborea) wood and cocolumber.

In 2006, however, company manager Mr. Manuel Chua decided to adopt the FTLD technology after learning about it at an investors’ forum in Tacloban City.

Mr. Ramil Colipano, department head at Mac Builders, recently shared how kiln drying using the 30,000 bd ft FTLD has become a huge blessing to Mac Builders after 10 years: “The lumber dryer shortened the drying time of our raw materials - from five months to only about 35 days for two-inch thick gmelina wood. This allowed us to more than double our production, from 40,000 board feet of gmelina wood a month to 100,000 board feet.

“Our finished products were so well dried, we were able to raise our prices by 50%. We also had – and still have - zero back jobs.

“As we were able to make more doors, cabinets, air vents and window jambs, the number of our buyers grew from five to twelve contractors, and our market expanded to include Cebu and Manila.

“With higher sales, we were were able to buy power machines and other crucial equipment that further boosted our production. We also began using the FTLD to dry wood pallets for our company’s use.

“Our only setback now is the lack of raw materials. Before Supertyphoon Yolanda struck in 2013, there were 10 tree farmers who suplied us with gmelina lumber. After their plantations were wiped out, however, our suppliers were not interested in growing trees anymore. I think we need to encourage them to start planting again. In the meantime, we will be buying our wood from Mindanao.

“After 10 years with the lumber dryer, we are happy to say that Mac Builders has become the biggest producer of wooden housing components – especially doors -- here in Leyte. In the process, we have helped the local economy grow, created jobs for the people, and supported civic projects in the community.” (Anita A. Decena and Rizalina K. Araral, 22 November 2016)