CyTech Hardwoods Logs Huge Profits With CEC Screen-It

Thu March 11, 2004 - Northeast Edition

CyTech Hardwoods Inc. not only has a way with manufacturing high quality hardwood boards, but it also has a knack of making money with what most people throw away.

Located in Amsterdam, NY, CyTech was founded in 1997 as a hardwood lumber mill. Dana Pomeroy, owner/founder, purchases hardwood logs from local loggers. He cuts the logs into finished boards of maple, cherry, oak, ash and birch, which he then sells to end users and manufacturers of cabinets and furniture such as Ethan Allen. Pomeroy has three log consolidation yards in New York — Port Henry, Norwich, and Cambridge.

CyTech processes approximately 6 million board feet of lumber annually and has the capacity to increase production up to 10 million board feet.

In the process of manufacturing hardwood boards, three waste products are produced — sawdust, bark and bark chips, and wood chips (slabs and edges of boards that have chipped off). And there’s money to be made from these.

Sawdust is re-sold as high-grade animal bedding, primarily to dairy and horse operations, such as in nearby Saratoga Springs. CyTech produces approximately 20,000 yds. (18,288 m) of sawdust annually and sells it within a 25-mi. radius of his mill in Amsterdam.

Bark is processed into a bark mulch, which is sold to local nurseries and landscapers. The mulch, which is highly desirable, can demand a premium price because it is a “pure” hardwood product, which is sized and colored with black, brown and red. CyTech produces approximately 20,000 yds. annually. And the wood chips often are sold to local paper mills.

Recently, Pomeroy has begun selling a fourth product — high-end topsoil — which he manufactures from three ingredients. One ingredient is wood by-products that often collect in the soil adjacent to screening machines and wood processing equipment at his mill. Pomeroy has begun piling and mulching this material.

Another ingredient is horse manure, which is in abundant supply due to the high number of horse farms in the area. While delivering sawdust to these local farms, Pomeroy hauls away their manure (which they’re more than happy to permit). Pomeroy then mixes these ingredients with local sub-quality soil to create the high-end topsoil, which he sells to nurseries, landscapers, contractors and growers. This product has become so successful for Pomeroy that he now actively accepts wood waste from other suppliers such as mills, truss manufacturers and even a local baseball bat factory.

Part of what has made the processing of these waste materials economical and, in fact, profitable for CyTech has been its purchase of a CEC Screen-It from Atomic Truck and Equipment of Fort Plain, NY.

“Lance Conley [of Atomic Truck and Equipment] found us,” began Pomeroy. “He had driven by our location right along the New York State Thruway on many occasions and felt sure from glancing at our location that he could use the Screen-It to help us process our waste materials more economically. And, to his benefit, Lance was very persistent. He showed us how to do what we needed to do. He took us to other facilities that have operations similar to ours. It was an educational process.”

CyTech purchased the CEC Screen-It this past fall and has been using it for making soils of different blends, composting, and mixing and separating ingredients. “The CEC is very easy to operate. It manages itself with very little supervision. Atomic took care of our setup and trained our people in the operation of the machine,” said Pomeroy.

Recently CyTech also purchased a CEC self-powered stacker from Atomic to move various piles of materials around its yard for the manufacturing and mixing of some of these products.

For more information, call 518/993-2100.