KTI & Kaymor: TreeKing

KTI & Kaymor: TreeKing

Putting a small local business on the global map takes initiative, innovation, a little bit of happenstance, and help from the right resources. Robert Stegmeier of Kaymor Machining and Welding Ltd. has all of that and more. With a start as a small firm with one lathe and a welder in 2001, Kaymor is now poised to take a remarkable forestry product global thanks to its unique design and desirable features.

TreeKing is a patent pending device that attaches to the front of an excavator and delimbs and cuts trees to length. There are lots of products out there that do that, but TreeKing is unique in that it is designed to virtually eliminate waste due to wood fibre damage.  Most processors use rollers with grab arms that grasp the tree and pull it through a set of delimbing arms. The roller traction devices penetrate into the tree trunk, reducing the amount of clear lumber that can be utilized from the tree. Further damage can occur if the rollers spin on a crooked trunk, or against larger limbs. TreeKing holds the tree trunk still rather than pushing it through a set of rollers. Delimbing knives move along the tree while the head moves in both directions as it is grasped firmly at one end.

There are other advantages to TreeKing’s design. It is able to hold trees of a smaller circumference than most processors, and can therefore make use of smaller stems and can cut longer lengths from the top end of the tree. It can also handle up to eight trees at a time, making it more efficient for processing. It has a more accurate measuring system than all of the competition, and uses less hydraulic flow, meaning a smaller carrier and a smaller carbon footprint.

The Genesis of TreeKing

Robert Stegmeier has been successful in growing his company from humble beginnings to a successful machining and welding business over the past several years. His ambition is to find a way to expand beyond the local market and put Kaymor on the global map. He knew that his long-time friend, Les Kerik, a partner in Kerik Technologies Inc. (KTI), was working on development of a processor machine based on a now-defunct Swedish design. Putting Les’s forestry background together with Robert’s manufacturing background, set the stage for a leap forward. That leap would be into international markets. Still needed was someone with a background in market strategy so that Kaymor could commercialize the new venture.

Enter the Grande Prairie Regional Innovation Network (GPRIN).  Robert had made an application to the National Research Council Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC IRAP) looking for ways to develop a market strategy. Through Alberta Innovates client partnerships with IRAP and GPRIN, Robert was put in touch with Gary Christopherson who worked with him to develop a market entry strategy. The funding for that work, and to create a video for promotion of his product, is shared 50/50 between Kaymor and GPRIN. NRC IRAP will be approached later to assist with global marketing.

The result of all this collaboration is that TreeKing has been manufactured and a working model is now being demonstrated by a logging company in Dawson Creek, BC.  Kaymor is set up for manufacturing, testing, and assembly at its plant in Clairmont, AB. Success will mean the creation of jobs in manufacturing, sales, and service. Logging contractors will have an option to improve efficiency in both time and money while reducing their carbon footprint compared with using other products, and Robert Stegmeier is about to realize his ambitious goal of taking his business to a global market!