Flax Machine

FTLComm - Tisdale - May 30, 2001

Tuesday afternoon the truck driver handling this unit stopped for coffee on his way from Nipawin to Saskatoon. His mill had suffered a breakdown and has to go into Saskatoon to make repairs.

At one time Tisdale had a flax processing facility but now most farmers are forced to torch the straw after harvest as the fibres that are used to make fabric, money and go into other paper products to strengthen them, is just to difficult to biodegrade in the open fields and is wasted.

This mobile unit is able to go to farm sites process flax

bales and output (right) baled flax fibres ready for use in textiles and other industrial products.

The collection of machines on this trailer are powered by a large diesel unit in the yellow box above which drives a hydraulic pump that powers the hydraulic motors in the various components that make up this mobile processing mill.

Bales are fed into the machine on the intake bale receivers in its upright position shown below. the fibres are then separated from waste material then run through the product balers at the back.
To keep the hydraulic fluid cool enough to use two large cooling systems are seen, this one below on the front corner of the trailer and another on the back on the other side.
Schweitzer-Mauduit of Winkler Manitoba operates two machines of this type and no doubt there are other companies doing similar work.

Each fall and spring we observe waste agricultural products destroyed which should be turned into either energy or the fibres utilised in some positive manner. Canola stems and waste material is extremely resistant to biodegrading but could be used to heat water for heat or produce steam for electrical power generation. Wheat and barley straw can be made into construction materials, turned into fuels or paper. Portable mini-plants like this with the assistance of computer technology could turn valuable waste products into useable materials.