What exactly is Heat Treatment?
Heat Treatment (HT) is a process whereby lumber is heated in a closed chamber until it reaches a core temperature of 56°C for at least 30 minutes in order to kill pathogens such as insects, fungi, or micro-organisms. It differs from kiln drying in that it specifies a core temperature for a minimum time period, while kiln drying specifies only a certain moisture content.
The difference is significant. Kiln drying can be accomplished without reaching the temperatures required for heat treating, and conversely, heat treating can be achieved (and often is) without drying the lumber.
PLIB’s HT program certifies mills, wood packaging facilities, and other operations with dry kilns or heating chambers to use HT stamps or issue HT Certificates on wood that
has been heat-treated to recognized standards. This service is essential for lumber and wood packaging material (WPM) that is shipped to foreign destinations.
Phytosanitary concerns are, by far, the most common reason to heat treat lumber. Heat treating (also referred to as heat sterilization or heat pasteurization) is known to be an effective method to control non-native pathogens that threaten forest health throughout the world. As such, HT certification is needed to meet the import requirements of the European Union (EU) and it is used to obtain phytosanitary certificates from the USDA Animal Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) for lumber exports to other countries.
PLIB’s HT program includes:
- Ready to use generic HT schedules
- Licensing agreement for HT stamps and HT or KD/HT certificates (meeting both USDA/APHIS and CFIA requirements)
- Monthly Quality Control Supervision
- Kiln/heat chamber certification, including development of custom HT schedules
PLIB is approved by both the USDA Animal Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) to issue HT stamps and “Heat Treatment Certification Using a Kiln Facility” documents. These certificates are required to meet import requirements of the European Union (EU) and are also used to obtain phytosanitary certificates from APHIS or CFIA for lumber exports into other countries.
Kiln certification is another key element of the PLIB HT program. Through this service, PLIB helps mills and heat treating facilities develop custom kiln schedules to heat treat unique or unusual sizes or to optimize kiln efficiency and contain operating costs.
Reasons to consider a kiln certification include:
- Treatment of solid pack units (no stickers or lath)
- Lower than normal operating temperatures
- Unusual sizes
- Develop a more efficient schedule
PLIB has the technical staff, expertise and equipment to conduct full kiln testing, calibration and certification analysis to meet the special needs of the HT market. The PLIB staff will work hand in hand with your crew to develop an HT program that meets the regulatory requirements and is efficient and cost effective to operate.
For specifics about the HT program or to inquire about subscribing, call us at (253) 835-3344 (U.S.) or (604) 732-1782 (Canada) or contact us via email.