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(ANTIGO, Wis.) – A new cutting-edge kiln has been added to Northcentral Technical College’s (NTC) Wood Technology Center of Excellence in Antigo. NTC partnered with the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC), the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the Great Lakes Kiln Drying Association to procure the equipment through grant funds. The VacuPress Technology dry kiln will be used to dry wood more quickly than a conventional drying technique.

Vacuum drying uses a vacuum to create a pressure gradient between the surface and the core of the wood, while conventional drying relies on moisture gradients between the surface and core allowing water from the wetter core to move toward the dryer surface. This can be a slow process since the operator must be careful not to over dry the shell or the result will be a degrade in wood quality. The advantage of vacuum drying is that it allows for faster drying rates by maintaining a small differential between the shell and the core moisture contents throughout the drying period. Vacuum drying is often used for high valued species or for large dimension lumber.

“With limited availability of 3rd party research on press drying technology, we plan to provide our industry with up-to-date analysis and opportunity to compare this technology with conventional drying technique,” said Travis Allen, Wood Science Instructor at NTC. “We are excited to make this technology available to our industry partners because this research opportunity allows companies to assess and experience the vacuum drying technology before investing in their own unit.”

Pictured Below: Leaders gather with students near the vacuum drying kiln at NTC’s Wood Technology Center of Excellence in Antigo.

Vacuum Kiln PR Group

Pictured Above (L) to (R): Jim Rosenberg, WEDC; Scott Bowe, UW-Extension; Scott Lyon, Wisconsin DNR and Great Lakes Kiln Drying Association; Travis Allen, NTC; Vincent Rice, WEDC; Dylan O’Gorman, NTC student, Dakota Kakes, NTC student; Jessica Becker, NTC student; Troy Brown, Kretz Lumber

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Northcentral Technical College (www.ntc.edu) is north central Wisconsin's premier two-year college of choice and is a resource for all District residents. It provides individuals, organizations and businesses with quality skills training in a wide range of programs designed to build a competitive, technologically advanced workforce in today's rapidly changing global environment. NTC has seven convenient locations and three Centers of Excellence in Antigo, Medford, Merrill, Phillips, Spencer, Wausau and Wittenberg.