We process 10,000-15,000 board feet of various hardwoods per year and are looking for ways to increase productivity. Presently, we straightline rip on a sliding table saw and then take the boards to a heavy duty table saw with a power feeder for ripping to width. This saw could use more horsepower (it's 5hp). If we are going to upgrade, is it worth the expense of moving up to a straight line dedicated saw?
Just by the simple fact that you would be down to working on one tool, a straight line would be worth the cost. As an example, we have for sale a 15 hp dip chain straight line right now for $3500. There are others in this class also available, and compare that to buying a new 7.5 hp table saw. Tough to find a table saw with more power than that. Do the math and I think you'll see the answer. Once you get the feel of a straight line, you will be amazed at both the yield and time efficiency of the tool.
The arbor is longish and can sometimes run two blades with a spacer in between (cleat stock, etc.). The cost of such a saw can be $1200 or less. Often it has 10 hp.
For short pieces, a hopper may be advised. A hundred fpm is not uncommon on these beasts. Blade projection can easily be 6". You have a straight edge already so fence feeding will retain it.