Sawmill Technology & Optimization Guide
Sawmill Optimization Guide: A review of suppliers that offer optimization technology for sawmills; each supplier listed with contact information and brief description.
Date Posted: 4/1/2009
In this month’s issue we include a sawmill technology and optimization guide focusing on optimization.
In past issues, our guides have taken the form mainly of tables or grids that display pertinent information about suppliers and their products.
In the case of sawmill optimizing technology, we thought it would be best to allocate a certain amount of space and use text to describe the suppliers and their products. In the accompanying section, we list the suppliers by name with their logo, a contact phone number and Web site addressed, followed by a description.
Optimizing systems combine sophisticated data collection systems with the ability of a computer to quickly perform advanced calculations and analysis.
An optimizing system for a head rig, for example, use lasers and scanners to capture data about the shape of a log, then harness specialized computer software to rapidly analyze the data and determine the best solution(s) for the opening face and processing the log into lumber products.
A study of the hardwood sawmill industry published in the Forest Products Journal in 2001 found the most common type of scanning and optimizing technology, head rig optimization, was only in use by 27% of the mills that responded to the study survey. Other types of optimizing technology, such as optimized edgers and trimmers, were only in use by 10% and 5% of the responding mills. The study authors concluded that 63% of all sawmills have no type of scanning or optimizing equipment. Advanced technology was more common in larger companies, likely because they have the required capital and market share to justify investments in advanced technology.
Another study in 2000 and presented at the annual Hardwood Symposium similarly noted that the hardwood sawmill industry has not readily adopted advancements in technology. It acknowledged that cost may be an obstacle for small businesses, but there is a significant number of medium-sized and large mills that are a potential market for hardwood sawmill technology. The study also found that instead of viewing technology as a way to improve products or customer relations, large companies considered production issues more important.
Autolog designs, manufactures and installs sawmill process control and optimization systems. The company has equipped sawmills throughout North America and Europe since 1987.
Autolog process and optimization systems allow sawmills to increase productivity and lumber quality while reducing the volume of raw material required to produce lumber. These systems offer an average payback of less than one year.
Autolog has installed more than 425 control systems in sawmills and more than 45 optimizer systems.
It offers optimization systems for cants, carriage, edger, hardwood linear edger, hardwood trimmer, linear planer, primary breakdown and trimmer.
The Autolog carriage optimizer can be linked with an existing carriage controller and can be configured with light curtain, carriage scanner or front face and back face scanners.
The Autolog carriage optimizer software is compatible with light curtain scanning and 3-D, full profile scanning. It is designed for hardwood or softwood to provide fully optimized opening faces. The software provides powerful managing reports and can be run on off-the-shelf computer systems.
Autolog is headquartered in Canada with offices in Quebec and Western Canada and also has offices in the U.S. and Sweden, Australia and New Zealand.
Canadian Mill Equipment (CME) sells and brokers used, reconditioned or rebuilt wood processing equipment. It supplies all combinations of rebuilt and reconditioned wood processing equipment, from individual pieces through entire lines and complete mills.
Canadian Mill Equipment’s experienced staff works with clients to integrate rebuilt components with new equipment to provide efficient wood processing at prices that are substantially less than new. Supplying refurbished and rebuilt equipment and combining it with current electronics and control systems enables efficient production and cost effective plant upgrades.
Whether it is one machine, an entire wood processing or production line or a complete mill, CME’s fully equipped facilities can refurbish any equipment to meet client specifications and standards.
Sawmill equipment ranges from log yard and handling through primary and secondary breakdown, planer, reman and value-added mills. It also can supply equipment for production of veneer, plywood, composite board, co-generation and other specialty processing.
The Canadian Mill Equipment staff will help clients integrate rebuilt components with new equipment to provide efficient wood processing at prices substantially less than new.
Canadian Mill Equipment has supplied premium quality rebuilt and reconditioned equipment to clients throughout the world for 18 years, including locations in North America, South America, Southeast Asia, Russia, South Africa, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand.
Conception RP Inc. is a designer and manufacturer of woodworking machinery that specializes in finger jointing systems.
Conception RP is a private Canadian company founded in 1990 and is member of a group which is composed of Automatisation JRT Inc. and Calibrateck Inc. The three companies operate from the same building to offer customers a complete solution as turn-key project. A staff of over 140 works on a project by project basis.
Conception RP is committed to the design and the production of state-of-the-art quality products for the markets it serves. All equipment is made with the highest quality products.
The company’s principal areas are designing woodworking machinery, finger jointing systems for value-added wood products, factory layouts, machinery modifications and improvements, hydraulic, pneumatic and mechanical system diagnostics.
Conception RP is committed to keep its products current in an industry which is constantly evolving. Innovation and improvement of quality control systems is one of its many priorities.
In addition to finger jointing systems to produce various types of wood products and components, Conception RP offers an automatic cross-cut saw that can be coupled with a marking station or scanner and a wane system for planing and re-ripping optimization.
Conception RP covers the Canadian market, and distributors offer its products in the the U.S. and other countries.
Cooper Machine Company Inc. provides an option for mills that are interested in the benefits of a fully optimized Cooper specialty, the end-dogging overhead scragg.
The standard Cooper overhead scragg processes logs 8-16 feet long. Cooper also will customize these machines for short logs (as short as 3 feet) or long logs (as long as 20 feet).
Using a standard machine for a starting point, Cooper Machine works with the customer to design and build a fully optimized model. The fully optimized model includes additions such as an off-line scan zone with turning rolls and charger, dog mechanisms capable of infinite rotation, Cooper circle saw arrangements and extra strengthening in the frame and drive to allow for high-speed, automated operations.
With the optimization option, the Cooper overhead scragg comes complete with 3-D laser scanning technology that even a mid-sized hardwood or softwood mill can afford.
The technology of the fully optimized Cooper end-dogging overhead scragg is an excellent alternative to larger, more expensive and complex systems.
Cooper Machine also offers optimization on its twin band scragg, sharp chain scragg, cut-up system, edgers and gang resaws.
Southland Electrical has acquired the assets of H.E. Wilson and Ligna Machinery Inc. It has retained key personnel to offer the best service and values for sawmill and electrical needs.
H.E. Wilson has been designing, developing, reconditioning and providing optimization and automation services for sawmill equipment and other related machinery since 1980. It has worked with numerous sawmills by repairing and upgrading their equipment to optimize yield, efficiencies, service and profits.
With its strong association with Southland Electrical (www.southlandelectrical.com), H.E. Wilson can be a one-stop solution for sawmill optimization, automation and electrics.
H.E. Wilson also offers a wide variety of used and reconditioned equipment, including heavy-duty debarkers, edgers, thin-kerf gangs, trimmers and more.
In conjunction with Southland Electrical, it also can supply electrical equipment, such as PLCs and VFDs, circuit breakers, safety switches-disconnects, motor control centers, transformers, renewal parts and much more.
H.W. Wilson is committed to help customers save time and money.
HMC Corporation, located in Contoocook, New Hampshire, manufactures and distributes high quality sawmill equipment for the forest products industry.
The company also offers USNR and Mudata optimizing systems for carriages, edgers, resaws, and trimmers and USNR-Inovec optimization and control systems.
Established in 1953, HMC’s focus is equipment for lumber manufacturers that will improve quality and yield while improving efficiency. The company also offers layout, design, and installation as well as parts and service.
HMC’s core products include debarkers, carriages, trimmers, waste conveyors, lumber handling equipment, infeed and outfeed to band resaws, chain turners, metal detectors, tilt hoists, and band mills.
HMC also has a strategic alliance with Stenner Limited to complement its product line. Stenner manufactures band resaws and resaw accessories.
All manufacturing, final assembly and testing of equipment is done at HMC’s 30,000-square-foot facility, which also houses engineering design, technical service and customer service.
JoeScan provides 3-D vision profiling solutions for industrial and manufacturing customers. The company, based in Vancouver, Washington, supplies 3-D laser scanning for the woods products industry.
JoeScan scan heads are fast, accurate and reliable. JoeScan products are backed by helpful service personnel, online support and a 5-year warranty.
The company makes a range of scanners that improve recovery in many different aspects of mill operations.
The JoeScan JS-20’s built-in laser projects a line onto the surface of the object passing below it. It views the surface from an angle using the built-in camera and then calculates the dimensions at hundreds of points along the laser line. The resulting information can be used to more precisely align cutters or other machinery, increasing production efficiency and quality control. Every JoeScan JS-20 scan head is simple to install, easy to use, built tough for maximum reliability, and priced to make scanning affordable.
The latest JoeScan innovation is the X-Series, which offers five different models – standard and extended-range, wide-angle, and two- or three-laser configurations – to provide even more solutions to specific sawmill scanning needs.
The JS-20 X-Series scanners feature image view for easy troubleshooting, rugged, fully sealed aluminum housing, Ethernet communication, one-click calibration, 5-year warranty and guaranteed 10-year support policy.
JoeScan can provide on-site demonstrations and training to help customers achieve increased profitability.
McDonough Manufacturing supplies equipment to the sawmill industry.
The Wisconsin-based company manufactures carriages, band mills, resaws and edgers. McDonough machine centers can be fully optimized by industry partners such as USNR.
The focus of McDonough is to provide sawmill machinery solutions that increase the efficiencies of its customer’s operations.
The company’s founder, Frank McDonough, began manufacturing sawmill equipment in the late 1800s. His goal was to produce simple yet powerful, durable equipment that would increase sawmill efficiency and production. McDonough Manufacturing has remained committed to those principles.
Frank McDonough obtained a patent on the first Traveling Bed Feed Resaw, now known as a linebar resaw, in 1892. McDonough Manufacturing has continued to be an innovator of sawmill machinery and equipment, such as its exclusive Super Duty Air Strain system and its patented End Dogging Log Feeding system.
McDonough band mills, band resaws and related equipment items are known for rugged design, reliability and value, and the company follows a policy of complete, personal service.
Cleereman Industries recently acquired Precision Fabricating, which manufactures material handling equipment for the sawmill industry. McDonough Manufacturing was a shareholder of Precision Fabricating and now will be a minority shareholder of Cleereman.
Cleereman and McDonough will work closely together under a new strategic alliance to better serve the sawmill industry.
MPM Engineering Ltd. supplies log optimization and control for machinery used in log bucking and primary breakdown processes. In addition, it has expanded into optimizers for edgers and trimmers — trimming applications for green lumber mills and planer mills.
The company, based in British Columbia, offers systems for log optimizing, auto rotation, bucking, log and board sorting, and analysis. They will interface with most scanning systems. MPM Engineering systems for new or retrofit equipment include installation and start-up training.
MPM’s optimization for primary breakdown finds the optimal cutting solution for a complete range of log sizes and lengths. The process uses X-Y or 3-D profile model of the scanned log to find the best combination of boards from a defined set of products. Either product value or recovery factor can drive the optimization process while allowing product order management.
Mill applications are sharp chain, standard chip-n-saw, shifting and skewing extended length infeed, end dogging, and European styles of breakdown.
MPM Engineering NextGen optimization fits the defined products into the profile model of the scanned log and employs a logical sequence of product fitting to evaluate all the possible solutions at machine-allowed positions.
MPM Engineering support includes software tailored to a mill’s requirements; complete hardware set-up, installation and start-up training, on-line troubleshooting and fast response.
Illinois-based Sawmill Hydraulics Inc. manufactures sawmill equipment under the Helle brand name. The company’s machine centers can be equipped with optimized controls.
The company’s product line includes overhead end-dogging scragg mills, carriages and carriage drives, log turners, vertical edgers, double-end trimmers, resaw systems and much more. The company also offers three types of computerized setworks.
All Helle carriages are pre-wired, pre-hosed and factory tested. The pumping unit on the carriage is self-contained, and there are no hoses over the pantograph. Helle was the pioneer in the double 80 roller chain — no rack and pinion. Each carriage features hexagon-style guide wheels that wear up into the wheels to maintain accuracy. Four trucks are standard with 10-inch wheels – 14-inch wheels optional.
Helle uses structural steel tubing for the frame for added strength. The carriage frame can be made to fit an existing track or Sawmill Hydraulics will make a sub frame. Knee plates are wrap-around and have replaceable wear plates made of fiber wear strips.
Sawmill Hydraulics offers three setworks systems adaptable to all hydraulic and electric drive setworks. All setworks feature 18 gauge color coded wiring, pistol grip control handle, sets adjustable from the sawyer cab, threaded connectors on all cables, 10 ampere circuit breaker, adapted to either electric or hydraulic set shaft drives, and remote log-in capability.
Timber Machine Technologies (TMT), operating out of Oregon, designs and manufactures a wide variety of edgers, gangs and slab chipping machinery for hardwood and softwood sawmills.
The company has over 100 years combined experience in the forest products industry and has the resources to design and manufacture machine centers or complete systems.
The TMT product line includes the patented Scan-N-Saw systems, edger optimizers, curve sawing gangs, straight sawing gangs and sharp chains. The company also provides custom machining services.
The TMT Scan-N-Saw processes both boards and cants through the same linear scanning system. It combines a simple infeed table, linear scan conveyor, linear combination gang-edger and outfeed picker. Once the piece is scanned, the Scan-N-Saw module will place either a battery of gang saws for cants or edging saws for boards into position. These systems work well in hardwood and softwood sawmills.
The Scan-N-Saw module’s guided saws slew and skew to match the solution generated by the optimizer. The saw module will straight-saw or curve-saw the cants or edge the boards. The outfeed system sends edged boards or canted sawn boards to the trimmer’s landing table.
TMT partners with Nelson Bros. Engineering, a linear scanning and optimization company that uses JoeScan scan heads. The linear optimizer is provided by Nelson Bros. Engineering.
With its acquisition of Newnes-McGehee, USNR offers a complete line of equipment for the forest products industry, producing state-of-the-art machinery, control systems and automation software for sawmills, planer mills, OSB, LVL, plywood and other engineered wood manufacturing plants.
USNR’s 3D LASAR and TriCam scanners produce some of the highest density scan data in the industry, and MillExpert and the hardwood Master family of optimizers are well known to increase recovery, value and yield, improving overall mill profitability.
Clearly, this is one of the worst downturns the forest products industry has faced, and USNR is finding ways to help mills survive until the economy and market conditions rebound. Its focus is helping customers save money – spending a little and getting a big bang for the buck.
USNR is a resource to call for help, and it can provide a wide range of services. USNR has a staff of engineers and technicians who can figure out how to maximize the performance of existing systems.
USNR can help identify operating issues that cost a mill money, tune machines to squeeze more lumber out of each log or piece, identify opportunities to extend the life of equipment and parts through preventative maintenance, reduce energy costs associated with drying lumber, and save money on wear and replacement parts.
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