Making More Out of Wood: Review of LIGNA 2017 Show
Pallet Enterprise publisher, Chaille Brindley, provides a full review of pallet-related equipment and innovation on display at the recent LIGNA 2017 expo.
By Chaille Brindley
Date Posted: 7/1/2017
In late May more than 93,000 visitors from around the globe attended LIGNA 2017 in Hannover, Germany. The event is one of the largest forest product events in the world with more than 1,500 exhibitors and 129,000 square meters of show space. The event features everything from logging to sawmill to pallet and panel equipment as well as woodworking and furniture equipment. It really is amazing to see all the equipment even though a lot of it doesn’t have much to do with the pallet or low-grade lumber industries.
A key theme at LIGNA was Industry 4.0 which focuses on digitalization and integrated production to assist in order accuracy, just-in-time management and efficient data management. More than just make products, equipment needs to work together to create efficient plant flows and provide managers key data for improving the operations. Industry 4.0 relies on software and process tracking to totally visualize the process. Some of the solutions ranged from service apps for machine monitoring to a digital graphical operator saw guide, plus a bucket camera system for wheel loaders.
A further key trend at LIGNA consisted of ways of significantly boosting production efficiency with minimal demands on the operator. One exhibitor presented the first-ever "three-click" process for producing a complete item of furniture. Meanwhile, in the area of machine components and automation, robots continued their forward march.
The top ten visitor nations after Germany were France, Austria, the United States, Sweden, Belgium, Spain, China, Poland, Italy and Russia. The current state-of-the-art on the use in forestry of UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles), or drones, proved a popular drawing card, along with the latest forest surveying processes. The next LIGNA is set for May 27-31, 2019.
The following are pallet-related exhibitors that Pallet Enterprise encountered at LIGNA. They are listed in alphabetical order.
The Behrens Group – BeA
Seeking to improve crate assembly practices, BeA unveiled at LIGNA the new BeA VTT connector for crates and pallets made from 12- and 15-millimeter-thick board materials. BeA claims its connectors, cut assembly times for crates by up to 60% and can also reduce costs for connectors by up to 15%. As a universal solution for connecting corners and long sides, the BeA VTT connector also simplifies storage and recycling, prevents damage to crates when they are opened in customs checks improves safety thanks to defined fastening points.
The shape of the component, made of high-grade hot-dip galvanized steel, enables the creation of dimensionally stable corner and long side connections with just one connector and without the need for virtually any tools. No drilled, milled or grooved profiles are needed to achieve a perfect connection.
BIATEC Laser Technology
While designed for grade wood applications, the idea of uses lasers to cut lumber is intriguing. BIATEC recently unveiled its BLT WoodCut, a revolutionary patented technology specially developed for optimum cutting of wet and dry wood up to 80 millimeters thick and with a maximum moisture content of 80%.
The main advantage of the BLT technology is significantly increased production volumes, coupled with minimized waste wood and greatly enhanced product quality. With up to 170 products in a production cycle, the BLT technology offers outstanding versatility and impressive cutting precision with a cutting width of 0.3 millimeters instead of the standard 3-4 millimeters. By supporting cutting in the XY axis in any direction, the BLT technology also opens up new possibilities for optimizing wood processing.
You can see a video of the concept at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q09qmk7wpxo.
Cutting wood with lasers probably isn’t economical for pallets and low-grade applications. But it does show what is possible in the future.
Specializing in automated nailing lines, CAPE has focused on Industry 4.0 in its new systems. CAPE has developed extensive data and reporting capabilities that can be accessed from a tablet or smartphone. You can analyze the data by order number, pallet type or date to drill down into specific scenarios. You get real-time data to monitor machine alarms and service issues. A number of equipment manufacturers now offer this type of data access including some U.S. suppliers. One unique wrinkle that CAPE has developed is extensive 3-D drawings of each machine that make trouble shooting and parts ordering even easier. You can basically touch on various areas to see specific parts in detail as well as place an order for a replacement.
Marc Perez of CAPE, explained, “Industry 4.0 means that the human operator takes control of the robot and the automation to get the maximum efficiency from the whole operation.”
CAPE has the first automatic board feeding line in North America at Interco. Marc Perez of said that his company is working on a lumber inspection system to be added to the CAPE nailing lines that are now being offered in North America.
Headquartered in the Netherlands, Cekamon Saws specializes in pallet recycling equipment. It has sold a lot of PalletSaw W dismantlers in Europe because its design is CE certified. This means it has earned a safety designation that satisfies governing authorities in Europe. The design is robust with an overhead guard.
Another unique product that Cekamon offers is a mobile sorting platform where a trailer is equipped with rollers, lifts, stackers and an ergonomic sorting station. Pallets are loaded onto rollers and are lifted into position with automatic lifts. The operator in the center pulls out a pallet and then inspects it aided by an easy-to-use roll table. The operator then puts the pallet in the right stack. A forklift driver and one operator can easily sort 200-300 pallets per hour. The current system is designed for 80 x 120 cm and 100 x 120 cm pallets.
Cekamon also offers full sort and repair lines and even has some systems that use robotics for dismantling block pallets and stacking.
Italian high-speed nailing machine manufacturer, Corali celebrated its 60th anniversary with a large booth at LIGNA, and a number of U.S. pallet producers went on a tour of plants owned by PKF/Post Pallets in the Netherlands. PKF Post operates multiple Corali lines and is known for producing both small and large runs on its machinery. The company’s expertise in sawing and plant logistics allows for runs as small as one pallet to be produced on Corali lines. The ability to do line changeovers in seconds instead of minutes also enables the process. Today, in the U.S. market these pallets would likely be produced by hand. But European technology with automated pallet size adjustments could be a game changer.
Corali offers a variety of advanced features from inline automatic banders to robotic stackers to stitching stations for applying plastic protective sheets on pallets. With production as high as 400-500 pallets per hour, the Corali lines have developed a reputation for speed, and are now available in North America through Corali-USA, headquartered in Cincinnati.
CPT Woodworking Machinery
Taiwan supplier, CPT unveiled its new GRS-350M/460M/630M moveable multiple rip saw. Digital controls enable the operator to quickly adjust the moveable saw blades. Equipped with lasers for perfect alignment, the GRS is simple and easy to use. This unit can come with 1-4 movable saw blades.
From lumber sawing to pallet manufacturing, Delta offers a wide variety of equipment. Made in Italy, Delta exhibited at LIGNA its TPA 120 automatic pack cutting machine designed to process over-sized packs of lumber. This machines cuts from the bottom to the top with a device pressing down on the top of the pack. This upward cutting assists in discharging sawdust. The TPA 120 features as cutting unit with chain-saw with maximum pack transit 1250 mm wide and 1250mm high. It also has a horizontal chariot lifting system with column-structured lateral guides. An electronic cutting control system monitors motor stress and proper operation.
Delta also displayed its Master nailing machine for producing large pallets and perimeter-based pallets. Possible dimensions range from a minimum of 800 mm long by 600 mm wide to a maximum of 3000 mm long to 1350 mm wide. This machine offers the Delta Energy Saver System which uses technology similar to that used in cars to reduce energy consumption.
Delta also offers a hydraulic nailing machine with simultaneous nailing from both the top and the bottom. The ALL-IN-1 is an innovative hydraulic nailing machine, which is able to simultaneously carry out the nailing of the upper part and the lower part of the wood pallet using a double bar.
The clamps are designed to ensure the perfect nailing of the lower part without the risk of a nail jam. Its design allows for quick changeover between pallet types and sizes. The maximum working dimensions are 1200 mm wide and 1600 mm long.
Designed to improve the production speed of cutting lumber packs, the Holtec Quattro VarioCut saw features 1-4 saw units. This allows for multiple cuts at once. The three optional stations are movable to adjust for various lumber packs. It is designed for the mass production of short lengths between 750 mm and 3600 mm. The accuracy of the system is +/- 1mm. Cutting assembly guides on both sides provide the highest cutting accuracy according to Holtec. This crosscut saw features program-controlled and electronic positioning of the additional saw units.
The Quattro offers an option of integrated waste evacuation system for residuals and sawdust. Also, it can come with electronic interface for office communication.
Spanish machinery supplier, Maypro promoted its lines of machines for nailing flanges for wooden cable drums and reels. Maypro offers a variety of machines capable of producing reel flanges from 500 m/m up to 3000 m/m in diameter. Maypro does have a few reel installations in North America.
American saw and log processing machinery manufacturer, Newman Machine displayed its SLB-3004 stationary log box shaving machine. This unit processes logs into quality shavings and can accommodate logs 8 ft. in length. Shavings are produced in both directions as the cutterhead carriage travels beneath the log hopper. Designed for easy maintenance, the cutterhead assembly can be easily removed. It boasts high production rates up to 120 cubic yards per hour of green shavings. The SLB-3007 comes with four 10-knife high-speed steel cutterheads.
Offering a complete line of saw and pallet machinery, Storti displayed its nailing lines for block pallets as well as its integration of robotics. From logs to finished pallets, Storti is the only manufacturer offering complete high-speed lines featuring cutting edge Italian technology. Storti can develop full lines or units that have custom options, such as automatic board feeding or robotic pallet stacking.
Defect cutting has met its match with the crosscutting saws from Stromab. These saws are now available in North America. From computerized cut patterns to quick adjustment and fast process speeds, the Stromab saws make cutting any piece at any size and angle possible. Stromab offers four defect crosscut saws designed to make the right cut to optimize wood use. Perfect for the crate and pallet industry, the WS1 runs at 400 FPM speed and can make 100 cuts per minute. It is designed to be used in a small footprint and cuts to 1/32” accuracy. The WS 1 has computerized controls with an intuitive interface.
Vecoplan LLC, which has a number of happy customers in North America, unveiled some of its new VAZ rotary shredders. These new models feature a simple drive train, carbon shaft construction and Vecoplan’s right-drive system. The model on display was a 42” wide machine, but Vecoplan intends to introduce a larger unit within a year that can handle pallets.
Yuri Chocholko of Vecoplan said, “The secret to this machine is that we have some sensors on the rotor itself and back at the control panel. They talk to each other, and this allows the machine to deliver torque instantly to change the speed of the rotor based on the actual demand that you need. What that does is give you 40% more capacity using 40% less power.”
Vecoplan also exhibited some smaller units that are capable of offering point-of-use grinding at various places in a plant. Some companies are deploying this strategy because it reduces the complexity of the conveyance and transportation of waste to one central station.
Wood-Mizer unveiled its new Pallet Hawg dismantling bandsaw at the LIGNA show. The focus of this new product line for Wood-Mizer is to dismantle more pallets per blade. Very versatile, the Hawg can accommodate larger and block-style pallets. It has a 60” width capacity and pneumatic table height adjustment for easy changeovers. The table height has 5-1/4” of travel.
Designed to survive the rigors of pallet recycling, the Hawg is constructed with 6” steel tube frame and has industrial 6-lug wheels with 27” diameter band wheel tires. And it features a no fail mechanical blade tensioning system and a 10 hp motor with gear reduction drive.
For safety, it comes with a remote stop button near the operator’s hand and a removable pass back bar for single or double man operation.
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