Measuring Moisture Levels
By Ron Smith
In the Primary and Secondary wood products markets, industry-leading sawmills and wood processing companies must control their critical moisture levels in their lumber or wood products. Accurate and convenient electromagnetic wave technology is now routinely used for monitoring of product moisture content (MC).
By Ron Smith
Wagner Meters’ L622 (and its predecessor, the L612) Digital Recording Moisture Meter with the L722 Stack Probe accessory is used effectively in high-production sawmills as a valuable tool to allow dry kiln personnel to easily perform moisture checks in stickered packages of lumber. Additionally, the L622 can be used alone as a very convenient handheld moisture meter for fast checks of lumber in the planer mill. The L622 also stores up to 5,000 moisture readings into as many as 500 different groups, calculating the average and standard deviation statistics for each group of readings. The L622 also comes with Stat-Pak statistical software to allow downloading and storage of readings to a personal computer. The Wagner L622 standalone, or with the L722 stack probe is one of the best handheld moisture measurement tools available for convenient and comprehensive tracking of lumber moisture quality control.
For lumber or wood processing operations that don’t need to probe stickered packs of lumber, with a stack probe, and don’t require PC storage of information, Wagner’s L620 (predecessor, L610) model moisture meter provides the same technology and accuracy providing data storage and some statistical calculation for up to 500 moisture readings.
Glen Hodges, lead kiln operator for Spearhead Forest Products in Spearhead, S.D., has used the L612 moisture meter for three years and recommends the meter due to its ease of use.
“It’s much simpler than how we used to check our kilns,” says Hodges.” We use the wand with this…and we use the different groups in different zones for hot checks. We download a graph for every kiln chart, and it’s pretty nice. They [Wagner meters] provide more feedback than we’ve ever had on moisture with the planer.”
Jeff Eades, purchasing director for Somerset Wood Products in Somerset, Ky., states that the company’s Wagner L610 meter has delivered consistent MC readings at an accuracy rate of over 99% from true bake-out conditions – for a decade. Somerset processes Maple and Hickory species.
“They’re valuable,” says Eades. “We check off the truck, out of the kilns, through planing and ribbing systems…throughout the whole process.”
Wagner also offers a Calibration Verification Block (comes standard with the L622) to help users assure that their Wagner handheld moisture meter is within factory calibration. Wagner Meters has effectively used leading-edge measurement technology for many years, and continues to explore new applications and technologies for
Ron Smith is a product applications specialist for Wagner Meters. He has 28 years of experience in instrumentation and measurement systems and produced this article for Canadian Wood Products.