Teal Jones optimizes a challenge
Oct. 6, 2016 - Despite a nearly endless product list, custom production, and the limitations imposed by an existing sawmill layout, Teal Jones has effectively upgraded its sawmill trimmer optimizer at its Surrey small-log mill. And according to mill owner Dick Jones, the project is en route to a six-month payback to boot.
By Scott Jamieson
Located across the road from the picturesque Barnston Island ferry terminal and next to the company’s large-log Stag Timber mill, the JS Jones Small Log Mill produces a wide array of quality dimension products for markets around the world. Species include red cedar, hemlock, Sitka spruce and Douglas fir. The mill was built in 2003 so that like most of the mill, the sawmill trimmer optimizer was at least 13 years old. It was no longer meeting needs around product quality or production flexibility.
After an exhaustive review of available systems, the mill installed a Microtec Goldeneye 900 transverse trimmer optimizer on June 7, 2016. The first of its kind in Canada, the scanner uses a unique design to offer a high-density scan of all four sides of the board in a compact footprint. The Goldeneye 900 combines four arrays of integrated colour and laser scanners offset at 45-degree angles with an ultra narrow “occlusionless” scanning conveyor to allow a full view of each board (See video of a Goldeneye 900 running here).
The design also requires minimal space or alterations to the mill flow. What that has all meant for Teal Jones is a quick path to much better optimization at the sawmill.
“We put a lot of our product through rough, so the grade out-turns have to be very accurate right out of the sawmill, explains Dan Dewar, production manager. “We cut for Belgium, China, Japan, the U.S., and our sizing, wane, defects – it all has to be there. This system is allowing us to do that reliably, and without trucking off-grade product to our other operations for drying and planing. We’re really just scratching the surface with this technology so far, but we’ve seen trim loss at our planer mills dropping from seven per cent to 2.5.”
Kelly Murray, optimization sales co-ordinator, adds that the system is user friendly when it comes to setting up new products or changing runs, something mill staff has to do a lot given a near limitless product list. “What would’ve taken me a couple of hours with the old system, including mill checks and fine-tuning, I can now just do by setting up the grade in the system. I know what grade I want, I just put the dimensions in, and I don’t even need to go look at it. That’s been a big help.”
Critical to the project’s success to date has been clear expectations and responsibilities on both sides, according to SLM mill manager Dan Doyle. “Our team really drove what they needed from the system, and were very well prepared for the install. Microtec really came to the plate and supplied what our team wanted in a timely manner.”
The system is currently scanning for geometric defects as well as knots and splits. Microtec is working with the mill to fine tune its rot recognition module, which is expected to be running this fall.
Stay tuned for the full article in the November/December issue of Canadian Forest Industries.