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Tech Update: Sawmill scanners and optimizers in 2021

CFI has the latest rundown of scanning and optimization technologies available for mills in 2021.

November 29, 2021  By CFI staff


Autolog launches a new revolutionary sensor called R-TRAC Rotation Tracking. This new sensor takes live degree measurements while the log is rotating. It is a fully autonomous system that is independent of the log optimizer geometric model and works with all types of log turners, no matter which optimizer brand is installed. No mechanical modifications are required to the log turner or to the infeed chain. Integration with any control system (PLC) is very easy, as R-TRAC allows the use of a closed-loop feedback to control the position of the log turner cylinders based on the rotation instead of their linear movement. The R-TRAC system maintains a continuous reading of the rotation angle while the log is in the field of view as opposed to applying a rotation correction after the rotation is complete. R-TRAC has a precision better than five degrees of standard deviation using all data.

JoeScan’s newest sawmill scanner is quickly becoming a scanner of choice for optimization integrators across North America. Hundreds of JS-50 scan heads are currently running in a wide variety of sawmill systems, including log merchandising/bucking, whole log breakdown, gang, edger and trimmer. The JS-50 family of scanners boasts several sawmill-first features to improve reliability and usability, such as single cable Power over Ethernet (PoE) connector, which reduces cable count, Picatinny-inspired QuikMount that enables faster installations and rock-solid fixturing, and next-generation image sensors that provide high resolution gray scale for defect detection.

BID Group
BID Group has developed a complete suite of SmartTools to improve and ensure constant optimization performance. These software applications monitor equipment, analyze performance and optimization, identify errors in real time, perform adjustments, execute diagnostics on automation equipment, and much more. SmartTools empower operators to interfere quickly before errors or defects impact quality or operations. For example, the Primary Breakdown SmartTool secures the optimal cant position. It also uses scanner data (which provides the real and complete shape of the log) for the closed-loop system which ensures the maximum optimization of the log.

Automated QC systems have been available for years from third parties, but fully closing the loop requires original optimization data. USNR’s Self-Adjusting Machine (SAM) technology scans each piece before and after every cutting device. Scanning beforehand lets the optimizer develop a breakdown solution. Scanning afterwards identifies how the piece was actually cut. Using data trends from this second scan, SAM feeds corrections to the PLC. If the piece is off-size, it’s important to know which saw is out of position, and the amount and direction it needs to be adjusted. SAM technology closes the loop, providing complete data to automatically adjust the saws.


Woodtech SA
Logmeter is an automatic scanning system that measures and inspects in real-time logs loaded on trailers before entering the mill and delivers high-precision solid volume measurements and estimates biometric characteristics. These results allow operators to control the quality and real value of purchased logs, improving fair trade. In addition, all the information is registered in its auditing system, serving as evidence to improve the procurement process. Logmeter has been present in North America for 10 years. Woodtech is a technology company focused on designing, developing, and maintaining innovative high-tech industrial solutions that digitize, construe, and measure industrial processes in real-time.

SiCam Systems
For 30-plus years SiCam Systems has been developing and advancing quality control technologies. SiCam’s systems are designed for both inline and offline inspection of products. SiCam’s RealTime scanning systems reliably and accurately measure logs, cants, or boards during production. SiCam Realtime will verify that mills are producing what they planned for, and enable mills to cut closer to target and achieve target size reductions. SiCam’s Web Interface software will allow operators to visualize what is going on with products and machine centres, allowing them to make machine adjustments when needed. SiCam can also make those adjustments with SiCam Closed Loop Size Control.

Prologic+ recently announced a major contract with one of Eastern Canada’s leading lumber manufacturers, Groupe Lebel, for a delivery of Finnos ProX-Ray log scanner system next spring. This delivery will be the opening of North American markets for the Finnos/Prologic+ alliance. Finnos ProX-Ray log scanners can be used to detect rot, evaluate MSR qualities, or to consider internal defects such as knots and splits for internal grades. This scanner can be equipped on log sorters, merchandisers and sawlines.

Raptor Integration
The FL5000-S Stem Optimizer is the evolution of Raptor’s log scanning optimization to tackle the upstream requirements of the merchandizer. The system supports single or multiple lineal scan zones to build the 3D model of the stem at high production speeds with a scanning resolution of 1/2-inch between slices. It also features full log optimization for each segment, board wane set-up matching Raptor’s log optimization, route-specific log solutions to preferred downstream machine centres, stationary and/or flying saws with configurable range constraints, and an intuitive results screen with 3D graphics and critical solution information. Web-based architecture allows users to connect remotely from PCs, tablets or phones.

Airstar manufactures quality control systems for the forestry products industry such as plywood, LVL, OSB, glulam, lamination, hardwood flooring, MDF, crack detection in solid wood, finger joints and MDF density testing. Airstar’s signal-to-noise ratio is unmatched in the industry. The Airstar Blow (Blister) Detectors penetrate products up to 10 inches thick and can be configured for full panel testing. The Airstar thickness gage system uses high-resolution laser sensors. In the last 20 years, Airstar has replaced 61 competing systems.

Finna Sensors
Scanframe allows the OMNIR near-infrared moisture and coat weight sensor to take multiple readings across a web, rather than just measuring a fixed point. Powered by a motor and gear system, Scanframe is a non-contact aluminum beam, with a customizable width, that lets operators position OMNIR to take both manual and pre-programmed readings. To make line integration and data output easy, Scanframe has its own control panel, smart software, and a motorized guidance system that accepts adaptable motion patterns at different line speeds.

An accurate log rotation before the first processing step is key to achieving high-value recovery. With its optimization software, Linck uses 3D-scanning data to generate a value-optimized cutting pattern and then determines the required angle for log rotation. With Log Motion Control, Linck presents a further step in the development of this technology. In addition to determining the log rotation angle, a Microtec Truespin scanner will be used where a camera records a characteristic pattern on the log surface and where the log position is transmitted to the Linck Log Motion Control during the whole rotating process. The software determines the true log rotating position to be compared with the theoretical one. Any deviations will be compensated by immediately adjusting the position of the rotating rollers. The log rotation process is therefore under the full control of the Linck Log Motion Control software.

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