Tech Update - Scanning and Optimization

Dr. Reza VakiliLMI Technologies

LMI Technologies’ Gocator 2880 is a proven mill solution, delivering high-performance log scanning in sawmills. The large field of view (up to 1260 mm) and dual camera design help capture 100 per cent of the log’s surface, including large shape variation caused by splits and outer knots.

In a typical lineal system, a ring configuration of Gocator 2880 scanners are used to create a complete 3D point cloud, revealing shape features such as taper, sweep and crook. In addition to the shape of the log, defects such as bark, splits, outer knots and debarker tear-out can be identified.

To address the fact that log scanning requires multiple sensors, the Gocator 2880 easily scales to a multiple sensor network using LMI Master hubs. Hubs take care of power distribution, laser safety interlock, encoder and digital input handling, and deliver microsecond synchronization.

Using just a web browser, the Gocator’s Graphical User Interface (GUI) is designed for flexible configuration of scan settings, set-up of multi-sensor layouts and communication of 3D data to a PC. The high density 3D models created by Gocator are used to deliver optimal volume recovery in today’s sawmill, says the company.


Coming directly from the new generation of GradExpert, the all-new TrimExpert and EdgeExpert from Comact has arrived on the market with remarkable performance possibilities, says the company.

Featuring new 4k high-resolution cameras, LED lighting and three times faster tracheid detection, the TrimExpert and EdgeExpert are perfectly equipped to maximize the trimming and edging performance of a sawmill, says the company. This new equipment also features the software advances developed over the last 15 years in more than 35 wood species and through more than 100 systems in operation. These advancements allow for the sorting of production and elimination certain defects at the source before the drying process. The unique modular architecture allows for the addition of technologies step by step, according to customer needs. Additionally, the new and very compact architecture is easy to maintain and is very robust. Overall, customers should expect an impressive return on investment over only a few months, says the company.

PMP SolutionsPMP Solutions

PMP Solutions believes that in today’s highly complex wood manufacturing world, it is important to stay alert.

With the progress of automation and scanner technology, today’s sawmills have become complex systems to operate, and problems affecting mill performance can go undetected for several hours. PMP TeamMate is a system that helps operators to spot sawmill production issues in real-time and thus allow quick response to solve problems and minimize losses. Log rotation errors, estimated boards volume difference between log and cant scanners, all slash percentage, percentage of boards sent to edger, and lumber recovery factor are a few examples of indicators PMP TeamMate can monitor.

The operating range for each indicator can be configured, and the mill alerted as soon as an indicator gets out of the targeted range. Real-time Web dashboards are displayed on the mill floor using large Full HD LED TV and are also accessible from any mobile devices connected to the mill’s network. The system comes with a complete set of reporting tools giving operators access to historical data from individual measured log to the full year production summary. It is installed within a day and will never impact daily operations, says the company.


Autolog has recently partnered with Moose River Lumber in Jackman, Maine to upgrade Moose River Lumber’s HewSaw optimization and controls. Autolog was chosen for the project because of their reputation as a major supplier of optimizers and controls within the wood industry for 30 years.

Although Autolog is mostly known for supplying systems at the back end of the mill and at the planer mill, the company has never stopped selling log systems at the front end of mills. By installing log optimizers and controls, the company has built a strong expertise in controlling machines from many different suppliers. Autolog has also developed a strong expertise in linking all the systems they provide into a network, to help support production by supplying extensive reports for all machine centres. The Moose River Lumber project started on time and company representatives say that it has exceeded expectations in production and recovery.  Autolog will soon replace two more HewSaw systems at one of the major industry players in New Brunswick.


The mountain pine beetle infestation has left billions of dead trees in Western Canada and it is still expanding. Dead trees dry out and develop splits that severely downgrade lumber.

USNR has developed split detection for logs that improves log rotation and log breakdown optimization. Without split detection, as much as 20 per cent of the lumber produced is later rejected.

USNR’s split detection system uses vision and geometric scanning to identify splits on the surface of the logs. The MillExpert optimizer then calculates the optimal solution considering splits, based on grade and value. Split detection and optimization can improve lumber yields by two to five per cent and reduce the volume of split reject boards produced by up to 80 per cent, says the company.

It improves recovery from dead/dried out logs, reduces handling of downstream reject lumber, costs significantly less than X-Ray CT scanning, uses BioLuma 2900V sensors, and can be added-on to existing TriCam or LPLe auto-rotation scan zones.


Finscan’s BoardMasterNOVA-N is a non-turning auto-grading scanner. Complete analysis of boards is performed in 10 different directions including accurate defect detection and reliable optimization results.

Based on required grades, the system optimizes boards giving detailed instructions for trimming, cutting, ripping and sorting. BoardMasterNOVA-N has comprehensive graphical reporting tools for operators, production planners and top management.

The FinScan grading systems can be easily installed in existing or new grading lines, says the company.


Machine centre optimizers give mills the power to control production mix, and mill flow. But to do so, they must be configured with appropriate parameters. HALCO’s WSO system “optimizes your optimizers”, says the company.

WSO is a production planning optimization system. It determines the mill’s optimal production mix, and the optimizer parameters required to produce that mix.

WSO combines SAWSIM with linear programming optimization, in a proprietary iterative technique. WSO determines the operating plan that maximizes profit, considering: logs to be processed; market prices; sales mix constraints and committed orders; and mill flow/bottlenecking machines.

WSO maximizes profit by resolving trade-offs between recovery, sales mix, and production rate. Sales average is increased with a high-value mix that satisfies market constraints. The production rate is increased, using bottleneck machines most efficiently. Recovery is increased, eliminating doing “extreme things” to rebalance inventory.

Every multi-mill company that implemented WSO at one mill has gone on to place orders for subsequent sites, says the company.


JoeScan’s scan heads have been made for sawmills since the company introduced its first scan head in 2002. JoeScan’s newest scanner, the JS-25 X6B, is a high-performance, six-laser scanner, specifically designed for high-density, snapshot-scanning of logs on carriage headrigs. Each JS-25 X6B scan head can be mounted end-to-end to scan any length of log on 6” spacing.

The JS-25 X6B was designed to make it easy for optimizers and sawmills to upgrade obsolete carriage scanning systems, often reusing the existing scan frame. The JS-25 X6B is an easy hardware upgrade that provides higher scan rates, double the scan density, and is based on the sawmill-proven reliability of the JS-25 platform, says the company.

The foundation of all JoeScan products is simplicity and reliability. Every scanner model comes with plug-and-scan Ethernet, a five-year warranty and a 10-year product support policy to protect against obsolescence.


Mill ROI relies on maximizing fibre and value recovery. Lucidyne’s GradeScan identifies, analyzes and classifies board characteristics on and below the board’s surface, optimizes the saw solution, and grades the board in mere seconds.

World-wide, GradeScan consistently delivers the results mills need, bringing return and new customers to Lucidyne, says the company.

Interfor recently signed an agreement to purchase up to nine GradeScan systems from Lucidyne for installation at Interfor’s nine southeastern U.S. mills between 2016 and 2018.

Complementing GradeScan is Lucidyne’s patented True-Q board tracking system. Downstream from the GradeScan, but before lugging, True-Q captures each board’s image and matches it to the scanner image, keeping each board and solution paired. Even if boards get crossed or flipped, True-Q looks upstream and downstream to re-queue the solutions to match the boards correctly.

VAB SolutionsVAB Solutions

Lineal graders, moisture meters and lineal MSR graders all require board tracking in the ‘no lug’ transverse portion of the process. Once dealt to a lug loader or other board dealer, the data associated with the board must be transferred to the lug or machine the board is travelling in. Some board following methods involve UV markings, others printed codes. All are subject to read errors, costs for consumables, and hardware maintenance downtime and expense.

VAB Solutions Inc. has developed a new tracking system that completely eliminates the need to mark the boards. Using cameras, the Air Board Tracker is mounted above the tracking area and, with the company’s proprietary software, this unique innovative technology visually follows the board and keeps it associated with its assigned ID number.

The Air Board Tracker (patent pending) can be used with transverse travel distances from 4 to 100 feet, as long as boards are not one on top of the other, and will support operator or grader handling and even crisscrossing of boards one on top of the other. Board removal and re-insertion can be done on a first-out/first-in basis as long as it is done within a given time frame.

MPM EngineeringMPM Engineering

MPM Engineering, in its quest for scanning excellence and continuous improvement in scanning technology, is currently involved in a research project to incorporate color information into their scanning realm. This new development will propel the next wave of hyper scanning technology into the future, utilizing the latest vision camera sensors, lighting, computing hardware and image algorithms.

This system measures standard geometric features such as size and shape along with color information to better detect board features that are important to mill customers. The result is a better product to the market for customers along with higher yield and profit. This ensures that customers are able to meet market demand for good appearance grade products.


After a year of development, Prologic+ has released a software option called DBA which stands for ‘Dynamic Bin Assignment.’ This option can be implemented to an existing log sorter or ideally, to a new log sorter system. The first DBA system has been installed in Piteå, Sweden and has been running for more than two years.

When the number of sawing patterns is higher than the number of bins, mills cannot affect a single pattern for every bin. Therefore, management of the bins must be done to give priority to certain patterns when mixing others with lower priorities into the same bin. This means that within one bin, two or three sawing patterns can be “mixed” together by separating the batch of logs per patterns within the same bin.

The DBA system uses statistics and probabilities to forecast the bin assignment for each individual log. Since it’s impossible to make the right decision in real time, the decision will instead be based on previous data from the actual sorting scanner. The DBA will optimize productivity such as line feed speed and log gap using a dynamic log list.

Springer MicrotecSpringer Microtec

Using multi-channel technology, the Goldeneye 900 detects and localizes all types of knots, cracks, discoloration, pitch pockets, wane, curvature and other dimensional defects. This allows customers to automate, streamline and optimize all downstream production steps. Total production flexibility, reduced trim-loss, increased throughput and improved on-grade accuracy are the main advantages.

Key features are: four-sided multi-channel visual and structural grading; optional high resolution transverse X-ray; trimming, sorting, edging and re-man optimization; integration of Microtec’s MSR module and moisture measurement (above and below fibre saturation); easy installation – standard chain height, no elevation changes; support – all sensors, cameras, LED lighting and x-ray components are produced in-house; new ‘occlusionless’ scanning conveyor; and, the Golden Eye 900 determines the overall quality of green, dry or planed lumber in one pass from all four sides.

Value optimization before and after kiln drying is possible as the Goldeneye 900 grades both rough and finished lumber.

Logging and Sawmilling Journal
February 2017

On the Cover:
The theme for the upcoming Council of Forest Industries (COFI) convention in April is “Forestry for the Planet. Forest Products for the World” which helps underline the renewable nature of wood and its suitability for green-conscious building construction. But a big topic of discussion is going to be what Canada can do to strike a new softwood lumber deal with the U.S. Read all about the convention beginning on page 10. (Cover photo courtesy of Resolute Forest Products)

A new beetle battle in B.C.
In the wake of the mountain pine beetle, spruce beetles have become a big concern in the B.C. Interior, prompting a two-day spruce beetle summit held recently in Prince George, to keep all the parties in the loop about this latest beetle battle.

COFI Conference Preview
The upcoming Council of Forest Industries (COFI) convention in April will be looking at the challenges now facing the industry, including how to get a new lumber deal with the U.S.—but these challenges are being tackled by an industry that’s resilient, creative and successful, says COFI President and CEO Susan Yurkovich.

Back on track… after The Beast
The growth plan at Fort McMurray’s Northland Forest Products is back on track, after being temporarily interrupted by the massive wildfire—called The Beast—that hit the city this past spring.

Milling for the movies
The Brooks sawmill, in the Rocky Mountain foothills of Alberta, has developed a varied client list—including supplying wood products to the recent hit movie, The Revenant.

Bigger—and better
Alberta logging contractor Corey Stoneman finds that when it comes to choosing equipment for the stump-side processing he does for Spray Lakes Sawmills in the eastern slopes of the Rockies, bigger is definitely better.

New work standards for sawmill planers
New work standards for sawmill planers in B.C. are expected to make the work environment safer—and contribute to an increase in planer efficiency.

Cutting its own path
Simpson Lumber Co. has cut its own path to success in B.C.’s Robson Valley, focusing on Doug fir timbers, specialty and custom cuts—with the bonus being a very short commute for mill owner, Larry Simpson.

The Edge
Included in this edition of The Edge, Canada’s leading publication on research in the forest industry, are stories from the Canadian Wood Fibre Centre and Alberta Innovates.

The Last Word
Getting the B.C. forest industry to a bright future is going to take some doing, with a falling timber cut, says Jim Stirling.


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