Tech Update Planer Mill EquipmentAutolog


Autolog says that mill personnel have described its ProGrader linear planer optimizer as one of the easiest grading systems to work with.

The ProGrader is a linear optimizer designed to fully automate the grading process of dressed lumber at the planer. It is positioned just after the planer, and allows for replacing a part or all of the positions of traditional graders.

What does easy to use mean exactly? It means that owners can quickly leverage the knowledge and the experience of their key graders. At many locations, graders with limited computer knowledge can learn and delve into the system to extract the most value out of every piece.

The ProGrader is described as a reliable and fast system that can be installed close-coupled or not, processing all dimensions between 1” X 3” to 6” X 12” from 6’ in length and up.


In order to always offer its customers the best planing solutions, Gilbert has continually been developing a range of automatic upgrades designed to increase planer efficiency and make the planer room a much safer environment.

The Gilbert Roll Intelligent Positioning (GRIP) system was designed to gain production, increase efficiency and offer the best traction possible on boards feeding through a Gilbert planer.

Using the highest quality components available on the market, the GRIP system is built to automatically control position and force applied on the board with the pineapples and planer top rolls. It significantly improves feeding and auto-adjusts for boards with thick and thin variation.

The GRIP system can be retrofitted on all existing Gilbert planers, and is offered on all new Gilbert planers.

Gilbert is currently installing many 4.0 intelligent features to the planer, designed to collect infeed and outfeed data to make many automatic self-adjustments. Gilbert’s goal is to keep it very simple for every operator to run and produce the highest quality grades.


USNR has updated its Coastal planer infeed and bridge system with 16” diameter pineapple rolls that have a more aggressive tooth pattern and an open profile to facilitate picking up the boards.

It features a closed-loop tensioning and positioning system so one push of a button sets all the feed rolls and pressures. This results in better pressure control, better product feeding, and better recipe setting options for different product widths and thicknesses. It features automatic thin board control, whereby the system automatically senses a thin board and drops the pineapples to grab the board and shoot it off to the planer. 

The Coastal planer has developed a well-deserved reputation among planer operators for providing years of consistent and reliable production, according to the company. USNR says that upgrading a Coastal planer system is a worthwhile investment that can greatly increase efficiency and offers an attractive return on investment, particularly when productivity is an issue.


Since its beginning in 2004, VAB says that it has put R&D at the centre of its business strategy to maintain its leading position in North America for sawmill and planer mill lumber scanners and graders.

In 2019, VAB introduced its newest innovation called the Pointer Projector Solution (PPS). Offered with VAB’s lumber scanners and graders, and mounted on the AirBoard Tracker, the PPS projects in real-time on boards relevant information for the mill operator and quality controller where they can at the same time visualize the grading process and achieve quality control tests in seconds.

Mill staff can visualize in real-time the board’s length, moisture content percentage, grade, board ID, downgrade reasons, and more, and achieve and save quality control tests in seconds.

VAB says that its customers can be assured of maintaining their quality and profitability objectives with the Pointer Project Solution system.


Lucidyne says that its groundbreaking software platform Perceptive Sight Intelligent Grading has been recognized in the wood products industry as a new gold standard in lumber grading.

That recognition is now reaching into the technology sector as well. NVidia is the market leader in developing high-speed graphical processing units (GPU) for the gaming industry, as well as in self-driving vehicles, workstations for data science, and much more. NVidia has recognized Lucidyne’s extraordinary use of their products in lumber grading applications.

All new Lucidyne GradeScans and ChopScans are equipped with Perceptive Sight. Using Deep Learning Artificial Intelligence, the system “learns” defects and characteristics, delivering unparalleled results.

Both the technology sector and Lucidyne’s customers have taken notice with the results delivered. With many mills reporting close to zero above-grade, Lucidyne says that it is the choice for automated lumber grading.


PLCUSA says that it offers state-of-the-art planer mills with world class design, equipment, controls and installation.

PLCUSA describes itself as a true turnkey company for the lumber industry, offering more exclusive innovations, resulting in solutions that will help customers achieve better performance.

PLCUSA has a proven record in personnel reduction by providing customers with a streamlined planer mill that is basically hands-off lumber handling. From its infeed breakdown through its newest high-speed planer, to the stacker and paper wrap stations, PLCUSA says that it has its clients covered.

Over the last 20 years, PLCUSA says that its most unique advantage that puts it above the competition is the hands-on years of experience of its team members in the lumber manufacturing sector. It prides itself in the ability to provide clients with affordable, cutting edge technology, sturdiness and efficiency.

murrayMurray Latta Progressive Machine

The Murray Latta side head safety plunge jointer is available for Stetson-Ross, Coastal and Newman planers. 

With over 30 successful installations, it has achieved proven significant improvements in increased operator safety, convenience, and cost savings. Jointers are mounted outside the safety hood. As the hood is never removed to joint knives, the operator is never exposed to rotating or broken knives, debris or sticks. There has been a time saving of approximately 70 per cent per joint as there is no need to lock out motors, remove blow pipe or hoods. The simplified and accurate jointing procedure extends knife life significantly. Full payback is estimated at 60 shifts.

wolftekWolftek Industries

Wolftek’s Thermal Monitoring System shows real time temperature information which visually sees the sources of heat. This information improves safety while reducing mechanical wear, maintenance and downtime.

Unlike other systems, such as RTD or thermo couplers, Wolftek’s Thermal Monitoring System gives information in real time while also providing historical information. With the camera’s large field of view and multiple alarm zones, this technology can track and gather more thermal information and make it more practical for comparison and monitoring. Maintenance can be better managed by fixing issues before they arise, reducing downtime by eliminating troubleshooting and expediting ordered parts.

ControlLogix integration allows the system to be monitored in real time along with full industrial interlocking for 24/7 capability.

millerMiller Manufacturing

Miller says that it continues to increase its footprint in the industry at a very fast pace, now having 19 planer lines and countless retrofits sold. From installation and commissioning to preventative maintenance and repair, Miller delivers the resources customers need, when they need them, according to the company. Regardless of the age or condition of equipment, Miller has the right solution, the company says. Having more than 30 years of application expertise and knowledge, its team is ready to take on the toughest jobs.

Located in the Pacific Northwest, all Miller planers and infeed systems are manufactured with the highest standards in the industry. Its tradition of simplicity and ruggedness has given it one of the top names in the marketplace, says the company.

Miller is not just an OEM. It retrofits, rebuilds and engineers for all planer manufacturers’ equipment. From basic to complex parts, its state-of-the-art CNC equipment and fabrication capabilities provide complete planer solutions for customer production needs.

The Miller 830E planer has a 6” X 13” capacity. Features include eight roll, removable cutter heads, electric drive, servo-positioning on all horizontal and vertical axis, auto jointers, and feeds up to 3000 fpm.

The Miller 630E planer has a 6” X 9” capacity. Features include six roll, removable cutter heads, electric drive, servo positioning on all horizontal and vertical axes, and auto jointers. It is a stud machine and feeds up to 3000 fpm.

The Miller infeed has a live shear, up to four pineapples, and powered hold-downs on the bridge, pneumatic tensioning and electric servo positioning, robust frame construction, and electric drive.

Retrofits include TEFC cutter head motor conversions, setworks, removable head conversion, planer roll module conversion, and sidehead assembly conversions.

TS ManufacturingTS Manufacturing

TS Manufacturing has installed their most recent additions to the company’s planer mill line-up.

The Continuous Tilt Hoist module allows the TS Tilt hoist to maintain its fully flat front while enabling continuous unloading of lumber into a planer infeed system. This all-electric design can be retrofitted to existing systems or be part of a new installation. Given the persistent focus on stick breakage prevention, care was taken to ensure that the continuous tilt hoist module did not create any additional gaps or catch points that can dramatically increase stick breakage. Additionally, TS has recently installed its continuous stacking Package Maker system which also is fully electric utilizing servo technology, and can be retrofitted on many existing systems.

Logging and Sawmilling Journal

On the Cover:
With two summers of record-busting forest fire seasons behind it in 2017 and 2018, the B.C. government is looking for any steps that can be taken to reduce the chance for wildfires. And the province’s forest industry is stepping up to help with that. Read about Gorman Bros. Lumber’s work on a fuel mitigation project in the Okanagan region of the province beginning on page 14. (Cover photo by Paul MacDonald).

Aid package for B.C. forest industry: a little late, and a little light?
The B.C. government has announced a $69 million aid package to forest industry workers and communities that have been affected by mill closures and curtailments—but some critics say it’s late in coming, and does not go far enough.

Capital for constant improvements
The management at Alberta’s Spray Lake Sawmills fully understands the concept of constant improvements, and has recently made some capital investments to upgrade its main breakdown line and expanded its value-added product mix.

Stepping up to help prevent wildfires
The B.C. forest industry is involved in some interesting initiatives to help reduce the risk of forest fires, including a recent fire mitigation project in the Okanagan region involving Gorman Bros. Lumber and logger Donovan Martin.

Handing over the logging reins to the next generation
The Canadian Woodlands Forum’s Outstanding Logging Contractor of the Year, Darrin Carter Logging, is truly a family logging operation, with Darrin Carter in the process of having sons Justin and Cody take on increased responsibility in the business.

Eltec equipment takes on tough ground—anywhere
Quebec-manufactured Eltec logging equipment has earned a solid reputation for performance and reliability in Canada-and abroad—thanks to a focus on producing high performing machines for tough harvesting environments.

Growing the cut in Alberta
Alberta’s new Conservative government is considering more intensive land management to grow its Annual Allowable Cut, by perhaps as much as 30 per cent.

The Edge
Canada’s leading publication on research in the forest industry, are stories from Alberta Innovates and Canadian Wood Fibre Centre (CWFC).

The Last Word
Jim Stirling talks about finding the smart—although difficult—path forward for the B.C. forest industry.


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