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Automated Grading Technology

Tech Update Editor: Helem Johnson

Please fill in our Reader Request Form located at the bottom for more information on these products.  

ScanWare Inc 
ScanWare Inc's fully automated BoardMaster-NT system for dry lumber sorting can handle several tens of grade and dimension combinations, the company says. Grade rules can be specified individually for top and bottom faces, as well as for side faces, and each dimension and grade can be tagged with its own specific price table. In addition, correction terms by length can be applied. Various customer grades can be mixed with standard grades to optimize production. The board optimization analyzer (BOA) software is designed to help analyze results for individual boards and find out which defects are critical for the grading solution. Using real board images taken from actual production, various simulations can be performed, resulting in data that show how changes in grade rules and price table affect grade distributions and the value yield. The BoardMaster-NT system scans each face and edge with three line array colour cameras. Each of the 12 cameras has more than 5,000 pixels and takes more than 1,000 frames per second. Computing capacity allows production rates of more than three boards per second in continuous duty. Reader Service Card #360

CAE Inc 
The Linear High Grader (LHG) is the latest offering in planermill optimization from CAE's Wood Products Group. The LHG evaluates wane, skip, twist, crook and bow and allows graders more time to evaluate the lumber for non-geometric defects. Using laser-profiling sensors, the LHG evaluates board profiles every 0.3" at 2,200 ft/min. CAE plans to unveil its LHG equipped with integrated X-ray Lumber Gauge (XLG) technology at the upcoming Wood Technology Show in Portland, Oregon. Available as an option, the non-contact and microwave technologies will allow the user to evaluate MSR lumber within the same LHG machine centre. Reader Service Card #361

Gemofor's simple grading stations offer efficiency and performance, two qualities that make the systems capable of 180 lugs per minute. The equipment features two integrated components, the board turner and the grading station itself. The board turner allows a perfect, steady rotation in a clockwise direction, easing the reading of the board on all four faces and enabling the graders to be able to make a better judgement and thus generate a better grading analysis. In addition, the system can be adjusted easily to any board width from 2x3 to 2x10. The grading station is designed to share the flow of production from two to four independent stations, substantially reducing the linear chain speed and allowing graders to read more accurately. The simplicity of the system gives perfect control of the board, the company says, no matter what the chain speed. The board is kept consistently between lugs in order to assure control, minimize shutdown and obtain production targets. Reader Service Card #362

Northern Milltech Inc 
Northern Milltech Inc's new inline moisture measuring system, the non-contact MC-Pro 2500, uses digital pulses through the wood rather than conventional analog tank technology to determine moisture content. This not only makes faster readings possible, but ensures the detection of sudden moisture content changes at high speeds. Readings are displayed along the length of the piece, rather than just the peak and the average. Vertical board movement is measured using an infrared displacement sensor so board movement in the field is no longer an issue. NMI's proprietary method of background suppression eliminates the need for any calibration. Coupled with remote reporting and kiln tracking systems, the MC-Pro 2500 is a move toward total moisture content management and control. Reader Service Card #363

Coe Manufacturing 
The D*TEC Sawmill Edger and Trimmer grade optimizing systems from Coe Manufacturing offer sawmills and planermills scanning and optimization advantages. Image processing hardware and software identify and classify knots, knot holes/black knots, pockets, splits, decay and stain and determine the size and location of each defect. Based on biological and profile data and userentered grade rules, the systems compute the highest value solutions. In the past, high-grade products were graded out at the planermill. By grade scanning in the sawmill, grade recovery at the planermill has increased dramatically, the company says. The technology has recently been enhanced for applications in the planermill as well. Reader Service Card #364

USNR pioneered the field of automated grading by introducing the T-3 Grade Defect Scanner in the 1980s. The company now produces Grader Helper applications to fit a variety of geometric grading needs throughout the industry, which reduce costs and the subjectivity of pure visual-based systems. USNR is expanding its current product line by investing in research and development projects to increase the opportunity automated grading represents for both sawmills and manufacturers, the company says. Reader Service Card #365

Epsimage Inc 
Epsimage Inc offers wood equipment manufacturers fasttrack access to X-ray inspection technology. The company develops custom X-ray solutions and provides intelligent X-ray detectors that take care of the X-ray specific aspects. Its customers may develop their own application software for the intelligent detector to extract the wood features from the acquired images. An Epsimage first detector is able to sustain inspection throughputs of more than 40 ft/sec and may be used to detect the size and position of knots and other defects below the wood surface. Reader Service Card #366

Eldeco Industries Ltd 
The DART MSR machine from Eldeco Industries uses the mechanical bend method to grade lumber. Available in two models, the machine grades lumber either "on edge" or "on flat", after the planer. The compact machines hold calibration and accuracy almost indefinitely, the company says, and are easy to clear of a lumber jam. Data logging is compatible with Forintek Toolkit requirements and offers the latest in touch screen technology. Reader Service Card #367

Comact Inc 
Comact Inc is in the process of developing new grading technology that will redefine grading for the entire industry, the company says. Expected to be available in June 2002, the soon-to-be-released Comact GradExpert (CGE) will offer precise and constant grading, piece after piece, with no more pieces lost to grading rules thanks to its infallible eye, Comact says. The CGE will use a combination of 3-D scanner readings and colour camera detection of the slightest defect, in the transversal mode. Reader Service Card #368

Perceptron introduces a transverse dry lumber dimensional grading and optimization system, the Machine Vision Grader. Like a conventional trimmer optimizer, it is located just in front of the dry trimmer and performs the tasks of a green trimmer optimizer and more, the company says. A transverse location enables accurate measurements to be taken while the wood moves in a stable, relaxed fashion, allowing warp characteristics such as bow, twist, crook and cup to be measured. The difference in pencil wane and an eased edge on the wood can also be measured as a result of an enhanced laser measurement system that collects dense, full coverage scans with essentially no gaps in the data, the company says. The system accepts a biological grade-currently read from a grade mark reader-grades boards for dimensional defects, compares the biological defect input along with any special cutting instructions from the human grader, computes the value of trim blocks and then optimizes all this information into the most valuable answer. It then makes cosmetic trims that improve the appearance of the piece. Reader Service Card #369

With in-line production speeds above 2,500 fpm, the Metriguard Model 7200 HCLT refines and improves MSR production systems with a faster and more powerful PC data system. The newly redesigned PCDS2 software features a new wood temperature compensation option as well as a simpler menu screen, more on-screen data summary graphics and more powerful report and data prcessing capabilities. The Metriguard Model 2800 DME is a comprehensive veneer tester for the laminated veneer lumber (LVL) industry and features a new thickness measurement option and temperature-compensated measurements of ultrasonic propagation time (UPT), density and moisture content. These measurements are combined to determine the modulus of elasticity for each sheet, resulting in better sorting and higher LVL yields. Other Metriguard veneer testers can be field upgraded to the Model 2800 DME. Reader Service Card #370

PLC Inc 
The PLC-Syst-M grading optimization system from PLC Inc precisely evaluates wane, knot, check, split, shake, hole, skip, white speck, honeycomb, pitch or bark pockets, width and thickness deviation, as well as bow, crook, cup and twist. The four-side analysis system integrates Baumer laser head technology providing running length resolution every 0.25" on 2,000 ft/min; transverse resolution of 0.01"; depth resolution of 0.01"; and length reading precision of 0.03". Key advantages include optimized trimming decisions based on wane and default analysis, complete reporting, better grading with a direct impact on overtrim and overquality in lower grade lumber and reduced operator responsibility. It offers a mathematical model to determine the pith of the log from which the board has been cut, based on the knot location co-ordinates, and a transverse system to measure board warp (bow, crook, cup and twist). It has the capacity to integrate MSR and moisture systems and is equipped with algorithms permitting optimization of end trimming. The user-friendly, manmachine interfaces are assembled on a Windows NT platform and provide visualization of scanned products, classification and operation parameter adjustments and diagnostic devices. Reader Service Card #371

Autolog Inc 
The linear planer optimizer from Autolog offers full optimization for wane, twist, crook, skip and bow and the quickest payback in the industry, the company says. With a 3-D Windows NT interface and realtime/real-shape solutions, the machine offers on-line simulation, trimmer solutions with grading specifications and custom built solutions, depending on mechanical configurations. It can be closely coupled to the planer. With speeds of up to 2,000 ft/min, if offers true shape scanning on all four faces and width and thickness precision to 0.010". Other features include: real-time optimization according to product price and mill configuration and product definition by thickness, width, length, grade, composite wane rules and price. The system is designed to optimize using MSR and moisture input data. The controller, optimizer, simulator and report manager are accessible from the main menu and all systems in the mill are accessible from one remote station via a network. Configurable, exportable and compatible production reports can be achieved with a database such as Access, Excel or Lotus. Reader Service Card #372

Barr-Mullin Inc 
Barr-Mullin's CellScan was developed solely for scanning lumber and grades hardwoods and softwoods by inspecting the actual wood cells and, at production speeds, determines all features present on wet, dry, surfaced or unsurfaced boards. Using BMI's proprietary pulsating laser, CellScan sees 23 different signals emitted by wood cells and identifies all features present on a board as well as defects based on specific rules on all four sides at any location. It detects all features down to 6mm on boards up to 22" wide, optimizing each board for the highest grade and dollar recovery. Driven by one computer operating in real time, CellScan optimizes lumber based on company rules in cutting moulding, dimension and finger-joint stock. Reader Service Card #373

ATS Automation Inc 
ATS Automation offers a high-speed transverse scanner system for grade sorting trim blocks for the finger-joint remanufacturing industry. The system uses newtechnology laser distance measuring detectors that are fast, accurate and reasonably priced. The scanning computer measures the profile of the trim blocks and sorts them by shape, width and wane-rule-based grades. The optional grader operator inputs visual-grade overrides, if required, while the associated drop sorter's diverters direct the blocks to bins for trimming, edging and both studgrade (50 per cent wane) and squareedged J-grade blocks in 2x3, 2x4 and 2x6 sizes. The scanner laser detectors have a resolution of about +/- 0.002", which results in a block measuring accuracy of about 0.005". Readings are taken every 0.030" across the width of the block at an operating rate of 150 blocks per minute. Scan densities of both 1" and 2" are available. Reports are printed automatically at the end of each shift and may be exported via an Ethernet connection. Reader Service Card #374

Tree-D Inc 
Tree-D Inc provides equipment that retrofits full 3-D optimization capabilities to existing chip-n-saw and sharp-chain infeed systems without the expense of double length infeed and the associated costs of relocating upstream log handling equipment. It achieves full 3-D optimization on short logs and "virtual" 3-D optimization on long logs. The only requirements, the company says, are a slightly longer bed, two Tree-D Laser Tech T261Q quad head ring scanners and Tree-D's optimization software package. The compact 3-D retrofit can be installed with minimal re-engineering of existing mill equipment, the company says. The system eliminates "off line"-style shadow scanning problems by mounting scanners to the infeed bed that has been extended or replaced to achieve the required minimum length of four feet longer than the longest log. One of the quad ring scanners is placed a minimum of two feet down stream from the infeed tail sprocket, while the second is placed at one-half the maximum log length downstream from the first scanner. Reader Service Card #375

For more information on the above products, please fill in the contact information and check off the boxes that apply.   When finished, please click on the Submit Form Button.

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Check any of the following for more information

ScanWare Inc #360
CAE Inc #361
Gemofor #362
Northern Milltech Inc #363
Coe Manufacturing #364
USNR #365
Epsimage Inc #366
Eldeco Industries Ltd #367
Comact Inc #368
Perceptron #369
Metriguard #370
PLC Inc  #371
Autolog Inc #372
Barr-Mullin Inc #373
ATS Automation Inc  #374
Tree-D Inc #375

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