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Tech Update: Bucking and Merchandising Systems

Tech Update Editor: Mel-Lynda Andersen
Copyright 1997. Contact publisher for permission to use.

MPM Engineering Ltd.

MPM's Bucking Optimizer is an analytical software program designed to find the best bucking solution based on current needs. The bucking optimizer has two modes of operation, explains MPM. Normal mode is for day-to-day operation. The second offline mode enables the operator to re-optimize stems. An onscreen display shows both the current stem and MPM its bucking solution, as well as profiles of the next six stems. The bucking optimizer stores all data on a PC as a backup, which helps speed up recovery time should problems arise, says the company. The bucking optimizer program resides in the Windows NT operating system and can be easily incorporated into existing networks. The system produces three standard reports: stem input, log output and shift summary.

Nanoose Systems Corp.

True Shape Bucking (TSB) from Nanoose Systems calculates optimum recovery before the log is bucked - based on dollar value, volume recovery, priority order management or species, as well as analyzing scanned log images. The optimizer evaluates all possible combinations of log lengths and every possible combination of products that can be made from each possible log length, taking into account the current market values set for each product, says the company. The most valuable solution is sent to the PLC.

Features of Nanoose TSB Bucking include: full real-time log optimization evaluation; graphic solution plots; unlimited species, grades and cut lengths; ability to automatically remove internal defects to improve stem and log total value; user-selectable bin sorting by product and length; curve sawing support; peeler log optimization; quick -cut plan' switch; bark calculation formulas; 18 defect classes; knot thresholds; multiple grade rules; metric or imperical /US standard units; dynamic order tracking in conjunction with the Nanoose Systems Scheduler program; and a mill production calendar.

L-M Equipment

L-M Equipment Co. Ltd.'s 72" chop saw has an integrated saw blade guard and log hold-down. Other features include a built-in log lift and hydraulic guard tilt for easy saw blade changes. 84''-diameter models are also available, reports the manufacturer.

Multimeg Inc.

The Multimeg Mega-Vision bucking optimizer features real-time optimization; Multimeg S.A.M. (optimizer interface) and S3 (Smart Scan Software); product-mix control; simulation software package; extensive production reports; and X-Y full-profile scanning. According to the manufacturer, the 3-D operator display provides a two-view graphic display of stem, including the length of stem, log length, board solution view per log, and colour codes indicating status of the logs (cut or not cut). Mouse-driven sliders allow the operator to retate the log at any X-Y-Z angle, and three display modes are available: log profile view, board solution view and selected boards. The Mega-Vision bucking optimizer also features real-time onscreen shift summaries.


The Lineal Log Merchandiser produced by Murray-Pacific Design Services Ltd. enhances the flexibility of lineal bucking, creating a viable alternative to transverse merchandising. With this new merchandiser existing lineal systems can be modified and retrofitted, logs can be cut to imperial or metric configurations, and log lengths are MPM continually monitored as each stem moves through the system, enabling log defects to be bucked out. Other benefits of this system, according to the manufacturer, include automatic log sorting, low capital cost, positive feed and higher piece counts, whereby the stems can be advanced through the system at higher speeds between the bucking cycle. The system can be interfaced with scanning systems and can therefore be totally automatic - no mechanical stops are required. Accurate management reports can also be produced, says the company, showing piece counts and volumes, etc.

The present feed speed of the unit is reported at around 550' per minute, and has been run at speeds up to 700' per minute with the system on full automatic. The ramps and saw cycle speeds are all controllable; as the unit is more finely tuned and the timing improved, the net throughput speed will increase, says the company. The complete cycle time depends on log size, diameter and length; piece counts also depend on many factors, like log gap, log quality and specific characteristics, infeed/outfeed systems, order file, etc. Since log gap is the major factor governing the productivity of the log bucking system, if log gap is kept to an absolute minimum the system will produce 4,200' bucked logs per eight-hour shift, reports Murray-Pacific.

Porter Engineering

MPM Porter Engineering has been in business for 25 years, supplying turnkey scanning and controls packages for fully automated optimized log bucking on transverse or longitudinal configurations. With Porter's real-time optimized log bucking systems, each log is scanned in two or more axes to obtain stem shape data. Bucking solutions are based on current lumber prices, market priorities and inventory levels. Porter optimized bucking systems produce sawlogs, plywood peelers and pulpwood as required, and can be fully integrated with the company's RT2 primary breakdown optimization software.

Customized to specific mill requirements, both systems utilize the same user interface, parameters and operator's display. At the bucking stage, this provides real-time log rotation and board projection for every log, ensuring the correct bucking solution for each stem based on the mill's downstream needs and capabilities, says the company.

Porter longitudinal systems use pulsed, infrared through-beam scanners or optional full-profile scanners, and operate with production rates in excess of 100,000 lineal feet per shift, with a single operator. Porter transverse merchandiser systems use infrared light curtain scanners, and reportedly operate with production rates of up to 15 tree-length stems per minute.

Linden Fabricating Ltd.

The Linden Laser Log Gap Controller measures the distance from the bin wall (zero log line) to the leading edge of a log in a Linden Step Feeder or Quadrant Feeder and sets the log gap in the outfeed conveyor line.

Scanning is accomplished by projecting a continuous laser light beam onto the leading edge of the log and detecting the wave image of the light beam on a CCD array. The system measures the position of the end of a log that is located up to 152" away from the zero log line. The PLC Logic supplied with the Laser Log Gap Controller determines the time to delay dropping the log at the top of the Linden Step Feeder or Quadrant Feeder into the conveyor line, and controls the gap between the logs in the outfeed conveyor with a very high degree of accuracy, says the company.

The system includes a long-range laser sensor, long-range photocell, cooling fan, heater for outdoor applications, thermostats and a power supply. Included are a laser emissions warning indicator, beam attenuator, keylock switch, power-on time-delay relay, and remote interlock connector. A single analog connector provides the communications link between the unit and your PLC.

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