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Logging and Sawmilling Journal October/November 2011

February/March 2012

On the Cover:

From the filing room to the sawmill floor, forest companies are now investing capital dollars to maintain their cutting edge in production and efficiency. Read about how Canfor tackled a major upgrade at the company’s Polar sawmill in this issue (Photo courtesy of Del-Tech Manufacturing Inc.)


A recent resource conference in B.C. highlighted the huge growth the forest industry has seen in lumber exports to China—and that there is still more growth to come.

Tigercats taming steep slopes

B.C. logging contractor Mike Closs has recently made investments in some new equipment, including a Tigercat 635D six-wheel skidder and a new Tigercat L870C leveling buncher, both of which are now ably taking on steep slopes in the B.C. Interior.

Debarker in the bush

B.C.’s Timber Baron Contracting has carved itself a market niche selling timber to Asian customers, and to meet Asian health standards they have developed and designed their own portable debarker to peel the logs in the bush.

Learning from experience

Canfor’s Polar sawmill in B.C. learned from the experience of a sister mill in planning its own upgrade, and opted to do the $20 million project in two phases, to assist in the start-up curve.

From paper to wood pellets

A new $19 million wood pellet facility has opened at the site of a former Smurfit-Stone paper mill in Quebec. Trebio Inc. has achieved the ENPlusA1 standard for its wood pellets and is looking to serve domestic and European markets.

Bringing biomass to the Beast

Transporting their Bandit 2680 Hybrid Beast Recycler to the biomass—rather than bringing the biomass to the recycler—is paying off for Ontario logging contractor Don Tucker.

Fink’s Sawmill carries on logging —minus the mill

The sawmill in Fink’s Sawmill is long gone, but the company continues on as a logging contractor in the B.C. Interior, tackling beetle-infected lodgepole pine in the Bulkley River drainage.

Turning the wood residue power switch on

Using European technology, B.C.’s Nechako Lumber will soon have a new plant to capture surplus heat created through the utilization of wood residue, and convert it to electrical power.

The right exit strategy for you and your business

Logging glory days relived on Vancouver Island

The Edge

Included in The Edge, Canada’s leading publication on research in the forest industry, are stories on Canadian Wood Fibre Centre /Natural Resources Canada and Alberta Innovates - Bio Solutions research projects.

The Last Word

Tony Kryzanowski says the Burns Lake sawmill tragedy is a safety wake-up call for the forest industry.

Tech Update

Supplier Newsline


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Tech Update

Lumber Marking and Tracking Equipment


USNR’s True-Read Grade Mark Reader is a fully trainable, mill-maintainable system that reads and interprets handwritten grade and trim marks, cut-in-two, and cut-out marks. It recognizes marks with 99.7 per cent accuracy under typical conditions, with low re-run and off-grade rates, the company says. Greater accuracy is possible under ideal conditions.

The system tolerates variations in mark thickness, brightness, and skip, while rejecting board noise. It accurately recognizes more symbols and can be trained to recognize acceptable variations of symbols. Advanced color recognition allows for individual grader colors and accurate monitoring, while superior mark thresholding techniques cause fewer marks to be rejected or misread.

It is fully integrated with USNR’s WinTally sorter management and reporting system at sites where both systems are installed for grade and mark setup, crew/shift/color setup and reporting.


The wood industry is asking for better and more sophisticated equipment to meet the challenges of today’s customers.

Among the improvements that have emerged in the last decade is printer technology, with systems moving from simple printing wheels to sophisticated ink jet print heads. Many other types of systems such as UV code and DOT matrix printers have also come a long way, to help meet new challenges.

Autolog is a leader in all these styles of printers, and the company says the key for successful printing lies in the quality of the design and the experience of the people who integrate the printers into the production process.

Autolog has several different technologies. Among them are: ink jet printers with Hewlett-Packard print heads allowing the printing of barcodes; UV code printers with triple top/bottom heads for linear planer tracking systems; dot matrix alpha-numerical printers mostly used in the hardwood industry; and, custom UV printers to track solutions from trimmer to edger.

These systems share the same basic philosophy, which consists of supplying a heavy duty and protective enclosure, the best controls and 25 years of experience in the wood industry.


Signode provides coding, marking and labeling solutions for the lumber and panel industry.

Its automated printing and labeling equipment is easy to use and integrates seamlessly into a production line, the company says. With PLC-based programming, Signode’s equipment is easy to manage and allows customers to adjust their printing message and parameters between jobs quickly and effortlessly. Built-in features like emergency clear functions and error detection systems minimize downtime.

Signode’s direct-to-product printing systems print grade information, logos and barcodes directly onto lumber and panel products. Capable of printing variable information in multiple colors, the company’s systems offer high speed printing, maximum resolution quality and precise placement for maximum speed and efficiency.

Signode’s stenciling solutions are capable of adding a company’s logo or information to both sides of the lumber load.

Signode’s lumber and panel wrap printing solutions offer customers customized wrap printing for load identification and barcoding, reducing material and labor costs. With the capability of printing tailored information without length or detail limitations, the company’s lumber and panel wrap printing systems are said to offer more flexibility and versatility.

Samuel Strapping SystemsSamuel Strapping Systems

Samuel’s ink jet printing and labeling systems are used in numerous mills across North America in applying ink jet grade stamps, unique board identification, grader identification, time/date information, standard and 2D barcodes, package stenciling, nail lines, and more.

New applications include “invisible ink” that can be applied to products with Samuel’s standard ink jet equipment. It is visible only when a UV light is shone on it. This can be used for numerous applications that require the application of specific information that customers do not want to be visible on the product.

Another new application is 2D barcodes that can contain very large amounts of information in a very small area and can be read with 2D code readers.


Several of Z-Tec’s customers were interested in using the WinJet II Lumber Marking System to print full color logos on each board as part of their marketing and branding strategies. Z-Tec invested in developing a line of color inks to match these logos, ensuring they measure up to all Z-Ink standards.

However, these full color printing projects didn’t stop with the inks. Z-Tec redesigned some key components of the WinJet II System to ensure these logos are a success.

Research and testing were put into dithering inks, combining few colors to simulate additional colors, which are not in fact present. This process is important as it eliminates the need for multiple colors, thus greatly reducing operating costs.

The capping/wiping stations were expanded to hold four pens each. This reduces the overall footprint of the machine on customers’ lines, as well as improving the stitching on the logo, making it more reliable even if the board moves while printing. It also greatly reduces any possibility of misalignment when dithering colors.

The vision system was enhanced to include color inspection, ensuring that every grade stamp and full color logo is unerringly printed.

Concept Systems Inc.

BoardMark is a simple, reliable, low-cost, and low-maintenance solution for barcodes. The system can be installed at the stacker outfeed/packing infeed or in-line at the trimmer outfeed. The barcode is weather resistant with a perfect readability rate at the retail store, which also reduces labor and safety issues.

Retail stores are now selling lumber with the barcode printed directly on the end of the board; employees like the fixed barcode because it saves them time during check-out. Since the fixed barcodes are error proof, management knows the lumber inventory is accurate and, more importantly, it is an asset protection measure.

“No price checks are required for lumber with these barcodes. It saves us time and money,” says Nicholas Perrin, a retail store manager in Stockton, California.

Founded in 1999 and based in Albany, Oregon with offices in Seattle and Denver, Concept Systems Inc. provides automation services by taking advantage of the latest in proven technologies.

Started in 2001 (incorporated in 2007) and based out of Snohomish, Washington, Grade Tech Systems provides integrated printing systems within wood products industry requirements.

Universal Tag

What’s your log and lumber inventory worth? Don’t know? Not sure?

Universal Tag, Inc. specializes in sequentially numbered and bar coded log and lumber tags for tracking, sorting, inventory control and identification purposes.

A good tagging program will assist in optimizing inventory, says Universal Tag, reducing waste and obsolescence, and provide chain of custody accountability, inventory valuation, pricing strategies, and more. By tagging logs and lumber, customers gain control of their inventory, the company says, rather than the inventory controlling them.

SCS Forest ProductsSCS Forest Products

Responding to requests from quality control personnel for timely, accurate data sharing between lumber dry kilns and the planer, SCS Forest Products (SCSFP) developed ProTrac to facilitate communication and speed up the feedback loop between these two linked, but distinct production centres in the sawmill.

Using the LAN, software drivers automatically push moisture-related data from various SCSFP moisture meters to a shared SQL database, which ProTrac queries to ultimately display, trend, filter and report drying related data. From different work stations, kiln operators can quickly observe the results from previous charges, planer operators can assess moisture content distributions or shift reports, and quality control personnel can generate reports, which compare drying times, moisture contents and other performance indicators to maximize efficiencies in their drying operations.

Scaling ProTrac from a mill environment to a corporate environment allows benchmarking and facilitates best practices between several mills using the standardized reporting tools provided in ProTrac.

Vab SolutionsVAB Solutions

VAB Solutions has developed a simple and effective marking valve system, which is used by more than 60 customers throughout Canada. This unique marking valve eliminates the use of compressed air and simplifies operations and maintenance, the company says.

There are several advantages to the VAB Solutions marking valve system. It is adapted for lineal or transverse processes; allows simultaneous marking of different colors; has an operational pressure from 5 to 70 psi; offers easy installation by its unique connector; requires no air supply; is available on single or multiple valves; offers manual synchronization of the marks without any PLC programming; has a lifetime of more than 20 million cycles; and, is CSA certified.

VAB Solutions understands that investments in R&D enable it to meet the challenges of the lumber industry. It has used innovation to meet the challenges of the industry since 2006.

It has made R&D investments of more than $3 million, allowing its business partners to benefit from affordable technology solutions to maintain and increase their competitiveness.