Tech Update – Log Merchandising Systems

by | Sep 1, 2023 | Logging & Sawmilling Journal, New Technology, Sawmill, September/October, Tech Update, Value Added

Versatile Fab & Machine

Versatile Fab & Machine (VFM) has supplied its last five log merchandizers to leading lumber manufacturers such as Canfor, Interfor and Hampton Lumber.

Built robust to withstand handling coastal Douglas fir and Southern Yellow Pine, the technology is said to allow for high process rates and reliability for every cut. The equipment fit is ensured with VFM’s engineering team, Core Engineering Services, and equipment is designed and supplied to customers’ custom needs.

Production rates for the merchandizer system must be reported as averages due to the variable stems in and the resultant blocks produced. Typically, production rates of 8 to 12 stems per minute are realized. If the stems coming in contain a high percentage of very short or max length logs, these numbers could fluctuate. Peak rates would be seen on short, smaller diameter stems.

Every VFM merchandizer is designed and manufactured with extreme duty service in mind, says the company. Features include:

– base plates to sub-steel that utilize rubber pad elements to allow for shock loads

– positioning bumper cushioning circuit to dissipate impact loads

– take-away conveyor with concrete-filled loading section

– heavy duty, industry-known components to suit extreme mill duty service

– heavy wall steel sections that are fit for purpose

– shop pre-wired to junction boxes with devices mounted for expedited field connection to customer controls system

– fully integrated positioning bumper hydraulic power unit included, and,

– merchandizer totally shop-assembled to save time on installation.

Along with every merchandizer, one, fully-engineered, lifting frame assembly is supplied to offload carriages and install them on the track system. A saw change platform is also supplied to allow filer’s access to the arbour to change blades.


USNR says it offers the industry a highly accurate high-production merchandizing system featuring the LogPro-brand merchandizer, with fully integrated merchandizing lines in lineal, transverse, and U-shaped configurations to match any mill’s layout and requirements.

The merchandizing system features powerful BioLuma 3900L scanning sensors to deliver the highest speed ultra-high density (UHD) laser profiling for the most demanding lineal applications. Transverse scanning with Lasar2 is a great option when space limitations for a linear layout cannot be overcome.

USNR’s fully integrated solution maximizes value and volume recovery from each stem. USNR says that its experience integrating mechanical equipment, PLC controls, scanning systems, and optimization software is second to none, adding that with a large log handling product portfolio, USNR can fulfill the custom needs and designs of most log handling applications.


FiberPro is an industry leader in high speed recovery merchandizing and roundwood handling systems for corporate and independent clients serving softwood and hardwood applications, says the company.

The company’s priority is to supply its clients with high performing engineered solutions that have the highest safety standards and reliability standards in the industry.

FiberPro’s merchandizer systems have over 25 years of constant development and improvements. Its new stem/log singulation systems use an innovative new drive design and are now self-cleaning with either a full-plated design or cam/screw technology.

FiberPro’s log trimmer merchandizer systems are 7th generation, with a lineal guide system that allows saw modules to be guided on a single large roundway system that allows slide speeds in excess of 100 ft/min for unparalleled shifting performance, safety and repeatable accuracy. Saw modules are designed with advanced materials such as aluminum and advanced drives like servos, for added speed and strength with less mass to move.


In a recent webinar, Norvin Laudon, Director of MiCROTEC Vancouver, presented what the company says is a game changing innovation that promises to reshape the wood industry. Laudon introduced the concept of CT X-ray scanning, highlighting its ability to delve into the inner characteristics of logs.

“CT Log can look inside logs and find things like knots and splits, and virtually grade the lumber, to come up with the best sawing solution,” he said. “By determining the best log rotation and the correct thicknesses, the highest final grade of the sawn lumber is achieved. What we’re really talking about is automated grade sawing.”

One of the most compelling aspects of CT scanning, as highlighted by Laudon, is the notion of “sawing from the inside out.” This approach allows mills to gain insights into the internal structure of a log before making any cuts, enabling informed decisions regarding its utilization. By using the data obtained from the CT Log’s scan, mills can optimize products for value rather than mere volume, ultimately enhancing the overall lumber breakdown process.


Intellibuck is Inotech’s solution for optimized stem merchandizing. Maximum optimization of the stems is achieved by determining the most profitable log bucking patterns. It generates the best bucking pattern from the true shape scanning of the entire stem (not only from diameter and length scanning), and allows log bucking according to the best sawing pattern (not only from diameter and length information). It offers precise linear reading of stems with the best true shape scanner for stems up to 80˝ long and 24˝ diameter. It features precise travelling of the sawing modules via electrical encoded motorization and ultra soft saw swing action via HD crankshaft and electrical motorization.

Dual stage stem accumulation devices are independently controlled for high speed operation, and super heavy duty and well designed construction ensures long lasting components, says the company.

Inotech offers a full mill infeed equipment lineup such as stem accumulation decks, stem and log singulators, V-flight conveyors, etc.

BID Group

The BID Group describes its bucking optimizer as a game changer in stem optimization. Its true shape scanning design allows for precise analysis, ensuring every part of the stem is used to its fullest potential, it says, which translates to significant benefits.

With a compact design, BID’s bucking optimizer is easier to incorporate into existing layouts.

The system excels at maximizing recovery rates and log value. By efficiently determining the optimal cutting parameters, it ensures that every log produced is of the highest quality, increasing profitability.

The product mix feature is a valuable addition, allowing wood processors to adapt to market demands. This flexibility ensures that operations can quickly respond to changing market dynamics.

The bucking optimizer offers both transverse and linear configurations, catering to different processing needs. It optimizes saw positions based on previous positions, enhancing production rates. With a production speed of up to 700 ft/min, it can handle a wide range of diameters, lengths, and wood species.

BID’s log bucking system is designed for optimal processing of stems into logs, poles, or plywood logs. It offers two configurations: transversal and linear, each with unique advantages.

Raptor Integration

The StemScanner is the evolution of Raptor’s log scanning and optimization moved upstream to tackle the requirements of the merchandizer. The system supports single or multiple linear scan zones to build a 3D model of the stem at high production speeds.

In block optimization mode, mechanical constraints and optimization preferences are considered during optimization. It allows the user to specify a value per block which is used to determine the value of a given optimized solution. Blocks are configured by length ranges, allowable sweep and taper, output destination, and diameter constraints for small and large ends.

Full optimization builds off the foundations of block optimization. The initial logic to determine a valid solution remains the same as block optimization, however, as each block is further optimized by virtually fitting valid finished products based on value.

Both modes of operation allow for an operator to remove defects and trigger a re-optimization of remaining material.

Endurance Equipment

Endurance Equipment has designed and implemented over 40 high speed merchandizing systems. Its systems have led the development of techniques and processes that have pushed the production limits of accurate, high speed block merchandizing, says the company. Up to 15 stems per minute can be processed.

Endurance says that its vertical carriage design coupled with its new fully electric positioning system is the superior way to accurately position the stem to the proper zero line, and cut consistently within the required block tolerances.

Heavy duty design of all stem and block handling equipment takes the abuse of continuous operation.

From the infeed deck and stem singulator through the merchandizer system to block control outfeed system, Endurance says that it can provide the custom system that will perform to mill requirements.




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