Tech Update: Recovery Optimization Tech

by | Feb 16, 2024 | 2024, January/February, Logging & Sawmilling Journal, New Technology, Sawmill, Tech Update, Value Added


JoeScan 3D laser scanners are made for sawmills. It has more than 5,000 scanners installed in sawmills all over the world and according to the company, their very first scanners are still running strong, over 20 years later.

JoeScan scanners are said to be simple and reliable. They are built to withstand the harsh conditions of a sawmill environment, including high levels of moisture, dust, and vibration. This means JoeScan scanners can continue to provide accurate measurements and reliable data even in the toughest conditions, says the company. A five-year warranty is included with every scan head.

JoeScan’s latest JS-50 models deliver fast and accurate scans throughout the modern optimized sawmill. They design each model to deliver the best results for specific machine centres. From the bucking line to the carriage, end-dogger, gang, edger, and trimmer, JoeScan says that it can help to improve the recovery, grade, and value of every cut made.


BID Group

Revolutionizing the wood processing industry, BID Group says that its Primary Breakdown Closed Loop system stands out as a game changer for optimal breakdown recovery thanks to its advanced automation capabilities.

Operating seamlessly, the Closed Loop system automatically makes real-time adjustments, alleviating the workload on team members and allowing them to focus on other critical tasks. Leveraging data from existing Comact scanners, the system provides comprehensive information about the log’s shape, guaranteeing high accuracy.

A standout feature is the innovative Multi-offset Adjustment function, which accelerates adjustments and corrects offsets swiftly, promoting a more efficient workflow. The Pattern Deduction function sets a new standard for closed loop reaction time in defining cutting patterns, delivering what BID Group says is the fastest response on the market.

Moreover, the system automatically corrects offsets to cutting tools and infeed modules, instantly identifying mechanical breakdowns or problems. Real time dashboards display issues for prompt attention, minimizing fibre and value loss and ensuring uninterrupted production.



The Inotech CCS offers four-side facing and sawing in just one pass. It is the result of 20 years of research and development and testing to what Inotech calls unmatched lumber quality and the best board surface quality achieved with a one-pass system. It also makes small log sawing profitable.

The company describes its CCS as the best designed small log one pass system, featuring sturdiness, durability and reduced maintenance.

It features 3D full optimization with infinite positioning and high speed production up to 700 feet per minute, while providing sharp corners and no tear out around knots.

It can handle log diameters from 3’’ up to 12’’ and sawing patterns from 1½’’ x 1½’’ up to 6” x 6’’.

The Inotech CCS also offers an integrated sawing box as well as limited and controlled curve sawing.

Among the CCS options are 3D full optimization with automatic log rotator and 2D scanning with mechanical log rotation.

Its heavy duty construction also makes it suitable for Southern U.S. application, with an option for big logs featuring profilers and two arbors for the gang saw.



Artificial intelligence (AI) is a buzzword found everywhere these days but USNR has been developing it for wood processing applications since 2012.

USNR’s AI-driven deep learning technology is proven in its sawmill grade optimizers, providing significant advances in solution accuracy and recovery that achieves a new level of defect detection, says the company. It makes lumber grading solutions more accurate and more profitable.

R&D scanning innovations like Bioluma, MillTrak, LASAR, and LPS/LPL sensors have produced some of the highest density scan data the industry has come to rely on. Sensor technology that adds vision data to laser profile measurements during the trimming process has led to systems that not only optimize for maximum recovery but also for maximum value. USNR encourages investigation of both its Bioluma sawmill edger and trimmer grade classification systems.

The company has over 150 grade scanning systems installed and over 100 deep learning systems delivering results. Committed to superior customer service, USNR offers 24/7 support and training worldwide.



Accurate log rotation before the first processing step is decisive in achieving high value recovery. With its optimization software, LINCK uses 3D scanning data to generate a value-optimized cutting pattern and then determines the required angle for log rotation.

With Log Motion Control, LINCK presents a further step in the development of this technology. In addition to determining the log rotation angle, a MiCROTEC Truespin scanner is used where a camera records a characteristic pattern on the log surface and where the log position is transmitted to the LINCK Log Motion Control during the whole rotating process. The software determines the true log rotating position compared with the theoretical one. Any deviations will be compensated for by immediately adjusting the position of the rotating rollers.

The log rotation process is therefore under the full control of the LINCK Log Motion Control software.


Nicholson Manufacturing

Nicholson Manufacturing describes itself as at the forefront of log debarking and is embracing additive manufacturing to enhance mill operations.

Based in Sidney, B.C., this innovation leader has introduced MLX knife tips, embodying their commitment to quality and efficiency in the mill environment. These 3D-printed parts mark a significant leap in log processing, offering increased wear life and improved impact resistance from carbide breakage caused by rocks and other debris.

Furthermore, Nicholson’s advancements promise reduced maintenance, as the frequency of debarker tip changes is significantly lowered. With the new parts designed to be more recyclable, Nicholson Manufacturing says that this pioneering shift not only cements the company’s legacy as industry innovators but also underscores their commitment to efficiency and environmental stewardship. By integrating cutting edge technology into essential wear parts, Nicholson is setting new industry standards for durability and operational efficiency in lumber processing, ensuring their equipment lead in innovation and performance.


HALCO Software Systems

Most mills today have optimizers from primary breakdown through to planer grading. WSO from HALCO Software Systems helps users to “optimize their optimizers”.

WSO determines a mill’s optimal production mix and the optimizer parameters (including prices and penalty costs) to produce that mix.

WSO combines SAWSIM with linear programming optimization in a proprietary iterative technique. WSO determines the operating plan that maximizes profit by considering: logs to be processed; market prices; sales mix constraints from committed orders (including home centre commitments) and open market opportunities; and, mill flow/bottlenecking machines.

Most mills run WSO weekly. WSO results are presented in a KPI report which becomes “the plan” to which everyone is working—management knows the plan, sales knows the production mix to expect, and the mill knows their production targets. Optimizer parameters are then entered to implement the plan.

WSO maximizes profit by resolving trade-offs between recovery, sales mix, and production rate.


Raptor Integration

The Raptor BoardScanner-Q transverse grading optimizer, with its unique point and click teaching method, makes it simple to train lumber defects into the AI module for classification.

The end camera software continues to analyze pith location at the end of the board.

The system now interpolates the “pith line” from known location to known location along the piece. This provides improved pith reference at each slice.

The software uses several pith models and predictive algorithms when calculating knot displacement in a more precise manner. This results in more high grade lumber packages exiting the mill.



In October, MiCROTEC sat down with Blanca Forestry Products, a mill situated in the heart of Blanca, Colorado. Established in 2017 as part of a fire mitigation initiative, Blanca Forestry Products has embraced technology and innovation as core drivers of its operations. MiCROTEC began working with Blanca Forestry Products in 2020 with the installation of a Lucidyne scanner and the integrated QC Assist tool, leading to a remarkable transformation in the mill’s performance.

Rick Engebretsen, Mill Manager of Blanca Forestry Products, and his team saw a significant improvement in their operations following the integration of the Lucidyne scanner, says the company. This advanced technology, coupled with MiCROTEC’s grading support, resulted in substantial enhancements, notably in uptime, recovery rates, and reduced downtime. According to Julian Sanchez, a member of the Blanca Forestry Products team, “we have a more consistent board flow. Uptime has increased at least 20 per cent.”


MPM Engineering

MPM Engineering supplies cutting edge scanning and optimization systems. Its customizable design strategy incorporates the latest scanning technology from leading manufacturers to continually enhance its optimization features to meet individualized specifications. MPM Engineering’s scope includes stem merchandizing, log sorting, log rotation, active turn control, cant breakdown, board edging, trimming and sorting.

Using 3D scan data, its optimizers detect and measure log characteristics including diameter, taper, sweep, crook, flare, pistol grip, nodal swells, catface and kinks. Its bucking optimizer grades and solves for the highest value logs in each stem, which can be later re-identified at the sawline by its log grading system. Its edger and trimmer systems use scanner technologies including colour, laser intensity and scatter to detect features for more accurate optimal solutions.

Currently, MPM is working on enhanced transverse scanning using AI-based techniques for feature detection. MPM says that it is constantly pushing technology further to give its customers a competitive edge.



Autolog started its journey 35 years ago by offering industrial controls for sawmills and planer mills. The company says it has since become recognized worldwide as a pioneer in wood processing optimization. Today, the company offers solutions for every part of the sawmill and planer mill. Several of its products now use Artificial Intelligence (AI). In 2021, the company was acquired by Carbotech.

As for optimization, Autolog was the first supplier from Eastern Canada to offer a transverse optimizer. They became so popular that most of the sawmills in Eastern Canada and New England with a trimmer optimizer were powered by Autolog. Today the company can offer solutions with visual detection on trimmer lines in order to grade boards right at the sawmill using AI and its expertise to grade lumber in the planer mill thanks to the Prograder. In addition to these innovative products, Autolog can also optimize any brand of breakdown equipment.

Tony Kryzanowski



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