Cross-laminated timber (CLT) and other mass timber products have increased in popularity as businesses and individuals demand more eco-friendly building materials. The demand for these materials is evidenced by the volume of new projects being announced around the U.S.A. and the world. The use of timber to replace steel and concrete could allow for a large reduction in emissions as timber production is less carbon-intensive.
To meet the demands for CLT, manufacturing plants have rapidly increased production. The challenges for CLT manufacturers mirror those of other industrial plants: lack of skilled labor to produce high-quality product, strict regulations on emissions and safety, intense competition and a relentless drive for profit.
In order to produce high-quality CLT, manufacturers must control moisture throughout the process. If moisture is too high, the gluing application fails. When moisture is too low, strength properties can degrade, thereby causing entire sections to be rejected. Strength of the lumber matters as pieces must be strong enough to meet design requirements. If pieces are too weak, then entire sections must be rejected or risk failing in the field. Both moisture and strength can and should be tested early in the process to reject incoming material that fails to meet minimum standards.
Typically, CLT producers will need to check incoming material at various points to ensure moisture content falls within a narrow band of acceptance. We provide both inline and transverse sensors that are installed on the production line to measure moisture and strength in real-time. If a piece falls outside of set parameters, then they can be rejected before further processing. Knowing early that a piece is too wet or that its strength is too low is critical to avoid assembling entire sections that then must be scrapped.
Our moisture sensors will check each piece of lumber to confirm its moisture content is within targeted levels. Additionally, strength grading sensors can be used online to inspect incoming pieces to properly sort depending on the lumber quality. Higher strength pieces can be used on different sections of the cross laminated structure. Lower strength pieces can be sorted for less intensive sections. By rejecting pieces not rated for large, engineered panels, you avoid loss of time and labor that might otherwise be necessary to make these determinations.
Improved moisture control has emerged as an important process improvement element in the forest products industry as mills continue to focus on profitability and yield. SCS Forest Products by Finna Sensors provides the industry’s widest-used end-to-end line of integrated moisture measurement systems and related process optimization tools. Click to also learn more about our products for the sawmill, kiln, planer and biomass.
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