Mass Timber receives a lot of media attention these days with new buildings planned all over the United States and the rest of world. By its nature, mass timber products are more eco-friendly. If sourced appropriately, renewable wood materials replace carbon intensive steel and concrete in the construction of residential and commercial buildings. The roll-out of mass timber buildings in America has been slowed by restrictive building codes on tall wood buildings. This will change as the experiences with mass timber in Canada and Europe begin to influence the building materials desired by the general public. Advocates talk up the obvious benefits to the environment as well as the perceived improvements to public health. Reports have stated that occupants of mass timber buildings report lower blood pressure, reduced aggression and increased productivity because of visible wood used throughout the structure.
However, one of the biggest impediments to faster use of mass timber has been a lack of manufacturing in the USA. This will change as reported investments in manufacturing plants by companies such as SmartLam, LignaTerra, Nordic Structures, Katerra, DR Johnson, Texas CLT and Structure Fusion drive greater volumes of production.
Recently, Finna Sensors was contracted to provide sensors for a new cross-laminated timber production facility in the U.S. This particular plant required the use of many of our newest moisture and strength measurement sensors, including the non-contact transverse drop out system, KilnScout Wireless system, HD planer system, Precigrader™ for strength grading lumber and the inline system for final quality control. All of these systems provide rich data for process optimization. While the initial focus is on quality and automation, the next phase will center on the Internet of Things (IOT) rich data for preventive maintenance and plant up-time.
Finna Sensors has also provided NIR (Near Infrared) sensors for use in glulam operations. These plants produce industrial wood mats for use by heavy construction equipment to span ditches or muddy areas during construction. Finna Sensors’ NIR measures the moisture of each board prior to glue being applied to the surface. If the boards are too wet, the glued boards will de-laminate, causing complete failure of the product.
Finna Sensors has a long history providing solutions for the engineered wood products industry. In fact, the company is the largest provider of moisture-related sensors for the North American lumber industry, installed at more than 80% of softwood lumber mills. Many of the mills operate multiple systems for precise control of their operations to drive efficiency, throughput and quality.
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