In the lumber manufacturing process, the planer mill is the final step, where boards are dressed to their final size and graded to ensure they meet all regulatory requirements before final packaging. It is here that all the previous manufacturing processes are connected and a value is assigned to each board.
In some instances, mills install a drop-out meter for wet boards prior to the planer. This allows companies to re-dry the boards before they’re dressed to their final dimensions. Wet boards will shrink as they naturally equalize to ambient conditions, potentially shrinking beyond the regulated size and lose substantial value as a result.
The planer mill has become a highly automated and technical processing point where boards are scanned by a variety of sophisticated sensors, including moisture, to determine the final quality grade of each piece. Given the large profit differences between grades, mills increasingly look to optimize their results through moisture driven trim solutions and/or cut-in-two solutions.
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Finna Sensors, from its acquisition of Northern Milltech (NMI) in 2008, has offered solutions for the planer mill for 20+ years. Since 2008, the technology offered by Finna Sensors has advanced to include both linear and transverse solutions, the addition of temperature and distance measurements incorporated into the measurement calculations, as well as, Internet of Things (IOT) data. Through a partnership with Dynalyse of Sweden, Finna Sensors can offer acoustic strength (MSR) grading as well.
More frequently now, Finna Sensors passes the moisture content data off to an automatic grading system, which factors in other natural defects to optimize the grade for each piece of lumber. These grading decisions can include trimming a board to cut out wet zones or natural defects, to make a shorter but higher value board. Sometimes, a longer board will be cut-in-two, to create two shorter boards with higher value while creating efficiency gains by only handling one board prior to this final step. Finna Sensors can also pass the moisture content of each piece to Dynalyse’s Precigrader to incorporate moisture in the MSR grade determination.
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 and biomass.
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