Page 1

INSIDER Millwide



RoyOMartin’s dryer installed in 3 weeks – new game-changing concept

SAWMILL GRADING ON A NEW FRONT BioVision grades for Shop and Moulding products at Evergreen Forest

STAYING STRONG IN THE SOUTH USNR ‘shows its stuff’ with a recap of installation achievements



SUBSCRIPTIONS Tel.: 250.833.3028 EDITOR Colleen Schonheiter CONTRIBUTING EDITOR Sonia Perrine

Succeeding together With the SFPA Forest Products Expo on the horizon, we took a look back at some of the great projects we’ve worked on over the past couple of years, focussing on the southeastern US region. It’s been very satisfying, and at the same time it brings an appreciation for how much both our customers and USNR are investing in this industry. RoyOMar tin Lumber Company is one of our most rewarding success stories. After recently installing two Coe 4-deck jet veneer dryers, this major plywood producer is investing again with one new 6-deck unit installed and another in the works. The company put its trust in USNR not only with the latest drying technology, but with the vision to dramatically refine the installation process. USNR was also awarded the oppor tunity to fur ther our BioVision sawmill grading technology to meet the requirements for grade classification of Shop and Moulding products. The Evergreen Forest operation near New Meadows, Idaho, affirmed their trust in USNR to refine the system and master this specialty product market. Our look back at projects over the past couple of years in the US southeast features some of our proudest success stories. The array includes primary and secondary breakdown, kiln drying and dry mill processes, and runs the technology gamut with mechanical, optimization and machine controls. With the industry finally on the upswing we take great satisfaction in the fact that the majority of Nor th American producers have made it through to the other side of the ‘great recession’, and our technology has helped many of you to get there. It’s time for us all to reap the rewards of the return to better markets. If you attend the SFPA tradeshow coming up June 5-7 in Atlanta, be sure to drop by our booth #424 for a visit. We have more innovations we’d love to show you! Sincerely, Colleen Schonheiter Editor

USNR PARTS & SERVICE 7/24 Service: 800.BUY.USNR Tel.: 360.225.8267 Fax: 360.225.7146 Mon. - Fri. 5:00 am - 5:00 pm PT USNR LOCATIONS

Woodland, WA Headquar ters 360.225.8267 Parksville, BC

Eugene, OR



Plessisville, QC

Jacksonville, FL



Salmon Arm, BC

Painesville, OH



© 2013, U.S. Natural Resources, Inc. All rights reserved. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to 1981 Schurman Way, Woodland, WA 98674. Canada Post: Return Undeliverable Canadian Addresses to: USNR c/o Colleen Schonheiter, 3550 - 45th Street Southeast, Salmon Arm, BC V1E 4N2


Changing the rules of the game A LEADING INNOVATION FOR AMERICA’S TOP PLYWOOD PRODUCER When the largest plywood manufacturing facility in North America goes looking for a veneer dryer supplier they need look no further than USNR. This proved to be true with the first Southern Pine 6-deck jet veneer dryer installed last fall at Chopin, Louisiana. With a successful project behind them, a few weeks after start-up RoyOMartin purchased a second, identical 6-deck dryer. Chopin is one of the most advanced plywood manufacturing facilities on the continent. In addition to the two new 6-deck dryers, the site utilizes a USNR high speed lathe system and two 4-deck USNR dryers. Chopin produces a wide array of panel products for a myriad of applications; siding,

“We were very pleased with dryers 4 and 5 which we bought from Coe. We had seen the results of the increased efficiency especially on the thermal side and the quality of veneer, so we wanted to stay with the same manufacturer.”

sheathing, underlayment, beaded decorative panels, concrete forming, radiant barrier panels, and more. It also produces top quality furniture-grade plywood and panels.

Staying with a winner In September 2010 issue of Millwide Insider we told you about USNR’s Coe 4-deck jet veneer dryer that was installed at the Chopin facility. At the time, Jonathan Martin, chairman and CEO of the company, commented, “We’ve been very, very pleased with the production capacity of the machine. We reached the machine’s capacity within a week (of start-up) with almost no issues, which is unheard of.” In late 2011, with markets on the upswing, Jonathan determined it was time to invest once more in expanded veneer drying capacity. “We were very pleased with dryers 4 and 5 which we bought from Coe. We had seen the results of the increased dry veneer capacity and improved quality of veneer, so we wanted to stay with the same manufacturer.” This latest veneer dryer project marks the 3rd Coe dryer installed at the Chopin complex, and speaks to the unwavering confidence the company holds for the Coe dryer technology.

North America’s largest plywood manufacturing facility selected USNR to supply its latest new veneer dryer – a high production 6-deck system that outperforms others on the market. In the process a new innovation for dryer installation was taken from concept to reality – effectively changing the rules of the game.

ISSUE 3 - 2013 | Millwide INSIDER


New dryer design This first 6-deck jet veneer dryer in the southern pine industry was commissioned late in 2012; it is the 4th 6-deck dryer built by USNR. The Chopin dryer includes 18 drying sections (144’) long and is heated with thermal oil. Unique USNR-designed pressurized fan shaft seals effectively keep the plant environment exceptionally clean. The Chopin plant also invested in the proprietary Automatic Dryer Exhaust Control (ADEC) system. ADEC allows automatic control of the total dryer exhaust volume, and ensures efficient production and maximum veneer quality. Cooler Pressure Balance and Veneer Temperature Control work together at the end of the process to ensure uniform temperature is maintained as the veneer exits the dryer, minimize pitch build up and maximize thermal efficiency. (For more information on these features, please see

Maintaining market momentum Jonathan Martin was determined to take every advantage of the profitable market conditions, and looked for inspiration to achieve his goal to maintain the company’s momentum in the market place. Often the largest cost a producer bears when investing in a new veneer dryer is the outage (production down time) required to demolish the old dryer, erect and commission the new dryer in its place. Jonathan

“I told Alan we had to come up with a way to tear the dryer out and put the new one in in 3 weeks.”

found his inspiration and took his idea to Alan Knokey, VP of USNR’s plywood and panel products. Jonathan explained. “We’ve experienced a very good plywood market for the past 18 months, so one of the major costs is taking that much production (about 1/3 of our dry veneer production) out for an extended period of time. I told Alan we had to come up with a way to tear the dryer out and put the new one in in 3 weeks.” He went on, “I’ve seen this done with major pieces of equipment in chemical plants. We build it off line, we roll it into place, we hook up the hot oil and electrical, and away we go.” Alan and the USNR engineering team were very excited about this new concept and the challenge it presented.

A new challenge Clint Spangler, engineering manager for USNR’s plywood and panel division, was charged with directing engineering efforts for the project. His initial reaction when presented with the idea was, “That’s a pretty big piece of machinery but there’s

no reason that would prohibit us from doing it.” The opportunity was enticing, and he commented, “Our biggest challenge was designing the dryer in such a way that we would not pull it apart when we moved it into position. Dryers are typically erected in place, so this project involved designing a means of supporting the dryer for the initial assembly, for rolling it into position and for the final positioning.” Randy Bullion, mechanical engineering manager, designed the rail system the dryer was assembled and transported on. “The rail system needed to be free of abrupt changes in elevation and width. It was designed using various sizes of beams to account for changes in floor elevation. Structural steel can have variances not only between sizes, but within the same size and weight depending on where and when the beams were produced.”

Game-changing process A typical new dryer installation can require 18 weeks of downtime; with this new concept the Chopin plant

“Our biggest challenge was designing the dryer in such a way that we would not pull it apart when we moved it into position.”

In making preparations for the big move, a large winch was mounted to the mill floor to provide the moving force required for the 1 million pound dryer. 4

Millwide INSIDER | ISSUE 3 - 2013

USNR NAMED 2012 APA INNOVATION AWARD WINNER! USNR was awarded as 2012 Innovator of the Year by EWTA/APA with the installation of this 6-deck jet veneer dryer at RoyOMartin, Chopin, Louisiana. This dryer will accomplish the equivalent production of two dryers, reducing labor costs by 50%. It will also reduce thermal energy consumption by 10%, and exhaust fugitive emissions by 15%.

Expedited installation The dryer was erected off-line, then towed into place and connected to all services under a projected expedited schedule. This gave the plant the advantage of choosing the optimum time to disrupt its production schedule to install the additional capacity, and allowed it to utilize the existing building structure to house the new dryer.

“We have another identical 6-deck dryer going in in the fall, and it will be assembled off-line and towed into place just like the last one.”

outage was less than 3 weeks. “In any production plant the cost of under capacity or lost production is huge, so anything that can be done to minimize taking machinery out of service is beneficial to us,” said Jonathan, adding that about 95% of the project went off without a hitch. From USNR’s perspective, the biggest challenge was, in Alan Knokey’s words, “Getting up the courage to make the first pull.” Dave Brown of BMI Contractors was contracted to erect the new dryer, demolish the existing dryer, and tow the new dryer into position.  

Team effort BMI Contractors, based at Salem, Oregon, has 30 years of history working with Coe Manufacturing and USNR. Dave Brown, president of BMI, said, “The relationship between our companies has always been symbiotic in that we help each other succeed. BMI works to provide trouble-free installations, offering a depth of experience and knowledge of individual machines as well as overall production flow. For us a win is when everybody is happy and with USNR

Once construction was completed, the huge new dryer was slid into position. It will process the equivalent of 2 conventional veneer dryers. With an expedited schedule, veneer producers can now install and commission a new dryer within a 3-week timeframe as opposed to the typical 20 weeks.

equipment we are confident every project will be a win.” He went on to explain that BMI has installed 2 new USNR veneer dryers at Chopin, and both projects were winners. He also commended the Chopin mill personnel, “The RoyOMartin personnel are very knowledgeable and look for ways to improve the project. They have always treated us as part of the family.” Dave commented that every project presents its own challenges. He said, “USNR has always had support in place to reduce or eliminate the effects of these challenges. I have long believed that problems are part of the job; it’s what we do with them that separates us from the crowd. Fortunately, we find this same attitude with USNR.”

Moving day He went on to explain that the major differentiator with this project was simply the magnitude of the dryer to be moved. “Other pieces we’ve moved rarely top 100,000 pounds. The new 6-deck dryer tipped the scales at nearly 1 million pounds.” After discussion with all parties involved he decided to opt for an abundance of horsepower; they mounted a large winch to the floor of the mill to provide the moving force. He said they expected the dryer would take several hours to move the 300 feet into position, but the job was done in under 45 minutes. Dave’s team has lots of experience erecting wood processing equipment. Besides the savings in outage time for the mill, he explained that this new construction process allows more time for quality checks and inspections with less timeline pressure. Improved safety is also a huge advantage.

“When a dryer is demolished and a new one built in place, production is curtailed and so getting back to operation quickly is critical. When time pressure mounts the chance of injury increases.”

A new dryer project on the horizon With the success of this project behind him, Jonathan has contracted with USNR for another dryer. “We have another 6-deck dryer going in in the fall, and it will be assembled off-line and towed into place just like the last one.” Jonathan has a lot of experience with Coe equipment and working with USNR. “It’s been a very fruitful working relationship. I’ve done business with USNR for sawmill equipment and plywood equipment for 40 years.” The ability to replace existing dryers by towing the fully preassembled new dryer into place significantly reduces the cost of a new dryer installation. This new process will undoubtedly change the face of many future veneer dryer projects, as other processors recognize the opportunity for savings in time and money. USNR is honored to have been entrusted with bringing Jonathan Martin’s vision from concept to reality.

Scan the QR code with your smart phone to view a time lapse video of the dryer construction at the Chopin plant, or go to:

ISSUE 3 - 2013 | Millwide INSIDER


USNR’s Florida operations

Southeastern US focus OUR SKILLED TEAM DELIVERS AND SUPPORTS YOUR USNR PRODUCTS! USNR’s facility at Jacksonville, Florida is home base for our team of nearly 100 personnel in that region. These dedicated individuals take great pride in the the manufacture and delivery of a wealth of USNR’s products, but primarily the largest machines that make up our vast array. The operation’s roots stem all the way back to 1879 when Lafayette Moore built his first dry kiln. In the early years Moore was based at Cordele, Georgia, and through several partnerships he manufactured kilns for mills in south Georgia, Alabama and Florida. In 1906 Moore moved to Jacksonville where, through partnership with C.J. Williams they established the L. Moore Dry Kiln Company. They sold their first kiln on the west coast to a Weyerhaeuser mill at Snoqualmie, Washington in 1916. In 1919 they opened a second kiln manufacturing facility at Portland, Oregon and changed the company name to Moore Dry Kiln Company. Moore died in 1922 at the age of 76 years.


Millwide INSIDER | ISSUE 3 - 2013

In 1923 then sole owner C.J. Williams separated the two arms of the company into two distinct corporations. After his death in 1956 ownership of the two companies was also separated. Eventually the Jacksonville company was acquired by US Natural Resources (USNR), and the Portland company was acquired by Coe Manufacturing, now USNR as well. Today the Jacksonville site is where USNR’s lumber dry kilns (Counter-Flow kilns, track kilns, package kilns, Kiln Boss controls, Sloped Grate Green Burners), Coe veneer dryers, industrial freezers and some of our lumber handling machines are manufactured. The Jacksonville complex covers 10 acres (7 city blocks), and 130,000 square feet of buildings housing engineering, sales, administration, purchasing, manufacturing, warehousing and a technical service hub. Recent improvements have seen the expansion of the manufacturing plant

to accommodate a healthy list of orders for new products, upgrade components and parts. Troy Johnson leads the Jacksonville team. He has been with USNR since 2006, first in project management and now in operations. Troy is ably supported by a talented team of individuals that is expanding as well, as it works to meet the needs of USNR’s customers in all corners of the globe.

The industry’s most productive 6-Deck Jet Dryer.

Our customers expect low energy costs and high quality veneer. USNR’s 6-Deck Jet Dryer delivers. USNR’s Coe 6-Deck Jet Dryer is the most cost-effective system on the market. It maximizes thermal efficiency, minimizes exhaust flow, and improves veneer quality through exceptional humidity control. It’s just one more innovation from the company that invented jet drying.

Get more results with our 6-Deck Dryer:  50% more dry veneer per foot of dryer  Proven efficient and reliable humidity control  Industry’s best heat distribution and diffusion system  Produces high quality dry veneer

Millwide. Worldwide.


Evergreen Forest

Getting the grade out USNR’S BIOVISION CLAIMS VICTORY ON A NEW FRONTIER Shop and Moulding products are the latest achievements by USNR’s BioVision sawmill grade scanning system. For Evergreen Forest value recovery and throughput are up significantly, and new markets are on the horizon.

Producers of Shop and Moulding products have new tools to choose from with the onset of BioVision sawmill grading targeted to these specialized products. Focus was recently brought to this market through cooperation between USNR and Tamarack Mill LLC, Evergreen Forest sawmill of New Meadows, Idaho. Now this expanded capability will benefit other such producers. Evergreen Forest was established 50 years ago when Maurice Hitchcock bought the mill at New Meadows and rebuilt it. Then 15 years ago it was acquired by Bob Krogh and family. Rodney Krogh and brother Mark are president and general manager, respectively. The family also owns Clearwater Forest Industries, located at Kooskia, Idaho, about two hours away. The Clearwater operation is managed by a third brother, Jeff Krogh. The Evergreen site comprises a sawmill, dry kilns and cogeneration plant. Running two shifts it produces 2x4 through 2x12, 1x4 through 1x12, and Shop and Moulding products; annual capacity is 50-60 mmbf. It processes predominantly Ponderosa pine, with a small percentage of fir and spruce.

Selecting a system Rodney Krogh relates how he came to the decision to source out a sawmill grading system. “I was on a sales trip to several cut-up plants and saw the 8

Millwide INSIDER | ISSUE 3 - 2013

technology they were using to rip for grade in the Shop products. About a year ago I called USNR and we started to investigate the opportunity, looking to see if they could grade pine; we were looking to rip to produce Moulding, #1, #2 and #3 Shop.” He explained that the mill’s existing edging operation was a manual system, looking at each flitch with the human eye to try to pull the grade out. He recognized that the human element was limiting production and value recovery. “If we were going to continue to be a major factor in the pine market we needed to find a way to maximize recovery and value out of our pine logs.” The Evergreen operation has USNR’s MillExpert scanning on its two double-cut headrigs, the overhead end-dogging system, on the combination

“About a year ago I called USNR and we started to investigate the opportunity, looking to see if they could grade pine; we were looking to rip to produce Moulding, #1, #2 and #3 Shop.”

“We sent over several batches of our Shop boards to USNR’s facility at Eugene, Oregon, and they tested it. What they were showing me initially was pretty impressive.”

Eugene, Oregon, and they tested it. What they were showing me initially was pretty impressive.”

The new supply

The edger operator reviews the edge solutions provided by the BioVision optimization system. edger and the trimmer. Although Rodney has a lot of history with USNR and its products he did look at other sawmill grade scanning products available, but was most comfortable staying with USNR. “I did look at other systems, but USNR was the most confident in their process, and they really tackled what I was looking to achieve for grade on Shop products.” He explained that grading for Shop products is a lot different from grading for dimension lumber. With Shop products the system is looking for all the clear spacing between the knots, with no consideration for the sizing of the knots. “We sent over several batches of our Shop boards to USNR’s facility at

The new supply consists of a scanner transfer and edger table feeding an existing 5-saw Schurman edger, and a close-coupled shifting picker outfeed. A new scan frame features the BioLuma 2900LV sensors with integrated HD laser profiling and HD color vision capabilities, with grade classification via the BioVision sawmill grade optimization system. The PLC system was upgraded to the ControlLogix platform with RMC150 motion control. A MillTrak camera controls the flow at the edger infeed. Of the new supply, Rodney said, “The new 42” feed table has 3” skew on both sides to be able to handle 48” pieces, which we get off the big pine logs. The MillTrak system at the infeed is working really, really well. The edger was short coupled on the outfeed and USNR came up with a great design there.” While the new system hasn’t reduced labor, Rodney says that wasn’t what it was intended to do. “We knew we weren’t going to reduce our labor cost,

The new edger table precisely positions each piece ahead of the existing 5-saw edger. but we were going to gain on grade, scale recovery and increase production.” In the process throughput has improved dramatically. “The edger system was a bottleneck because it was a manual system; it took the operator some time handling those big 48” pieces and positioning them to try to get the grade out. He would sometimes back up the two headrigs so they would have to slow down and wait for him to play catch up. Now the two double-cuts can run full speed and the edger line can handle additional production from the overhead.”

Optimization challenges Don Reeder, USNR software engineer, did much of the programming work to meet the mill’s criteria based on the Western Wood Products Association (WWPA) grading agency rules. Don commented, “This was the first time we have done a MillExpert random width edger with vision scanning. We knew

The MillExpert BioVision edger interface was customized for Evergreen Forest’s requirements based on WWPA Shop and Moulding criteria.

ISSUE 3 - 2013 | Millwide INSIDER


optimization times would be a challenge given multiple-board random-width solutions on very wide flitches. We had the added complication of the extra computation required to generate cuttings solutions for Shop and Moulding products. We therefore added some advanced algorithmic techniques and we used distributed optimization across several computers to speed up solution times.” He went on to explain that the price differential between shop products and being able to cut Moulding out of the wide Shop is very significant. The WWPA grade book describes the following criteria for Moulding stock and Shop lumber. ► ►Moulding stock is of a type suitable for ripping

into strips 1” and wider, 10’ and longer. At least 2/3 of the area contains such rips of the grade permissible in standard Mouldings. ► ►Shop lumber is graded with reference to its use for sash and doors, or on the basis of characteristics affecting its use for general cutup purposes, or on the basis of size of cutting. The grade of Shop lumber is determined by the percentage of the area of each piece available in cuttings of specified or of given minimum sizes and qualities. Bob Arnold, sawmill grade scanning product manager, weighed in on what was required of the BioVision software. “The BioVision optimizer not only fits the appropriate cuttings into the clear/

“The BioVision optimizer not only fits the appropriate cuttings into the clear/ permissible areas of the flitch, but also requires an alignment of those cuttings in a manner that enables them to be recovered later at a secondary manufacturing plant.”

permissible areas of the flitch, but also requires an alignment of those cuttings in a manner that enables them to be recovered later at a secondary manufacturing plant. The number, size and quality of those cuttings are used to determine the edging solution that meets the required WWPA Shop and Moulding grades.”

Opportunity knocks Rodney is very pleased with the results he is seeing after implementing the new BioVision system. “Our Moulding is up probably 8%, our #1 Shop is up 4% and we are starting to get a higher percentage of #2 over #3 Shop because the BioVision system is able to distinguish a #2 from a #3 and rip/edge for that.” Not only is BioVision helping the operation recover higher value products, Rodney said, “It will

SIGNIFICANT BIOVISION EDGER FEATURES ► ►Features for Moulding and industrial Shop

optimization: • Knot location, classification and measurement • Bark pockets and rot • Splits/shake ► ►Geometric, wane, shallow face and edge wane (saddle-back), skip, crook and twist are included. ► ►Sophisticated compound wane rules are available. Primary and secondary wane rules commonly implemented allow precise control over how much wane is allowed in which locations along the board. ► ►Automatic classification is based on surface defect recognition. ► ►Flexible, easy to use product set-up, is limited only by the customer’s ability to manage combinations. ► ►Multiple grades with individual wane rules and values, are easily programmed. ► ►Parameters supporting NHLA, NeLMA, SPIB, WWPA grades rules for respective regions.


Millwide INSIDER | ISSUE 3 - 2013

allow us to enter new markets. We will be working with new and existing customers to refine our product mix.” He went on, “The BioVision scanner has also had a positive effect on our bigger Doug/ Larch and White Fir logs. The scanner can detect the larger knot sizes and rip the boards into wider products, allowing for the smaller knotted material in the narrow widths. We have seen the difference in the planer with our percentage of #3 dropping from the lack of bigger knots that had previously been down-grading our dimension.” Commissioning for the BioVision edger system was completed mid-March. During the change-over that side of the mill was shut down. The existing 5-saw edger was overhauled and the infeed and outfeed were removed. Then the new infeed system and BioVision scanning frame were installed, the edger was repositioned into place and the outfeed

“Our Moulding is up probably 8%, our #1 Shop is up 4% and we are starting to get a higher percentage of #2 over #3 Shop because the BioVision system is able to distinguish a #2 from a #3 and rip/edge for that.”

Shop and Moulding solution, above: The Moulding board is limited in width because its scale would round up to 9, dropping the yield below 2/3; the longer Moulding rip is constrained by a knot on the top side. The bottom rail allows an initial crosscut so the door cuttings don’t have to line up across its opposite sides. was installed. Bob Presley with WB Company did the engineering to fit all the new equipment into the existing tight location. Mill personnel involved with the project were Rodney Krogh, Mark Krogh, project management; Ron Haviland and Lonnie Smith, sawmill and planer QCs; and Jerry Nicholson working on the mechanical end. On USNR’s side involvement was primarily Jeff Falk, capital sales; Ben Whitaker, project manager; Shawn Devantier, optimization project manager; Bob Arnold, sawmill grade scanning product manager; Don Reeder, optimization software; and Jason Sells, controls. Training was held at USNR’s facility at Eugene, Oregon about a month prior to startup. Three Evergreen personnel were trained extensively on the MillExpert suite as well as maintenance and troubleshooting on the scanning hardware. During installation and commissioning further training was undertaken.

Continuous improvement With new products and new markets on the horizon, Rodney Krogh isn’t finished improving his operation just yet. He plans to continue to employ more advanced technology to refine his process even further. “In the near future we will be looking at optimizing with BioVision at the sawmill trimmer to do a better job of sorting out our rough products for grade to improve overall drying, and install USNR’s Transverse High Grader (THG) in the Shop planer to grade all of our Shop products.”

The BioVision scan frame features BioLuma 2900LV sensors positioned above and below the scanner transfer. Integrated LED lighting effectively illuminates the wood’s characteristics for high resolution, highly accurate visual data collection. ISSUE 3 - 2013 | Millwide INSIDER 11

TransLineator Outfeed

TransLineator Infeed

Outfeed Belt

Millwide. Worldwide.


USNR: Southern Strong USNR is proud to be well known and respected in the southern US states, with a large installed base of equipment and systems for all facets of wood processing. The unfailing trust of our customers has led us to leave our mark, revolutionizing the process through technological advancement. USNR is proud of its history providing wood processors with the equipment and technology they’ve required over the years to compete in their markets. We’re no prouder of our achievements globally than we are of the strides we’ve made here, at home in the US. Our roots in the southern states include our Jacksonville, Florida operation (see page 6) where our dry kiln business first took off. That facility is where, today not only our dry kilns but also our veneer dryers and some other USNR products are manufactured. Our Jacksonville facility is where we developed the Counter-Flow Kiln concept, together with Andy Pollard of Pollard Lumber, Appling, Georgia (see page 21). And Jacksonville is where we manufactured the first 6-deck jet veneer dryer for the southern US that was installed at RoyOMartin Lumber, Chopin, Louisiana (see page 3). Our sawmill grade scanning technology, BioVision, received its first production installation at the H.G. Toler & Son operation at Leola, Arkansas (see page 14). This technology is based on our Lineal High Grader (LHG) advancements, that were proven out on southern yellow pine at West Fraser’s Joyce, Louisiana operation (see page 15). This same West Fraser site also agreed to be the first to take on USNR’s MyMill mobile machine control system on its new sorter line (see page 20). We owe a huge debt of gratitude to the many wood processors in this region that have put their trust in USNR as together, we write the future of our industry.

The BioVision user interface features both a camera image of the board as well as a computer-generated image that displays the defects and the optimizer’s solution. This feature aids in tuning and troubleshooting, as well as off-line rerun simulation.

ISSUE 3 - 2013 | Millwide INSIDER 13

H.G. TOLER & SON: BIOVISION SAWMILL GRADE SCANNING loading edgers to high-speed lineal systems with multiple scan zones. With the switch to MillExpert optimization, the existing Geo2 scan frame and scan heads remain and continue to be used. USNR’s MillExpert analyzes scanned flitch images in 3-D, accepting data from the Geo2 laser scanners. The optimizer evaluates all allowable products and combinations of those products that can be made from each flitch. Optimum recovery is calculated based on dollar value and volume recovery. The optimizer considers product fits based on the user’s inputs (individual species, shape, grade, value, wane, priorities, and dimensional requirements) to

BioVision sawmill grade scanning received its true value test with the first production installation on a transverse edger system. The H.G. Toler & Son team at Leola, Arkansas had been keeping an eye on developments in the industry for sawmill visual grading technology, so when it was time to update the edger optimizer the team chose to include vision scanning in the mix. Though they viewed competitive offerings, confidence in USNR and satisfaction in the MillExpert™ optimization suite swung the decision to USNR and the BioVision solution. John Grigsby, mill manager, commented, “We like the MillExpert platform and we thought the greatest uplift would be through better geometric optimization. We’ve also been thinking about grade optimization for a long time and just waiting for the right product. With BioVision we would also be able to pick out grades. We have lots of USNR equipment and we’ve always received good support.”

find the most profitable solution. The software allows for board products manufactured downstream to be fit into the flitch in real time, proven on virtually every type of edger machine configuration including 2-saw and multi-saw edgers, chipping edgers with or without reman heads. No lookup tables, patterns, profiles or matrixes are used to assure the absolute highest value edger solutions possible. The second phase saw the installation of the BioVision grade scanning system. USNR’s BioVision is the only system on the market to offer the addition of sawmill visual grade scanning in one of two ways; it can be incorporated into a new scan frame or added to an existing transverse scan frame via a bolt-on housing that accommodates the vision sensors. With BioVision, USNR has combined the proven Linear High Grader (LHG) classification system developed for planer mills with the high resolution BioLuma 2900 color sensors for transverse scanning of lumber. Scanned images are fed to the defect classification engine where characteristics are extracted based on visual properties and defect shape data. These characteristics are typeclassified according to proprietary classification rules, then overlaid on the geometric profile model. Optimization software selects the most valuable solution available according to the product parameters, grade rules and prices entered. BioVision benefits include the following. ► ►Maximize volume for lower grade flitches ► ►Maximize value by cutting around defects to

Phasing in The project scope included a couple of phases; first was an upgrade to the latest MillExpert platform for geometric scanning, followed by the BioVision bolton option to add visual grading technology. The MillExpert edger optimizer supports almost any machine type including traditional side-


Millwide INSIDER | ISSUE 3 - 2013

produce clearer, higher grade boards ► ►Smart reman decisions based on defects and

geometric shape ► ►Fiber classification based on grade (combined

vision and geometric data) vs geometry only ► ►Confidence algorithms compare solutions with

and without grade input

“BioVision allows us to maximize both volume and value. If it’s a higher value piece we can cut for value, but if it’s lower value we can cut for volume.”

John Grigsby was pleased with the way the start-up progressed. “It’s probably one of the smoothest electronic start-ups I’ve ever been through.” John is also more than pleased with the results he is seeing from the system. “We’re noticing an uplift in the amount of C and D (grade) lumber. It really excels when we cut wides, we can cut 70-80% C and D. That’s a real good judge because we cut for grade only, so the BioVision has to sort out what is grade and what isn’t, and when to make wides.” He went on to say, “In terms of knot size classification it’s doing real well. It allows us to cut for specific lengths and specific grades, of specific widths. It can pinpoint exactly what we want to produce. If all we need to make is 1x12, C&better 16’ long, and if we set that as priority it won’t cut anything but.” John explained further, “Each grade class has a different wane class, so as knot defects drop the piece down in appearance grade it can stand more wane. That is how we gain in volume, by edging for the grade that is in the flitch. We used to saw for a medium grade, and it ended up being over sawn for low grade and under sawn for higher grades. Now we’re more on-grade. BioVision allows us to maximize both volume and value. If it’s a higher value piece we can cut for value, but if it’s lower value we can cut for volume. By producing lumber at the mill that is on-grade, the final grading process is streamlined, requiring less trim. The graders can often simply verify grade instead of having to trim to get it.” We are particularly appreciative of those processors, like H.G. Toler & Son who through their confidence and trust, helped USNR to take the next evolutionary step forward.


“The accuracy, consistency and flexibility of the LHG system is very impressive. West Fraser has been pleased with our history with this system.”

A giant among wood processors, West Fraser chose USNR’s LHG as its grade scanner of choice. It partnered with USNR to further develop the automated grading process, to the benefit of all producers. West Fraser was an early believer in the Lineal High Grader (LHG) system’s value, agreeing to beta several of the LHG’s technology capabilities. After over a decade of experience with this system, the company remains a strong believer in the value the LHG has provided its operations. The LHG is proven to produce excellent ongrade results for SYP with its unique defects. Like many other LHG customers, West Fraser chose to upgrade its systems at Augusta, Georgia and Huttig, Arkansas to add machine vision technology.

Vision upgrade The LHG was originally installed at Augusta equipped with geometric scanning only, and subsequently received a major overhaul with a vision grading system and a retrofit to its feed frame. The LHG system at the Huttig mill was also installed with geometric scanning, and subsequently updated to add vision grading capability. LHG vision upgrade components may include: ► ►4 vision sensors with corresponding mounting and LED lighting ► ►X-ray source and detector ► ►New computers and computer bay ► ►LHG’s latest software release

The vision module combines 4-face, multichannel vision data with density data from X-rays and geometric data from laser profile sensors. Through DataFusion™ the optimizer evaluates and compares all of the data, and accurately grades each board based on the mill’s product parameters. The LHG evaluates dimension lumber from 1x3 to 4x12 and 6x6, and from 6’ to any length run in a batch process. Its processing power and intuitive interface make it easy to set up and configure even the most complex grade classifications. Today LHG systems are grading a variety of species in most regions of Canada and the US, as well as in Europe and Australia. Jose Guthrie handles corporate process quality control for West Fraser’s US divisions, based from the Huttig, Arkansas site. When asked about West Fraser’s decision to upgrade these two sites, Jose commented. “We’re pleased with our past results. We would have liked to have done the upgrades sooner, but market conditions being what they were it didn’t make sense until now.”

All of West Fraser’s LHG systems have been upgraded to vision, or are soon to be. Jose went on to relate, “The accuracy, consistency and flexibility of the LHG system is very impressive. West Fraser has been pleased with our history with this system.” Jose’s response echoes what USNR has been hearing from other customers, including substantial increases in sales and reductions in labor. The LHG has proven to produce excellent results grading a wide variety of species in global regions. As defects and grade parameters vary USNR has fine-tuned the LHG accordingly. This affords customers the flexibility to adjust their products on-the-fly to meet fluctuating market conditions. Today LHG delivers the smallest distribution of above/below grade on a pack-by-pack basis. And customers are ramping up; in just over a year USNR sold or installed the LHG’s vision component on 33 systems worldwide. Jose commented that West Fraser is always looking for products to improve over time. USNR periodically releases new LHG software revisions that become available to benefit all LHG customers. When asked, Jose commented, “The products coming from USNR just seem to continue to get better.” Jose is also optimistic about the future of the industry. “There is so much going on in the industry right now, and West Fraser wants to stay in the lead.” With all of its LHG’s outfitted with the vision and software components, West Fraser is in an even stronger position.

Accuracy, consistency, flexibility West Fraser is well satisfied with the updated features and functionality the LHG provides. Jose said, “We are pleased with the LHG and its vision capability.”

ISSUE 3 - 2013 | Millwide INSIDER 15


“It is a real testament to the whole system when you can scan a log, rotate it, impale it on the sharp chain, send it through the chip heads and saws, and the log only moves 3 degrees. That really shocked me when the results started coming in.”

well as the PLC control systems. Graphs and onscreen indicators permit early detection of problems and overall performance at a glance. Reports are generated to isolate issues relating to a particular class of log and to track longer term trends. PGLR can compensate for the following causes of log turning errors.

The Griffin team understands the importance turn accuracy makes to recovery. They chose USNR’s PGLR system to ensure they get the best turn on every log.

► ►Mechanical wear

Griffin Lumber Company at Cordele, Georgia sourced a used USNR DLI line and a used quad bandmill with reducer heads to replace two aging C-frame carriage lines. USNR was selected to supply the optimization components comprising log rotation, Precision Geometric Log Rotation (PGLR), log optimization and System Quality Inspection (SQI), with Smart TriCam™ sensors for scanning. The optimization platform chosen was MillExpert, and this was already familiar to mill personnel.

► ►Slippage and hesitations

Optimizing the line In choosing a vendor for the optimization system, Jesse Griffin said they chose USNR because, “We know USNR can optimize a log better than anyone out there, and start-ups have always gone flawlessly. The project managers are always prepared and extremely helpful.” The Griffin team was clear about the significance of accurate log rotation, particularly on logs that need to be turned horns down for sweep. Because of the rising sharp chain arrangement configured for their mill, they realized the importance of having two points of contact on the sharp chain on logs with lots of sweep. This could only be guaranteed with a PGLR system that would ensure the log was being rotated correctly. Jesse related that the optimized log turning system


Millwide INSIDER | ISSUE 3 - 2013

would do a better job with recovery than the manual systems they had prior. “When you are talking about measurements in degrees, I don’t think any machine without auto correction (PGLR) can get that log turned right.” He said that consultants he spoke with and mill owners who used auto correction for log turning all recommended that accurate log orientation is essential to realizing the greatest value recovery.

Log rotation, correction The PGLR scanning system is located at the log turner section. It monitors and corrects the log rotation process in real time to increase recovery by reducing log rotation error. Four SmartTriCam 3D sensors scan the log as it is being rotated. The actual log rotation path is compared to the autorotation optimizer’s projected log rotation path to generate log rotation corrections. The log rotation corrections are transmitted to the PLC for correction of the log rotation path on-the-fly as it continues through the log turner. Log rotation error is typically reduced by 50% or more. PGLR can be installed with a new MillExpert optimized primary breakdown system, or as an addition to an existing system. The PGLR software is straightforward with a host of diagnostic tools to help tune the mechanical as

► ►Feed speed changes during the turn ► ►Irregularly shaped and crooked logs ► ►Transfers from one conveyor to the next ► ►Interaction with pressrolls

How did PGLR perform? The final performance test numbers tell the story. Jesse explained, “We ran 20 logs, and 19 out of 20 were off 3.19 degrees and 18 out of 20 were off 2.84 degrees. We also only lost 0.375% of the volume from the initial scan to the final solution scanner. I don’t think anyone can argue against those kinds of numbers.” Jesse went on, “As far as me personally, it has exceeded my expectations. It is a real testament to the whole system when you can scan a log, rotate it, impale it on the sharp chain, send it through the chip heads and saws, and the log only moves 3 degrees. That is virtually not moving, and it really shocked me when the results started coming in.”Jesse is very happy with the results. “We’ve seen enormous uplift in productivity and yield. We are very satisfied.”


“For our mill study we used 200 logs. We ran all those logs through and we were able to get a very good comparison between the two lines. We discovered a very significant difference in favor of both front and backside scanning.”

Application matched solution

The value of backside scanning was recently proven out in a comparison at this hardwood mill after it chose a dual scanning carriage optimization solution. Allegheny Wood Products’ (AWP) mill at Kingwood, West Virginia features primarily USNR equipment including its two carriage optimization systems, gang saw, optimized edger and trimmer, and its sorter/ stacker system. When the decision was made to update the carriage technology, all major vendors were evaluated. Mike Frantz, AWP’s IT director, commented that USNR was the vendor of choice because it had the best products for the application. The precursor to the LASAR/MillExpert system on the mill’s two carriages was USNR’s ScanMax system. With 11 years in operation Mike knew there was better technology available to stay ahead of the curve.

Proving the value of backside scanning At the same time that it was implementing the two new carriage optimization systems, the mill took advantage of the chance to set up the two carriages with differing approaches for the scanning component. One line was fitted with both front and backside LASAR scanners while the second line received only a front side scan unit. This allowed the mill to perform a detailed analysis and comparison between the two configurations to determine the true value of dual scanning systems. Jeff Storey, USNR’s project manager, weighed in on the increased value with backside scanning.

“The backside scanner allows for a better full breakdown solution by knowing what the contour of the log is on its backside. The fit for products becomes much more accurate with that first opening cut. Without it the system has to use knee locations to extrapolate the backside shape of the log, which is never as accurate.” Mike Frantz explained the mill’s process for the comparison. “For our mill study we used 200 logs. We split them up between the two lines so we would have the same number of logs in each. There were a variety of sizes and grades and amounts of defects, but we made sure both batches were equal. We wanted to determine how both lines would handle the upper and lower grades. We ran all those logs through and we were able to get a very good comparison between the two lines. We discovered a very significant difference in favor of both front and backside scanning.” With such positive results AWP is considering adding backside scanning to the other carriage optimization system. When asked his level of satisfaction with the LASAR/MillExpert combination Mike said, “Overall I am very satisfied. We did see an increase in our yield per log. And we did see an increase with front and backside scanning versus front side scanning only. It’s definitely a cost effective enough difference to make it worth pursuing.”

In certain circumstances the mill required a face order change from the full breakdown solution, and MillExpert is designed to provide this capability. Jeff Storey explains how this process works. After the first face is sawn, the typical solution would call for the sawyer to proceed to the opposing face (180 degree turn) to finish the log. With the Kingwood mill’s application processing certain log types and shapes, it is advantageous to be able to first turn the log 90 degrees and saw a few cuts before continuing on to finish the solution on the opposing face. When making this first turn, the system provides the sawyer with a minimum opening face (MOF) scan so any number of cuts can be made at his discretion. This allows him to resize the center cant of the log for more efficient processing at downstream machine centers. With the solution being maintained or rescanned on the final face, the sawyer can continue to use the optimization rather than causing an “out of sequence” situation where he would be required to finish the log with manual decision making as opposed to an optimized solution. Jeff also explained that customization was done to the control consoles and hardware to reduce the time required to switch over to the new system, thus ensuring the mill’s timeline for implementation. Mike Frantz commented, “The system is only ever as good as the people operating it, but MillExpert makes it very easy. It is very user friendly for people to work with.”

ISSUE 3 - 2013 | Millwide INSIDER 17

CANFOR-NEW SOUTH’S LOG OPTIMIZER INCREASES YIELD with a variety of sensors including LASAR™, Smart TriCam™ or DynaVision, and applications include sharp chains, Chip-N-Saws, and shifting and skewing extended length infeeds. Terry commented, “The new optimizer improved our yield in the neighborhood of 2%, which was the reason for the purchase. The MillExpert software gives us better control of product quality coming out of the log.” This can be attributed to increased productivity and recovery with true shape scanning and better modeling of the mill at the optimizer, as well as reduced downtime due to increased system reliability.

The MillExpert log optimization system is improving yield through increased productivity and recovery. Reduced downtime due to system reliability is an added bonus. Improving quality and yield was what led Terry Bishop, plant manager, to select a new MillExpert log optimization and controls system for the Canfor-New South mill at Graham, North Carolina. The project replaced 15 year old scanning technology and increased lumber recovery at the primary breakdown. After a thorough analysis of the available technology solutions on the market, Terry and his team chose USNR for the sharp chain optimization project primarily because the MillExpert system offered a superior solution that could meet all their requirements. The scope of the project included replacing an aging AST scanning and optimization system with a new MillExpert optimization system. The sharp chain consists of a log turner and two sets of twin bandmills. When the log is first loaded, a ‘snapshot’ scan is taken to calculate the skew/offset of the turning rolls. Then the log is lowered and thumped onto a sharp chain. As the log continues forward the lineal sensors are constantly scanning. After about 12” of forward log travel the full-density scan is complete. This dense, 3D scan is used for the final optimized decision. The optimization system sends instructions to the PLC to precisely align the cutting tools to perform the breakdown solution. Stephan Meinke, a member of the MillExpert design team, commented, “The use of multiple scanning lines can 18

Millwide INSIDER | ISSUE 3 - 2013

really shorten up a lineal scanning system, a good choice when space in the mill is limited.”

MillExpert’s benefits MillExpert log optimization offers significant benefits. This is a mature product that provides comprehensive control over the type of solution the customer requires. It is designed to increase the value and volume recovered from each log. The optimization system is set up by creating a virtual mill in software, which mimics how the actual mill operates. Every board, machine set, feed speed, etc. is calculated using the constraints input by the mill and applied to the log model generated from the scan data. All solutions are based on real data that is collected via the high speed, high resolution sensor system. The MillExpert log optimizer is compatible

“The new optimizer improved our yield in the neighborhood of 2%. The MillExpert software gives us better control of product quality coming out of the log.”


“Recovery in yield as well as value has a great importance. Good optimization is critical to reducing the amount of wane and producing higher value lumber with minimal loss in yield.”

chip heads to allow greater chipping depth with less lateral forces than the earlier model. The GEN-II also allows shorter cant gaps, higher piece counts and quieter operation. The Conway gang was not outfitted with profilers, so the lumber is discharged onto a sorting station where boards with wane can be dropped out and routed to the edger.

The test of time has proven the benefits of curve sawing, producing straighter, stronger, longer lumber. Curve sawing and USNR’s GEN-II gang has reshaped the industry. It is well known that technology can have a major impact on a mill’s efficiency and ability to be profitable. Canfor-New South, Conway, SC chose to upgrade its gang system from straight sawing to curve sawing to take advantage of the benefits that curve sawing affords, including the ability to buck logs to longer lengths, improve recovery and produce straighter and stronger lumber. General Manager Tim Papa and his team were looking to improve the mill’s performance with systems that offer higher throughput, improved recovery and more flexibility for the future. The team reviewed other “wiggle box” gangs on the market, and selected the GEN-II gang for several reasons. They toured other mills, observed the GEN-II in operation and liked what they saw in terms of quality, performance and value for the investment. They also had confidence in the USNR team from several past successful projects. Canfor-New South now has three USNR curve sawing gangs in operation at various sites. The team decided to go with a lineal scanning configuration because it worked well with their plans for the layout of the mill, allowed the capability to have a single operator for both log and cant breakdown, and offered an additional 1-2% recovery over transverse scanning. Tim and his team wanted to invest in curve sawing

technology because of the substantial improvement in yield it offered. Looking to the future, Tim knew that newer systems also offer greater flexibility to accommodate technology advancements. The lineal system requires less maintenance and is less labor intensive than the transverse configuration. The GEN-II gang is more powerful than its predecessor at Conway, offering higher throughput which alleviated the bottleneck that developed when the mill’s sharp chain system was installed.

GEN-II features The GEN-II gang is the latest generation from the curve sawing revolution that re-shaped the industry in the 1990s. The design of the GEN-II features the skewing and slewing CNC saw module. This allows the saw cluster to move side-to-side (slew) and pivot (skew) to match the curve of the cant. Chipping heads located ahead of the saws develop the face on the side boards. The Conway machine is a double arbor configuration with two sawing zones for 10 saws in each zone. It processes cants up to 12” thick x 24” wide x 20’ long. The infeed and outfeed sections use heavy, driven feed rolls and chain beds to stabilize the cant during processing. A clamshell opening and moving saw box create easy access for maintenance and saw changes. The GEN-II design offers large

Optimization The optimization software enhances the benefits of curve sawing, and allows the mill to match its products to ever-changing market requirements. The system’s path generator software allows compound curve evaluation with control of the cant curvature to ensure smooth lumber flow through downstream equipment. Cut logic for edging and trimming is considered in the solution and supports extensive simulations on saved or simultaneous scan data. The standard SQL interface allows integration into a centralized mill management system. The PLC system and interface is A-B ControlLogix which offers fast processing time, short cant gaps and easy troubleshooting.

Staying competitive When asked what it takes to run a successful mill operation through the tough times, Tim made the following observations. “Log costs are a big issue, accounting for 60-65% of the cost of producing lumber. This means the raw resource is like gold, and recovery in yield as well as value has a great importance. Lumber buyers are conscious of the appearance of the product. Good optimization is critical to reducing the amount of wane and producing higher value lumber with minimal loss in yield.” Smart managers like Tim Papa and his team are looking to technology to help them stay competitive.

ISSUE 3 - 2013 | Millwide INSIDER 19


“It’s reliable, and we don’t have to have someone up there on the sorter letting down the bays conventionally.”

West Fraser’s Joyce, LA mill is the first to implement a new concept for machine control using mobile devices running USNR’s new software application, MyMill. USNR deployed its revolutionary new MyMill application on a small fleet of iPads and iPods as part of the installation of a new 70-bin sorter at West Fraser’s mill in Joyce, LA. Now mill personnel are routinely finding new ways to use MyMill HMI to perform their job functions more efficiently and safely. MyMill is a new software suite developed by USNR that enables mill personnel to interact with mill equipment using mobile devices. MyMill replicates, in a mobile device, all of the functionality that is typically available through a stationary HMI touchscreen.

West Fraser application Gary Milhollen, mill manager at the West Fraser, Joyce operation, is a believer in the benefits of the MyMill mobile interface to control the mill’s new 70bin pusher lug sorter. He commented, “It’s reliable, and we don’t have to have someone up there on the sorter letting down the bays conventionally.” He has an iPad in his office that he uses to monitor what is happening at the sorter, while the mill’s planer mill superintendent, James Austin, chose an iPod. To meet the Joyce mill’s requirements USNR supplied 5 mobile devices, 2 iPads and 3 iPods, that are loaded with the MyMill interface software. These devices completely replace the 11 consoles that would have been needed in a conventional supply. Also included is a full-size HMI screen located at the


Millwide INSIDER | ISSUE 3 - 2013

stacker operator’s area, and another in the control room. The sorter operator carries an iPad and is able to control all of the sorter functionality remotely. The sorter operator can choose which bins to dump in several modes: ► ►Full auto – the system selects bins in ascending or descending order. ► ►Selectable auto – operator selects bins to dump and sets dump order. ► ►Manual – operator controls bin equipment and floor chains directly. To perform a function such as jogging the discharge deck, the operator must hold his finger on a button on the screen until the desired jog is accomplished. If he removes his finger, the deck stops. The sorter operator often finds it is more convenient to dump a bin while he is at the floor chain level where he can also manage the discharge decks. He has the ability to discharge any number of bins while standing adjacent to the floor chains. This also improves package staging to the stacker. The system can be monitored by anyone who carries one of the MyMill interface devices.

Safety For West Fraser, safety was a concern with the use of the devices. Using a mobile device is actually much safer for sorter operation than the use of a stationary

console typically mounted at the top of the bins. Mobility allows the operator, maintenance or service personnel the capability to actuate any aspects of the sorter operation from the location that is most convenient for dumping a bin, clearing a jam, changing out a valve, etc. They do not need to rely on the exchange of messages with another worker to control the operation. With MyMill you can be in the optimum location for what you need to do, and if lock-outs are required you can verify that they are in place before proceeding. Some personnel may be tempted to skip locking out a machine for a “simple” fix because of the extra trips back and forth to the console, but putting the console in his hands eliminates that danger.

Added benefits John Jacques, USNR project manager, commented on the ease of troubleshooting with the mobile functionality. “During sorter commissioning, all our field service personnel loved the mobile functionality because they could take an iPad or iPod and actuate the bins, diverters and the live bin walls without having to go to an electrician or get someone else to actuate them at the console. So it really made troubleshooting a lot easier.” USNR’s Larry Chudyk, senior controls engineer, led the development team for the MyMill interface system. He sums up where USNR sees the future of this new tool, “We’ve really just scratched the surface of what is possible with the installation of the MyMill system at the Joyce mill. This application will change the way we control processing operations in the future.”


The Counter-Flow Kiln concept

For this mill, the Counter-Flow Kiln has removed the bottleneck and vastly improved the energy efficiency and grade yield of its products. In response to a bottleneck at its dry kilns, Morgan Lumber of Red Oak, Virginia recently invested in USNR’s Counter-Flow Dry Kiln, Green Fuel Burner and Kiln Boss controls. Don Bright, mill manager, explained the thought process behind the selection of the new directfired kiln. “The continuous process seemed like the most cost-effective way to get the increase in production we required. It’s a noticeable improvement in the quality of drying, and it’s a significant increase in the efficiency of drying.” Don did have some trepidation when it came to the Green Fuel Burner, however. “I was really concerned about going from steam to directfired. We bag shavings for the equestrian market and I knew it would be a real problem if we had ash in those shavings. When we went to

“I’m extremely satisfied with the system’s performance. We’re using 40% less sawdust per 1,000 board feet to dry our lumber. We’re using 14% less electricity. We get a better grade yield, and it’s produced noticeably less drying defect.”

the direct-fired kiln I really spent a lot of time researching it, finding out what was available, and what we could do to reduce the amount of ash on the lumber.”

Ultra-clean burn To make sure ash would never be an issue, USNR engineers recommended some changes to the system’s design that are proving positive to produce an ultra-clean burn. Don explains, “USNR nailed it. We made some changes in the burner and we have zero ash problem. It was a home run!”

Easy, effective operation Don appreciates the ease and effectiveness of operating the continuous kiln design. “With the continuous kiln we can make small adjustments as we go, so it is easier to fine-tune the drying process.” With the new system, fine adjustments can be made to the tram speed, kiln temperature, and after only a few hours the lumber can be checked and fur ther adjustments can be made to attain the optimal balance of quality and efficiency. Don also noted that with the Kiln Boss control system it is easy to change the drying recipe, even from home. Don said, “I’m extremely satisfied with the system’s per formance. We’re using 40% less sawdust per 1,000 board feet to dry our lumber. We’re using 14% less electricity. And speaking of

The Counter-Flow Kiln consists of a central heating chamber along with large conditioning chambers on each end. The kiln operates continuously. This process produces lumber with less stress and a tighter moisture distribution than traditional batch processes. It uses a staging and loading system to keep packages moving through the kiln continuously and automatically, with the capability to process lumber at different rates on each track based on product dimensions and kiln conditions. The Counter-Flow Kiln design was developed by USNR’s Jacksonville, Florida team and Andy Pollard of Pollard Lumber, at Appling, Georgia. The original design called for a structure three times the length of a traditional batch kiln using equal-size heating and conditioning chambers. Subsequent design optimization based on field experience allowed USNR to shorten the conditioning chambers without compromising performance, reducing the total length (and cost) of the system.

Theory behind the design The theory behind the design was unique at the time it was developed. Loads of lumber are run side-by-side on a double track in opposite directions through the kiln. This creates an opportunity to let the hot lumber exiting the kiln on one track give up some of its heat to the green, cool lumber entering the kiln on the other track. At the same time the green lumber gives up some of its moisture to help equalize the final moisture content, in effect conditioning the dry lumber. This transfer of heat and mass results in an overall energy saving, the lumber suffers less degrade due to the equalizing and conditioning, and the continuous movement of the lumber offers higher production in terms of board feet dried per hour. The goal was simple: dry more lumber in less time and with less energy.

quality, our standard deviation with the old batch kiln was 3.2 average per year, this year we’re averaging right at 2. That is huge. We get a better grade yield, and it’s produced noticeably less drying defect.”

ISSUE 3 - 2013 | Millwide INSIDER 21


How the Green Burner works Although direct-fired kilns are generally costeffective because they use wood residue as fuel, the lumber is often discolored and devalued because of the ash and soot they produce. The presence of soot and ash also creates danger of explosion or fire. And while steam-heated kilns are known to produce cleaner wood, they have significantly higher operating costs in addition to the substantial cost of replacement parts.

Unique Turbo Technology™ produces cleanest, high-value lumber

Proprietary technology in USNR’s Green Burner offers complete combustion; lumber stays clean and free from ash. A bonus for Bibler Lumber, fuel savings are in the range of $200,000 per month. USNR’s Sloped Grate Green Sawdust Burner eliminates many costly burner problems while increasing the value of your lumber. The USNR unit burns sawdust like other direct-fired kilns, but it also employs an afterburner module to ensure complete combustion, which keeps your lumber remarkably clean and free from ash. This is just the kind of unit that Terry Freeman, president of Bibler Brothers Lumber Company, was looking for when he set out to improve the efficiency of the mill’s existing two gas-fired dry kilns. Bibler Lumber is located in Russellville, Arkansas. It is co-owned by Terry Freeman and James and Laurie Bibler. Like most good businessmen Terry hates to waste anything, and that was his motivation when he set out to update his lumber drying process. Terry and Kevin Freeman, VP and General Manager, wanted to find the best solution that would save fuel costs, as well as improve the consistency and quality of the dried lumber. They looked at what other processors were doing with their kilns, and decided on an upgrade to extend the length of the kilns and, in conjunction, to convert the kilns to utilize wood waste as an efficient, low-cost heat source. Besides the kiln conversion, Terry and Kevin installed USNR Sloped Grate Green Burners. They selected the USNR Green Burner for its performance record, and based on good reviews from other users.


Millwide INSIDER | ISSUE 3 - 2013

They had also worked with USNR in the past on other kiln and burner projects and were well satisfied with the results. The burner housing is constructed of 9” fire brick and IFB (insulating fire brick) that will withstand temperatures of up to 2600° F, then covered with 3” fireproof insulation board, and finally covered with steel sheeting. The afterburner duct sections, along with the choke and tee sections are also 9” fire brick, which is covered with a painted steel shell. (See section at right for details of the proprietary technology that ensures lumber stays clean and free from ash.) Terry was very pleased with the outcome of the project. He says, “With the continuous kiln we are seeing better throughput, better grade recovery, and a better overall average moisture content (lower standard deviation).” With reported fuel savings in the range of $200,000 per month, Terry Freeman’s efforts to improve the efficiency and throughput of his lumber drying process have made his operation both leaner and greener.

The cyclonic afterburner, located just after the main burner chamber, is a feature that sets USNR’s Green Burner apart from ordinary burner systems. Proprietary Turbo Technology™ enables temperatures in the afterburner to get much higher than temperatures in the main burner where sawdust is initially fed. Heated air from the burner at 2000° F is blended with 200° F return air from the kiln in the USNR insulated blend box, and put back into the kiln at 500° F. An added safety feature unique to the Green Burner, the blend box incorporates an isolation flapper, and in upset conditions hot air is released out of the stack instead of cycling to the kiln. In effect, the kiln can be isolated from the burner. No other direct-fired kiln on the market is capable of attaining such a wide range of temperatures. This afterburner provides complete combustion, keeping high value lumber in the kiln remarkably clean and free from ash. In fact, the resulting dry lumber has proven to be as clean as that produced by any steam kiln.


Bégin & Bégin – Carriage with LASAR/MillExpert Optimization The Bégin & Bégin mill located at Lots-Renversés, Quebec, has ordered a 42” 3-knee carriage system with MillExpert optimization and LASAR front side scanning.

Charles Ingram Lumber – Bucking, Sharp Chain Optimization Upgrades The Charles Ingram Lumber operation at Effingham, South Carolina, is upgrading its bucking optimization system with updated computer software, hardware and Smart TriCam lineal scan sensors. The mill’s MillExpert sharp chain system will also receive updated computer software and hardware. The new technology will Improve accuracy and recovery for the operation.

Fly Tie & Lumber – LASAR/ MillExpert Carriage Optimization Upgrade, MillExpert Lineal Edger Optimization The Fly Tie & Lumber hardwood operation at Grenada, Mississippi is investing in its carriage line to upgrade its YMG3 carriage optimization package to the MillExpert platform with frontside LASAR scanning. As well, it has ordered a MillExpert optimization system for its lineal edger line and will utilize Smart TriCam sensors.

Interfor Pacific – MillExpert Edger Optimization Upgrade This mill is located at Gilchrist, Oregon, and will upgrade its transverse edger optimization system to the latest MillExpert platform. The system will utilize the existing Newnes LPS2 sensors.

Jordan Lumber – MillExpert Trimmer Optimization Upgrade This mill is located at Barnesville, Georgia, and will upgrade its trimmer optimization system to the latest MillExpert platform. The system will utilize the existing Newnes LPS3 sensors.

Maine Woods – LASAR/MillExpert™ Carriage Optimization The Maine Woods operation at Portage Lake, Maine is investing in a new carriage optimization package featuring LASAR scanning and the MillExpert optimization platform for its 2-knee SERING carriage.

Scotch & Gulf – Multi-Track Fence Scotch & Gulf Lumber Company has ordered a Multi-Track Fence for its mill at Jackson, Alabama. This marks the second Multi-Track Fence for the company (one is also installed at Mobile, Alabama) and the 51st such order for USNR, with a multitude of customers installing more than one.



COMPLIMENTARY SUBSCRIPTION For your complimentary subscription to USNR’s Millwide Insider magazine, e-mail us at or go to:



Al le gh





11 5 - 20


ts ts pu

du al -s

SA id e LA

ni R sc an

st th e te ng to

ve l ne w le

ho le SIGNIN e to a w REDEkes its edger lin R YOU ds ta UT FOthe job easy rd w oo O Ha a IT an TS ed to make R Lo ui si O S gn si es de USNR

en y


ou tli ne

in s so rt

ur g fe at

ISSUE 3 - 2013 | Millwide INSIDER 23

PO Box 310 Woodland, WA 98674


Millwide INSIDER is printed on recycled paper.


Chad Smith is an

Chad and his wife of 25 years have two grown daughters and are eagerly awaiting their first grandchild. As time permits Chad enjoys the outdoors hunting, fishing and camping, and is also a motorcycle enthusiast.

Chad Smith has been with USNR since 2001. He has an extensive background in the supply side of the industry, previously working for Hi-Tech

Engineering (now Baxley), Comact and now USNR. His history includes many years in purchasing and the supply chain, and then as operations manager for USNR’s Hot Springs, AR division before transitioning into capital sales. “I like the challenge of finding solutions to the specific needs of each customer. I’ve developed some very good relationships with customers over the years.”



SEPT. 20–21 KFIA

Atlanta, Georgia

Point Clear, Alabama

Lexington, Kentucky


SEPT. 10–13 Tekhnodrev

SEPT. 21–24 NHLA

Biloxi, Mississippi

Krasnoyarsk, Russia

Fort Worth, Texas

Account Manager for USNR. He is based at Hot Springs, Arkansas.

Millwide Insider 3-2013  
Millwide Insider 3-2013  

After recently installing two Coe 4-deck jet veneer dryers, plywood industry giant RoyOMartin is investing again with one new 6-deck unit in...