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Millwide Insider ISSUE 1 - 2014

The cutting edge Wood processors the world over have common goals when it comes to their business. They all want to produce the best products possible from the raw resources available to them, and to be profitable in the process. For some more emphasis is placed on profitability, while for others the driving force is to provide superior products. Either way they all want to become the supplier of choice for their customers. And USNR is helping them achieve that goal with products that offer the cutting edge in processing for value and recovery.

Subscriptions Tel.: 250.833.3028 Editor Colleen Schonheiter CONTRIBUTING EDITOR


Western Forest Products is aggressively investing to up the ante for its Saltair sawmill at Ladysmith, BC. After updates to the downstream processes, the sawmill recently installed twin high speed 7-saw edgers to handle a wide assor tment of products ranging in thickness from 1” to 5-1/2”. The result is reduced per unit processing costs and expanded markets.

Sonia Perrine

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

Chugoku Lumber is continuously improving its process at the Kashima, Japan mill it installed in 2008. This key manufacturing center added an edger line in 2012, and more recently enhanced another edger line with BioVision™ grading capability. The new edger line improved its competitive advantage, and BioVision is improving the efficiency and output of its downstream processes.


USNR Locations


BioVision offers huge benefits to those who have employed it in their sawmills. But what’s it all about and why consider the investment? We examine this capability in detail, and relate the stories and testimony from two mills that are using this technology in their processes.

Woodland, WA Headquar ters 360.225.8267 Parksville, BC

Eugene, OR



Plessisville, QC

Jacksonville, FL



Salmon Arm, BC

Painesville, OH



© 2014, 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

Western Forest Products Western Forest Products Inc.

Leading with an edge expanded markets: diversification drives success Aggressive investing is not for the faint of heart, but it is proving a successful strategy for Western Forest Products. Knowing where its 'sweet spot' in the marketplace lies, this coastal forest products leader is taking advantage of its unique position to expand on its best prime products. | ISSUE 1 - 2014 | Millwide Insider


WESTERN FOREST PRODUCTS – leading with an edge

Western Forest Products has developed a capital investment plan that is seeing it retool a number of its operations on the coast of BC. One jewel in its holdings, Saltair Sawmill, is in the midst of a major retrofit that has included twin edger lines that are allowing this mill to expand on its best products, reduce the unit cost of production and position the company for a strong future in the process. Western Forest Products (WFP) is a leading producer of specialty wood products, processing Hemlock, Western Red and Yellow Cedar, Douglas Fir and Spruce. Presently it is the fifth largest Canadian lumber company, by volume. Additionally, WFP is the largest cedar lumber manufacturer in North America. Though it was not impacted at all by the Mountain Pine Beetle that recently devastated pine forests in the BC interior, it did not escape the effects of the global economic slowdown. Now that those dark days are fading to a bad memory and markets are coming back, WFP is enjoying a resurgence of manufacturing activity and is investing aggressively to up its game in the


marketplace. The company is implementing a $200 million capital plan with an eye to position itself as a leader in the global supply of timber products. An early step in the plan involved a $38 million outlay for Western Forest Products’ Saltair Sawmill located at Ladysmith on BC’s Vancouver Island. Saltair was started in 1972 and produces a wide range of specialized products from its mid-sized coastal log supply. In 2013, following closely on the heels of investments to the trim/sort/stacker area, the mill installed two identical USNR edger lines. With this upgrade, the Saltair mill earns its stripes as the largest single line sawmill on BC’s coast.

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The company’s overall strategy for these capital investments was to expand its ability to provide a wide variety of products to a diverse customer base, helping it withstand the typically cyclical nature of the wood products industry. The new edger lines would also facilitate onsite production of prime product sizes for the growing Asian market, one that WFP recognizes as critical to its growth along with markets in Europe, Australia and North America. Dan Bowes, manager of the Saltair mill, explained the details of the project, “We replaced two edger lines that were installed in the early 90’s and had outdated technology.” Upstream is a quad bandmill

and two gangs; the resulting heavy jacket boards and flitches feed the new edgers. Dan said that jacket boards up to 5-1/2” thick can be fed through the edgers as well. WFP also invested time and resources in research before deciding on the USNR design for its new edger lines. The edgers they chose are identical machines. Each is designed with 7 shifting saws on a bottom arbor, and can process the material they are fed into 4” squares, 2x4s, 2x6s, and 2x8s. Dan commented, “We needed machines that could process material that can range in thickness anywhere from 1” all the way up to 5-1/2”. They need to be able to slice and dice the wood up into the variety of products that we make, at a very fast rate.”

„ „ F ull cosmetic evaluation balances edge wane and face wane, and centers the solution in the good wood „ „ V alue optimization is dominant over cosmetic evaluation „ „ S ophisticated compound wane rules available - primary and secondary wane rules commonly implemented allowing precise control over how much wane is allowed in each location along the board

The supply The infeed area for each line is based on USNR’s edger Maximizer configuration. Each line begins with a 6’ radius back unscrambler leading to an angled ending rollcase and table, where thick jacket boards and flitches are first singulated and then even ended to lumber line. A pass/ turn/drop out gate then feeds the material to the Maximizer lug loader. A MillTrak™ lumber flow system is mounted above the flow at this location and controls the infeed area. The material travels through the transverse scanner and then proceeds on to the Maximizer positioning infeed table.

We needed machines that could process material that can range in thickness anywhere from 1” all the way up to 5-1/2”. They need to be able to slice and dice the wood up into the variety of products that we make, at a very fast rate.

For this application, the MillExpert optimization system comprises a 20’ USNR scan frame fitted with 22 BioLuma 2900L HD laser profiling sensors, the fastest high density laser profiling sensors in the industry. The sensors feature 0.3” (8mm) profile density at 2500 Hz scan rate, and +/0.015” (.38mm) thickness accuracy. The sensors are mounted in line above and below the flow, providing differential measurements down the length of each piece. The MillExpert edger optimizer offers a wide range of features, with some of the most significant as follows. „ „ Full value, exhaustive fit 3D modelling – examination of all allowed combinations at all locations

Those machines can handle double what our old machines could do.

„ „ True equivalent wane rule modeling is implemented to emulate the latest grading rules „ „ P rogrammable choice to run board-within-aboard logic or visible wane rules „ „ M ixed side-by-side board product evaluation for splitting at the planer is available „ „ U ser configurable saddle wane parameters „ „ Infinitely flexible, easy to use product set-up „ „ M ultiple grades with individual wane rules and values, are easily programmed

The mill chose single, bottom arbor edger machines, each with 7 guided shifting saws. A clam shell opening on the front of the edgers provides easy access for maintenance and saw changes. The machines accommodate up to 30” wide material and can process a wide range of product sizes at speeds up to 1000 ft./min. The outfeed is USNR’s V-tailer design, often used in applications where space is limited. The tailer is covered with two ‘wings’, with shifters mounted underneath and connected via a torque tube. Boards drop down onto a center belt, while the edgings slide off the wings. Dan explained, “The V-tailer offered the very specific ability to take a recovery board off the edges of a heavy jacket board, and | ISSUE 1 - 2014 | Millwide Insider


western forest products – leading with an edge

The V-tailer offered the very specific ability to take a recovery board off the edges of a heavy jacket board, and take a 2x4 off each side of a 4" cant. We didn't see anything else in the industry that could do that.

Out to trim line


In from quad and gangs EDGER #2 In from quad and gangs The two edger lines are identical and situated side-by-side in the mill.


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take a 2x4 off each side of a 4” cant. We didn’t see anything else in the industry that could do that.” WFP recognized that the V-tailer would afford the mill the product range and recovery they were looking to achieve. Dan said, “A lot of tailers like the one that we replaced, lose a lot of good material into the conveyors. The V-tailer design is a much more accurate system. It allows the good material to fall onto the belt, and just removes the tailings.”

Project challenges The mill’s main challenge was installing the new lines within the existing footprint. Dan commented, “These are bigger, more powerful and faster edgers. We had some design work to get them to fit.” Dan also said that WFP has a unique challenge in that it is a 4-species mill. Each species had its own unique material handling characteristics. From light-weight to heavy, from wide to narrow, each product line challenged both vendors and mill staff to get the mill to acceptance level. Dan commented, “All of our vendors, including USNR, had to go through that with us, and they stayed with us until it was done.” He continued, “We got those machines up and running in very good time. We are very happy with the service we’ve received from USNR.” Dan went on to explain that the upgrades done in 2013 started with the back of the mill – the stackers, sorter line and the edgers. This is phase one of a larger retrofit for the mill. “We are still planning to upgrade the sawmill infeed. We had a lot of process downtime for the old edgers to handle all the material that we were putting out, and now the new ones handle it quite easily, so we need to speed up the front end to put these edgers to work.” Dan credits the following mill personnel who were instrumental in bringing this project to life: Terry Charlton, project manager; Rick Froehle, edger optimization and operations lead; Gary Frederickson, electrical and controls lead; and Al Irwin, mechanical and equipment lead. Dan added, “The electrical and mechanical crews were also very supportive in the process. Worthy of note, the civil/

mechanical contractor (Irwin Installation and KJ Electric) were also instrumental in the successful install. These people deserve all the credit with the successful startup of the mill! Their dedication and working together with USNR put us in the position we are in today!”

We are better positioned to compete in that market. We are now cutting products that we haven't cut before.

Implementation benefits With the implementation of the new edger lines, production at the Saltair mill is humming right along. Benefits are two fold; a broader product mix with less remanufacturing, and increased production. Dan explained, “We break the material down more now. Before we installed the new edgers we didn’t have enough saws, we didn’t have enough horsepower, we couldn’t put 4” lines or 4-1/2” cants through those edger machines. We now put them all through and break them down into smaller pieces of wood. What this really does is it reduces the cost for additional processing down the line.” Dan went on to explain that, because Saltair is a 4-species sawmill, there is more or less of a benefit depending on which species and product is being processed. “Some cuts gain a lot from the expanded capability, with breaking the wood down into more products at this stage. Others gain through increased production. We are putting 20% more material through the mill now than we used to, and those machines aren’t pushed yet. They can handle double what our old machines could do.”

Dan went on to say that WFP’s philosophy when considering the benefits of the new edger lines, was to help reduce remanufacturing costs. Their goal was to get closer to the final product right out of the sawmill. The mill has achieved that goal and more. “It has allowed us to expand markets, particularly in Japan with squares which is our big commodity item there. We are better positioned to compete in that market because of the ability to expand our product base while keeping costs down. We’re now cutting products that we haven’t cut before.” Dan also said that the mill processed 650,000 m3 of logs in 2013 and is expecting to process 850,000 m3 this year. “Next year we are going to increase it even more. Without the edgers we certainly couldn’t do that. This project is part of the whole synergy created with this capital investment plan, and it has made a significant impact on our business.” Watch the new edger lines in action: 89532079

We break the material down more now. It reduces the cost for additional processing down the line.

An additional benefit that goes along with increased throughput relates to safety. These lines are highly automated, requiring a lot less operator intervention and equating to less chance for injury. | ISSUE 1 - 2014 | Millwide Insider


Chugoku Lumber

Vision brings success NEW EDGER LINE and biovision yield competitive advantage ‘Gentle to the earth’ is the guiding principle for Chugoku Lumber in Japan. The company describes the symbiotic relationship between people and trees as one that stimulates much of the world’s economy – both past and present. And true to that relationship is its focus on using every bit of the log to its greatest potential.


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Chugoku Lumber recently updated its Kashima sawmill with a new edger line to improve its output, and reduce the resources required to process its longer material by bringing that process in-house. On the heels of that success Chugoku invested in USNR’s edger BioVision™, bringing visual grading technology to enhance its green mill output, and improve the efficiency of its downstream operations. Chugoku Mokuzai is a family owned, second-generation wood processing company based in Kure City, Hiroshima Prefecture, Japan. It was started by Mr. Yasuyuki Horikawa, president of the company. In 2007 the company invested in a major expansion of its operation with the new, high production Chugoku Kashima wood products factory in Kamisu-City, Ibaraki Prefecture. The Kashima factory was key to the company’s strategic plan to secure its position as the largest wood processor in Japan, dedicated to exclusively processing Douglas fir logs into structural beams and lumber products for the domestic timber frame housing market. It is the biggest supplier of solid kiln-dried and laminated structural beams to the Japanese market. The Kashima factory is a high production operation comprising a two-line sawmill, dry kilns, planer mill, laminating plant and secondary manufacturing. The green mill is outfitted with USNR equipment starting with

log merchandizing, primary and secondary breakdown lines, and trim/sort/stack lines. The strategy for investment in this operation was to equal the total capacity of the company’s other wood processing holdings, doubling the company’s output. The Kashima sawmill’s output was more than 1,000,000 m3 for 2013. The location was equally important, near Tokyo’s vast transportation network for distribution throughout the Japanese market.

Building relationships Chugoku Lumber’s long and successful history with USNR, and with Hirota Corporation that provided site engineering on this and other projects, are keys to vendor selection. In the Japanese business culture, strong relationships take precedence as a major factor in maintaining ongoing business dealings. Chugoku Lumber holds USNR and Hirota in high regard. Mr. Shinya Ueda, Chief of Production Control Section and System Engineer for the Kashima operation,

6-saw edger Out to trim line Operator

In from carriage

explains how the connection was first established. “We were looking for a US vendor during the first stage, since we knew that US manufacturers had much advantage on mega-capacity sawmills and automation systems. Hirota, which has been a USNR representative in Japan, also was a real key factor, since they could work for us as a total coordinator at that time.” Kashima’s sawmill, kilns and planer mill became operational first, with a new laminating mill coming online in 2013 to broaden the company’s product base. In 2008 when the green mill was commissioned, its primary breakdown process comprised a double length infeed line to handle up to 5m long logs, and a headrig carriage line designed to handle up to 6m logs. At that time the majority of the production was 5m long and was processed by Kashima's two edger lines. Customers who wanted longer material could only access it from Chugoku's factory at Kure City.

The 2012 addition of the manual edger line brought versatility to the operation, allowing it to process 6m long material from its carriage. The pre-positioning infeed allows the operator to visually determine the optimum edge cuts for the flitch. As the flitch enters the prepositioning table, the operator manually positions the piece via hydraulic cylinder pins. At the same time he is able to position laser lines on the top of the piece to assist in developing a cut plan for the edger. Once positioned, the first set of pins drop, allowing the piece to travel to a second set of identically positioned pins that guide the piece into the edger. | ISSUE 1 - 2014 | Millwide Insider


chugoku lumber – vision brings success

Pre-positioning edger line

New edger line adds versatility Markets change, and in 2012 the Kashima factory added a USNR edger line with manual pre-positioning infeed. It was installed on the carriage side to be able to process 6m long material, allowing

more versatility in longer products and increased production. As demand for longer products has increased, this line has become one cornerstone for the Kashima mill’s profitability.

Mr Ueda commented, “We have processed 1000m3 of 6m products in one month (on this line) when it is in high demand. With this new production base in east Japan we can now make longer material more accessible for our customers in this region. This establishes a stable supply for these products, allows us more flexibility to fulfill our customers’ requirements, and improves our position in the market.”

We have processed 1000m3 of 6m products in one month (on this line) when it is in high demand. This allows us more flexibility to fulfill our customers' requirements, and improves our position in the market. Mr. Shinya Ueda


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The BioVision system scans flitches.

New BioVision grading capability Next, Chugoku Lumber set its sights on improving its efficiency further by adding USNR’s BioVision grade scanning capability to one of its 5m product edger lines. When these edger lines were installed in 2008 BioVision technology was still in the development stage. Based on the products the mill produces, Chugoku saw that there was significant opportunity for grade uplift with retrofitting the line to add BioVision technology at this later date. The BioVision system that was installed at the Kashima sawmill required a bolton retrofit to their existing Smart TriCam transverse scan frame using BioLuma 2900V sensors. The bulk of the installation work was done prior to startup, with Chugoku and Hirota personnel working to attach mounting plates, run cables and position the computer enclosures. These personnel included Takahiro Takeuchi, engineer, and Yukihiro Nagase, general manager, both from Hirota Corporation, as well as Shinya Ueda from Chugoku. The BioVision system at the Kashima sawmill is operating on dual 4-saw edger

The BioVision installation required a bolt-on retrofit to the existing Smart TriCam transverse scan frame using BioLuma 2900V sensors. Installation was fast and efficient, with the bulk of the work performed by Chugoku and Hirota personnel.

lines. Material processed ranges from 3m to 5m long, 100mm to 600mm wide and 21mm to 60mm thick. In this application, the BioVision grade scanning system is designed to plug-in/bolt-on and feed scan data to the mill's MillExpert™ transverse scanning optimization system. With BioVision scanning, biological lumber defects are combined with existing precise laser profile data to extract the highest value grade solution available in each piece of lumber. BioVision currently classifies knots

by size, location and quality. Classification of defects such as splits, shake, pitch pockets and stain are also available.

Benefits of BioVision „ „ Maximize value in flitches of all grades „ „ Smart product placement within the flitch achieves the highest grade and value possible „ „ Confidence algorithms compare solutions with and without grade input to allow for production constraints

Mr. Ueda explained the BioVision investment strategy. “One major reason was to increase productivity in post-processes (secondary manufacturing). We are using the BioVision system in two ways. One way is to reduce knots in our products for laminar materials. Providing less knotty material to the laminar mill offers better yield.” He went on,”The second way is to provide a cut solution based on the position of the knots. We try to make green timbers from the flitches with more knots, and try to make kiln-dried products from flitches with fewer knots. Our kiln-dried products | ISSUE 1 - 2014 | Millwide Insider 11

CHUGOKU LUMBER – vision brings success

The scan frame was retrofitted to mount BioLuma 2900V vision sensors, top and bottom. The vision data captured by the BioLuma sensors is combined with laser profile data from the existing Smart TriCam sensors, to establish the optimum edge solutions.

Our kiln-dried products require more costly secondary processing, so cutting around the knots while the material is green reduces the amount of post-processing required, improving yield and reducing processing costs.

The screen below shows a BioVision edge solution for a flitch that is destined to be manufactured into a laminated board.


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require more costly secondary processing, so cutting around the knots while the material is green reduces the amount of post-processing required, improving yield and reducing processing costs.”

He went on to explain, “We are interested in dealing with more domestic timbers today. Japan has a lot of unused timbers, and we believe that utilization of those timbers could be the key to our further growth.”

For Chugoku, the investment in the BioVision system was enhanced by improving the quality and aesthetics of its products. “We will keep on doing what we have to do to make our products better.”

USNR is proud of the relationship we enjoy with companies such as Chugoku Lumber and Hirota Corporation. We are pleased that our products and technologies are providing great value to our customers in all regions of the world.

Looking ahead

We have improved our competitiveness. It allows us to have enough stocks and provide quicker delivery for all our customers.

Mr. Ueda is pleased with the results of the recent improvements implemented at the Kashima complex. “We have improved our competitiveness as a group company since we have production bases in east and west Japan now. It allows us to have enough stocks and provide quicker delivery for all our customers. We have no doubt that producing better products will enhance the strong relationships we have built with our customers.” | ISSUE 1 - 2014 | Millwide Insider 13

Sawmill grading with BioVision

Getting the grade out extracting more grade and value in the sawmill Demands for increased recovery, faster throughput, lower unit production costs and higher grade yields require more than geometry-based optimization. USNR continues to be the leader in applying the latest advancements to solve the issues that plague the industry. Our BioVision™ automated grading system for the green mill takes you to the next level for recovering value from your process. As pioneers in grade scanning, we have more years of experience under our belt than any other supplier. 14

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With USNR’s BioVision™ automated grading capability you can edge and trim for grade and value in the green mill. Combining color vision technology with high density geometric scanning, BioVision offers mills the highest value optimized decisions. You get significantly improved grade and recovery performance, capturing more value in the sawmill before the piece is further processed. Designed for transverse edgers and trimmers, BioVision makes value decisions driven by the accurate detection of biological and geometric defects using a combination of laser profile and visual defect scanning, combined with state-of-the-art optimization. BioVision’s modular design allows you to implement this capability easily with a bolt-on upgrade to your existing transverse scanner. Or you can gain the added benefits of value-based solutions by installing the fully configured system right from the start.

More grade, recovery, value

Get BioVision in your mill

Applying BioVision technology in the sawmill increases your finished grade outturn and recovery, thereby increasing your total value.

Our BioVision-ready transverse scan frames will accommodate both laser profiling and vision scanning capabilities, and offer the highest value return based on visual defect detection, rules-based classification and highly accurate geometric measurements.

Edger grade extraction provides value through re-manufacture or rip, based on the ultimate grade of the wood. For example a #3 appearance due to knots can be edged to #3 wane with confidence, which maximizes recovery. Likewise, a low grade 2x8 may be worth more as two 2x4’s, one of them being high grade. Trimmer grade extraction lets you cutin-two allowing a short, high grade piece without trimloss. ‘Candidate’ trim stock meeting specified characteristics for wane and knots can be targeted and sorted/ routed differently for further unique action downstream. For example, by sorting for grade at the trimmer, you can select more appropriate drying cycles for high or low grade products.

As an option, you can choose to start with geometric-only scanning, and follow with visual scanning at a later date. A third, and very attractive option for mills that already have transverse laser profile scanning, is a bolt-on upgrade that offers the full benefit of both geometric and vision scanning technologies. Read on to learn how USNR can help you evaluate your mill’s benefit potential.

What’s under the hood The system utilizes one of USNR’s latest vision sensors. Users can opt for BioLuma2900LVG or BioLuma2900LV for new scan frame installations, or BioLuma2900V for a bolt-on upgrade option. The BioLuma sensors utilize high resolution digital color cameras and LED lighting to provide accurate imaging and increased reliability. The software incorporates algorithms from the proven Lineal High Grader (LHG) automated grading system, used for recognition and classification of visual grade defects in the dry mill. The BioVision system combines this visual information with the geometric scan data generated by the transverse scanning system to determine a final optimized solution.

Defects detected and classified „ „ Thickness, width, length

„ „ Skip

„ „ Shake

„ „ Wane, end contour

„ „ Knot size, quality

„ „ Pitch pockets

„ „ Warp (crook, bow)

„ „ Splits

„ „ Stain | ISSUE 1 - 2014 | Millwide Insider 15

biovision – getting the grade out

Inspiration meets oppor tunity

Proven methods

USNR’s talented group of engineers and technicians have a wealth of knowledge and experience in sawmill and planer mill scanning and optimization. Combined with an in-depth understanding of the issues that market demands place on the process, this is where inspiration meets opportunity.

USNR’s philosophy is to develop custom solutions to problems, not custom platforms. We believe in using mainstream platforms, and we leverage those across our entire suite of products. USNR’s engineering teams all utilize the same technologies that have been standardized within the organization, and develop customized solutions to a myriad of problems.

Scott Norton, Operations Manager for Optimization and Controls, outlined the following technologies and processes that USNR employs to deliver grading solutions for the green mill.

With sawmill grade optimization we built upon the strengths already developed for our planer mill grading, rather than starting from scratch. This ensures a more stable product, a secure upgrade path for future technology developments, and customers can have confidence that the solution is based on tried and true methods.

going through the same drying cycle and on to a planer mill for final grading. Sawmill grading is harder than planer mill grading, but grading is not always required. The need for grading in the sawmill is dependent on the end product the mill is producing. When grading is recommended the return on investment can be significant, so proper evaluation is key. Scott explained that USNR looks for projects where there is a key product or market that the mill can target. Then we work with the mill to develop the best solution. On the following pages are two examples of mills that have implemented BioVision technology. Their results reflect the value of adding this capability to their processes.

Applications Beyond the technical aspects of sawmill grade scanning, Scott emphasized the business cases where this technology is suitable. First, know your goal. What is the source of return on investment? What makes a good sawmill grade project? For example, it doesn’t make sense to scan for defect at the sawmill trimmer if all of the wood is

Full evaluation of 4/4 edger flitch: A typical geometry-only edger optimizer would have projected a high grade 1x4 and a high grade 1x6, but visual defect information shows that actually only a #2-1x6 and a high grade 1x4 would be recovered. The solution generated using defect information implements a higher value solution by making a high grade 1x6 with a #2-1x4.


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BIOVISION case study: h.g. toler streamlines its grading

USNR’s first production BioVision system was installed at H.G. Toler & Son Lumber in Leola, AR. The mill was equipped with an optimized edger line that had been installed in 1993 and required updating to stave off obsolescence. The Toler team had been eyeing developments in sawmill visual grading technology. Confidence in USNR and satisfaction in the MillExpert™ optimization suite swung the decision to the BioVision solution. USNR’s Bob Arnold leads the team that was responsible for development of the BioVision system. Bob commented about this mill’s application, “The BioVision system was configured to bias towards cutting higher valued clear boards out of a flitch by avoiding the inclusion of knots when possible.” He went on to explain, “The mill brought a batch of flitches to USNR’s Eugene, OR facility to run them through the test scanner. This allowed pretuning of the BioVision system to achieve the results desired prior to the startup.”

John Grigsby, mill manager, was more than pleased with the results from implementing this technology at the Leola mill. “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 (cut to order), 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.” “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

By producing lumber at the sawmill that is on-grade, the final grading process is streamlined, requiring less trim.

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 sawmill 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.” | ISSUE 1 - 2014 | Millwide Insider 17

biovision – getting the grade out

BIOVISION case study 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.

The BioLuma sensors are mounted inside and along parallel axes in the new BioVision scan frame at Evergreen Forest.

Rodney Krogh, president, related, “About a year ago I called USNR and we started to investigate, 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. “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.” “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 Eugene, OR, and they tested it. What they were showing me initially was pretty impressive.”

Shop and Moulding solution, below: 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.


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evergreen forest grades for shop and moulding The new supply consists of a scanner transfer and edger table feeding an existing 5-saw Schurman edger. 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. 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.

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 optimization times would be a challenge given multiple-board randomwidth solutions on very wide flitches. We had the added complication of the extra computation required to generate cuttings solutions for Shop and Moulding products.

„ „ 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.

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.

„ „ Shop lumber is graded with reference

We added some advanced algorithmic techniques and we used distributed optimization across several computers to speed up solution times.” He also explained 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.

to its use for sash and doors, or on the basis of characteristics affecting its use for general cut-up 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/ 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.”

significant biovision edger features „ „ NHLA, NeLMA, SPIB, WWPA: supports grades rules for

softwoods and hardwoods „ „ Moulding, industrial Shop features: „ „ Knot location, classification and measurement „ „ Bark pockets and rot „ „ Splits/shake

„ „ Multiple grades: individual wane rules and values „ „ Sophisticated compound wane rules: primary and

secondary wane rules allow precise control over how much wane is allowed in which locations along the board „ „ Automatic classification: surface defect recognition „ „ Flexible product set-up: easy to use, virtually

limitless combinations

„ „ Configurable cuttings yield and quality „ „ Geometric measurements: wane, shallow face and

edge wane (saddle-back), skip, crook and twist | ISSUE 1 - 2014 | Millwide Insider 19

biovision – getting the grade out

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

Oppor tunity knocks 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.

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 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.” With new products and new markets on the horizon, Rodney Krogh isn’t finished improving his operation just yet. He plans


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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.”

Millwide. Worldwide.

NEW PROJECTS Claude Howard Lumber – Quad Cam Lug Loaders

Joe N Miles Lumber – Gang optimization upgrade

Resolute Forest – New planer mill

Claude Howard Lumber has ordered 2 new Quad Cam lug loaders for its planer line at Statesboro, GA. The Quad Cams are designed to deal lumber and timbers ranging in dimensions to 12” wide and 6” thick. They will operate at speeds ranging up to 200 lugs per minute.

Joe N Miles Lumber is upgrading its transverse curve sawing gang system with the latest Newnes Sawmill Suite software release. As well the scan frame will be modified to utilize BioLuma 2900L sensors, adding enhanced laser profiling capability with 0.3” profile density and 2500 Hz scan rate. The existing PLC 5 control system will be upgraded to the ControlLogix platform.

Resolute Forest Products is investing in a new planer mill at Atikokan, Ontario, and has selected USNR as its major vendor. The complete complex will include a relocated sawmill, new dry kilns, and new planer line. The mill will process black spruce and pine studs, along with dimension lumber in lengths up to 16’-0”.

Fornebu Lumber – Chipper Fornebu Lumber at Bathurst, NB is investing in a Forano® 66” disc chipper system. The chipper will include a J-style infeed spout to accommodate logs up to 17” diameter, and 43 3/4” slabs; a vibrating conveyor and a super chip screen.

Hampton Affiliates – Gang optimization upgrade The Darrington, WA division of Hampton Affiliates is upgrading its lineal gang with a new optimization software release, new sensors, and new operator workstation. The mill’s existing Newnes Sawmill Suite software will be updated to the 7.2 version release. The lineal scan frame will be modified to accept LPLe sensors to replace the existing Hydra sensors. The ControlLogix PLC processor will also be upgraded to the latest version.

Hancock Lumber – Package dry kiln Hancock Lumber has ordered a package dry kiln for its Eastern white pine lumber operation located at Casco, ME. The Kiln Boss system will manage the drying process.

Idaho Forest – PET Trimmer, Multi-Track Fence, MillTrak The Idaho Forest Group’s mill at Moyie Springs, Idaho, is investing in a new precision end trimmer and Multi-Track positioning fence for its planer line. The order also includes a MillTrak™ lumber flow monitoring system that will control the backlog at the planer infeed.


Jordan Forest – Gang upgrades Jordan Forest Products at Barnesville, Georgia is modifying its McGehee curve sawing gang to improve throughput and recovery. The gang was an early McGehee Gen-I model with chipper heads, transverse scanning and PLC5 controls. The modifications will include changing out the old-style heads to new shape chippers, converting the optimization to MillExpert™ with lineal SmartTricam™ scanning, and upgrading the PLC to ControlLogix.

J.P. Price Sawmill – ElectraTong Lug Loader & MillTrak

USNR’s supply will include a continuous tilt hoist, TransLineator™ planer infeed and outfeed, Quad Cam board feeder, Multi-Track positioning fence, back-toback multi-saw precision end trimmers, drag chain-style 35-bin sorter, low profile electric stacker, quad paper feeder and cutter, and associated planer line equipment. Additionally, the company has ordered a WinTally™ sorter management system, three MillTrak™ lumber flow systems, and MyMill™ wireless sorter control. This will be one of the fastest planer mills in the world, operating at speeds to 220 pieces/min.

J.P. Price Sawmill is investing in USNR’s ElectraTong™ all-electric lug loader for its sawmill at Monticello, AR. This unit will deal lumber in widths of 4” and 6”, thicknesses of 2” and 4” and lengths of 8’ to 10’-0”. The order will include a MillTrak™ lumber flow control system to control backlog to the ElectraTong.

Along with so many unparalleled new technologies, Resolute has chosen USNR’s newly released 4200E all electric high speed planer. Able to run at speeds up to 4200 feet/min., we built into this planer all the latest features and functionality that any modern planer operation needs to carry it into the future. Fast, solid and reliable, USNR’s new 4200E is designed for today’s marketplace.

Millar Western – Trimmer, Edger opt. upgrades

Roseburg Forest – Press line hydraulic simultaneous closing

The Millar Western operation at Whitecourt, AB is updating its Trimmer line with the latest version release of the Newnes Sawmill Suite. The company’s mill at Boyle, AB will also update its Trimmer and Edger lines with the Newnes Sawmill Suite.

The Roseburg Forest Products particleboard plant located at Taylorsville, Mississippi has ordered upgrades to its press line. A hydraulic simultaneous closing system will replace the existing spring-type closing system on the Washington Iron Works press. The hydraulic system will improve and maintain product thickness consistency, while reducing maintenance time.

In addition to offering a host of new features, the Newnes Sawmill Suite operates on the Windows 7 platform.

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Smar tply Europe – Press line super duty jack cylinders

Tolko – HSS optimization upgrade

White Mountain Apache Timber – Reman Edger line

The press line located at Smartply Europe, Waterford, Ireland has ordered upgrades to its Washington Iron Works press. Four new heavy duty jack cylinders will be installed to provide improved durability and longer life. This new cylinder design will fit within the existing machine envelope, with no additional modification required. The new heavy-duty design can better tolerate misalignment and pressure spikes.

The Lavington, BC mill is also upgrading its gang optimization system with the latest MillExpert operating platform version release. The lineal scanning system will be fitted with LPLe sensors for high definition scanning and improved scan rates.

This Whiteriver, AZ mill has also contracted for the supply of a reman edger line. The order will include a radius back unscrambler, Maximizer infeed system, 4-saw top arbor reman edger, V-tailer outfeed, MillExpert optimization with BioLuma 2900L scanning, and MillTrak™ lumber flow control.

Suwannee Lumber – BioLuma 2900L upgrade Suwannee Lumber is investing in BioLuma 2900L scanning for the sawmill trimmer at its Cross City, Florida mill. The new scanning system will provide high density scan data to the mill’s MillExpert optimization system. This investment will reduce trim loss and improve value recovery.

Tolko – Carriage optimization The Tolko mill at Lavington, BC is investing in a new carriage optimization system. The MillExpert optimization platform will utilize scan data collected via LASAR2™ sensors located for scanning logs from both the front and back sides. The project will include the ControlLogix PLC control system.

Western Forest – Log turner and infeed The Western Forest Products mill at Cowichan Bay, BC is upgrading its log infeed area. The order includes log scanning auto rotation conveyor, reciprocating quad roll log turner and positioning infeed.

White Mountain Apache Timber – ElectraTong Lug Loader, MillTrak, MyMill, Trimmer opt. & controls WMATCO at Whiteriver, AZ is investing in upgrades to its sawmill trimmer line. It has selected USNR’s new ElectraTong Lug Loader, Multi-Track Fence, multi-saw trimmer, MillExpert optimization, BioLuma 2900L scanning system, WinTally™ sorter management, MillTrak™ lumber flow control and MyMill™ mobile control for the existing bin sorter. | ISSUE 1 - 2014 | Millwide Insider 23

PO Box 310 Woodland, WA 98674

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Profile Patrick Gauthier is an Account Manager for USNR. He is based at Plessisville, Quebec. Patrick Gauthier served 12 years in the Canadian Armed Forces as an electrical technician before he started his career in the wood processing industry, with Newnes (now USNR) in 2000. His first role was service technician, and eventually he moved into account management. He left the company in 2008, and reprised his role of account manager, with USNR in 2013.


Patrick’s experience in the industry in both service and account management roles has given him an appreciation for the needs of processors in this industry. He says, “I enjoy the privilege of being able to work hand-in-hand with customers in order to offer innovative solutions to solve their processing challenges.” Patrick and wife, Chantelle, have a busy family life with two teenaged daughters. He is also an avid fisherman and enjoys the chance to be close to the water in the summer months. And in the winter snowboarding is his passion.

APR. 10–11 N E LMA

MAY 16–17 Expo Richmond

MAY 19–22 WHA

Boston, MA

Richmond, VA

Portland, OR


AUG. 20–23 IWF

Biloxi, MS

Atlanta, GA

Millwide Insider 1-2014  

Wood processors the world over have common goals when it comes to their business. They all want to produce the best products possible from t...