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1-800-805-0263 also a Union Pacific siding at the planer mill for rail shipment. Innovation is ongoing in terms of hy- brid plant varieties utilized and planting techniques. For example, the plantation previously planted 12-inch “sticks.” A few years ago, plantation managers came up with a better idea. By leaving stumps after harvest, new shoots would grow quickly from them, enabling the planting of 18-foot cuttings, which in turn shaves two years off of the growth cycle. Initially a pulpwood play, earlier in- vestors such as Potlach and Boise Cascade (Potlach owned one parcel and Boise Cas- cade, the other) sold their Boardman prop- erties in the face of an unattractive pulp- wood outlook. The parcels were purchased by the GreenWood Tree Farm Fund in 2007, which turned its attention to timber opportunities for the plantation. The $35 million sawmill was opened in September 2008, and a veneer mill was added in 2013. The mill currently runs with approximately 90 employees, averaging 70 hours per week production. Total output is around 60 million board feet per year, with plans to increase that number to 80 million in the next few years. Upper Columbia Mill only needs a limited log yard, because the flow of in- coming Pacific Albus logs is synchronized with milling requirements. Chip logs are then sent through a whole log chipper. At the mill, sawlogs are initially fed through a Nicholson debarker, then analyzed by the optimization system, including a linear scan, one on each side, from two JoeScan scan heads. One particular challenge to this type of material, the Pacific Albus trees have sinu- osity, which is a slight bend in the log ev- ery 10-12 feet. This is because the trees grow 10-12 feet per year and the new year’s growth comes from a new leader. To make the best of this characteristic, the company installed a Westcoast Industrial log merchandiser which maximizes fiber recovery based on the geometry of the logs. The optimization system calculates the op- timal crosscuts in lengths of 8, 10, 12 or 13 feet to get the best yield. The optimization system at Upper Co- lumbia Mill was designed by Nelson Bros Engineering (, and in- cludes a single integrated system that over- sees merchandising, gang, board edge and trimmer operations. When the mill was built, Collins was looking for a system that would be easy to use and maintain by the plant maintenance staff. They decided on Nelson Bros, which delivers an effective approach deploying the same solution across all four production centers involving JoeScan scan heads and a uniform inter- face. “We base our products around the phi- losophy that simple is smart, meaning that we supply a system that has the fewest number of parts, it is easy to interface with, and easy to maintain,” explained Jeff Nelson, President of Nelson Bro. Their ap- proach is to include ‘everything that’s nec- essary and nothing that is unnecessary.’ T IMBER L INE Simply put, the Nelson optimization sys- tem consists of 2 desktop computers which communicate over a local area network (LAN) to a number of JoeScan scan heads and the PLC. The system eliminates the need for any custom communications inter- face. “We really like to emphasize simplic- ity,” Jeff stated in regards to their approach to optimization, “but not at the sacrifice of performance. We are at the top of the game with regard to scanning accuracy, optimi- zation speed and recovery.” As for scan heads, Jeff noted that Nelson Bros uses JoeScan exclusively be- cause of their their track record of reliabil- ity and their ease of use, in conjunction with their affordable price. Initially, he commented, JoeScan was the only scan head supplier with an ethernet interface. “Nobody has ever asked us to use another head, and we probably wouldn’t if they did,” Jeff continued. “Older (non-JoeScan) systems would use a custom proprietary interface. Ethernet allows you to use readily available cable and network switches.” “We opted to use the JoeScan heads June 2015 5 because we had good success with them in our other mills,” Jimerson added. “We are so are familiar with them, and they are a good value!” With the sawlogs now debarked and bucked, they are processed through a Comact primary breakdown machine. Uti- lizing three sets of scanners, the twin band saws are positioned to cut the side boards and center cant. From there, the cants are fed into a Timber Machine Technologies curve gang, which further maximizes yield from cants that have side sweep. The TMT curve gang