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Beyond Drying: Integrated, Mill-Wide, Moisture Measurement & Control

SCS Forest Products: New data integration and barcoding capability to achieve next level of efficiency and yield.

By Staff
Date Posted: 7/1/2008


      The forest products industry faces a growing number of difficult business issues. Improved moisture measurement and control has emerged as a critical process opportunity as mills increasingly focus on the critical and urgent need to improve profitability and yield. 

      Relying on manual spot checks with hand held instruments that yield high over and under dried results is no longer competitive in today's challenging environment.  The industry needs to move beyond  mere drying to a new paradigm of integrated, mill-wide, moisture measurement and control.

      The ultimate goal is not “drying”, it’s a 100% moisture grade yield.

 

A Complete Suite of Moisture Measurement Solutions

      SCS Forest Products [SCSFP] offers an end-to-end suite of moisture measurement products that integrate and optimize the value of moisture data requirements from the sawmill to the kiln to the planer mill.

      Starting with the sawmill, SCSFP provides a transverse moisture density sorter that presorts lumber for kiln drying using sensors riding on top and beneath the wood to capture moisture and density readings at line speeds of over 200 pieces per minute.

      In the Kiln, SCSFP uses capacitance measurements to calculate the moisture content of the lumber at multiple measuring points to optimize the end point for each drying run.  Typical improvements in productivity of 10% and 1-3% improvements in moisture grade yield paybacks of 4 to 6 months for the company’s kiln systems.

      At the planer mill, the company uses high speed digital pulse technology to provide in-line, non-contact measurement of MC, temperature, and vertical movement. Combined with species compensation, the planer mill system provides unsurpassed  measurement accuracy and a typical annual cost savings of over $500,000.

 

Data Integration & Bar Coding 4%  Moisture Grade Gain

      Historically mill moisture measurement data was isolated in manual and digital data islands.  This data’s rich potential for process improvement and improved yield was simply hidden from view.  With the introduction of SCS Forest Products new bar coding capability, the era of data segmentation has ended.

      The company’s new bar coding system tracks each lumber package from the sawmill, through the kilns, and to the planer  with a unique tag id.

      Adding a bar coding capability to the company’s suite of moisture measurement products, offers customers a tightly integrated, end-to-end moisture measurement solution.

      The opportunity for significant yield improvement at the planer mill is substantial.  The company estimates that integrated mill-wide moisture control can result in a 4% or greater improvement in moisture grade.  Seamless integration of the sawmill, kiln, and planer mill moisture measurement systems is the key to achieving these results.

      The company’s bar coding system starts by enabling a mill to apply a unique tag id at the sawmill or kilns.  Once this bar code is scanned, the product and production details associated with this package are stored in a database so that the data can be passed along and integrated as the package moves through the mill. 

      At the kiln(s), the package is scanned again and information such as date, time, kiln number, package location in the kiln, schedule number, etc., is added to the package data in the database.

      The final scan occurs at the planer mill when the package arrives for processing.  All of the in-line planer moisture meter data is added so that operators can see the moisture measurement history of each piece in the package.

      The benefits of this integrated bar coding system include automated inventory management, kiln maintenance tracking and improved drying efficiency. 

      As mills tag each package at the sawmill, reports show basic inventory levels by package, dimension, product, etc in the yard.  This reduces or eliminates the need to conduct monthly physical inventory. 

      Kiln maintenance reports are generated by re-creating kiln charges based on the physical location of each package in a kiln. 

      The drying results of each package reveal cold or wet spots in the kiln that can be tracked charge to charge.  Early detection of kiln mechanical problems reduces waste. 

      Additionally, kiln reports show drying efficiency by schedule, kiln, month, etc.  This can reveal opportunities to adjust drying strategy to further increase productivity and yield.

      The first customer to implement the company’s newly released data integration and bar coding system is Georgia Pacific. “With the introduction of this bar coding system, SCSFP continues its push to fully integrate and track all moisture data throughout the mill,” said Patrick Youssi, President, SCS Forest Products.  “It is exciting to see how the possibility of data integration can help to take mills to new levels of efficiency and yield .

 

About SCS Forest Products

      SCS Forest Products provides the industry’s only complete line of integrated moisture measurement systems and related process optimization tools for the sawmill, kiln and planer mill.

      The company has over 200 installations world-wide – making it the industry leader. 

      With sales and service offices located in the US and Canada, it is ideally located to provide exceptional support to its rapidly growing International customer base.

      Editor's note: the preceding article was a paid advertorial.




 






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