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Fingerprint helps robot repair wood

Published: 17 September 2013

In the R&D project Hol-i-Wood Patching Robot each panel gets its own fingerprint which allows for automation and reduces the cost for repairing wood products.

Today some 20 people are required in the process of classifying and repairing defects in wood products such as laminated beams, panels or similar.

With the robot system Hol-i-Wood, a couple of people will be able to manage the same job. In a scanner the panel is first illuminated with LED and laser lights and multiple cameras produce an image, a "fingerprint" of the defects and their positions. The panel is then passed on to any of the (at least) six robot stations where another camera recognizes the "fingerprint" and the defects that where meant to be patched are repaired. Other cameras at the robot helps to position the panel, then defects are drilled out and wooden dowels are pressed down in the hole. The whole process takes no more than two seconds per patch. 

The Slovenian company LIP-BLED which produces wood panels for formwork used in the construction industry will be trying out the Hol-i-Wood patching robot. The goal is a commercial product which is expected to reduce production costs for wood products and also result in a more consistent product quality.

The project Hol-i-Wood PR involves LTU-researchers Tobias Pahlberg and Olle Hagman,Technische Universität Wien, Technische Universität München, Microtec GmbH, Springer AG, LIP-BLED, TTTech Computertechnik AG. Luleå University of Technology has for a long time been engaged in international research on determining the quality of wood, primarily by means of computed tomography and surface scanning.