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New research increases productivity for sawmills

Published: 12 June 2015

Optimized sawing using computer tomography and an efficient planing process by understanding how skewness affect the timber. New knowledge that will increase productivity in sawmills is now presented in two doctoral dissertations at Luleå University of technology in Skellefteå.

Erik Johansson and Ann Axelsson, new doctors in Wood Technology at Luleå University of Technology, recently defended their in their theses where new techniques of sawing and planing are presented. This will increase the efficiency of sawmills thanks to a better use of the timber.

Keeps track of knots

– I have developed a computer-aided method for detecting knots in the x-ray images of logs and how the information on the position of knots can be used to optimize the sawing of logs. Research has shown that the value of sawn wood raw material can increase by 11% by optimizing the sawing with our method, says Erik Johansson, PhD in Wood Science and Engineering.

Less waste with right planing

Ann Axelsson's research on how the skewness of the wood affects the planing process is also something that increases competitiveness for sawmills, due to reduced waste during planing.

- I discovered that in a four-sided planer the skewness is decreased linearly when planing. The skewness is reduce the thicker the plank is. According to my simulations the production of timber could increase by 3 % if the planer margin had been reduced to the necessary minimum. It is something that can quickly provide both environmental and economic gains, says Ann Axelsson, PhD in Wood Science and Engineering.

– The long term goal is to already in the forest be able to predict the properties of the sawn, dried and planed timber. This way, you can at an early stage determine whether a stock is suitable for timber production or whether it is better to use for example in the wood fibre industry, says Ann Axelsson.

Erik Johansson's research is funded by VINNOVA, WoodWisdom-Net, Träcentrum Norr, North Forest Research Foundation and the EU's Seventh Framework Programme. Funders for Ann Axelsson's research was the European Regional Development Fund through Tillväxtverket and VINNOVA.