Drone to do timber stock-take
THE TEDIOUS – AND SOMETIMES HAZARDOUS – TASK OF STOCKtaking in a timber yard could soon be automatically handled by a drone.
Auckland-based company, TimberSmart, which develops information systems especially for the sawmilling and timber industries is currently working on a system that would see a cameraequipped drone fly around the yard and record timber stacks.
The new system, still under development, combines the recent advances in drone technology with the TimberSmart software that isolates barcodes in the video frames and translates them into readable data that goes directly into the system database. This technology works in a similar way to how barcodes are currently read with a hand-held scanner.
Brenda Rangitutia, from TimberSmart, told the WoodTECH 2017 conference in Rotorua that there are several advantages to having drones do stock-taking in a timber yard. They can obviously complete the task quicker than someone on foot, but the most obvious reason is removing people from the vicinity of high stacks that may be unstable.
An associated advantage of this approach is the ability to record the image of the actual label which can be stored for auditing purposes.
The company says that future applications of this technology could see drones recording information from RFID tags/labels on logs at harvesting sites.
In recent years camera-equipped drones have become smaller, quieter and much more affordable, with some highly professional versions costing as little as $1,500.
Drones could be used to do stock-taking in timber yards.