Smart sen­sors are the key to new mill tech­nol­ogy

New Zealand Logger - - Woodtech 2018 -

SOME­THING AS CHEAP AS A $50 SEN­SOR could well be the key to en­abling sawmillers and wood pro­ces­sors to take ad­van­tage of new tech­nolo­gies that make their plants more pro­duc­tive.

The cost of sen­sors has tum­bled con­sid­er­ably in re­cent years and they are now so af­ford­able they are be­ing in­cluded in al­most ev­ery facet of man­u­fac­tur­ing and sup­ply chain man­age­ment.

Sean Carter, Prod­uct Man­ager, Iden­ti­fi­ca­tion & Mea­sure­ment for SICK Aus­tralia, a lead­ing sup­plier of elec­tronic sen­sors, told the WoodTECH 2018 con­fer­ence in Ro­torua last month that these sim­ple de­vices are a key com­po­nent in driv­ing In­dus­try 4.0 – the next in­dus­trial revo­lu­tion.

But rather than just dumb sen­sors that only record things, we’ll see more use of smart sen­sors in mills in the years to come.

In their sim­plest form, he says a sen­sor mounted onto the rear of a log stacker could re­duce or even elim­i­nate col­li­sions with struc­tures or other equip­ment and is some­thing that should be more widely adopted by the in­dus­try.

Sen­sors can also pro­vide ac­cu­rate mea­sure­ment of log pack­ets as they ar­rive at the mill, then de­liver a full 3D mea­sure­ment of the log be­fore it en­ters the saw line and as the wood pro­gresses, sen­sors will as­sist with ac­cu­rate cut­ting and place­ment. And it can do all these tasks at speed.

New sen­sors are be­ing in­tro­duced that in­spect the qual­ity of prod­ucts and mea­sure whether they are the right di­men­sions.

There’s even a sen­sor that can scan and mea­sure the vol­ume of bulk chip as it flows along a con­veyor sys­tem.


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