Automated edgers boost sawmill productivity

August 8, 2017

The Wood-Mizer Titan T-AE system is made up of a material infeed conveyor, scanning station, centraliser, cutting head and outfeed. Transverse or inline infeed conveyors are available. The transverse unit (shown here) unscrambles, indexes and cross conveys the board for scanning.

Wood-Mizer Titan’s range of automated edgers matches affordability to high processing speeds, maximum output and recovery that give maximum returns – year after year.

Optimizing edgers are designed to make the edging process in a sawmill more efficient.

Depending on the process that is used to break the log down into boards, edging normally happens last to remove the wane and cut the board to size. Because it is a high piece count operation, the edging stage in a sawmill can be prone to bottlenecks and inefficiency.

Feeding a manual edger is a physically demanding task. Recoveries drop as the shift progresses. The operator normally achieves higher recoveries at the start of a shift but as the crew tires, it will be easier to opt for a 76 mm board instead of a 102 mm board.

Optimizing edgers are designed to alleviate these bottlenecks and improve overall efficiency. But they come at a cost that can force sawmills to stick with a manual edging system despite the challenges that they present.

Wood-Mizer Titan has changed the rulebook on automated edgers.

The Titan T-AE range of automated edgers matches affordability to efficiency to give sawmillers an intelligent edging solution without the price tag. A local after-sales service network, readily available spare parts and training assistance, adds additional avenues to slash costs plus the certainty of lifetime backing.

The entire range is automated and uses optical scanning technology to achieve high precision and low waste edging of boards.

The system is made up of a material infeed conveyor, scanning station, centraliser, cutting head and outfeed.

The centraliser that automatically aligns and measures the board.

On the material infeed side, a transverse or in-line material infeed option is available.

The transverse conveyor has an unscrambler and cross-conveyor that separates and indexes each board for scanning. The in-line conveyor can also be fitted with an unscrambler to stage each board for scanning.

The transverse conveyor transfers long and short lengths equally well while the in-line conveyor is better suited to shorter lengths.

Scanning is done in-line or transverse depending on the material infeed option that is chosen. The computer reads the profile of each board to confirm how the board will be edged to recover the best volume and value.

After scanning, the boards pass through an alignment station where the board width is read and communicated to the electric servo sizing system that adjusts the width of cut before the board is cut.

The T-AE range can edge up to 25 boards per minute at feed speeds of between 0 -240m/minute.

The easy-to-use Windows-based computer control system can be changed to a manual PLC system with a flick of a switch. Online support allows technicians to dial into a machine to troubleshoot it remotely.

From the horse’s mouth
Bracken Timbers, located near Greytown in KwaZulu-Natal, commissioned a TITAN T-AE6600 optimizing edger in 2016 to edge the output from two of its three sawmill lines.

The combined edging requirement from a 2-framesaw and bandsaw/mulitrip line now passes through the Titan optimizing edger.

George Johnson, Bracken Timbers’ Director for Sawmilling and Charcoal, reported that the results they have achieved since the unit was commissioned has been significant.

“Our basic requirement was that the optimising edger should edge at least 12, 6 m+ boards per minute. We’re easily achieving this,” said George.

“We have furthermore seen a 20-25% increase in production together with a 1,5% improvement in recovery. The improved recovery is even more significant if you consider that our log diameters (17-25 cm) are small.

“The manual board edging system that we previously used was a stop-start affair. The machine operator also delivered nowhere near the consistency in recovery decisions that we’re now getting.

“We could also reduce our workforce that was previously assisting with the manual edging operation,” said George.

A final take
Wood-Mizer Titan’s automated edger range offers an affordable, intelligent edging solution that can move sawmills beyond the limitations of manual edgers.

Improved recovery, higher output, faster processing speeds and lower operating costs all combine to improve earnings.

Local after-sale support, spares parts and training assistance give the certainty of lifetime backing and additional measures to reduce costs.

The range can easily slot into existing sawmill lines with flexible material handling options making this easier to achieve.

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