IMPROVED VENEER QUALITY AT UPM'S LOHJA MILL RICHPLY MOVES TOWARDS 100 YEARS SUGI AS RAW MATERIAL FOR PLYWOOD Issue 12 Raute Customer Magazine Published by Raute Corporation PLYVISIONS 3 TECHNOLOGY EXTRA TECHNOLOGY EXTRA TECHNOLOGY EXTRA TECHNOLOGY EXTRA RAUTE NOW RAUTE NOW RAUTE NOW RAUTE NOW RAUTE NOW RAUTE NOW RAUTE NOW Let's not overreact AS RECENTLY AS last summer, in the previous issue of PlyVisions, I referred to the difficult market situation we were experiencing. Since then the economy has worsened significantly. In practically every market globally the demand for plywood, veneer and LVL has dropped by tens of per cent. As a result, many investment projects, intended to create new capacity, have been put on hold. However, the need to invest in improving recovery, energy efficiency, labor productivity, materials consumption and product quality is as important as ever. With this in mind, our latest issue of PlyVisions addresses, specifically, the latest results of Raute's product development, which are intended to serve those needs. The final slap in the face for the worsening business situation came with the financial crisis that escalated in September and October last year. The result of this crisis was that those companies, which otherwise would have undertaken reasonable investments, began to face serious difficulty obtaining project financing. This situation affected the entire business world, including customers of Raute. We must applaud those governments that reacted quickly and decisively in the face of this terrible situation. Thanks to the actions governments are taking to stabilize the financial markets and ensure liquidity, some projects are proceeding. Raute and our customers will make the most of these opportunities. Even though times are challenging, we should not overreact. There have been economic downturns in the past as there will be in the future. Historically, there have always been economic improvements following periods of recession. And so it will be again. The fundamentals of our industry are still sound. The average wealth of the World's population is increasing and people want to improve their living conditions. This, in turn, generates demand for civil engineering as well as consumption related to housing and general consumption. In addition, global trade is growing faster than the total economy. These global mega trends remain intact, despite the current disturbance in the market and they will continue to push the demand for plywood and LVL. Now is the right time to make the improvements needed so that businesses can be competitive once the market turns around. Simply standing still and claiming how bad business is doesn't achieve anything. No company has ever succeeded in business by downsizing alone! For Raute, last year was significant also in terms of our history. In April, we turned 100 years old. We are proud of our long journey in the wood products technology business and intend to be there for our customers for the next hundred years. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all our PlyVisions readers for your interest in Raute and wish you all a successful 2009. Tapani Kiiski President and CEO WE ARE PROUD OF OUR LONG JOURNEY IN THE WOOD PRODUCTS TECHNOLOGY bUSINESS AND INTEND TO bE THERE FOR OUR CUSTOMERS FOR THE NEXT HUNDRED YEARS. 3 PLYVISIONS Contents Raute now TECHNOLOGY EXTRA: Raute focuses on R&D Raute highlights new peeling line concept Innovations rewarded Smart random recovery New stacker for thin veneer Next generation in accurate moisture analysis VDA-synergy with 3D vision Liquid extruder gluing New family of veneer composers Japanese cedar logs as raw material Robotic lay-up line Fully-automatic decorative veneer operation Second maintenance seminar Richply moves towards 100 years Plyfa's new veneer mill On cover: R&D manager Marko Perttilä is pleased with Raute's focus on R&D. Photo: Veli-Matti Lepistö 2 4 7 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 18 20 23 10 20 12 TECHNOLOGY EXTRA: RAutE'S LAtESt DEVELOPMENtS IN tEChNOLOgy ARE PRESENtED ON PAgES 4­15. PlyVisions is Raute Corporation's Customer Magazine. Editor-In-Chief: Molli Nyman, molli.nyman@raute.com Layout: Onnion Oy Printing house: Esa Print Oy Address changes: tuija.leppanen@raute.com Publisher: Raute Corporation, P.O. Box 69, FI-15551 Nastola, Finland, tel. +358 3 829 11, fax +358 3 829 351 Copyright Raute Corporation. All rights reserved. Reproduction permitted only with permission from Raute Corporation. WeLCome to Ligna 2009 18-22 May, 2009 in Hannover Ligna Hannover is an international hub for the woodworking and wood processing industries and is integral to the transfer of knowledge and networking. You are warmly welcome to visit our stand J38 in Hall 27. We hope you will have time to attend an informal cocktail party at our stand on Tuesday 19 May starting at 6:00 pm. Photos by Raute if not mentioned otherwise. www.raute.com ISSN 1459-3165 PLYVISIONS 3 TECHNOLOGY EXTRA: INTRODUCTION TECHNOLOGY EXTRA TECHNOLOGY EXTRA TECHNOLOGY RAUTE fOcUSES HEAVILY ON R&D RAUTE'S CORPORATE STRATEGY IS TO bE THE RECOGNIzED LEADER IN VENEER-bASED TECHNOLOGY. THIS MEANS THAT RAUTE MUST bE AT THE FOREFRONT OF DEVELOPMENT IN ALL MAJOR MARkET AREAS AND ALL PLYWOOD AND LVL PROCESS AREAS. IN THIS WE bELIEVE WE HAVE SUCCEEDED. bEING A TECHNOLOGY LEADER necessitates putting a great deal of effort and resources into R&D. Raute routinely invests 3­4% of turnover in R&D, a significant amount compared with our competitors. Raute's owners are committed to investing for the long term and the company's strong financial position enables us to undertake relatively large R&D projects. This gives us a big advantage over smaller competitors. A recent example is the assembly and testing of a complete peeling line in our R&D center. eters are a growing global trend and Raute has developed small log peeling technology, which has been providing a competitive edge for our customers for many years and has provided us with a competitive edge over our competitors. Labor costs in Europe and, especially in Scandinavia, have always been relatively high. Here, too, Raute has addressed this issue by developing highlyautomated solutions for our domestic customers. Now, we are seeing labor costs increasing at a dramatic rate in Asia, Russia and Latin America where labor costs have not been a real issue until recently. Raute is the only company that can supply a fully-automatic plywood or LVL plant so, here too, we have a great competitive edge over our competitors. Raute has been in business for 100 years, during which time we have developed hundreds, perhaps thousands, of workable processing solutions that have been tested all over the world. The thousand or more major projects we have undertaken have provided us with an enormous databank of solutions, which can be drawn on to satisfy the most difficult of customer requirements. This further enhances Raute's competitive edge over those competitors who have only limited experience. R&d Co-oPeRation R&D is a team activity. Co-operation with our customers is vital to our success. We are constantly presented with challenges requiring the invention of new solutions and the further development of existing solutions. The best result is achieved when the customer's knowledge of his raw material and processing conditions are combined with Raute's know-how concerning the capabilities and limitations for the development of the process and equipment required. This kind of R&D co-operation goes on every time we meet with our customers, whether we realize it or not. Raute has established deep co-operation with partner customers concerning a variety of development needs. Together, we constantly review business scenarios, working together to ascertain future needs and opportunities. The results of this co-operation can range from a solution for improving the operating capacity of a machine, to developing a new service business concept to coming up with a totally new mill concept. A typical co-operative scenario involves the delivery of a new kind of machine. We can only test the machine to a limited extent in our R&D center, whereas the long-term operation of the ma- ComPetitive edge Former CEO of American GE, Jack Welch, said that "we have to run at full speed to keep the position and even faster to be the leader". There are several global trends that need to be swiftly addressed by our customers if they want to survive ­ the cost of wood, glue and energy is increasing, competition for raw material is growing, raw material quality is worsening and labor costs are rising rapidly. In many ways these trends are beneficial to Raute because our Finnish customers have had to address these issues and find solutions already several years ago. In Finland, trees grow slowly and diameters are small. Small diam- 4 PLYVISIONS Y EXTRA TECHNOLOGY EXTRA TECHNOLOGY EXTRA TECHNOLOGY EXTRA TECHNOLOGY EXTRA ENERgy AND MAtERIAL EFFICIENCy AND thE MINIMIzAtION OF ENVIRONMENtAL IMPACtS ARE COMMON OBJECtIVES FOR RAutE AND OuR CuStOMERS, SAyS R&D MANAgER MARkO PERttILä. chine can only be gained under mill operating conditions. To facilitate this, Raute will enter into a special-terms agreement with the customer by which the customer enjoys the benefit of the new technology, its features and advantages, and Raute gets to observe the machine in actual production mode. A win-win situation. engineeRing knoW-HoW Raute is often called upon to customize equipment. In large projects we have to generate thousands of drawings and part lists and even small mistakes can jeopardize the agreed-upon delivery time. To minimize this risk Raute has created engineering and design tools, such as parametric ProE models of our most important machines. This means we can quickly design a machine according to specific customer specifications, reducing the possibility of mistakes in the manufacturing documents and shortening delivery time. >> Raute's technological innovations · Rotary clipper · Curtain Xy charger · the processing of small-diameter logs and applicable peeling technology · Continuous peeling-drying process · high humidity drying of veneer · Automatic veneer repairing · Veneer scarf-jointing · · · · · · · · Fully-automatic veneer slicing and drying line Automatic layup Automatic panel repairing Industrial production of large-sized panels 8 by 8 ft. concept Overlaying technology based on phenolic film Machine vision technology and its applications in different processes Continuous LVL process PLYVISIONS 5 TECHNOLOGY EXTRA: INTRODUCTION TECHNOLOGY EXTRA TECHNOLOGY EXTRA TECHNOLOGY >> Mill processes are complicated and difficult to describe in writing. To facilitate communication between our engineers and the customer, we have put a lot of effort into creating visualizations of the lines and machines using 3D models and animations. 3D technology enables us to read data from machine vision and various sensors in the actual process and use that data in our simulations. We can, for example, compare two different line solutions by running the same virtual veneers containing the same defects and observing which line performs better. The customer is then able to benefit from the preferred solution. Simulations that utilize actual dimensions, speeds, cycle times, etc. are a very effective means of conveying indisputable data between those involved in the project. Raute's formula for success recovery + quality + productivity x capacity = profitable production RaUte FoRmULa The figure below shows that the most important cost factors in plywood and LVL production are wood, resin, labor and energy, all of which are increasing in cost worldwide. On the other hand, the costs of competing materials in construction and transportation are increasing even more. As a renewable raw material, competition favors wood-based panels. Another positive development for the plywood and LVL industries is that people, globally, are tending to move from the countryside to the cities. In the future this will see the need for a greater number of residences. Economically and environmentally sound wood-based panels are an excellent way to meet this need. Some years ago we developed the "Raute formula", which states that several issues must be addressed if profitable production is to be achieved. These are: Recovery (how well the raw material is utilized), Productivity (how well the existing machinery, labor, energy and raw materials are utilized), and Quality (how well products are graded and defects repaired). When the sum of these factors is multiplied by capacity, profit from the manufacturing facility is maximized. The "Raute formula" is a very good tool for evaluating the performance of each machine and the manufacturing process as a whole. It enables our customers to compare the advantages and disadvantages of the various solutions offered by Raute. Raute is committed to assisting our customers throughout the lifecycle of their investment. The "Raute formula" can be applied when evaluating the benefits that would be achieved through the modernization of certain machines. In many cases, equipment modernization is the preferred solution, especially these days when mills are operating at full capacity with minimal downtime for maintenance. In the following pages you will find Raute's most recent technology developments. · text: Marko Perttilä Raute formula RECOVERy: · · · · · · Curtain laser block scanning Veneer value optimization Xy auto-calibration Veneer moisture management Defect clipping glue application PRODuCtIVIty: · Low labor consumption due to automation and high capacity (automatic patching and grading, layup line, panel repairing) · Simple operation (easy to understand guI, recipe concept) · Efficient management tools (MIS, real-time data from all lines, reporting, MES) PLYWood manUFaCtURing Costs Heat energy 4% Electrical energy 4% Glue 11% Wood 64% QuALIty: · Peeling line features (Xy centering, OPg ­ Optimized Peeling geometry) · Veneer moisture management · Veneer / panel grading (visual quality, moisture, dimensions / shape, roughness) · One side gluing (spray, curtain coater, extruder) Labor 17% 6 PLYVISIONS Y EXTRA TECHNOLOGY EXTRA TECHNOLOGY EXTRA TECHNOLOGY EXTRA TECHNOLOGY EXTRA Raute highlights new peeling line concept A NEW PEELING LINE CONCEPT, 3VNG, was introduced at Raute's technology seminar held in St. Petersburg in November 2008. Based on its capacity and price, it is positioned between Raute's traditional 3VM peeling line and the most modern Smart Peel line, and uses Raute's proven peeling technology. The line has been especially designed for peeling small-diameter hardwood, such as birch, aspen and poplar. The 3VNG peeling line was designed to satisfy the following objectives: · A high capacity/price ratio · The possibility to utilize the foundation of an existing Raute 3VKKT or 2HV lathe · The use of state-of-the-art technology while capitalizing on experience gained from individual modernization packages · The use of Raute's proven 3VM lathe frame · The implementation of new standardized logics controls · Fast installation and start-up · The ability to offer individual modernization packages for the 2HV and 3VKKT lathes Innovations! PLYWOOD INNOVATION AWARDS RECOGNIzED AT RAUTE'S 100th ANNIVERSARY CELEbRATION. THE MAIN EVENT CELEbRATING RAUTE'S 100TH ANNIVERSARY was held at Sibelius Hall in Lahti, Finland on 21 August 2008. Around 550 customers, staff and corporate partners were in attendance. Mr. Esko Aho, President of the Finnish Innovation Fund, Sitra, addressed the gathering during which awards were handed out to the winners of Raute's Innovation Competition. The Innovation Competition sought out inventions that would be of benefit to Raute's business. In considering the innovation proposals, the jury decided on awarding joint thirdplace prizes with the unawarded portion of the second prize being assigned to a university innovation project. The innovation that secured first place is a significant innovation in plywood technology and clearly stood out over the other proposals. Raute President and CEO, Mr. Tapani Kiiski, described the winning innovation by Kimmo Suomalainen as an important development in drying technology, which clearly provides improvements in veneer and plywood quality, production capacity, energy consumption and raw material recovery. Petri Lempinen's innovation in charger optimization strategy enables the lathe operator to optimize production in terms of quantity or quality in order to meet the needs of the user. Timo Vlasov's innovative gripping device facilitates the gentle handling of fragile veneers in the plywood and LVL manufacturing processes. · text: Molli Nyman 3VNg lathe · Designed for peeling small diameter hardwoods, such as birch and poplar · Block lengths 1200 ... 1500 mm (4 to 5 ft.) · Capacity range from 8.2 ... 9.3 m3/h (1500 mm block length, 1.6 mm thickness) · the line consists of ­ jack ladder, Xy charger, 3VNg lathe, hydraulic clipping trash gate, veneer catch-up conveyors, RCE rotary clipper, and two-bin green stacker · two versions of the line are available: - A short-coupled line with a 1-deck catch-up conveyor - A standard line with a 2-deck catch-up conveyor · Options: - Smart Scan curtain laser for the Xy charger - 3-bin stacker text: Sakari Laine Jury Chairman, Mr. tapani kiiski, awarded the innovation prizes as follows: 1st prize, 15,000 euros: Mr. kimmo Suomalainen (on right) ­ New veneer dryer construction 3rd prize, 5,000 euros: Mr. Petri Lempinen (in the middle) ­ New block charger optimization strategy 3rd prize, 5,000 euros: Mr. timo Vlasov (left) ­ New gripper for automatic veneer handling PLYVISIONS 7 NEW TECHNOLOGIES NEW TECHNOLOGIES NEW TECHNOLOGIES NEW TECHNOLOGIES NEW TECH SMART RANDOM REcOVERY cONcEpT ­ recovering profits from randoms A FEASIbLE MEANS OF HANDLING RANDOM VENEER HAS ALWAYS bEEN THE DESIRE OF EVERY PLYWOOD MILL OWNER. WATCHING GOOD FIbER bE DEVOURED bY THE CHIPPER IS A PAINFUL SIGHT. RAUTE'S NEW PATENTED Smart Random Recovery concept addresses the needs of plywood and veneer producers to maximize the value of randoms and recovery from their raw material. Collecting all usable random veneer can literally yield millions of dollars worth of additional veneer. Just like the old saying goes ­ "little drops of water make a mighty ocean". The Smart Random Recovery concept line is the result of three years of R&D and supports Raute's ongoing efforts to provide the best possible technology to our customers. This new random handling technology means that you are now able to automate and optimize your random clipping and stacking process with a level of accuracy never before seen. The high speed with which the line is capable of running will not sacrifice the production capacity of the peeling line. The flow of veneer is scanned by a device comprising a camera and thickness detector and an optional moisture meter. The Smart Random Recovery concept uses the scan data to determine all recoverable pieces of random veneer, whether in the middle or at the edges of the veneer mat. Scan results are interpreted for the purpose of cutting the veneer to appropriate widths and lengths. The clipper head width is movable, enabling it to first clip the random to its maximum width, after which the splitter trims the random to an appropriate length. The randoms are then stacked according to their length into separate bins. suit various veneer production needs. Customers are able to choose the appropriate OCP for different veneer thicknesses or change the minimum width of the random they wish to recover over a range from 100 to 1,400 mm. Trim lengths can be selected ranging from 600 mm to 2,400 mm in 300 mm increments. OCP provides almost endless possibilities to customize the veneer clipping pattern. Width clipping can remove defects as small as 10 x 10 mm. The size of the minimum defect to be removed is chosen by the user. The veneer clipper can be also programmed to perform `negative clipping'. In this process, a small part of each edge defect remains after clipping and is removed by the composer after drying. The length of each piece of random veneer is trimmed using rotary knives. The length trimmer is equipped with a rotary knife every 300 mm starting at 600 mm. In markets that are able to utilize low-cost labor, randoms are typically collected down to a minimum size of 600 x 100 mm. In higher labor cost markets, mills might limit recoverable lengths to standardized sizes, like 1,200 and 2,400 mm. The choice is up to the mill. Positive ResULts Our studies show very positive results, both in terms of recovery and money saved. Raute's Smart Random Recovery concept really does provide a viable and highly feasible alternative to chipping random veneer, even if it can be sold for pulp. The additional value generated by recovering and selling random ve- oPtimized CLiPPing PatteRn The Optimized Clipping Pattern (OCP) provides mills with the flexibility to create multiple clipping and trimming rules to EXAMPLES OF THE CLIPPING PATTERN In this example all randoms from 2 feet up to 8 feet in length are recovered. In this example the lengths of the randoms recovered are limited to standard four feet and eight feet lengths. Performance: · line speed up to 50 m/min · width of recoverable randoms 100 mm­1,400 mm · minimum width of removable defect 10 mm · up to 10% higher recovery 8 PLYVISIONS HNOLOGIES NEW TECHNOLOGIES NEW TECHNOLOGIES NEW TECHNOLOGIES NEW TECHNOLOGIES New stacker for thin veneer STACkING THIN VENEER has always been challenging. Traditionally, reeling has been the most common solution for handling thin veneer after peeling. This technology works well on larger diameter blocks, however, it is not the best solution in all cases. Problems typically occur as block diameters get smaller. In these cases more than one veneer mat is rolled on the same bobbin, which causes damage to the veneer. A proven solution to this problem is a completely new type of veneer stacker developed by Raute, specifically for handling thin veneer. Prior to stacking, the veneer ribbon is cut into sheets. This new thin veneer stacker is able to successfully stack veneer sheets as thin as 0.6 mm and can be designed to handle variable veneer lengths. The system offers an optional turning device for handling wood species that need to be stacked face side down or neer, compared with converting the same veneer into chips, may reach 3.5 million USD per year per peeling line. The alternative would be to sell the potential random veneer to pulp or bio-fuel concerns. On the other hand, the value of the composed veneer produced from the randoms can be from 100­200 USD/m3 higher than the value of the green chips, depending on the market area. Consider the following feasibility calculation: - green chip price is 60 uSD/m3. - Composed veneer sheet price is 200 uSD/m3. - Peeling line production is 150,000 m3 of veneer. - Recovery increase from randoms is 6%. - 150,000 m3 x 6% = 9,000 m3/year of additional green veneer. - Dryer shrinkage and composing losses are 30%. - Production of additional veneer sheets is 9,000 m3 x 70% = 6,300 m3/year. - Additional income from 6,300 m3/year x 140 uSD/m3 = 882,000 uSD/year. for handling veneer sheets that need to be fed into the dryer with their bottom side facing up. The system also enables two different thicknesses to be peeled from the same block. This can occur when the operator switches from peeling core grade veneer to face quality veneer. Existing stacking systems have certain limitations regarding speed and stack quality when veneer thicknesses are below 1.0 to 1.3 mm. The main focus when designing the stacker's vacuum box was to optimize air flow so that the fan's power requirements would be minimized. Each box can be moved to best accommodate various veneer sizes in order to minimize potential veneer damage. The first new thin veneer stacker was erected in Raute's R&D center and testing began in early December. · text: Jussi Puranen smaRt Random ReCoveRY ConCePt Line avaiLabLe as an UPgRade A Smart Random Recovery line can be integrated into a new Raute Smart Peel peeling line, or it can be supplied as an upgrade to an existing peeling line. By adding the latest technological solutions to your existing peeling line, you can extend its life-cycle and increase its overall efficiency. Upgrades are tailored solutions that are planned to suit the overall production schedule of the mill in order to minimize the amount of down-time and disruption to production during installation. The Smart Random Recovery concept is only one of the many upgrades opportunities available for your peeling line. · text: Jukka Siiriäinen tEChNICAL DAtA · · · · Models for 4ft­10 ft veneer lengths Veneer thickness 0.6 mm­1.5 mm (other thicknesses upon request) Belt speed 100 m/min­250 m/min (frequency speed control on stacker belts) Frequency controls on fan speed PLYVISIONS 9 NEW TECHNOLOGIES NEW TECHNOLOGIES NEW TECHNOLOGIES NEW TECHNOLOGIES NEW TECH Next generation in accurate moisture analysis MECANO'S MVA (MOISTURE VOLUME ANALYzER) IS THE NEXT GENERATION OF NON-CONTACT MOISTURE ANALYzERS. WITH THE MVA, MECANO HAS CREATED A SOLUTION THAT SURPASSES ALL PREVIOUS MOISTURE ANALYzERS IN ACCURACY AND PERFORMANCE. MOISTURE DATA from the MVA is used for sheet moisture grading, for recording and analyzing process data and for controlling dryer speed. The MVA scans every square centimeter of the veneer. Operation is based on measuring changes in electromagnetic fields. It measures total moisture in veneer and deliver highly accurate results over an exceptionally wide moisture range. Development work began in 2006 with installation of the test unit being done in spring 2008. The first commercial delivery of the MVA takes place during spring 2009. Accurate moisture analysis produces many benefits. Dryer control is more precise when precise moisture data is available. With fewer errors in drying, recovery increases, quality is maintained and energy costs are lower. Optimized moisture content also positively affects the stiffness of the glue bond and glue consumption. MVA also provides a wide range of new reporting capabilities. toring the temperature of the wood. In contrast to the older generation of moisture analyzers, the MVA measures the total moisture through the veneer sheet. When the total moisture content is known, critical moisture limit for pressing can be identified. The user interface is easy to learn and operate. With the aid of input from users, Mecano has developed a system that does away with "Black Box Syndrome". densitY anaLYsis There is a direct correlation between veneer density and strength. To determine veneer density, Mecano has developed the MDA (Moisture & Density Analyzer). The MDA's ability to accurately measure moisture and density is proven. The measurement range varies between 300 and 1000 kg/m3, with accuracy of the density measurement being ±3% (of the reading), up to 15% moisture content. Veneer strength has a significant effect on production economy. The stronger the veneers, the thinner they can be peeled. By having the ability to peel thinner veneers, mills can more effectively process their expensive raw material. Drying thinner veneers takes less time, which enables higher dryer capacity and energy savings. Mecano's MVA and MDA can be integrated with any generation of Mecano VDA camera system. · tHe most aCCURate moistURe anaLYzeR avaiLabLe This revolutionary new moisture analyzer provides accurate moisture measurement in the range from 0% up to 40%. The most important moisture classes for the plywood and LVL industries, however, are those under 15%. The MVA has been developed especially for measuring moisture classes between 0­15%, where the MVA's accuracy is ± 0.5%. The MVA is a significant improvement in moisture analysis. Conventional moisture meters are based on conductivity and do not accurately measure moisture levels under 10%. Moisture measurement is carried out successfully, independent of grain orientation. In addition to this, the effect of veneer temperature on the measurement values is compensated for by constantly moni- simPLe and Fast instaLLation One of the main goals when designing the MVA was ease of installation and start-up. The unit is delivered readycalibrated and is fine-tuned at the mill. Installation is fast because the MVA is delivered as a complete unit and is installed in the production line as a standalone unit. Only 1 meter (40") of assembly space is required for installation. Short installation causes minimal disruption to production. Typically, installation takes about 10 hours. Start-up occurs quickly because all grading parameters are programmed in advance. text: Antti Rönty 10 PLYVISIONS HNOLOGIES NEW TECHNOLOGIES NEW TECHNOLOGIES NEW TECHNOLOGIES NEW TECHNOLOGIES MECANO HAS DEVELOPED A NEW GENERATION CAMERA VISION SYSTEM ­ THE VDA-SYNERGY (VDA-S), A MORE HIGHLY-TUNED VERSION OF THE PROVEN MECANO VDA (VISUAL DEFECT ANALYzER). VDA-Synergy with 3D vision for improved grading results THIS ENHANCED vision system satisfies the most demanding camera applications and is capable of detecting small wormholes, pin holes and tight splits. As well as grading the veneer sheets, VDA-S can also be used for grading panels, too. The VDA-S generates a 3D image of the veneer. Defects that do not show differences in contrast can be picked up by the VDA-S based on their 3D shape. 3D defects, such as overlapping, roughness and loose trash on veneer, are revealed using the VDA-S. In addition to these defects, worm holes and micro cracks can be detected. Mechanical defects, like harvester and barker marks, are also detected. The VDA-S analyzer includes all the features of both the VDA Color and VRA (Visual Roughness Analyzer), as well as the following new features: · High resolution color image · High resolution 3D image · Roughness detection · Overlap detection (overlapped splits) · Trash filtering · Mechanical defect detection 3D defects cause significant misgrading and product quality problems. The loss of face veneers, misgrading and lost capacity can lead to significant monetary loss. The ability of the Mecano VDA-S to recognize 3D defects aids mill management in achieving better results. Veneer roughness and overlapping, for example, cause problems during several stages of the plywood production process. These defects will cause problems during the sanding stage and, subsequently, during further processing, such as overlaying when such defects tend to telegraph through the overlay material. These defects also cause poor glue bond, which can lead to delamination and significant problems in final product quality. Roughness and overlapping can also make patching more difficult. With VDA-S and its 3D features, roughness and overlapping can be detected and eliminated from the process. VDA-S also detects wavy wood. Such wood is generally weak and prone to failure, especially when jointing or composing. Joints tend to fracture and patches come loose. Significant savings can be realized by removing the wavy veneers at the start of the production process. Other 3D defects, like mechanical marks and loose trash on the surface of veneer, can only be detected accurately with the VDA-S. The effect of defects is cumulative as they proceed through the process. There is no reason for wasting time, capacity and energy in processing faulty veneer sheets. · text: Antti Rönty new frame solution: low profile construction with new optical system Mecano has developed a new low profile frame for its VDA-S application. the conventional arch-shaped VDA frame is approximately 2.5 m high, which can create problems when it is to be installed in a cramped environment. undertaking maintenance on the camera can also be challenging due to the height at which it is installed above the mill floor. Mecano's R&D team researched the solution and came up with the low profile frame, which is only 1.2 meters (4 feet) from the level of the line. Inside the frame there is a special optic system that enables the camera to operate normally despite its shorter focal length. the biggest benefit of the low profile frame is that it is delivered as a ready-toassemble unit, already calibrated at Mecano's plant. this enables fast installation. the unit need only be fine tuned after installation. the low profile frame is available as an option alongside Mecano's conventional A-frame. · PLYVISIONS 11 NEW TECHNOLOGIES NEW TECHNOLOGIES NEW TECHNOLOGIES NEW TECHNOLOGIES NEW TECH Liquid extruder gluing (LEG) TO DATE, FOAM GLUING has only been possible using phenol resin, prompting Raute to find solutions involving UF and MUF resins.White glue, too, has its limitations. Until now, the only method to apply it has been by roller, which is not viable in highly-automated or flexible lay-up lines. Liquid extrusion is an established, but uncommon means of gluing. In this area Raute has begun work to develop a liquid extruder to meet today's demands. The Raute liquid extruder (LEG) is designed for high spread accuracy. The specially-designed extruder head provides precise and constant spread over the entire surface of the veneer. It works well with PF, UF and MUF glues. The LEG is PLC controlled, providing the opportunity to implement the highest technology available to gluing equipment. A mass flow meter constantly controls glue flow, passing data to the PLC and to the glue pump ensuring that the glue spread is consistent. Glue rate is easily adjusted from the operator touch screen. Product customization is possible, thanks to the ability to quickly change the set-up. For example, product with low strength demand can be glued with a spread rate of 100 g/m2, whereas the rate can be increased to increase glue line strength. The operator can see actual values on the touch screen, including glue temperature, flow rate, glue density, etc. Should these values fall outside acceptable parameters, alarms will be given, enabling the operator to take immediate action in order to rectify the problem. The liquid extrusion system is shown to work well at high line speeds. The system satisfies pro-environmental production requirements. The spread rate is less compared with roller, curtain coater or spray gluing while the closed loop system minimizes waste. Raute's LEG is equipped with an automatic washing system designed for trouble-free operation. A special "quick wash operation" can be done in a few minutes, reducing downtime and raising the productivity of the lay-up line. Another feature of the system is its ability to apply more than one glue type to the inner plies. A dual-head LEG can apply more reactive glue to the core layers to reduce pressing time. Raute also offers a Minimixer, which can produce small batches of glue just prior to glue application, providing greater control when working with more reactive glue. The LEG liquid extruder can be installed on most existing spray, curtain coater or single-side roller lay-up lines. Installation usually takes a couple of days. · text: Jori Sopanen Liquid extruder gluing · 5­10% glue savings due to highly-accurate glue spread rate · Flexible production: - extrusion on or off - able to vary glue spread rate by glue line - able to use more reactive glue in the core - non-invasive impact on the veneer - automatic washing saves time · Works with mixed wood species and special panel constructions 12 PLYVISIONS HNOLOGIES NEW TECHNOLOGIES NEW TECHNOLOGIES NEW TECHNOLOGIES NEW TECHNOLOGIES New family of veneer composers SINCE THE EARLY 1990`S, RAUTE HAS DELIVERED OVER ONE HUNDRED VENEER COMPOSING LINES WORLDWIDE, THE MAJORITY OF WHICH ARE STILL IN CONTINUOUS PRODUCTION TODAY. DEVELOPMENT IN composing technology has been concentrated on improving process yield and productivity. New features, such as servo-alignment, servo-clipping, smart clip options (no clip, negative clip) and wane detection have improved both the efficiency of the composing process and the quality of the composed veneer. All these product developments and improvements can be implemented in older composing lines to improve productivity and extend the life-cycle of the composer. The main targets for Raute when developing new composing technology were to implement the acquired benefits of Raute's proven composing technology, to take line productivity to an entirely new level through the integration of `clipping on the fly', and to improve yield and quality by applying the benefits of automatic camera-grading using the Mecano VDA (Veneer Defect Analyzer) to the automatic defect clipping operation. As a result of this development work Raute has developed a new family of module-based veneer composers that includes a high-capacity clipping and composing line for core veneers and a new face veneer clipping and composing line, which uses thermosetting glue in producing highquality butt-jointed solid seams for face veneer sheets. This new clipping module can also be used in other veneer handling processes, such as green veneer handling. Features common to Raute's veneer composers are the maximization of productivity and quality and low labor costs. All composing lines can be run by a single operator. Additionally, Raute has developed new solutions for feeding veneer to the composing lines. · text: Juha Rautiainen ALL thESE PRODuCt DEVELOPMENtS AND IMPROVEMENtS CAN BE IMPLEMENtED IN OLDER COMPOSINg LINES tO IMPROVE PRODuCtIVIty AND EXtEND thE LIFE-CyCLE OF thE COMPOSER. tEChNICAL DAtA · Models for up to 1500, 2400 and 3000 mm veneer lengths (5 ft, 8 ft and 10 ft) · Veneer thickness from 1.2­4.2 mm (other thicknesses on request) · Veneer thickness control · Machine vision options: - Open defect detection - Wane detection - VDA camera scanning · Core veneer composing - Minimum veneer width to be jointed 50 mm - hot melt glue strings - 8 glue spots / each 12 inches of veneer length · Face veneer composing - thermo-setting glue (butt-jointed solid seam) - Minimum veneer width to be joined is 250 mm PLYVISIONS 13 NEW TECHNOLOGIES NEW TECHNOLOGIES NEW TECHNOLOGIES NEW TECHNOLOGIES NEW TECH jApANESE cEDAR LOGS as raw material for plywood JAPANESE CEDAR, OTHERWISE kNOWN AS SUGI, IS A CONIFEROUS WOOD SPECIES FOUND IN NORTHEAST ASIA. IT HAS bEEN USED bY THE WOOD INDUSTRY FOR A LONG TIME, bUT IN RECENT YEARS HAS bECOME AN IMPORTANT RAW MATERIAL IN THE PRODUCTION OF SOFTWOOD PLYWOOD AND LVL (LAMINATED VENEER LUMbER). RAUTE'S R&D DEPARTMENT undertook testing on Sugi during the summer of 2008. Those who participated at Raute wish to express their gratitude for the excellent co-operation on the part of our Japanese partners who ensured that a large batch of Sugi logs safely arrived at Raute's R&D centre, in Finland, in May. The testing of Sugi logs was seen as an important addition to the long list of wood species from around the world that Raute has tested in recent years. As a raw material for plywood, Sugi is considered less than optimal due to some inherent characteristics that can negatively affect its properties with respect to processing and the finished product. As is typical of other softwood species, low density values and wide variations within the raw material are both disadvantages compared to many other species used in the production of softwood plywood. Testing on Sugi at Raute R&D was undertaken carefully but with >> 14 PLYVISIONS HNOLOGIES NEW TECHNOLOGIES NEW TECHNOLOGIES NEW TECHNOLOGIES NEW TECHNOLOGIES Robotic lay-up line the confidence that Raute's R&D personnel have gained in softwood processing technology over half of century. Testing covered the entire plywood production process, from log conditioning to testing of the final product. During testing, both conventional and stateof-the-art technologies were employed in order to determine the properties of Sugi and its suitability for use in the range of plywood production processes. The complete test program consisted of conventional plywood manufacturing testing from logs to panels and also a number of process-specific experiments using Raute test units and prototype devices. Peeling tests were done using new generation Smart Scan and Smart Peel technologies, including the testing of solid and two other types of roller nose bars and a new method of veneer stacking. Veneer drying tests were undertaken using both screen and roller dryers. Grading was carried out using advanced machine vision and measuring applications. Testing, with respect to improving veneer value based on composing and patching, was carried out on Raute's newly-introduced high-capacity composer and Patchman prototype. Gluing tests were done using a conventional roller spreader and on a Raute's new liquid glue extruder, which demonstrated the savings that can be expected due to its more accurate glue spread rate. Intensive R&D work confirmed that Raute's plywood technology can be successfully applied to the processing of Sugi without compromising current plywood production practices. Specifically, the adaptation of advanced machine vision and measurement applications was shown to provide remarkable improvements in the productivity and recovery of Sugi in the plywood production process. · text: Timo Välttilä IN 2006, RAUTE bEGAN INVESTIGATING new plywood lay-up methods. Several challenging features would be required of the new lay-up line, not least of which were low energy and labor utilization. In addition, the system would need to possess the flexibility to handle a variety of panel constructions, as well as a range of veneer sizes and thicknesses. To satisfy future needs, it would need to be easily upgradable to accommodate increased capacity. The result of this development work is Raute's Robotic lay-up line. The first fully-automatic lay-up line incorporating five robots and a Mecano camera system is due to start up in early 2009. The system uses industrial robots to feed veneer. Each robotic arm is equipped with a proprietary veneer gripping device. mULtiPLe advantages Raute's robotic lay-up line offers numerous advantages. These include the flexibility it offers in plywood production, as one robot can feed veneer in both grain directions and recipes can be easily activated from the operator console. It also enables the production of customized plywood products and panel constructions. The capacity of a robotic lay-up line is determined by the number of robots it employs. Typically, five robots can handle up to 1,250 veneer sheet per hour. A special feature of robotic lay-up lines is that their capacity can be easily expanded. In most cases, capacity expansion can be achieved during a single service break. The line can be supplied as a fully-automatic system where the operator's task is to monitor the process or as a semi-automatic system where 1 or 2 operators are employed laying up veneers against a reference edge. This type of system can be converted to a fully-automatic system and capacity expanded at a later time. · text: Jori Sopanen mULtiPLe FeatURes · Veneer gripper operates with low energy requirements · Vacuum gripper provides reliable and flexible operation · Operates smoothly without the need for a large fan ­ less noise, less dust, less energy · No need for filter station · gentle vacuum will not negatively impact veneer · Able to adjust to various veneer thicknesses · Both grain directions handled by one gripper · Same gripper size can handle several veneer sizes. No need to adjust when sheet dimensions change PLYVISIONS 15 Fully-automatic decorative veneer operation at uPM's Lohja mill RAUTE'S NEW AUTOMATIC DECORATIVE VENEER SLICING LINE WAS INSTALLED LAST SUMMER AT THE UPM VENEER MILL IN LOHJA, FINLAND. PRODUCTION OF DECORATIVE VENEER bEGAN SHORTLY AFTER IN MID-AUGUST WITH FINAL ACCEPTANCE TESTING AT THE END OF SEPTEMbER 2008. IN ADDITION TO THE RAUTE HVS HORIzONTAL VENEER SLICER the delivery included a Merritt vacuum holding system, an automatic flitch charger, an automatic backing board discharger and a set of crowding conveyors that coupled the slicer to an existing Raute VPD veneer press dryer with 8 hot sections. This unique veneer slicing and drying line is capable of machining flitches into high-quality sheets of dry veneer in a fully-automatic process without the need for the operator to touch the flitch or veneer in the middle of the process. UPM's Lohja veneer mill manufactures high-quality peeled and sliced birch and pine face veneers for customers in Europe and North America. thE DEMAND FOR DECORAtIVE VENEER WILL CONtINuE, BELIEVES MILL MANAgER MARkku tAMMINEN. 16 PLYVISIONS need to imPRove veneeR qUaLitY Mill manager Markku Tamminen acted as UPM's project manager during the new veneer dryer and slicer projects. According to Mr. Tamminen the main reason for UPM undertaking the investments was the need to improve sliced veneer quality.Veneer quality and productivity were the major criteria when UPM started to source the new slicer. UPM's project group visited mills around the world to inspect various slicers before making their final decision. Among those visited was a mill in Tunisia, where veneer is made on a 20 yearold Keller 8KS horizontal slicer. Seeing the Keller slicer in operation ­ on which the design of the new Raute slicer is based ­ strengthened the group's confidence in the benefits that horizontal slicing offers. The quality of the veneer was good, the machine was running smoothly and the positive effect of gravity on both the slicing operation and the slicer itself was apparent. The horizontal slicer was also a good fit with respect to automatic flitch charging and turning. Raute was chosen as the supplier of the new slicer, because no other manufacturer could offer this new type of horizontal slicer. The decision by UPM to choose Raute for this project was bolstered by their previous positive experience when choosing Raute's veneer press dryers for their Lohja mill. In this case Raute was able to tailor the dryers to fit into the mill's existing facilities. Machine vision applications also offer the potential to improve on-line quality control in the future. demand FoR deCoRative veneeR in tHe FUtURe Despite the current global economic downturn, UPM's Markku Tamminen strongly believes that the demand for decorative veneer will continue. He believes that there have always been competing materials and new materials are being developed on a regular basis, however, real wood will remain the preferred choice of quality conscious consumers. The veneer producers must, however, pay careful attention to maintaining and improving their competitiveness. The criteria applied by UPM in choosing the new slicer ­ productivity and veneer quality ­ are seen as being even more important in the future. · text: Matti Aho sLiCing Line Was FiRst assembLed at RaUte R&d UPM's new horizontal slicer was a pilot project for Raute, and so the whole slicing line was assembled first at the Raute R&D center in Finland. Markku Tamminen says that the best feature in the project implementation was the fact that the slicer was thoroughly tested and adjustments made at the supplier's premises in close cooperation with the client. As a result, the line installed at the Lohja mill was a fully functional entity, ready to run very soon after startup. Installation went according to plan, schedules were met, and commissioning of the line went smoothly. a neW oFFeRing in tHe deCoRative veneeR bUsiness After a careful evaluation of available slicers, the UPM project group arrived at a solution that was to bring something new to the decorative face veneer business. They believed that simply replacing their existing vertical slicer with a new vertical slicer would not essentially improve the existing situation at the mill, whereas the horizontal slicer offered the opportunity to simultaneously improve both productivity and veneer quality. Due to the automated flitch handling capability of the line, throughput of the horizontal slicer is essentially higher than what is generally possible with the vertical slicer and, additionally, the labor requirement is less. Gravity automatically maintains the tolerances of the horizontal slicer at a minimum, which directly affects the veneer quality in a positive way. Positive FiRst imPRessions According to Mr. Tamminen, experience during the first couple of months of the new slicing line's operation has been positive. The criteria established for determining veneer quality ­ smooth surface and tight thickness tolerance ­ have been met and, in spite of the fact that the operators were in the early stages of their learning curves, productivity of the new line is higher compared with the old machine. Additionally, veneer exits the automatic line in the form of dry sheets, which means significant savings in labor costs. Controlling veneer quality was a concern before production started on the new line. This concern appeared to have been unnecessary, however, because the operators have more time to observe veneer quality when the line functions automatically, stated Mr. Tamminen. horizontal veneer slicing at optimum speed. the crowding conveyors optimize the load rate of the veneer press dryer. PLYVISIONS 17 Raute holds SEcOND MAINTENANcE SEMINAR LAST YEAR'S EVENT WAS THE CONTINUATION OF A SEMINAR HELD IN 2007, AND IT WAS CLEAR FROM THE HIGH NUMbER IN ATTENDANCE THAT THIS TYPE OF GET-TOGETHER IS HIGHLY VALUED. WhAt? Maintenance seminar hosted by Raute WhEN? On 12 November 2008 WhERE? In St. Petersburg, Russia determined tasks on a preset Over 50 Russian plywood industry focused on proactive maintenance proschedule, which is intended maintenance professionals representing grams for plywood mills, as well as to minimize unexpected shut20 plywood plants from all over Russia. electronic spare parts, maintenance downs during normal produccontracts, modernization services and tion time. training and consultation services. Due to the unique needs of each plywood mill, proactive PRoaCtive maintenanCe PRomaintenance programs need to be indiperts when creating and updating mill gRams inCRease PRodUCtivitY vidually tailored to meet the mill's presmaintenance programs. The seminar opened with a discussion ent and future needs. The seminar paron proactive maintenance; i.e., the serticipants agreed that assistance is often eLeCtRoniC sPaRe PaRts seRviCes vicing of machinery according to preneeded from external maintenance exCorrectly identifying and sourcing spare parts is vital to a mill's successful maintenance operation. Information concerning spare parts is often available in hard copy file format. A key element of seminar summary the timely and successful management of the mill's spare parts needs is the Production line and machinery modernizations are an efficient way to increase proelectronic spare parts book introduced duction capacity and improve product quality by utilizing existing machinery. Wellby Raute at the seminar. designed maintenance programs and spare parts systems ensure that the production More than 200 production lines are process is as trouble-free as possible. Maintenance contracts, for their part, give mills already using Raute's electronic spare the opportunity to source specialized maintenance expertise that they do not possess parts book. Seminar participants were internally. pleased to learn that the electronic spare One of the statements made during the seminar was that "today's technologiparts book is available for all Raute lines cal advances and increasing growth in automation to enhance productivity requires delivered after 1995. constant alertness on the parts of both the maintenance and the production departThe electronic spare parts book ments." Plywood mill personnel have a constant need for training which, in the view makes finding the necessary spare parts of the participants, is directly related to the topics presented at the seminar. For all quick and easy. The customer can also these needs, Raute can offer ready-made training packages and training courses that use the program to place requests for are specifically tailored to meet the customer's exacting requirements. bids on spare parts. Raute is continually developing its spare parts services, and the new on-line version of the electronic THE EMPHASIS during this seminar WhO? 18 PLYVISIONS spare parts book will be released in the near future. maintenanCe ContRaCts sUPPoRt miLL maintenanCe Constant advances in technology and automation are putting more and more pressure on mills' maintenance operations. A better level of performance can be achieved using the maintenance contract model introduced by Raute during the seminar in St. Petersburg. The maintenance contract covers the periodical inspection and service of the machinery included in the contract as well as reporting on the observations made and work performed. Reporting is utilized in the planning of the mill's shutdown maintenance schedules and maintenance operations. Those customers who have signed a maintenance contract with Raute enjoy the added benefit of receiving a discount on the spare parts, which are covered under the scope of the contract. tendance at the seminar was the introduction of Raute's new 3VNG peeling line concept. Based on its capacity and price, it is positioned between Raute's traditional 3VM peeling line and the most modern Smart Peel line, and uses Raute's proven peeling technology. The development of the new line was started in early spring 2008, and the design stage was completed just in time for the seminar. The line has been especially designed for peeling small-diameter hardwood, such as birch, aspen and poplar. The 3VNG peeling line was designed to satisfy the following objectives: · A high capacity/price ratio · The possibility to utilize the foundation of an existing Raute 3VKKT or 2HV lathe · The use of state-of-the-art technology while capitalizing on experience gained from individual modernization packages · The use of Raute's proven 3VM lathe frame · The implementation of new standardized logics controls · Fast installation and start-up · The ability to offer individual modernization packages for the 2HV and 3VKKT lathes. · tRaining seRviCes enHanCe PRoFessionaLism Raute offers personnel training ranging from operator training during project start-up and start-up supervision to process-specific training packages, covering the whole wood-based panel production process. Additional services, such as technical assistance and training are available during and after the investment phase. The aim of ongoing training is to enhance the professionalism of the production line operators, maintenance personnel, foremen and supervisors in order that they are able to fully optimize the properties of the production line in terms of reliability, quality and volume. Participants agreed during the seminar that machinery performance potential can be wasted without properly trained personnel. 3VNg LAthE Designed for peeling small diameter hardwoods, such as birch and poplar Block lengths 1200 ... 1500 mm (4 to 5 ft.) Capacity range from 8.2 ... 9.3 m3/h (1500 mm block length, 1.6 mm thickness) the line consists of ­ jack ladder, Xy charger, 3VNg lathe, hydraulic clipping trash gate, veneer catch-up conveyors, RCE rotary clipper, and two-bin green stacker · two versions of the line are available: - A short-coupled line with a 1-deck catch-up conveyor (when space is limited) - A standard line with a 2-deck catch-up conveyor · Options: - Smart Scan curtain laser for the Xy charger - 3-bin stacker · · · · RaUte HigHLigHts neW PeeLing Line ConCePt One of the highlights for those in at- text: Sakari Laine PLYVISIONS 19 Richply moves TOWARDS 100 YEARS RICHMOND PLYWOOD IS LOCATED ON THE SOUTH bANk OF THE FRASER RIVER A FEW kILOMETERS FROM DOWNTOWN VANCOUVER IN bRITISH COLUMbIA, CANADA. In 1956 the company opened for business when 300 investors each paid CAD 5,000 to establish what has become a successful plywood producing co-operative. Fifty-two years later, according to President and Chairman of the Board, Sukhwinder (Sandy) Grewal, it is ongoing investments that continue to secure Richply's success in the plywood industry. "Investments in plant and process, together with reliable management and product flexibility enables Richply to prosper where many have failed", said Grewal. and beyond Sandy grewal is President of Richply and Chairman of the Board. he and the other 281 shareholders are proud of their company's achievements over the past 52 years. Grewal believes strongly in Richply's management philosophy. "The Board of Directors may change regularly, but our management remains stable and consistent", he said, adding that there are several 20-plus year employees in key positions throughout the company. Grewal became a Richply shareholder in 1984 when he started work on the glue spreaders. Today, as a certified steam engineer, he performs maintenance in the steam plant in the mornings and attends to his duties as Chairman of the Board after lunch. It is an unusual arrangement, admitted Grewal, but one that works. "We all pull our weight and contribute here", he stated. Richply's 282 owners have equal voting rights when electing the seven board members. All shareholders, too, earn the same wage rate. "The President and the sweeper get the same rate of pay", said Grewal, who is currently serving his seventh term as Chairman of the Board. Richply's workforce numbers around 400, with non-shareholders making up the balance. As to the present situation in the wood products industry, Richply's owners remain positive. Said Grewal, "We are here making plywood every day, investing in our business to ensure our future. As our anniversary slogan states ­ we are moving towards 100 years and beyond." exPeRienCed and stabLe management According to General Manager, Doug Scott, who started at Richply in 1994, much of Richply's success is due to consistency and continuity in the way the mill is run and how products are made. Improvement through upgrading and modernization has created value for Richply. Management constantly re- 20 PLYVISIONS evaluates its performance and makes improvements through capital investments, like a new dryer, or through smaller investments, like upgrading software or rebuilding a press. As a member of the corporate team responsible for making equipment purchasing decisions, Scott believes in establishing good vendor relations. He stated that local machinery manufacturer, Raute Canada, has a successful track record with Richply. "We have co-operated with Raute in developing products like their green veneer scanner, rotary clipper controller and dryer speed control, among others", said Scott. He further stated that, while having Raute's factory nearby is advantageous, the vendor must perform to Richply's expectations. He stated that the 2005 dryer project helped build strong relations between the two companies. "Raute's 6-deck dryer has outperformed its design capacity and veneer quality is consistent and good. It has also proven to be an energy-efficient and reliable performer." Infeed stacker for the new automatic patching line currently being installed by Raute. RaUte deLiveRs sUCCessFUL UPgRade PRoJeCts In recent years, Raute has worked closely with Richply on numerous capital projects and modernizations. Notable projects include a complete 6-deck veneer dryer system incorporating a multi-bin dry veneer stacker and VDA camera grading system, as well as the infeed, outfeed and controls supplied by Raute when Richply rebuilt their #2 dryer. New high-speed sheet refeeders were also added to the dryers. Peeling line #2 also benefited from the installation of a new-style Raute sheet diverter and 5-bin Raute green stacker in 2001. Outdated VME lathe controls were replaced with ControlLogix PLC controls, which provided open-architecture programming and have simplified trouble-shooting. New controls were also added to #2 green stacker, as well as Raute VCA clipper scanners and Raute rotary clipper controllers on both lines. More recently, Raute installed hydraulic clipping trash gates on the two 8 ft. lathes, as well as a Smart Scan XY block optimization system on #1 lathe and a Smart Scan XY including a block charging system on #2 line. "Smart Scan has greatly improved block centering in the lathe and the automatic carriage positioning has reduced spin-outs", Mr. Scott stated. Automatic carriage positioning enables the car- riage to retract sufficiently to avoid hard contact with protruding branches as the block enters the lathe peeling pocket. Mr. Scott stated also that the volume of random has decreased significantly, to the point where the number of operators on the green chains has been halved. The new XY systems have also led to improvements in dry end efficiency. The mill is now able to dedicate two dryers to full sheets only, while random and fishtail is dried in the third dryer. With the dryers now dedicated to running an optimized product mix, Richply is realizing an overall increase of 15% in dryer productivity. Redry has been virtually eliminated. Mr. Scott stated also that the Raute sheet refeeders have further improved dry end efficiency. This has been achieved by properly segregating full sheets according to their moisture >> PLYVISIONS 21 SMART SCAN HAS GREATLY IMPROVED bLOCk CENTERING IN THE LATHE, STATED MR. SCOTT. "We told the authorities that the Raute dryer would replace three existing dryers and that we would tie the remaining two dryers into the new precipitator. This was not required, but they saw it as a very proactive approach to eliminating blue haze and reducing particulate", said Doug Scott. Another major project was a recently started-up steam plant. In 2007, the mill spent CAD 2.6 million on the cost of gas. The ROI analysis was based on Richply paying the bank CAD 3 million a year over five years, or the gas company a similar amount every year indefinitely. Given the high cost of energy, the proposal was accepted by Richply's board. A smaller investment that also had a positive environmental impact was the installation of mesh screens to prevent fugitive dust from encroaching onto neighboring businesses. Richply's new steam plant started up in April 2008. It will greatly reduce the mill's dependence on gas as an energy source and deliver significant long-term savings. >> contents and automatically refeeding redry into the dry chain between gaps in the sheet flow. As to Richply's decision to install the Raute Smart Scan system, Mr. Scott saw Raute's laser curtain, with its scanning points in one-inch increments, as being superior to the thirty-two laser systems offered by the competition."It was apparent to me that Raute's laser curtain, with its ability to scan every inch, was superior to systems that only scanned every three inches or so", he said. The Richply mill is presently working with Raute on the installation of a single-head automatic patching line. At the time of writing, the system was in the testing phase. It consists of a feeding device, camera scanner, patching head and sheet stacker. Mr. Scott stated that Richply's decision to install the Raute patcher was somewhat based on their desire to reduce their dependence on the manual patchers, which are high maintenance machines. The mill currently operates seven manual patchers averaging approximately 700 sheets each per day. Raute's automatic patcher is rated at 1,800 sheets per day. a saLes dRiven oRganization Improvements to its production process have enabled Richply's output to grow from 160 Mm3/8 annually a decade ago to an expected 240 Mm3/8 in 2008. "Richply has hundreds of products and is not dependent on the structural panel market, nor does it compete headon with OSB. If we did, we'd be hurting now", stated VP of Sales and Marketing, Terry Davis, adding that the present market conditions are the worst he has witnessed in 35 years. "When I joined Richply we had two old lathes and we bought a lot of veneer. After numerous improvements we are today self-sufficient and have quit buying veneer", he said. · text: Rick Massey stRong enviRonmentaL Commitment When Richply took its proposal for installation of a new Raute 6-deck roller dryer to the regional authority in 2004, approval was granted in two weeks. Doug Scott believes rapid approval was given because Richply's proposal exceeded environmental requirements. 22 PLYVISIONS plyfa's new veneer mill starts up ON THURSDAY AUGUST 7, 2008, THE LARGEST INVESTMENT IN THE HISTORY OF PLYFA PLYWOOD Ab WAS CELEbRATED WHEN THE OPENING CEREMONY FOR THEIR NEW VENEER MILL TOOk PLACE IN HASSELA, SWEDEN. DURING THE SPRING AND SUMMER OF 2008, the 80-year old company undertook a total modernization of its production facilities, including the installation of a new log pond for conditioning logs. In the mill, Raute supplied new production lines utilizing state-ofthe-art technology in log cutting, peeling and drying, together with machinery for handling by-products. This major investment by Plyfa has been made in order for the company to be able to satisfy its customers' needs for obtaining the highest quality base veneer for the manufacture of three-ply parquet flooring. Mr. Jussi Juselius, Chairman of Plyfa's Board of Directors, stated during his opening ceremony speech that Plyfa is now ready to face the ever-challenging demands of the veneer market, thanks to their modernized production facility, which offers twice the capacity of the previous plant, as well as greater productivity and raw material utilization efficiency and improved product quality. Juselius also took the opportunity to thank everyone involved in the project for their contribution. · text: Sauli Salmela Chairman of the Board of Directors at Plyfa, Mr. Jussi Juselius. Plyfa undertook a total modernization of its production facilities in 2008. Plyfa Plywood AB · Completely modernized production facilities in hassela, northern Sweden · Annual capacity of 90,000 m3, including by-products · Produces spruce veneer used in the manufacture of three-ply parquet flooring · Also produces small volume of spruce plywood · turnover SEk 210 million annually · Certified to produce FSC and PEFC labeled products PLYVISIONS 23 Lahti Long live Raute! glimpses of celebrations in Lahti, Moscow and Singapore, marking Raute's 100th anniversary. Raute wishes to thank the customers, corporate partners and personnel who joined us in celebrating this momentous event.