Grenzebach optimises Pollmeier veneer drying line

A veneer dryer destroyed in a major fire at Pollmeier was to be repaired as soon as possible and extended by a stacker system with a veneer scanner. Despite the tight schedule and the limited available space, Grenzebach managed to furnish a production line matched to the customer’s needs.

Grenzebach was able to repair a veneer dryer that had been damaged in a fire, and upgrade it into a production line of its own despite the limited space, the COVID-19 pandemic, and tight schedule (Image: Grenzebach)

For that purpose, the dryer was provided with a stacker system featuring a scanner technology without enlarging the footprint of the building. That allowed Pollmeier — an international producer of wood-based products — to minimise the downtime, and they can now use the production line independently of the stacker system of another dryer that was previously used jointly with the one damaged in the fire.

The Pollmeier group operates Europe’s three highest-capacity and most modern hardwood sawmills. In 2021, a fire at its main factory in Creuzburg, Thuringia) — reportedly the world’s only laminated veneer lumber mill that also processes hardwood veneer —damaged the only existing beech veneer dryer. Long production downtimes were imminent; hence the belt dryer was to be rebuilt as quickly as possible. Pollmeier also wished to run the dryer independently of the stacker system of another dryer it had previously used.

The Grenzebach experts were able to set up, on the same floor space as before, an integrated production line that can be operated independently of the stacker system used earlier. The damaged dryer was repaired for that purpose. The new line is completed by a high-performance stacker system with four lift tables and an integrated veneer scanner. Veneers in various sizes are now classified into the specified quality grades and stacked accordingly. The upstream inspection system scans the veneers in an automatic, non-contact process. Defects such as holes or cracks are detected, classified, and logged. Almost all line components, up to the handling equipment, are from Grenzebach and match.

The circumstances around this project confronted the experienced Grenzebach team with several challenges, as the available floor space, which previously accommodated only the dryer, should now also be the location of a complete, independent stacker system. Moreover, the requested plant parameters changed repeatedly, even during construction, and the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in staff shortages and delivery bottlenecks. Thus, the planning was modified repeatedly, during construction. The software also developed and programmed in parallel with the line rebuild and was tailored to Pollmeier’s specific requirements.

After 16 months of planning and construction, Grenzebach could hand over a complete line, providing Pollmeier Furnierwerkstoffe. The integration of the stacker system has created a production line that can be run independently of the stacker system used previously and adds to the flexibility of the veneer mill.

In terms of quality, the Grenzebach veneer scanner detects and classifies defects in the veneers and sorts the sheets in accordance with the specified quality grades. Combined with the moisture detector — another device that has been integrated into the system — the quality can thus be determined. The veneers can then be further processed based on their quality, which markedly reduces waste in downstream production processes. With Grenzebach, Pollmeier Furnierwerkstoffe can consolidate and expand its position in the hardwood veneer market.