Innovative sawmill technology at LIGNA 2017

The sawmill industry has long since abandoned labour-intensive manual operations in favour of efficiency-enhancing automated processes. At LIGNA 2017, the world’s leading trade fair for machinery, plant and tools for the woodworking and timber processing industries, all leading providers will be showcasing technology solutions that take automation to the next level.

Achieving sustained profitability in sawmilling hinges on system-wide process optimization. Consequently, sawmill companies around the world are looking to invest in advanced technologies across a range of areas, from log handling right through to timber drying, optimization and packaging.

LIGNA 2017 will feature a solid line-up of market leaders, including Linck, USNR and Veisto, who will be presenting integrated systems comprising state-of-the-art roundwood handling and cutting systems. Visitors looking for roundwood yard optimization solutions will also find fully automated debarking systems from a range of providers, including Baljer & Zembrod and Valon Kone. EWD will also be there with its camera-assisted log grading and sawing pattern optimization software for maximizing sawn timber yield. The primary focus of innovation in this area is the electronic measurement systems. Technologies for determining roundwood and lumber dimensions and quality are another important means of adding value in sawmilling. X-ray scanners, such as those produced by Microtec, are a prime example of this. The same is true of automatic board edging systems, such as the latest edging lines by Primultini. In addition, specialists like PAUL Maschinenfabrik GmbH & Co. KG, whose optimized docking saws are maximizing output and minimize trim waste.

With growing interest in recycling systems, Vecoplan and Urbas will be showcasing their solutions for processing sawmill residues into valuable products and biofuels. Another exciting option in the sawmill efficiency game relates to high-tech timber kilns of the type showcased by Mühlböck and Eberl. These kilns enable sawmill operators to get high-quality timber to market faster and more easily than ever before.

To top it off, another key development is that more and more sawmill companies are diversifying their portfolios. Increasingly, they are supplementing their lumber offerings with processed, value-added timber products. Addressing the trend is the Weinig Group, who will be introducing an extensive array of products ranging from small “plug & play” planing solutions to the large-scale finger-jointing plants.

Meanwhile, the latest technologies for processing lumber into construction materials such as structural laminated timber and plywood will also be on show.