The UPM Kaukas sawmill implemented new log measurement systems in October 2017 to improve safety and customer satisfaction. After the purchasing negotiations finished in May 2017, the new measurement equipment was supplied by Finnos Oy, a Finnish company based in Lappeenranta. The old WoodX 4D X-ray log measurement system had come to the end of its life, and other reasons for the replacing the system included work-safety considerations and the possibility of collecting more detailed measurement data.
The Kaukas sawmill General Director Antti Waajakoski says that both log measurement data and work safety have improved significantly at the sawmill after updating the log-measurement systems.
The 3D measurement and X-ray measurement equioment for the new devices have been located inside a modified shipping container which is thermally insulated and radiation shielded. Logs pass through both measurement devices in the same orientation, and by combining the data measured, more detailed log information can be attained than previously. According to Waajakoski, thanks to decreased radiation, the system’s safety zone has been reduced thereby improving work safety.
Accurate information on each log
The measurement devices play an important role in timber receipt at every sawmill. “Thanks to the new measurement system, the Kaukas sawmill efficiency is improved, using the more detailed data to sort the logs more accurately for further processing”, Waajakoski says.
Kaukas sawmill’s production capacity currently stands at 500,000 m3 of sawn timber. Siru Väkeväinen, the project manager of the log-measurement modernisation project, says that of the many loads of timber delivered daily to Kaukas, each log is measured individually and sorted into different grades based on the measurement data .
“One of the most important tasks for the log measurement devices is to measure the log diameter, minus the bark, and to calculate the amount of knots and heartwood. The equipment also identifies rot and foreign objects”, says Väkeväinen.
The new equipment doesn’t enable the timber to be brought in any more quickly, however, it facilitates processes that were not previously possible. “Until now, we could only accept different types of wood on certain days because changing the wood-type settings took up a lot of time. With the new equipment, settings can be altered quickly and accepting different wood species is more flexible”, Väkeväinen says.
Safer work and easier maintenance
The planning process for the update took several years but was worthwhile. Siri Väkeväinen commented “The anticipated improvements to accuracy of measurements, radiation protection and maintenance work have been achieved”.
With the old system maintenance work was slow. “There were more components in the old equipment, and the floor often had to be disassembled to work on the cabling that ran below it, making it time consuming”, says Väkeväinen.
The result of dozens of years of development
Väkeväinen says that Finnos Oy was selected as the supplier because the companies wanted to continue their mutual development work.
Finnos Oy was founded in Spring 2016. Finnos was formed after the company acquired Bintec Oy, which developed and manufactured log-measurement devices.
Finnos Oy’s President and CEO Jere Heikkinen says that the mutual development of the new log-measurement devices at the Kaukas sawmill are the result of long-term cooperation which started in the 1980s with Bintec. “Both Finnos and UPM have been eager to find the best possible solutions, which has spurred on the development. The nature of the collaboration with UPM has been unique; co-operation is important with all clients as each product is tailored to meet the client’s needs before it is delivered”, Heikkinen emphasises.
Since its conception in 2016, Finnos Oy has grown substantially with the personnel increasing from five to thirty, and sales increasing from one million to six million euros. Further ambitious growth is planned: “In 2017 we delivered seven projects, and this year that number will be fourteen. In 2019 we expect to deliver twenty projects, which we intend to double in 2020”, says Heikkinen.
Heikkinen explains that while the company seeks to grow within the domestic market, they also plan to reach new foreign clients. Some equipment has already been delivered abroad. “Our next target is the Swedish market, which we hope to use as a stepping stone to the international market”.
We wish them well for the future.