Today's machine centres are being increasingly automated but often operate as a collection of isolated machines run by a variety of computer systems. Clearly, such heterogeneous computing and control environments present a formidable barrier to the problem of interoperability. Already there are vendors that provide a partial solution to the problem, since they provide methods of interoperability only between machines that they supply. Vendor-specific methodologies are in general proprietary, and do not inter-operate with any other vendor's equipment. What's needed to facilitate widespread machine-to-machine data exchange is a universal methodology to connect to optimizer data, or any data for that matter, with plug-and-play simplicity. In order to enable enhanced data availability and also to lay the foundations for the evolution of process monitoring and control in the sawmilling industry, this project was undertaken to create a common methodology for vendor-neutral data exchange between machine centres, process monitoring and control systems, and business systems.
A task forceª, with members drawn from sawmilling and equipment vendor companies, selected the well-established specifications for data exchange published by the OPC Foundation, a consortium of companies committed to universal data exchange in industry. While these specifications specify standards-based methods for data exchange, the task force recognized that there was an additional layer required to create standard plug-and-play access to sawmill optimizers. This additional standardization layer specifies exactly what data is made available per optimizer type. After testing these ideas for primary breakdown optimizers and PLCs in a sawmill-based pilot project, the task force unanimously adopted the OPC specification and our per-optimizer layer as a practical standard for data exchange in the sawmilling industry.
Given this initial success, however, there needs to be a continuing effort to ensure that the evolving sawmill standards eventually are applied to all optimizer types, and that sawmill managers and executives are aware of their benefits. Continuing effort must ensure that multi-vendor support per optimizer type does not result in tag list fragmentation which would undermine the benefits of standards. The methodologies adopted during this project will never become standard in the sawmilling industry unless the majority of sawmillers demand the standard OPC optimizer interfaces defined by this project.
ª In this document, “task force” is used interchangeably with “working group”. On 21 March 2002, a standards committee was struck from task force members, but soon lost its meaning when the task force adopted an email list approach to collaboration. The email list was much more inclusive and therefore much larger, and became the defacto “working group”. By project end, the working group consisted of 40 members.
An automated process has stringent tolerance requirements for product dimensions, such as maximum allowable wane and warping. Products that do not meet these tolerances create problems in the process flow, and hence reduce productivity and quality. In addition, the assembly of building components is moved from on site to off site. This move calls for the integration of different processes. It requires adjustments in raw material characteristics. Therefore, the forestry industry can gain from the opportunity to adapt its processes to provide dimensionally stable products to the construction industry.
A mill test and a study were carried out to provide a benchmark as to what is the best debarker performance achievable on frozen wood with properly adjusted debarker settings and well-maintained equipment. The test results have shown that:
The fibre to bark ratio decreased to 12.7% from the 20.9% observed in a previous Forintek study of sawmills with average debarker performance.
The lumber value recovered from logs was 10.7% higher than that achieved with average debarking, and the corresponding lumber volume increase was 10.4%.
The debarker removed 97.3% of the bark volume.
The fibre loss was 1.2% .
For a sawmill processing 100,000 m3 of logs during a winter period of three months, losses attributed to poorly operated debarkers can amount to as much as $1.4 million.
The life cycle of a structure consists of a sequence of typical stages: conceptual design, final design, construction, maintenance, repair and eventual replacement. Decisions regarding durability of the structure made at one stage have certain implications in the following stages. Each stage may involve different people, therefore decision aids should be able to service different users: owners, specifiers, designers, and builders. The objective of this project is to develop computer-based decision aids which will assist specifiers, designers, and builders to satisfy durability requirements of a wood structure during its life cycle.
The objectives of this project are to develop two-way technology transfer instruments that achieve a connection with specifiers, designers, builders, homeowners and maintenance supervisors and to explore opportunities for collaborative field studies of durability performance where information gaps exist.
This report describes key results of the Decision Aids project for 1999-2001. This project seeks to partially fulfil Forintek's need for a "Durability by Design" component in its durability program. The project's objective is to participate with the building industry in improving design and construction practice to ensure the long-term performance of wood. Methods include assisting in better technology transfer of known information, and initiating research projects to fill in information gaps. Key results were further development of strong ties within the building industry and the building science research community; development of a content-rich public web site on durable wood design and construction; development of other technology transfer vehicles for information on best use of wood for durable construction; extensive participation in two leading North American research consortia on durable wood construction; and, two spin-off research projects.
The objectives of this project are to develop two-way technology transfer instruments that achieve a connection with specifiers, designers, builders, homeowners and maintenance supervisors and to explore opportunities for collaborative field studies of durability performance where information gaps exist. The web site on durability is proving an outstanding mechanism for technology transfer with 482 unique visitors in February 2002.