In the Plywood/LVL manufacturing process adhesive application is one of the main variable costs, accounting for more than 30% of the total operating costs. Glue spray and roll spreader applicators are used by the majority of mills. While the current manual method for measuring spread rates is adequate for spot checks, there is nothing currently available that monitors spread rate continuously to effectively monitor and control spread variability. Mills believe that a real time glue measurement scanner would be a valuable tool for optimizing their applicator to reduce variability, thereby allowing the mill to use lower spread rates and save on glue costs. An automatic system will reduce downtime and improve production rate.
In 2012, a prototype glue scanning system was developed at the FPInnovations Vancouver laboratory and was successfully demonstrated at the West Fraser, Alberta Plywood Division mill, in Edmonton. The scanner was installed on one of the glue spray lines to automatically measure and record PF glue spray spot size and glue coverage distribution in real time.
The scanner demonstrated that it can be used as part of the mill’s quality monitoring to ensure that glue application is within target application levels.