"Although we have a long-standing and close partnership with Södra, one of our most recent projects here in Värö is truly unique," Henrik Johansson, Sales Manager at CGV, says, opening the conversation. The machine manufacturer from southern Sweden modernized Södra's dry sorting line in a rather unconventional way.
To keep production running, the entire 26-meter-long and extremely heavy sorting bin unit was assembled outside in front of the production hall before it was pulled inside millimeter by millimeter on lubricated rails. While it is an excellent example of CGV's flexibility and finesse in engineering, this is not the only special feature in this project.
Update for CLT
The reason for this investment in sorting and planing capacities is Södra's cross-laminated timber production in Värö. "Each year, we produce approximately 600,000 m³ of lumber and almost 120,000 m³ of CLT at this production site. The dry sorting capacity used to be a bottleneck for us. With the new CGV plant and an older existing one, we can now process all the lumber ourselves," Södra’s David Herbertsson tells us.
The scope of the delivery begins with the infeed of the lumber packages after they have been dried. Up to four packages can be buffered at the hall entrance. Intelligent camera systems are used already during the destacking process. The height of the packages is monitored continuously and the chute is adjusted accordingly. Whenever a stacking stick is frozen or sticks to the boards because of resin coming out, the system detects it. The affected layer then slides onto a fixed rest and the impact releases the stuck drying sticks, which are then automatically returned to the wet sorting line. "All of this has been CGV's standard for many years," Johansson explains.
Once the wood has arrived at the sorting plant, CGV can decide whether to have the lumber pass through the Gilbert planer or to keep it in its rough sawn state and transport it via a bypass. "We've had a close partnership with the Canadian high-speed planing experts for many years. That’s why we chose to collaborate with Gilbert again," Johansson mentions.
Planing wood, not air
The gap between individual laminations is only 50 mm, even though speeds of more than 1,000 m/min are achieved. This is possible thanks to a sophisticated infeed system which firmly clamps the boards and guides them safely through the planer. "The speed and capacity of Gilbert planers are unmatched. And since Gilbert designs its planers to have a simple and logical structure, our machine operators find it easy and quick to learn how to operate them," Herbertsson says while also highlighting the incredibly high speed at which the laminations pass through the planer: "If you were to search for a bottleneck in production, it would certainly not be the planer."
After many years, experienced operators are familiar with their machines. At Södra in Värö, the second Gilbert planer was installed in 2022/2023: "What also convinces us as customers is Gilbert's openness to implementing new solutions and to hearing about what could be improved or adjusted. Their machines and plants are built based on input from countless customers worldwide. You can see this in everyday operation."
Speed where it’s needed
After they have left the planer and within just a few meters, the boards are transported at the “normal” speed of the line again. The Gilbert planer’s ability to cross-cut the wood often results in a doubling of the number of boards during this step of the process. "CGV machines are the only ones capable of handling such a large quantity of boards in combination with such a high number of cycles," Herbertsson says, praising the machine manufacturer from southern Sweden, and adds: "The dynamic speed control of the entire plant is unparalleled. CGV always knows exactly when to accelerate and when to reduce the speed in order to ensure a safe and uninterrupted material flow throughout the entire process."
This is possible thanks to an intelligent system control that operates and regulates the entire production flow on a digital meta-level. Since all machines are equipped with electric servo motors, the speed can be individually controlled and adapted in each production area. "This allows us to avoid jams and complications throughout the entire plant, ensuring a continuous and uninterrupted material flow," Johansson tells us.
A considerable number of various types of cameras, scanning and measurement systems is integrated into the machines and the plant as a whole. CGV is at the forefront of developments towards creating a digital sawmill and is continuously working to improve its system. "Thanks to the connection of the individual machines, each processing step is aware of the progress of its preceding and subsequent steps. This way, individual processing steps that previously had to be done step by step, can now run simultaneously and in parallel. As a result, we can significantly increase the output of the entire plant without further raising the speed of individual machines. This not only enhances capacity but also reduces wear and tear of the machines, thus maintaining high availability," Robin Ahsberg, Automation Manager at CGV, explains.
All machine data is entered in the control and ERP system in real-time, where the threads converge and the entire system is provided with the necessary information in return. "We are proud that we were able to carry out this project in partnership with Gunnarsson and Gilbert. It will enable us to meet the demands of the future," David Herbertsson concludes contentedly.