"Not only did the new grading mill need to be a worldclass facility for today, but it also needed to have the potential to lead the way for the next generation. Something that in hindsight I can confidently and proudly say that we have achieved,” Johan Olofsson, Technology & Operation Excellence Manager and project manager at SCA, says about the company’s most recent investment in a state-of-the-art dry sorting plant.
Investment in key areas
“The logs we saw have often been growing in the forest for between 70 and 100 years and the fact that we can now see straight through them using advanced imaging technology is a real game-changer. It means that, before we saw the log, we can decide which product is best suited to and no longer leave any aspect of our manufacturing process to chance. In combination with the increased production capacity of the grading mill, this gives us a genuine competitive advantage,” Olofsson says.
SCA invested in its first Microtec X-ray scanner back in 2012. When the company made the decision in 2020 to modernize the key areas of the entire sawmill, an investment in the log yard was made as well, and a new Microtec CT Log from Microtec was purchased. The only computer tomograph in the timber industry is both the key and the starting point of the Microtec Connect system. It enables a complete 3D reconstruction of the internal features of a log and, as a result, the value-based optimization of the end products already before sawing. The higher the measurement precision, the easier it is to sort the logs optimally and to make cutting as resource-efficient as possible, while maximizing quality. The Microtec Connect package is completed by a Logeye scanner in its full configuration with an X-ray unit at the entrance to the sawmill. This scanner recognizes each log and the CT-based optimization that has already been carried out. The sawing line itself is also equipped with a Truespin log rotation control system and a cant scanner, which checks for possible deviations again before cutting the main product. Once they are cut into boards, all lamellas pass through several Goldeneye scanners. Two Goldeneye 900 models were integrated in the area of the wet sorting line and one Goldeneye scanner in the newly built dry sorting line.
The art of data management
“With Microtec Connect, we offer a solution that creates an intelligent network between all areas of a sawmill, making it possible to monitor the entire production process. One crucial aspect is that targeted recommendations for action can also be derived. In addition, early warnings are given in case of deviations from quality standards or in the event of potential disruptions. Our systems detect even the smallest deviations from defined quality standards. Thanks to the possibility of continuous tracking, we can determine exactly where a problem may have occurred or may occur in the near future. This way, we can intervene at an early stage,” Microtec’s CSO Arianna Giudiceandrea explains. Since its most recent investment, SCA has also been relying on the Microtec Connect solution and is convinced of it.
"With the new grading mill in place in Bollsta and all of the new technology operating in other parts of the sawmill, put simply, we now have a unique opportunity to create a fully digital representation of our entire workflow. We can now run a virtual copy of our production in parallel to the real one, and work with optimisation in an entirely new way,” Olofsson explains.