Porter Applies Optimization for Curved Sawing

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Porter Engineering RT3-Catch the Curve Optimization System Designed to Follow Two-Sided Canter

Porter Engineering’s most recent innovation is the application of its proven RT3 (Real Shape for Real Trees in Real Time) optimization software for curve or shape-sawing gang saws. The software is now available under the name RT3-Catch the Curve. Porter already has three curve gang systems operating in the Pacific Northwest: for a McGehee machine at a Crown Pacific mill in Oregon and for McGehee and Hitech machines for Simpson Timber in Washington.

Porter drew on its extensive experience with high production canter lines to develop cant gang optimization software that reduces gaps between cants. The system’s variable feed speed control provides smoother running at speeds up to 650 fpm.

RT3-Catch the Curve uses laser-camera scanning on a lineal conveyor infeed to provide the optimum cant solution. A PLC and motion controllers then are used to correctly position and automatically process each cant through a curve sawing machine. Sets are generated every 1-inch and tracked precisely using motion controllers with true position-lock camming for accurate shape modeling, which also allows a cant to be backed out of a cut without damage. The Porter Engineering system is designed for installation immediately behind a two-sided canter.

RT3-Catch the Curve features include Porter’s Saw-Saver software, which spreads wear over the complete bank of saws.

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Porter Engineering has supplied specialized equipment and engineering services to the forest products industry for 30 years. The company has evolved into a leading supplier of log scanning and optimization equipment for sawmills and is now based in a new, custom designed plant near Vancouver, British Columbia and with offices in Tacoma, Wash. and Birmingham, Ala. Porter has pioneered many advances in computer software for optimized bucking systems for tree-length stems and primary breakdown of saw logs. The company estimates that 70% of logs in Western Canada are scanned with Porter systems.

For fully automated optimized log bucking, Porter supplies scanning and control packages for bucking on transverse or longitudinal configurations. Logs are scanned in two or more axes to obtain stem shape data. Bucking solutions are based on current lumber prices, market priorities and inventory levels. Porter systems will produce saw logs, plywood peelers and pulpwood.

For primary log breakdown, Porter supplies optimization and control systems. RT3, the most recent generation of its optimization software, was developed for canters, end doggers, chip-n-saws, two and quad band primary breakdown systems. It incorporates higher definition scan data using multi-point laser modules and faster processors to provide real shape log profiling — increasing recovery and value. Lumber projections and optimum log positioning control allows equal and symmetrical loading on all chipper heads and saws for faster, smoother feeding, increased production and recovery, and less maintenance.

Some of the RT3 features include:

optimization for dollar value, recovery or product mixfull cant, side board and top board combinations using real log shapeU.S. or metric lumber sizes or a combination of both and simultaneous cutting for domestic or foreign marketsfull flexibility in entering wane valueslumber values in dollars per thousand board feet, cents per piece or dollars per cubic metergrade buttons on console to allow selection of specific cutting programs for an individual log or an entire shift.full diagnostics, back-up capability, downtime and management reports, and custom-written documentation
The RT3 also provides simulation of individual logs or an entire shift of logs. ‘What if’ simulations can be performed any time to determine the effect of changes in any parameter, such as price, target size, kerf, product mix, and so on. Simulations may be performed while logs are being processed yet without affecting them.

Porter has nearly 90 double length canter systems in operation and 50 log bucking systems of all types, lineal and transverse. The company has recently added log slew-skew and tilt control to the canter line systems; there are now seven lines running with this feature supplied by Porter.

Porter supplies complete turn-key integrated systems, which include pre-tested PLC process controls, pre-wired operator cabs, computer rooms, scanners and optimizing computers.

The interface to each optimizer is through a user interface personal computer, which can be networked to a mill-wide system. The computer is used to update price tables, wane rules and other parameters in order to suit market conditions. All log data is stored and is available for later analysis. The system features Windows-based 3-D color graphics to show each optimum solution, log data and production information. Reports are generated in Microsoft Access, which is user-configurable for changing needs.

For more information about Porter Engineering, visit the Web site at www.portereng.com or call the company’s main office in British Columbia at (604) 273-1868.