USNR Kiln Boss Advancements, Other Technology Improve Drying Efficiency, Lumber Quality

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The latest advancements in lumber drying technology from USNR combine with configuration flexibility to provide a dry kiln system uniquely suited to a company’s specific lumber drying requirements. USNR technology helps produce excellent lumber quality while minimizing kiln operating costs.

Lumber companies are taking advantage of the strong economy and the uptick in the market to invest in their drying systems. USNR has received a large number of orders recently for its Kiln Boss control system and SCS in-kiln moisture sensing system upgrades and retrofits. Many of these orders are coming from lumber producers with outdated controllers that are being converted to industry standard hardware and software platforms for greater control of the drying process and improved supportability.

The USNR Kiln Boss, SCS in-kiln moisture sensing, and MyMill™ mobile kiln control systems offer the latest hardware and software available to take a company’s drying operations well into the future. These USNR systems can be implemented with new kiln installations or as a retrofit to existing dry kiln systems.

USNR’s Kiln Boss control system automates the drying process from start-up to shut-down. It provides greater control of heat, moisture, fan, and air velocity — all integral components of efficient kiln operations. The USNR Kiln Boss control system is operating in over 180 kiln systems worldwide.

USNR redesigned the Kiln Boss user interface a few years ago to make it even more user friendly. “We modified the interface to have the same look and feel as other USNR control systems throughout the mill,” said Steve Edmonds, USNR’s engineering manager in charge of dry kiln controls. “This helps in training personnel to operate the kiln. It makes it easier for mill personnel to go from one USNR system to another and quickly navigate the various screens.”

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Additional displays provide even greater control of kiln operations and anticipate the tightening of EPA and safety standards, he added. “Fuel handling systems have become much more involved with greater reporting and safety interlocks, especially when using a green fuel burner on a continuous kiln.”

Screen and program enhancements vary based on the type of kiln being controlled, be it a continuous kiln or a batch kiln, and whether it uses steam heat or a direct-fired process, noted Steve.

The USNR Kiln Boss allows operators to examine and change the parameters of all the kilns controlled by the Kiln Boss system. It can be applied as a retrofit to any vendor’s existing kiln system or with new kiln installations.

USNR has teamed with SCS Forest Products Inc. to bring the industry’s best technology combination available to control kiln operations. With this advancement, a company will never have to shut down a kiln before the load has reached the target moisture content.

Improved moisture control has emerged as a critical process improvement as mills focus on increasing yield and profitability. The SCS wireless in-kiln moisture control system is fully integrated with Kiln Boss to ensure the target moisture content is reached for the highest level of efficiency and best quality lumber with every kiln load.

The SCS in-kiln moisture sensors measure the moisture content of the lumber as it dries and wirelessly reports it to the Kiln Boss PLC controller. The moisture sensors use capacitance measurements to calculate moisture content. Each measuring point uses two stainless steel plates inserted between tiers of the lumber package, and stainless-steel cables connect to the plates from the junction box. All electronics are located in the control room for greater system reliability. With the SCS moisture control integrated with the Kiln Boss PLC controller, the system automatically advances the drying schedule from the fiber saturation point until the final moisture content target is reached, and then shuts off the kiln.

The benefits of this combination of USNR and SCS technology include:

  • Fully automatic control of the lumber drying process from fiber saturation until final moisture content target.
  • Confidently eliminate costly hot checks.
  • Integration with Kiln Boss makes training quick and easy.
  • Off-the-shelf hardware; order parts directly from any local distributor.
  • Installation and commissioning is limited to a half-day of downtime with clean and simple conduit runs

Most mills will realize full payback in four to six months. USNR projects an average 11 percent reduction in drying time, 1-3 percent improvement in moisture grade, and 5-15 percent productivity savings.

These benefits and payback can be achieved with a fully integrated Kiln Boss control system and SCS in-kiln moisture control system through a retrofit to existing kiln control systems or with new kiln installations.

Building on the success of the MyMill™ system for mobile lumber sorter control, USNR has expanded the system to include dry kiln applications. All of the functionality available with USNR’s Kiln Boss control system can be accessed via iPad/iPod from anywhere on the mill site within range of your in-plant wireless network.

MyMill works seamlessly through direct communication with the PLC control system. Response is immediate and accurate.


  • Mobile control for all your kilns.
  • Monitor the status of drying charges within each kiln.
  • Select or change drying schedules.
  • Monitor/set moisture probe temperatures.
  • Monitor/prioritize steam pressures.
  • Start/stop/reverse fans.
  • Actuate valves, vents, and sprays.
  • Pause or shut down kiln/burner operation.
  • Monitor/acknowledge alarm.
  • Monitor/create maintenance schedules.
  • Actuate load transfers in continuous kilns.
  • Annotate messages to other team members.

The benefits of MyMill include:

  • Replicates all the functionality of a stationary HMI screen in a mobile device.
  • Real time data in the palm of your hand.
  • Mobile machine monitoring and control.
  • Powerful information and communications capability, functionality.
  • Replaces consoles, reduces capital cost.
  • Easier troubleshooting and maintenance.
  • Reduces downtime.
  • Built-in safety features.
  • Dedicated wireless infrastructure on a secure in-plant network.

MyMill is available as an upgrade to USNR kiln controls systems or with new kiln installations.

Is it time to upgrade your kiln technology? Contact USNR for an evaluation of how the latest technology can achieve better efficiency, productivity, and product quality for your system. Call USNR at (360) 225-8267 or email