Stop manual patching, start upgrading veneer quality

Are you still patching veneer by hand? Everyone on the wood working business knows that patching holes and knots on veneer manually can be a tedious and time-consuming job. Hassling with knives, trying to align sheets and keeping the veneer quality consistent takes a lot of manpower also. Hence, one of the biggest advantages in adapting more efficient ways to patch is the savings on labor. With a good patching machine, the labor-saving ratio can be up to 1:10.


Patching with a machine is faster, more efficient and safer. However, when investing in patching machinery the pros and cons should be calculated precisely. Does it give more yield, does it lead to labor savings, how often the machinery needs to be maintained and does it really do a better job? The tradition of patching manually is rooted deep, but there are better and more efficient ways for patching veneer.  

“The technology itself isn’t new since patching machines have been on the market for a long time. However, the quality of the machines and especially the dies used in them have significantly improved in the last few years, and Raute P2 technology has set a new benchmark” says Shawn Cheo, Vice President of Raute Asia and Oceania, Singapore.

With one-man operated patching machinery, the labor costs decrease significantly. This is simply due to the fact that the
machine can patch a sheet full of defects even 10 times faster than when patched by hand. While wood is a delicate material and needs a lot of manual effort, patching might not be a task you want to do by hand.

“The patch needs to be the same quality as the rest of the sheet, but when done by hand, the hole and the patch are never the same shape or size,” states Jukka Siiriäinen, Raute Group Vice President, Grow. “This leads to irregular quality. As we all know, a human can never be as precise as a machine. With a patching machine, the patch is perfectly fitted for each defect thus upgrading the veneer quality,” he adds.

Raute Butterfly Patch
Raute butterfly patches even suit joint patching
Manual patch
Hand patched

Keeping it together with butterfly patches

Because the quality of the end product is the main point of patching, the shape of the patch and how it is cut make a lot of difference. With manual patching, the shapes and sizes vary, and the quality is uneven. With a good machine, the patch fits the defects perfectly and there’s no need for manual repair and gluing of the patch afterwards.

“With manual patching, there’re always going to be defects on the edge of the patch, but with P2 butterfly patches, the patch is secure since the patch holds firmly and doesn’t pop off later in the production process,” Shawn Cheo states.

Thermo-bond taping
Thermo-bond taping to repair veneer splits.

A butterfly type patch is the recommended veneer patch type. The P2 butterfly patches ensure a bigger contact area and better adhesion than oval shaped patches. With P2 butterfly patches you can save up to 25% in patching material costs compared to the boat type patches. Due to their retention properties butterfly-type patches bear double the load compared to other patch types.

“But defects vary in shape and size. That’s why we make several different patch types and sizes. We can also offer an integrated thermo-bond taping feature in our patching machines, depending on the customer needs,” adds Marko Perttilä, Portfolio Manager, Raute.

 

 

With a patching machine, the patch is perfectly fitted for each defect thus upgrading the veneer quality.

Jukka Siiriäinen

Group Vice President, Grow

Why would you invest?

P2 Patcher Die
The P2 die lifespan is around 50 million patches,
and sharpening interval 2 million patches.

“Usually mills see the biggest expense not as the machine itself, but the possible maintenance. But with a die that lasts for around 50 million patches, and a robust machine structure, you can use the same patching machine for 15-20 years and minimize maintenance costs,” Jukka Siiriäinen, Raute notes.

All in all, manual patching will soon be history. Machines win in every aspect; quality, efficiency and safety. The quality of the veneer is upgraded, and the veneer recovery can be up to 30 times more than with composing. And of course, it’s a cliché but true, safety is always key. Not a single hand will be harmed by a knife anymore. Last but not least, end product rejects due to veneer hand patching errors will be significantly reduced with high quality patches.

 


My 40 years at Raute

Timo Reinikainen has one of the longest careers in Raute: he has been employed by the company over six decades. In June 2020, Timo will start his well-earned retirement after forty years of work. For the past twenty, he has been the head of the South America market area in Chile. Once retired, Timo plans to renovate his home, go boating and continue with golf, a hobby he picked up while in Chile.


Timo retires from RauteLet’s go back in time forty years to 1979 when the young man, soon to be a Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering, came to Raute to do his thesis on veneer lathes. He had to find a new thesis subject only after having written a couple of pages, because he had already solved the problem at hand. “I proposed a solution to my research problem, and it proved feasible”, Timo reminisces the start of his career, and continues, “We had to slightly adjust the research plan, but I still continued with the veneer machines.”

Timo started work as the head of a R&D team after having completed the thesis. R&D was in the process of planning a new series of veneer lathes. A couple of years later, Timo started to lead the veneer machine design team. He stayed in this position for several years.

“At first, there were two full-time R&D employees managed by Matti Paakki, who had a great impact on my career. One of the most memorable moments during that time is when Matti motivated us by saying, ‘We are here, the best veneer lathe designers in the world, and if that is not what we are, then that is what we must become.’ As a young design engineer, this offered me motivation and a direction to follow.”

First assignment abroad

Timo started his first assignment in Germany in 1988. This turned out to be a very important period of time for the young Raute employee.

“I didn’t think for long about whether to embark on my first assignment abroad when Pekka Holma invited me to his corner office. In fact, I thought that I would be sent to South America, because Raute was already planning to establish a subsidiary there. It was a surprise when I was asked to go to Germany instead, but I was happy to go!”

A new sales unit was established in Germany in the late 1980s, and Timo worked as the unit’s technical support person for three years. During the assignment, he got plenty of hands-on experience from sales work, which led the hardworking and capable man to an international career in sales.

Timo’s technical background assisted him in seeing how important it is to understand the customers’ problems, propose solutions based on facts and justify the cost-effectiveness of investments. This experience has taken Timo from Europe to Canada and all the way to Chile.

From Germany to Finland and back abroad

Timo returned from Germany to Raute’s head office in Nastola, Finland, in the early 1990s, at which time the economic depression was at its deepest, because trade with Eastern Europe had died out. The determined professional worked first in Asian sales and then as the head of the plywood team.

During the 1990s, Timo’s specialisation in sales grew even deeper and he obtained even more professional skills when working as Raute’s sales manager for the next six years, until he was asked to go to Canada in 1998. There was a period of transition going on in Canada at that time, and Timo was asked to assist in the transition and manage Raute’s business in North America.

He spent two years in Canada before moving on again, this time to South America, more specifically Chile. This assignment was somewhat unexpected. Timo and his family had originally planned to move from Canada back to Finland, but the north was replaced with the mountainous scenery of the Pacific coast in 2000.

From north to south, all the way to Chile

Timo and his family moved to Chile in 2000 after the family had come to the decision that they could stay there for three years. “The children were of the upper secondary school age and my wife’s job also allowed us to go there. That is not always the case.”

As is fitting for Timo’s story, they spent a little longer in Chile than three years: they passed the two-decade mark this year. This means that Timo has been a Raute employee during six different decades, which is a respectable achievement!

“Now all of the family’s belongings have been packed into containers and shipped home, and we will be heading back to Finland soon, too. Naturally, Chile has become a second home for us – me and the wife have been here, just the two of us, for a total of 17 years. The children are so old that they moved out long time ago; to study in Finland, for example.”

Timo will have fond memories of Chile – many long-term customers and cooperation partners have stayed with him throughout his journey. Several major deals with Chilean partners over the course of the years are some of the highlights of Timo’s career. “This proves that our team succeeded in what we were trying to do: we earned the customers’ trust with our excellent work in the past. These were truly great moments.”

Employer’s support is important

Timo has not had to cope in the world alone; he has always felt supported. Timo praises the team in Nastola for the way they support people who work abroad and cooperate with them.

"I have never felt alone, even though I have not been in the same country. Sales is teamwork, and the technological support we have received from Finland has been extremely valuable. Teamwork with the best professionals has assisted me in learning and staying up to date with the latest developments, which is very important in this line of work.”

Timo retires from RauteChanges in plywood technology and plywood manufacture have been visible

Timo’s career is interesting, because there have been major changes over the course of his long career. Timo says that Raute has clearly changed from an engineering workshop to a technology company.

The basic plywood manufacturing machines and processes have remained the same, but the development of automation has allowed huge leaps forward.

“Automation was first introduced to replace manual work done by people. As it became more advanced, it started to optimise the entire work process to achieve the optimal value from the wood material. This has allowed us to develop our operations towards the best possible final result for all of us. In the past ten years, computer vision technology has raised automation to a whole new level.”

The wood material has also changed over the course of the years. Nowadays, almost all of the plywood is made from planted trees. Previously known for its expertise in birch plywood, Raute has developed efficient processes where a variety of wood types are changed into high-class wood products.

Raute has also changed, renewing and developing itself. “In addition to our own development work, successful corporate acquisitions have assisted us in achieving our leading position as a plywood and LVL technology supplier. For example, modern camera technology is far superior to the human eye in quality control and the sorting of veneer. This way, we can obtain as high a final product value as possible in the case of each sheet.”

Importance of teamwork is especially pronounced abroad

The world has changed a great deal over the six decades, and teamwork has become even more significant. “Not that it has ever been a problem for us Finns,” Timo says. “People in Raute are efficient team players and can take on responsibilities if they wish. There is no need to ask for a permission for everything you do, which is a major difference when compared to Chile, for example.”

The trust and teamwork make the work flexible and fast. Timo says that it’s better if decisions can be made by the people who have the necessary information. Sales work is supported by technical expertise and proper project management at an early stage to make the large team committed to the customer. This, in turn, stimulates trust among the customers, which can be seen as long-term customer relations and successful investments.

Ways of working have changed through the years, but a lot has remained the same

The technological development in sales work has been wild, but the foundation has not changed. Even though the sales work is now supported by loads of tools and computers, project sales is still an interpersonal affair. “Sales work has changed in the sense that the customers can find much more information online before even being in contact with the salesperson. Raute has noticed this and been able to adapt to this way of working and care for its customers also in this way.”

Technology will never eradicate the basic core of sales work, personal relations. Despite there being plenty of information and studies available online, Timo is still of the opinion that a system designed together with the customer and resolving problems together is the best way to sell products – both for the customer and for Raute.

During Timo’s career, technoloy has also changed Raute’s machines. “Our devices are connected to the internet so that we can monitor them anywhere in the world. If there is a problem with a machine, we can quickly resolve it. This means that technology has made much more than just sales work easier.”

Timo believes that the future will bring with it even more technology and constant changes. The entry of new generations both in Raute’s workforce and in the customer organisations means that the adoption of technology has become more natural.

All’s well that ends well, the machines will stay in operation

The future belongs to younger people. Timo will fly back to Finland in early summer and start his retirement in July at the latest. Timo has seen plenty of changes and different cultures over the six decades, but there has been one constant – Raute.

“Now I’m eager to get close to the water and have the chance to tinker around a bit. I don’t think I’ll get bored in retirement: I’ll have plenty to do.”

Timo retired at the beginning of July 2020.

WHO?

  • Timo Reinikainen, 64
  • Master of Science in Engineering graduated from Tampere University of Technology
  • Vice President, LAM
  • Native of Vehmersalmi, a town on the shore of Lake Kallavesi that is now part of Kuopio
  • Family: wife and two adult daughters, two grandchildren
  • With Raute since 1979

Hobbies: renovation, DIY and golf

Timo Reinikainen on yksi pitkäikäisimmistä rautelaisista – hän on työskennellyt Rauten palveluksessa kuudella vuosikymmenellä. Kesäkuussa 2020 Timolle koittaa ansaitut eläkepäivät 40 vuoden työuran jälkeen, joista viimeiset 20 vuotta hän on viettänyt Chilessä Etelä-Amerikan markkina-alueen johtajana. Eläkkeellä Timo aikoo tehdä remonttia, veneillä ja jatkaa Chilessä alkanutta golfharrastusta.


Palataan tarinassa neljänkymmenen vuoden päähän, vuoteen 1979, jolloin nuori tuleva konetekniikan diplomi-insinööri tuli Rautelle viilusorvien suunnitteluun tekemään diplomityötään. Diplomityölle jouduttiin etsimään uusi aihe jo muutaman ensimmäisen sivun jälkeen, kun Timo oli ratkaissut ongelman. – Tulin ehdottaneeksi tutkimusaiheen ongelmaan ratkaisua ja se osoittautui toimivaksi, Timo muistelee alkutaivaltaan. – Jouduttiin hieman muuttamaan tutkimussuuntaa, mutta viilukoneiden parissa pysyin.

Diplomityön valmistuttua Timo siirtyi tuotekehitysryhmän vetäjäksi. Tuotekehityksessä suunniteltiin uutta viilusorvisarjaa, mistä parin vuoden päästä Timo siirtyi vetämään viilukoneiden suunnitteluryhmää muutamaksi vuodeksi.

– Aluksi tuotekehityksessä oli täyspäiväisesti kaksi henkilöä johtajanaan Matti Paakki, kenellä on ollut uraani suuri vaikutus. Yksi mieleenpainuvimmista muistoista tuolta ajalta onkin se, kun Matti kannusti meitä sanomalla ”Me ollaan tässä, maailman parhaat viilusorvin suunnittelijat, ja jos me ei sellaisia olla, niin sellaisiksi meidän pitää tulla.”. Tämä antoi nuorelle suunnittelijalle intoa ja suunnan tulevaisuuteen.

Ensimmäinen työkomennus ulkomaille

Vuonna 1988 Timo lähti Saksaan ensimmäiselle työkomennukselle, mistä tuli nuorelle rautelaiselle uran kannalta erittäin merkittävä ajanjakso.

– Ensimmäistä ulkomaankomennusta ei tarvinnut kauaa miettiä, kun Pekka Holma kutsui käymään kulmahuoneeseen. Oikeastaan luulin jo silloin, että komennus käy Etelä-Amerikkaan, johon jo silloin suunniteltiin omaa firmaa, mutta oli yllätys, että pyydettiin lähtemään Saksaan. Sinne lähdettiin oikein hyvillä mielin!

Saksaan perustettiin 1980-luvun lopulla uusi myyntiyksikkö, minkä teknisenä tukena Timo toimi kolme vuotta. Komennuksen aikana hän tutustui läheisesti myyntityöhön, mistä muodostui uutteralle ja aikaansaavalle Timolle kansainvälinen ura myyntihommissa.

Teknisen taustansa takia Timo huomasi, kuinka tärkeää on ymmärtää asiakkaiden ongelmia ja pystyä ehdottamaan ratkaisuja perustuen faktoihin sekä perustella investointien kannattavuutta. Tämä kokemus on vienyt Timoa Euroopasta Kanadaan ja aina Chileen asti.

Saksasta Nastolaan ja takaisin maailmalle

Saksasta Timo palasi takaisin Rauten pääkonttorille Nastolaan 1990-luvun alussa, milloin lama oli syvimmillään idän kaupan loppumisen seurauksena. Määrätietoinen ammattilainen toimi Aasian myynnissä ja sitten vaneriryhmän päällikkönä.

1990-luvun aikana myyntiin erikoistuminen syventyi ja ammattitaito kasvoi entisestään, kun Timo toimi Rauten myyntijohtajana seuraavat kuusi vuotta, kunnes vuonna 1998 häntä pyydettiin lähtemään Kanadaan. Kanadassa käynnissä oli siirtymäkausi. Timoa pyydettiin auttamaan ylimenossa ja toimimaan Rauten Pohjois-Amerikan päällikkönä.

Kahden Kanadassa vietetyn vuoden jälkeen matka jatkui taas. Tällä kertaa Etelä-Amerikkaan Chileen, minne komennus tuli hieman yllättäen. Alun perin Timon ja perheen suunnitelmissa oli muuttaa Kanadasta takaisin Suomeen, mutta pohjola vaihtui Tyynenmeren rannikolle vuoristomaisemiin vuonna 2000.

Pohjoisesta etelään, aina Chileen asti

Timo muutti perheineen Chileen vuonna 2000, perheen yhteisesti päättäessä, että kolmeksi vuodeksi voidaan mennä. – Lapset olivat lukioikäisiä ja vaimonkin työtilanne mahdollisti sen, että voitiin lähteä. Aina näin ei ole.

Chilessä vierähti, kuten Timon tarinaan hyvin sopii, kolmen vuoden sijasta hieman pidempi aika, kun kaksi vuosikymmentä tuli täyteen tänä vuonna. Tämä tarkoittaa, että Timo on viihtynyt rautelaisena kunnioitettavasti kuudella vuosikymmenellä!

– Nyt meidän perheemme tavarat on pakattu kontteihin ja lähetetty kotiin, kohta mekin lähdemme takaisin Suomeen. Chilestä on luonnollisesti tullut meille toinen koti, vaimon kanssa olemme olleet kahdestaan 17 vuotta täällä. Lapset ovat jo sen verran vanhoja, että ovat olleet maailmalla jo pitkään, muun muassa Suomessa opiskelemassa.

Chilestä jää elämään lämpimät muistot – monta pitkäaikaista asiakasta ja yhteistyökumppania on pysynyt matkan varrella matkassa mukana. Vuosien aikana saadut useat isot kaupat chileläisiltä ovat Timon työuran mieleenpainuvimpia kohokohtia. – Tämä osoittaa, että koko tämä meidän tiimimme on onnistunut tavoitteissa ja olemme saaneet asiakkaan luottamuksen hyvällä aikaisemmalla toiminnalla. Nämä ovat olleet todella hyviä hetkiä.

Työnantajan tuki ja tsemppi tärkeää

Yksin ei ole tarvinnut maailmalla pyöriä ja aina on tuntunut siltä, että tukea saa. Nastolan porukka saa Timolta kiitosta toiminnastaan ulkomailla työskentelevien tukemisessa ja yhteistyössä.

– Yksin ei ole tarvinnut olla, vaikka ollaankin ulkomailla. Myynti on tiimityötä ja saamamme teknologiatuki Suomesta on ollut arvokasta. Tiimityö parhaiden ammattilaisten kanssa on auttanut itseäni oppimaan ja pysymään kehityksessä mukana, mikä on näissä hommissa erittäin tärkeää.

Muutos vaneriteknologiassa ja vanerin valmistuksessa ollut näkyvää

Timon työura on myös siinä mielessä erittäin mielenkiintoinen, että pitkän uran aikana muutosta on tapahtunut huomattavasti. Raute on Timon mukaan muuttunut selkeästi konepajasta teknologiayritykseksi.

Vanerin valmistuksessa peruskoneet ja -prosessit ovat pysyneet samankaltaisina, mutta automaation kehittyminen on tuonut suuria harppauksia eteenpäin.

– Automaatio tuli ensin mukaan korvaamaan ihmistyötä ja edistyessään optimoimaan koko työprosessia, jotta saadaan puumateriaalille paras mahdollinen arvo. Näin olemme saaneet kehitettyä toimintaamme kohti parasta mahdollista lopputulosta kaikkien kannalta. Viimeisen 10 vuoden aikana automaatio on noussut aivan uudelle tasolle konenäkötekniikan avulla.

Vuosien saatossa myös puumateriaali on muuttunut. Nykyään lähes kaikki vaneri tehdään istutuspuusta. Aikaisemmin koivuvanerin osaamisesta tunnettu Raute on kehittänyt tehokkaat prosessit, missä monista erilaisista puulajeista saadaan tehtyä korkealaatuisia puutuotteita.

Myös Raute on muuttunut, uudistunut ja kehittynyt. – Oman kehitystyön lisäksi myös onnistuneet yritysostot ovat auttaneet johtavan aseman saavuttamiseen vaneri- ja LVL-teknologian toimittajana. Esimerkiksi moderni kamerateknologia päihittää ihmissilmän laadunvalvonnassa ja viilun lajittelussa ja näin saadaan jokaiselle arkille mahdollisimman korkea arvo lopputuotteessa.

Tiimityön tärkeys korostuu ulkomailla

Kuuden vuosikymmenen aikana maailma on muuttunut paljon ja tiimityöskentelyn merkitys on korostunut entistä enemmän. – Vaikkei se nyt meille suomalaisille mikään ongelma ole ollutkaan, Timo toteaa. Rautessa toimitaan tehokkaasti tiiminä ja ihmiset saavat ottaa vastuuta niin halutessaan. Toiminnalleen ei tarvitse joka kerta kysellä lupia, missä on esimerkiksi Chileen verrattuna huomattava eroavaisuus.

Luottamus ja tiimityö tuovat joustavuutta ja nopeutta. Timo toteaakin, että on parempi, että asioista voidaan päättää siellä, missä tieto on. Myyntityön tueksi otetaan aikaisessa vaiheessa tekninen osaaminen ja kunnollinen projektijohto, millä sitoutetaan iso tiimi asiakkaaseen. Tämä puolestaan herättää asiakkaissa luottamusta, mikä näkyy pitkissä asiakassuhteissa ja onnistuneissa investoinneissa.

– Myynti ei ole pelkästään myyjän työtä. Kaikki ovat mukana, tehdään tiiminä ja tämä on ymmärretty Rautessa todella hyvin.

Vuodet ovat muokanneet työntekoa, mutta paljon on samaakin

Teknologian kehitys myös myyntityössä on ollut huimaa, mutta perustat ovat pysyneet samoina. Vaikka myynnin tueksi on tullut paljon erilaisia työkaluja ja tietotekniikkaa, on projektimyynti pysynyt henkilökohtaisena. – Myyntityö on sinänsä muuttunut, että nyt asiakkaat etsivät ja haluavat löytää paljon enemmän tietoa internetistä ennen kontaktia myyjään. Tämä on huomattu myös Rautessa ja pystytään vastaamaan tähän toimintamalliin ja pitämään asiakkaistamme huolta myös tällä tavoin.

Teknologia ei kuitenkaan vie myyntityön perusydintä, henkilökohtaisia suhteita, pois milloinkaan. Vaikka internetistä on saatavilla paljon tietoa ja tutkimuksia, silti Timo näkee, että yhdessä asiakkaiden kanssa suunniteltu kokonaisuus ja ongelmien ratkominen on kaikista paras tapa tehdä myyntiä – sekä asiakkaalle että Rautelle.

Teknologia on siirtynyt Timon aikana myös Rauten koneisiin. – Laitteemme on liitetty internetiin, niin me pystymme seuraamaan niiden toimintaa mistä päin maailmaa tahansa. Jos koneeseen tulee jokin ongelma, niin se pystytään ratkaisemaan nopeasti. Teknologia on siis helpottanut paljon muutakin kuin myyntityötä.

Tulevaisuuden Timo näkee entistä teknologisempana ja jatkuvana muutoksena. Uusien sukupolvien tuleminen sekä Rautelle että asiakkaille tarkoittaa sitä, että myös teknologian omaksuminen on luonnollisempaa.

Lopussa kiitos seisoo, koneet jatkavat käymistään

Tulevaisuus on nuorempien. Timo lentää takaisin Suomeen alkukesän aikana ja eläkekahveja nautitaan viimeistään heinäkuussa. Kuuden vuosikymmenen matkaan Timo on nähnyt paljon muutosta, erilaisia kulttuureja, mutta yksi on pysynyt aina matkassa samana – Raute.

– Nyt odotan veden äärelle pääsyä ja sitä, että pääsen näpräilemään omilla käsillä kaikennäköistä. Uskon, ettei aika käy pitkäksi eläkkeellä, puuhaa riittää kyllä.

Timo on jäänyt eläkkeelle heinäkuussa 2020.

KUKA?

  • Timo Reinikainen, 64
  • Koulutukseltaan diplomi-insinööri Tampereen teknillisestä korkeakoulusta
  • Vice President, LAM
  • Kotoisin Vehmersalmelta, Kallaveden rannalta
  • Perheessä vaimo ja kaksi aikuista tytärtä, kaksi lastenlasta
  • Rautella vuodesta 1979 alkaen

Harrastaa remontoimista, rakentelua ja golfia


Accurate block centering ensures maximized veneer production

Accurate and optimized block centering determines the effectiveness of the entire veneer peeling process. Block centering ensures the amount of high-quality face veneer. If you want to maximize veneer production profit, focus on correct block centering. Why? Keep reading to learn why.


Proper centering plays a key role in profitable and efficient veneer and panel production
Proper centering plays a key role in
profitable and efficient veneer and panel production.

Accurate and reliable centering is crucial in face veneer production. The maximum amount of highest quality face veneer can be produced only with optimized block centering. Proper centering adapts to any shape and size of a block. Face veneer production is always a bottleneck in mills, and it defines the amount of highest quality and most profitable plywood. Raute has developed laser centering solutions to tackle this challenge. Unbroken, and consistent quality full sheets are the most desired raw material for panel surfaces. In addition to face veneer production, block centering defines the total available amount of raw material in the mill. If block centering is not optimized, you will permanently lose the opportunity to maximize the value of your raw material.

accurate block centering

Optimal centering guarantees maximum face veneer recovery with challenging block shapes. Maximizing the amount of high-quality face veneer per block is carried out easily with automated and optimized block centering. Currently the quality of raw material is increasingly uneven – different shapes and sizes, curved blocks and variable thickness. That makes centering difficult. Automated centering and autocalibration are the modern key to tackling this problem.

accurate block centering

How to ensure optimal block centering? The Raute Smart Scan HD with autocalibration is a unique solution in the veneer production business. The reliable and optimized block centering process ensures production of up to +20% more of the valuable face veneer and maximum usage of raw materials. This process also highlights instances where the peeling line is unable to produce enough fullface veneer sheets to meet accepted standards. This can be especially true when peeling thin or curved blocks.

Autocalibration maintains optimal centering. Even with modern centering systems, inaccuracies may occur due to mechanical weariness and block size variation. Raute’s Smart Scan HD with autocalibration allows continuous accurate centering and the best possible veneer yield. Autocalibration measures the centering result of every block in lathe spindles – it keeps track of and monitors possible inaccuracies. Our algorithms calculate needed corrections based on measuring data to follow blocks in maintaining constant XY-centering performance. Raute centering solutions are available for new or existing Raute peeling lines and also for other manufacturers’ peeling lines.

Ready to maximize your amount of high-quality face veneer per block? Contact us today!


International Panel & Lumber (IPL) Modernizes Lathe

International Panel & Lumber (IPL) in New Zealand produces wood panel and plywood products from renewable plantation-grown pine trees. They recently decided to modernize the charger and lathe on their peeling line to ensure reliability and improve productivity. After careful consideration, they decided that Raute solutions would meet their goals best.


IPL modernizes lathe and charger

International Panel and Lumber (West Coast) Ltd., IPL for short, is a well-established company and they have been operating for over 50 years on the west coast of New Zealand’s South Island. They have been using renewable plantation grown radiata pine in their production since the 1980s. One of the essential parts of their operation is their peeling and drying line, which produces 1.5, 2.4 and 3mm veneer for the production of 1200mm x 2400mm panels. IPL manufactures a range of products that covers industrial to appearance grade applications, including everything from signs and flooring to concrete forming.

Although their peeling line was producing a high-quality veneer, IPL knew that it was time to modernize some of the key equipment. They were running a COE (today part of USNR) M760 charger, as well as a COE M249 lathe, which dated from about 1976. The most urgent need was to replace the lathe spindles because they were damaged and cracked, however the charger also had scope for improvement because it relied on a mechanical yoke assembly to optimize and center the logs. As a result, IPL contacted Raute to ask about the most suitable options for modernization.

IPL modernizes lathe and chargerUPDATE, OPTIMIZE AND IMPROVE

During their discussions, Raute demonstrated that the old COE charger and yoke system resulted in the loss of a large amount of veneer to waste or random veneer. The business case for upgrading was so clear that IPL decided to replace their charging system too. Raute upgraded the old M760 charger with a Smart Scan HD XY scanning system, a hydraulic XY correction system and new Allen Bradley PLC controls. Raute also took care of the old lathe, and replaced the damaged spindles with new Raute dual spindles, complete with new hydraulics, lubrication and controls.

SMOOTH INSTALLATION AND COMMISSIONING

Raute carefully planned the project together with IPL so that it had minimum effect on their production. The installation took place during the annual boiler compliance shut down, and the accompanying work was performed during the dayshift over 2 weeks. This was followed by one week of production commissioning. Combined with good communication, carefully managed staff schedules and staggered production stoppages, this prevented any disruptions to IPL’s sales.

"The upgrades improved recovery, conversion and productivity,”

Robert Dumelow

General Manager, International Panel and Lumber.

IPL modernizes charger and latheGOOD CUSTOMER UNDERSTANDING

One of the reasons that IPL selected Raute was that they showed a good understanding of their business. For example, Raute understood the importance of not over capitalizing with a small production plant like IPL. In addition, Raute was also flexible enough to move the schedule forward by a month to ensure that installation coincided with the boiler shut down.

IPL is happy to say that they are pleased with the finished installation, and that it met their timeline and budgeted costs. Overall, good communication, planning and understanding between Raute and IPL made the project a success.

MODERNIZATION INCREASED CAPACITY AND YIELD

IPL’s main target for the modernization was to improve the reliability of their peeling and drying line. Upgrading the charger as well as the lathe ensured that they could also improve their efficiency and productivity. Together, the modernized systems resulted in better recovery and conversion from the block to peeled veneer, and better veneer presentation and usage at the dryer, with less random and fish-tail veneer. This means that the line can produce more full sheets

at the dryer with less waste. And because they can keep the dryer full, their line has higher capacity, increasing their productivity.

IPL modernizes lathe and charger to increase efficiencyBENEFITING THE BUSINESS AND THE REGION

Since the installation and commissioning, the modernized systems have met IPL’s expectations, with both improved capacity and yield. In addition, they have also achieved 10% smaller core peeled than they had with the older spindles, providing another unexpected but welcome benefit from the project.

IPL’s shareholders are also pleased because they see it as an investment in the future of IPL and its staff, and the West Coast region of New Zealand. It can be difficult to raise large amounts of capital for larger projects, so cost-effective modernizations are an attractive option. Such investments are important to smaller regions, so it is especially important that the projects like this one are a success.

Ready to modernize your lathe or charger to increase capacity and yield? Contact us, we would love to hear from you.


Garnica Group upgraded to Smart Scan HD with autocalibration

The Garnica Group is the biggest poplar plywood producer in Europe and they have been using Raute solutions for many years, including a Raute peeling line at their Valencia de Don Juan mill. Installed in 2003, the block centering technology at the Valencia de Don Juan mill was finally in need of an update. Garnica selected Raute’s Smart Scan HD as the best option.


Smart Scan HD with AutocalibrationThe Garnica Group is headquartered in Logroño, La Rioja, Spain. Altogether, they have six mills, with five in Spain: Baños I, Baños II, Fuenmayor, Valencia de Don Juan and Maderas de Llodio (a softwood mill), as well as the Samazan mill in the south of France. In total, Garnica Group employs around 1.200 people and their mills produce 300.000 m3/y poplar PLW and 50.000 m3/y softwood PLW. They export more than 90% of their production.

THE RIGHT CHOICE FOR MODERNIZATION

The Garnica Group has had good experience with Raute solutions over the years, and they operate 4 Raute veneer peeling lines, as well as other Raute equipment for processes including roller- and screen drying and grading, lay-up with gluing, pressing, composing, and scarfing.

Their Valencia de Don Juan mill was the first Garnica mill to install a Raute peeling line, back in 2003. This included a Raute PCLH 800×1400 XY-charger with SLS 6000-single point laser, which served the mill well for many years. However, by the beginning of 2019, the 16-year-old block centering technology clearly needed to be modernized. The laser sensors and control PC were no longer available, and the system needed to be calibrated several times a month, which required too much maintenance time.

When the mill decided on the replacement technology, their main targets were to improve the centering performance and the veneer recovery and to eliminate end of life components. They also wanted to improve the adjustment and calibration procedure, to ensure the values were consistently correct.

After discussing the advantages of the new Smart Scan HD system with Raute, it was obvious that it was the right choice to modernize the line.

QUICK AND EFFICIENT INSTALLATION

Garnica ordered the Smart Scan HD with autocalibration from Raute in January 2019. The system was delivered and installed in May 2019 during a scheduled production stop over a long weekend. With the help of Raute specialists during the start-up, the line was running at full capacity within a few days.

“Smart Scan HD with autocalibration drastically decreased maintenance hours,”

José Augusto Huerga

Technical Director of Garnica’s Valencia don Juan mill

Smart Scan HD with Autocalibration at Garnica MillSUCCESS WITH SMART SCAN HD

Since the start-up, the Valencia de Don Juan mill has had very good results with the new Smart Scan HD system. The log centering is better, and the length and diameter measurements are more accurate. The Smart Scan HD system reads every log much better than the old laser system, all along the length, and it also detects dark/black zones and bark better. And, thanks to the autocalibration, they have drastically decreased their maintenance hours. Overall, it’s clear that the peeling line performance has been improved.

 

THE ADVANTAGES OF AUTOCALIBRATION

The mill is also particularly pleased with the autocalibration system because they don’t have to worry about centering offset adjustments or sensor calibration. In fact, they have only spent a few maintenance hours in the last 6 months at the XY charger. The system automatically calibrates itself, measuring and comparing continuously to correct the axis home position. The autocalibration system also provides data which can be used to track performance and predict mechanical failure.

Together, Smart Scan HD and the autocalibration system have improved production and reduced maintenance time, adding value and profitability to the whole peeling line.

Smart Scan HD with Autocalibration in Valencia de Don Juan, SpainPROPER MAINTENANCE FOR CONTINUOUS PRODUCTION

Proper maintenance is important for Valencia mill to maintain high performance. A Service Agreement with Raute ensures production lines to be always well maintained and crucial parts changed before possible problems. That ensures predictable production and mill operations.

Find out more about how the Smart Scan HD can improve recovery at your mill by emailing us today.


Raute mill improvements – Get more out from your existing mill

Raute has delivered veneer, plywood and LVL mills and machines since the early 20th century. Dozens of complete mills, thousands of machines and a significant amount of mill improvement services around the world to the veneer-based wood industry.


THANKS TO the long history and excellent co-operation with our customers, we have collected a huge experience in plywood and LVL mill development. That experience, combined with the latest technology and service innovations, gives us the possibility to provide the strongest customer support for developing the production of existing mills.

Focus on the production process

An efficient production process is the most important factor for a profitable mill. But can a right way to process improvements be found? A deep understanding of product end users helps in achieving a world-class production process. Why are customers buying panels or beams, how are they using it and what are the most critical factors for them to succeed in their own business? Knowing end user needs gives the possibility to reach or even exceed customer expectations and, at the same time, maximize a mill’s profitability.

The end user understanding and Raute’s production process and technology knowhow form a strong combination to achieve better overall production efficiency. Quality, capacity and yield are the key factors for each mill, but the weighting of those varies between different mills. The understanding of where to focus on is the base for mill development analysis. Raw material, processes, machines and operations need to be analysed to find an overall view for the production process.

The typical life cycle of plywood/ LVL mills and machinery is very long thanks to Raute’s robust machine design and smooth production possibilities. The utilization of old machines via modernizations tends to be the most cost-efficient way to improve production lines. That is also a sustainable way to boost mill efficiency, compared to totally new investments. Raute SmartMill products, tools and services ensure the accurate measurements from the existing production lines and make it possible to see how the process was improved.

Mill improvement concept

A typical case for mill development is that a customer would like to have a more efficient production process. In some cases, raw material or panel sizes will be changed to increase the value of the product. Raute has developed its own modularized concept for the mill improvement process.

QUALITY, CAPACITY AND YIELD ARE KEY FACTORS FOR EACH MILL.

Mill audit phase
1. Background data collection and analysis
2. Field study at the mill
3. Planning and Reporting

Mill audit phase sorts out the most efficient ways to improve mill and achieve expected targets. The outcome is a detailed mill development plan with evaluation of improvement potential and payback calculations for investments. The plan works as guideline for mill improvement project execution.

Execution phase

1. Immediate actions, operation and process improvements
2. Project execution step by step. Investments based on mill development plan
3. Ramp-up period – shortest payback time
4. Service agreement – to upkeep achieved high OEE

The target of the execution phase is to get the shortest possible payback time for our customer investments. With Raute service agreements, we ensure the highest possible OEE. Many customers have taken benefit from Raute’s experience and wide range offering for mill scale improvements. •


Sveza Kostroma took a huge leap in veneer recovery

Plywood producers are facing more and more challenges in the availability of high-quality raw material. The percentage of small diameter logs is constantly increasing. At the same time, plywood mills are seeking an optimal way to utilize raw material. One solution is to invest in technology that converts side products into high-quality veneer. This is where RauteLite technology comes in.


BACK IN 2016, Sveza Kostroma plywood mill, one of the most modern and efficient birch plywood mills in Russia and a key production unit within the Sveza Group, decided to take a leap to maximize its raw material utilization. The solution was the RauteLite concept.

Line capacity, ease of use, high thickness accuracy and safety were clearly targeted in the investment.

High thickness accuracy

The idea was to increase mill recovery by re-peeling cores from the main lathe with the RauteLite peeling line. Cores from the recently modernized 8-ft Raute VE lathe are automatically conveyed to the RauteLite block sawing line, then peeled into a 4 x 4-ft dimension on the RauteLite peeling line. The dried veneers are composed into full 4 x 8-ft sheets used as short core veneers in the lay-up.

The delivery was made in summer 2017 and installation followed in the fall within the normal production. The line was tested with all different core diameters: minimum 73 mm, average 80 mm, Raute’s recommended 95 mm and even 200 mm diameter blocks (spinouts).

Various raw material qualities were tested as well: solid, core decay, soft decay, unconditioned, cylinder-shaped and conical cylinder-shaped blocks. With all raw materials, the line was able to peel veneer down to 30-mm cores. The line did not make miracles, if the wood material was too poor, but the most critical criteria – high thickness accuracy was achieved, always reaching the general target of +/- 0.1 mm tolerance.

RauteLite peeling line maximizes raw material utilization. Peeling with round-up and log handling – all in one line.

Remarkable savings

The new investment has already proven to be successful for Kostroma. “It solves the problem by reducing the raw material consumption and changing the method of balancing the production of 4-ft and 8-ft veneers. This project allows us to save up to 800 m3 of raw material per month”, explains Director Viktor Tikhonov.

Viktor Tikhonov has worked in Sveza for 19 years and for 26 years in the plywood business in total. “The following main task for our mill will be cost reduction in all areas, and I look forward to the Raute G5 concept.”

Raute’s Sales Manager Kimmo Ahonen is proud to benchmark Sveza Kostroma’s RauteLite line which is not expensive or complicated to use, but provides new capacity from normally unused cores.

“Sveza Kostroma may have been the first to repeel cores on a separate line, but they surely won’t be the last. A new era to discover more with RauteLite has begun.”

SVEZA KOSTROMA FIRST TO REPEEL CORES ON A SEPARATE LINE IN EUROPE.

Efficient peeling of small diameter blocks

RauteLite peeling line was originally developed for the ease of use and the efficiency of peeling plantation logs. The new spindleless lathe utilizes Raute’s long experience in veneer peeling. Optimal peeling geometry (OPG) responds to the need of utilizing small diameter logs. Providing high recovery, it is an excellent solution to maximize veneer production together with main lathes. •


MillSIGHTS: Improve your production with digital tools

Real-time accuracy and reliability. These are the issues you should focus on when you are looking for a production data collection and reporting system, which undoubtedly is one of the key tools for successful mill management.


MillDATARAUTE’S NEW SOLUTION in this area of so-called MIS (Management Information System) products is MillSIGHTS. It is the outcome of a development project summing up all the knowledge and experience that Raute has been able to accumulate over the years while working closely together with the wood processing industry.

To improve its profitability, mills need more detailed insight into production performance and line availability. Rising material costs and competition in product pricing are forcing mills to seek downtime reasons, optimize the output volumes and improve the end product quality. MillSIGHTS supports all these challenges by giving good tools for mill management in making precise operational decisions on production planning and for necessary maintenance actions.

TO IMPROVE PROFITABILITY, MILLS NEED MORE DETAILED INFORMATION.

MillSIGHTS is specially designed for veneer, plywood and LVL mills. Raute has delivered older MIS solutions for more than 50 mills and 300 production lines globally.

MillSIGHTS is essential part of Raute’s new line deliveries, but it can also be implemented to existing production lines which contain relatively modern line controls.


Efficiency to new heights at Prime Fortune

Prime Fortune, a family run plywood manufacturer in southern Taiwan, has been investing in modern machinery since the factory first started. The company founder, Mr. Hsiao Shin-Chu brought the first unit of Raute automatic veneer scarf-jointing line into Taiwan. More investments with Raute were made to include the automatic log cutting line, high-speed peeling line, veneer drying line, and automatic veneer grading line.


PRIME FORTUNE, under the leadership of the late Mr. Hsiao Shin-Chu, was the first in the Asian plywood market to recognize the global call to green wood resources and converted to use 100% planted pine from New Zealand. He was awarded “Best Business Man” in the Republic of China in 1994 for his vision and contributions.

Prime Fortune, the number one in the Taiwanese plywood industry, played a leading role by bringing in the latest available technology to ensure optimum quality and efficiency. The second generation owner, Mr. Hsiao Jen Yuan, has taken over the business and has lifted the factory’s efficiency to new heights.

Prime Fortune
Raw material tests in Raute Nastola.

Mill modernization started with a new peeling line

Mr Hsiao Jen Yuan’s first move to ensure consistant veneer quality was to invest in the new Raute peeling line to replace the old Japanese peeling line. High productivity, reliability, and good veneer quality from the new Raute peeling line are the key to ensure smooth operations from the start, which leads to higher quality products. Recovery comes automatically as a result of good centering, thanks to the latest SmartScan XY HD automatic centering. All of these resulted in higher efficiency and lower running costs, generating higher profits for the business.

According to Mr. Hsiao, the smart peel is a very good line as it offers 3–5% more recovery compared to the old line. Capacity is double, compared to the old line thanks to the faster centering and a quicker round up.

New cameras and moisture analysers were incorporated into the old Raute drying line, which check and sort the veneers automatically by visual grades and moisture content. Prime Fortune now aims to have zero defects in the production process.

PRIME FORTUNE IS THE FIRST IN ASIA TO ADOPT MILLSIGHTS REPORTING SYSTEM.

“Our modernization project’s utmost goal was to improve end-product quality and expand the market share. During the process, we also reduced costs by reducing manual work”, Mr. Hsiao says.

“Peeling line modernization led to improved thickness tolerance. Recovery improved by 1–3%, even though it was not the main driver. The production volume improved because of better thickness tolerance. There is also now much less need for sanding. Mecano cameras work well and they increase the face veneer percentage compared to manual grading more than 5–10%.”

“Raute was chosen due to the total process understanding and good service, including spare parts supply and after sales services. We now have a service contract with an inspection twice a year and maintenance work from three to four weeks in total. Proper maintenance eliminates breakdowns beforehand”, Mr. Hsiao explains.

Raute 4ft VS lathe has been running for 20 years. Mr. Hsiao decided to give the machine a second life by modernizing all the controls and electrical components to the latest available upgrades. Completed with a new Laser XY charger, the machine is now running like a new one.

Pushing for efficiency

After long considerations and study, Prime Fortune invested in a new P2 patching line from Raute, which will be installed in 2019. It will reduce labour costs, compared to the current manual process. Although labour costs are still affordable in Asia, accuracy and quality are far more important in the process.

Prime Fortune is the first in Asia to adopt the MillSIGHTS production data reporting system for their operations. Easy to use, keeps a record of the production and operations trends.

Now there is an easier tool to know what has happened, how it happened, when it happened, and how often.

Despite already being the market leader in Taiwan, Mr Hsiao continuously pushes for efficiency, recovery and productivity. Long-term plans are in place, such as the full automatic layup line, full automatic putty line and so on. This is in line with the management philosophy of Prime Fortune’s founding owner.


Learning is now just one click away!

Knowledge is the key to success. Throughout the years, Raute has enhanced the knowledge of mill staffs on plywood and LVL production to enable them to work more effectively through training. The competitive market and fast development in technology create demand for more effective learning. Raute provides a new way to train your staff: millacademy.


MANY ISSUES complicate the organizing of training, e.g. location, shift work and the number of participants. These problems are non-existent in MillACADEMY, which is available at any time, with any device and from anywhere with a sufficient internet connection. It makes both basic and comprehensive training easy, activating and flexible for hundreds of employees.

Digital tracking and monitoring of results ease verifying of required knowledge and skills of the personnel. Tracking the results of training becomes easier as MillACADEMY provides a safe platform where supervisors and HR personnel can monitor the test scores and learning progress of employees. Just one example of this is our Safety at Line course which teaches how to work in a safe manner on a production line and measures whether the employee has understood and internalized the safety instructions.

Millacademy MG 7832
MillACADEMY is easy to use, available 24/7 and provides excellent content for your training needs.

MillACADEMY can also be used as a tool for filtering potential employees – even before interviews. When looking for new mill employees, why not ask them to study a course in MillACADEMY. Passing or failing a course is a good indicator on whether an applicant has any motivation to learn about your industry or mill.

Most effectively, MillACADEMY is used when combined with other training methods, such as classroom or hands on training. For example, Raute’s own training program is made up of two components: independent online learning in the basics of the subjects and an expert lecture for a more in-depth view. Studying the theory and the basics independently with MillACADEMY means that lectures can concentrate on detailed information and teaching of the theory in practice.

The courses are compiled by Raute experts and cover the entire production process and more: from raw materials to quality control, and from log handling to packing. The courses consist of interactive training materials, line manuals and exams which evaluate the learning and skills of your staff. They are all available in your language 24/7 and can be accessed with computers, tablets and mobile phones. •