Engineered wood innovations lead technological revolutions

Raute's North American Marketing Specialist, June De La Paz, has written an article published in the Spring/Summer 2020 issue of the Engineered Wood Journal on how "Engineered Wood Innovations Lead Technological Revolutions".

Read about how the plywood industry has transformed with societal demands. Equipment continues to implement new technologies for efficiency, sustainability, energy savings, waste reduction, and more. Read about how the Raute Patching Line P2 has evolved to address changes in the industry, the needs of the customer, and the supply of quality wood resources.


View the original story in the Engineered Wood Journal Publication

Full article text follows the magazine excerpt below.

Raute Engineered wood innovations lead technological revolutions

Raute Engineered wood innovations lead technological revolutions

Raute Engineered wood innovations lead technological revolutions

Raute Engineered wood innovations lead technological revolutions

Raute Engineered wood innovations lead technological revolutions

Raute Engineered wood innovations lead technological revolutions

Article excerpt below:

Engineered wood products by definition are technological innovations, although generations have defined “technology” differently. Industry partners have continued to advance and enhance the standards of these products by working together and building on previous innovations.

A technological revolution can be defined as an era of accelerated progress characterized by new innovations whose rapid application and diffusion cause an abrupt change in society. In short, a technological revolution is a dramatic change brought about by the introduction of new technology.

The revolution begins

The First Industrial Revolution, starting around 1760 and lasting more than 70 years, dramatically altered almost every aspect of human existence. Traditional agriculture and handicraft economies, popular in the pre-industrialized era, were ousted to make room for large-scale industry that was more productive and efficient. The industrial revolution birthed some of the world’s greatest inventions like the steam engine, sewing machine, incandescent light bulb, internal combustion engine and the modern assembly line.

The world’s population climbed exponentially along with the standard of living, increasing demand for goods and services. By the 1800s the population would surpass 1 billion and the impact of the industrialized world would accelerate production capacity in all aspects of human needs including food, medicine, clothing, and housing.

Engineered wood leads Innovations lead technological revolutions

The first patent for plywood was issued in 1865 to John K.Mayo of New York.Patent No.51,735 was an invention that “consists in the formation of various structures used in civil engineering of a plurality of thin sheets of veneers of wood, cemented or otherwise firmly connected together, with the grain of the several scales or thicknesses crossed or diversified so that they will afford to each other mutual strength, support, and protection against checking and splitting, shrinking or swelling, expanding or contracting.” Note: Mayo may have had a vision, but history does not record that he ever capitalized on his patents.

Advancing to the next level

The end of the 19th century saw the dawn of the Second Industrial Revolution. Technological advancements in new sources of energy industries in electricity, petroleum and oil would pave the way for the invention of the automobile and airplane and the development of new products. Discoveries and advances in chemical synthesis, the telegraph and telephone, the incandescent lightbulb and the rotary veneer lathe would significantly transform production and business.

From 1905 to 1920 door panels were the primary market for softwood plywood.
From 1905 to 1920 door panels were the primary market for softwood plywood.

The introduction and advancement of plywood

The plywood industry was born in 1905 when the Portland Manufacturing Company, a small wooden box factory, laminated wood panels from a variety of Pacific Northwest softwoods. By 1907, production soared, and to keep up with demand, an automatic glue spreader and sectional hand press was installed. In those early years, doors were the main use for this new engineered wood product, but it was the automobile industry that would advance the industry by using plywood for running boards.

In 1925, Steger Marvin Earl recognized that “… wood is beautiful in color and grain but is frequently marred by surface defects, such as pitch pockets, knots and the like..” He was issued the first patent for a defect-removing and patch-cutting machine. Unfortunately, his invention would not experience any real commercial success.

In 1928, 4-foot-by-8-foot plywood sheets were introduced to the U.S. for general building purposes.

The following year, 17 plywood mills were operating in the Pacific Northwest, producing a record 358 million square feet (on 3/8-inch basis).

Engineered wood innovations lead technological revolutions

The Great Depression arrived in the U.S. Oct. 24, 1929, with the worst stock market crash in history, triggering the longest and most widespread economic depression of the 20th century. Motivated by an unprecedented 24.9% unemployment rate, substantially reduced household incomes and a shortage of low-cost housing, the demand for inexpensive and rapid-build factory-produced houses using plywood skyrocketed.

To address declining quality timber resources, Gifford Pinchot led a movement toward forestry conservation. In 1933, President Franklin D. Roosevelt proposed to strengthen U.S. forestry resources to Congress and enacted emergency conservation work that included planting trees, watershed restoration and erosion control.

Skoog Veneer Patcher, first manufactured in 1941 by the Skoog Manufacturing Company.
Skoog Veneer Patcher, first manufactured in 1941 by the Skoog Manufacturing Company.

During World War II (1939 – 1945), plywood was declared an essential war material and used to make everything from barracks, boats, planes, huts, and temporary housing and shelters. In the decade following the end of the war, demand for plywood rose by over 280% and nearly doubled in the next five years as the economy boomed.

The defect and patch machine that Steger Marvin Earl invented in 1925 would come to fruition in 1941 when Per F. Skoog applied for his first veneer patching apparatus patent and later manufactured the Skoog Veneer Patcher under the Skoog Manufacturing Company, based in Olympia, Washington.

Grade and Quality Standards established

The first Grade and Quality Standards were introduced by the U.S. Commercial Standard and Douglas Fir Plywood Association (now known as the APA – The Engineered Wood Association or APA) in the same year.

By the 1950s, two manufacturers offered pneumatic or mechanical patching equipment with features like automatic die cleaning and patch blank magazine feed. These patching machines used single boat (oval with two points) patches about 4.5 inches by 2 inches cut from high quality veneer. The machine relied on an operator to manually check the sheet for defects, moving the sheet by hand into place while a foot switch initiated the die to punch out the defect and then insert a veneer patch. Well-made and built to last, these heavy-duty machines proliferated in the market for almost 50 years mostly unchanged and unchallenged.

The Digital Revolution emerges

The Digital Revolution, also known as the Third Industrial Revolution, marks the beginning of the information age with the introduction of the computer. Spanning the late 1950s through the late 1970s, the mass production and widespread use of computers, microprocessors, digital cellular phones and the internet once again transformed traditional production and business.

Raute P2 Patching Line
Raute Patching Line P2

Plywood production advanced during the digital revolution through the development of the first automated patching line in the United States in 1998. Raute’s Patchman did not rely on operators to make patching decisions, but relied on the technology of a camera grading system first introduced in 1997. This vision sensing technology accurately detected defects as small as 2mm x 2mm, scanning sheets at speeds up to 200 m per minute. A computerized system showed real time images of sheets as well as the ability to freeze and store images, magnify defects and customize grade rules. Scanned sheets were conveyed on vacuum belts for precision control, and programmable logic and motion controllers accurately patched defects. At the time, a single Patchman replaced three manual patchers and made about 1,900 patches per patching head every hour (about one patch every two seconds). Auto strip feeders reduced veneer prep, and the large magazine reduced frequent loading. The Patchman could accommodate three levels, allowing the replacement of nine manual patchers with a minimum increase in footprint.

Raute Patching Line P2
Raute Patching Line P2

Demonstrating how technology can move at lightning speeds, the next generation patching line unveiled in 2011, merging sophisticated cameras and intelligent automated advances into a high capacity system for fast and consistently accurate patching. The latest generation of patching lines minimizes waste and maximizes surface veneer value, without any manual veneer handling. A single level can patch about 3,200 per hour (less than 1 second a patch), over four times faster than manual patching.

Before the debut of these new patching lines, the best way to patch was tested extensively, including whether the shape and size of the patch made a difference in durability and strength. After rigorous and exhaustive testing in real veneer and plywood scenarios, Raute submitted butterfly-style patches to APA for evaluation in its laboratory. The results revealed that the patches can bear double the load of industry standard style of patches. As of December 2019, the butterfly-style patches were included in the updated Grade A veneer standard in Voluntary Product Standard PS 1-19, Structural Plywood, under the “compound boat” patches, which have multiple rounded ends. Before that, the U.S. Department of Commerce (USDOC) and National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) had not changed wood patch standards since 2010. (See pages 17-19 for recent Product Standard updates.)

“Standards are produced and updated through a consensus process, involving multiple agencies and industry partners, relying on data,” said Steve Zylkowski, APA’s director of quality services. “That’s how we have advanced the engineered wood industry together through the years.”

Butterfly-style patches are now included in the updated Voluntary Product Standard PS 1-19
Butterfly-style patches are now included in the updated Voluntary Product Standard PS 1-19

Looking ahead to the next revolution

The First Industrial Revolution happened about 260 years ago. The Second Revolution occurred 110 years later, and the Third Revolution about 70 years ago.

It is projected that the fourth technological revolution is underway that will blur the lines between the physical, digital and biological spheres. Technologies like artificial intelligence, autonomous vehicles and the internet along with voice-activated assistance, facial ID recognition and digital health-care sensors are technological changes altering how people, companies, organizations and even governments are operating, transforming societies like previous industrial revolutions.

With the Fourth Revolution upon us, the time before drastic societal changes is getting shorter and shorter. What will the Fourth Revolution mean to the plywood and engineered wood industry? What will future mills look like with artificial intelligence and autonomous equipment? Working together, the industry will continue to transform itself.

De La Paz, June. “Engineered Wood Innovations Lead Technological Innovations.” Engineered Wood Journal Spring/Summer 2020 issue: Pages 10 – 15.


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


Seppo, Coordinator, Quotations, has witnessed business development for 35 years

“I came to Raute in 1984 almost straight after graduation. My Raute career started as Electrical Design Engineer at Lahti. I didn’t have much experience in design engineering that time but by doing and with the support of more experienced design engineers we got things started. My tasks included line electricity documentation and programming control logics for lines and line commissioning. At that time, Raute machines were controlled with RIC 85 logic which was Raute’s (Lahden Vaaka) own product."


Raute operated in Lahti until 1988. That time my work tasks included design engineering, programming and line commissioning. Five to six years went fast in that field of tasks. I would dare to say that I have visited and worked in every plywood mill in Finland, some of them aren’t, however, running anymore.

When my family started to grow I expressed my wish to give up traveling abroad on business. Year was 1990 and there became an open position in Raute’s Quotations team. The task was quite new and there weren’t actual tools for line cost accounting. That was something we had to do ourselves.”

Working as part of bigger picture

Ahonen Seppo

I cooperate a lot with automation engineering but also with procurement and production. Tasks vary based on what else is happening at the office. I participate in quotation preparations by pricing automation parts for the line. In addition, I purchase switchboards and cases for projects. In my opinion, these functions complement each other very well.

The more you know the big picture, the easier it is to understand your own work’s value in the process. Human relationships are an important part of the success. Having contacts into both directions of the chain will allow you to see things much more widely, which will make it easier to manage your own work. This kind of project work requires team spirit.”

Automation develops fast

“Basic functions in lines, such as peeling or drying, have remained quite the same over the years, but automation has increased and developed very much.  Nowadays lines have variable speed drives, field buses, distributed control systems and safety systems. Increased automation brings for machines and lines more usability, adjustability, safety and diagnostics to monitor line operations. At the same time, we will get much production-related information from the lines which can be collected to data collection and production control systems.

The need for machine and line development results from some new function that is needed and would be useful for the customer’s production. The idea may come from the customer or from our technology experts. Based on the idea we start to create and develop a new machine or functionality for the existing machine. Upgrading automation systems to old machines and lines is one way to boost their efficiency and safety, and to upgrade them to a technology level we need today.

In so called old days, projects tied 1-2 employees from automation. Today, there are easily 4-5 automation players in a project. One is familiar with user interfaces, second with safety logics, third with machine vision system, and the list goes on. Automation is more fractured, and we need diverse competence. It requires continuous training and learning new stuff to keep up with fast developing automation. In addition, we need to learn customer’s values and technology.”

 


Markku, Maintenance Specialist – Installations and service near the customer for 50 years

“I started to work at Raute straight after finishing the vocational school on June 3. Year was 1969. At the same with me time, many boys came to work for Raute. I started my career as a painting trainee after which I moved to the finishing filing cabinet to work on small parts. In a way, these tasks served as a traineeship for the assembly department. One year passed in the finishing filing cabinet, and then it was my turn to serve in the military. When returned to Raute, I started working in a lathe workshop at Raute’s Lahti factory, where I worked until starting among the service business.

I transferred to the service team around 15 years ago. The alternative was that I could return to assembly if the new task and travel work would be too demanding for me. Well, here I am still after all these years.

In practice, I do inspections at the customer sites and based on the visits also preventive maintenance. In addition, I sometimes work with capital projects, mostly among line installations. Mostly, there have been lathe installation gigs around the world. The work is very customer oriented. It is rewarding to see customer satisfaction. “


Travelling around the world

“Before joining the service team, I worked occasionally among projects. In 1987 I had my first site assignment at Orsev’s plywood mill where we delivered the whole mill.

Later travelling has increased a lot. By now I have travelled in so many countries that I have stopped counting. I can say that I have visited every country where there are plywood machines, such as New Zealand, Australia, China, Indonesia, Russia and Poland, only to mention some. My last trip abroad was to France.

My most memorable trip, in addition to Orsev, was certainly my first visit to Indonesia in 1993, starting on the Boxing Day. I had no earlier experience or knowledge about the country and I was excited to see how it was to work in jungle.”

Work changes but something remains – People

Markku“Fast changing technology has caused many changes to the work. In the old days, we played with faxes while being abroad. It was usually the big boss who had the only telephone and we had to change the calling line between the phone and fax. Communication was much slower and sensitive for distractions. Lines to the jungle were what they were which caused that sometimes the received faxes were unreadable. Also, the time difference caused much more difficulties because messages couldn’t be reached on time.

Today, communication is easier and quicker. It is also easier to get information. Reports can be done and read via mobile and on site you can check out drawings with your phone, for example.

Also, machines develop continuously and modernizations bring many new versions requiring continuous learning and thus makings this work so interesting. You get to learn and develop yourself, too.

Even work and ways to work are changing all the time, one thing hasn’t change: People. This work requires knowledge of the human nature and every customer is different. The customer may be a family business where the entrepreneur him-/herself is closely involved in the business or the customer is a hired employee in some big corporate whose attitude can be very different. However, we always work for the customer. Without customers, there wouldn’t be any business.

This work also requires passion. Sometimes the work can be very dirty and hard, and situations change fast. Still it is all worth it when you solve the problem and the customer is thanking you. That is best feedback for your work.”

On Friday, August 30, 2019 Markku will start well deserved retirement days after 50-year-career at Raute. We want to thank Markku, the true customer service hero, for all these years. Enjoy!


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.


Safety first

Machinery safety is the basis of having a safe working environment.


SAFETY IS ONE OF the key factors in having a successful industrial panel producing business today. Machinery safety is the basis of having a safe working environment. No safety rules or safety practices can replace modern automated guarding and safety solutions integrated to machinery. By applying the latest safety standards (like ISO 12100), Raute sets the goal that customer employees always get home healthy. As an active member of the Observing Committee (K114) of European Committee for Standardization CEN/TC 114 – Safety of Machinery, Raute is one step ahead when it comes to new safety standards and safety legislation.

To apply safety standards/safety legislation, use of full area guarding with fencing days is a must. The best results are achieved when the latest solutions of safety automation, safety logic controllers and safety drives are combined with account usability and efficient production. By using Raute machinery, those aspects are always integrated. For example, full area guarding, based on fencing surrounding the line and interlocking guards and photo sensitive safety equipments, ensures that access to machinery always means a safety stop – but only in that part of machinery where it is needed. In most cases, other parts of the line can continue production.


How to enhance the drying process

Improper drying is the cause of most damages and veneer losses in plywood production. It is the process through which quality is made and cannot be improved afterwards. During the drying process, the moisture inside wood cells is evaporated in the shortest possible time and with the minimum use of energy. It may sound simple, but production managers struggle with splits, over dried veneers, jams and stops in the process, as well as the need for re-drying and having to deal with broken veneers on a daily basis. Luckily, proper technology can make this process much more predictable.


HOW TO DRY VENEER efficiently to desired moisture and maintain quality and elastic properties for further processes? This is the question the most successfull plywood and LVL producers are paying attention to. The answer lies in focusing more on the input material and combining that information to drying functions and controls in a smart way.

RAW MATERIAL CHALLENGES DRYING

As every producer knows, wood material has a great deal of variation in moisture and stiffness, depending on the log size, ground, time and place of growth.

Variation also occurs inside every block, depending on which part of the block the veneer is peeled.

As raw material properties continuously change, the drying process must also adapt accordingly. Unfortunately, most of the drying solutions on the market simply don’t have any tools for that.

When quality and efficiency matters, the right solution is an intuitive drying process that automatically adjusts the speed, temperature and moisture for a given material batch with minimized energy usage.

ANALYZERS BRING THE PROCESS TO THE NEXT LEVEL

The Drying ProcessTaking advantage of long experience with dryers, Raute, together with Mecano, has developed accurate veneer analyzers. The most advanced mills have earlier first adapted greyscale VDA and DMA brush meter analyzers, then upgrading and ending up with the latest G5 technology.

Mecano MVA was the first analyzer that made previously impossible low moisture analyzing a reality – setting a new standard for moisture grading. Mecano MVA-G is the game changer when the highest quality, recovery and smooth operation are required. When installed in a peeling line before clipping, it offers remarkable savings by accurately separating wet and dry veneer scanning through the veneer, instead of just the surface. In addition to accurate analyzes in low moistures, MVA finds uneven moisturized zebra veneer that causes great losses in drying. When spotted already in the peeling line, zebra veneer can be dried separately in different drying conditions.

The latest addition to Raute’s product family is Metriguard Veneer Tester DME 2805, which is the industry standard in the evaluation of veneer suitability for structural uses. Together with the VDA it brings the entire grading process up to a new level by enabling even a more efficient usage of raw material.

PROFITS BY PROPER DRYING

You need valid information to be able to improve the process. Efficient drying is possible when moisture and veneer properties are properly measured and gathered data utilized in the drying line. Drying will always be one of the most challenging processes in plywood and LVL production. However, with the right knowhow and tools, challenges can be transformed into a competitive advantage!

MECANO MVA-G IS A GAME CHANGER.

Stay tuned to hear more about VDA and DME 2805 integration with the Raute SmartMill concept.