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The Rock Pile: A Blog for Metrology Enthusiasts

Part One of our Sawmill Alignment Solution Series


While traveling into sawmills in the United States and Canada over the past few years, we at Brunson Instrument Company saw an unfulfilled need in the area of machine center alignment. Most sawmills whether small or large, producing anywhere from 25 mbf (25 thousand board feet annually) to 125 mbf and greater were still practicing old mechanical methods of lining up key machine centers. Using piano wire, dial indicators, feeler gauges and mechanical levels was more common than utilizing a highly accurate, repeatable instrument for important measurements.

Although most sawmills, particularly the larger producers, employ very sophisticated equipment and software in the production process – the typical process of lining up key machine centers often falls well short of the mark. We have been into many sawmills that are faced with tighter and increased production demands, while in many cases using aging equipment. One common problem that is often overlooked is machine alignment Machine center alignment/optimization is simply the process of aligning components along a common center line, specifically measuring for straightness, level, plumb and square. Poorly aligned equipment is a hidden drain on time and money. It is a major contributor to breakdowns , lost production and waste.

What Brunson has heard from many of the customers we have worked with is that "good enough is no longer good enough" . As timber producers recover from a massive market downturn due to several years of a depressed housing market – moving forward in a "business as usual" mode will not cut it. Customers are picky and shopping for new solutions. Competition is strong and there will continue to be pricing pressures. Timber producers must add value on the manufacturing side.

In an increasingly competitive and tough market, the market leaders will be looking to modernize their sawmill assets. The commitment of capital will drive the efficiencies required to maintain a competitive advantage. One way to drive efficiency and positively impact profitability is machine center alignment. Faced with the new normal, the forward thinking, progressive mills will continue to look at ways to improve on safety, increase quality and profitability. As sawmills modernize machine center alignment and bring the process in-house, profitability will be positively impacted by lower board deviation and higher recovery numbers.

In Part 2 of our series we will discuss some of the alignment tools that are available today.

Read Our Client Case Study

Brent Grisamore
By Brent Grisamore on May 16, 2014 11:14:00 AM

Topics: Sawmill , Metrology , Optical Tooling

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    The Rock Pile is a blog designed to be a platform for collaborative exploration in the field of metrology. You can expect to explore new Brunson products, hear from  industry professionals invited to be contributing editors, and gain insight from customers who use Brunson products.  So if you are one of the chosen few people who understand that Metrology is not a study of the weather, please join us here.

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