Timber Measurement Society Central Committee Meeting, Longview Washington
17-18 October, 2007

There were more than 70 people in attendance from the US, Canada, New Zealand, Sweden and Switzerland. This was one of the best turnouts in many years and no doubt was related to the excellent speakers from across the globe who were gave presentations. Below is a summary of the presentations and downloadable copies of their presentations (just click on the hyperlink or the title page of their presentations). To view the minutes of the meeting, click here

Automatic log scaling? Yes – and soon also automatic grading – Lars Björklund (Head of R&D; the Swedish Timber Measurement Council; Uppsala, Sweden)

Lars gave us the background on the Swedish timber measurement council, of Sweden. Most scaling is done by manned scanners (scalers record defect, species, and grade) and at very high speeds (1,000 pieces per hour).  New technology used includes: photo imaging to measure ring-count, X-ray technology for grades and log sorts, image analysis to find rot, measuring MOE utilizing sound-waves, lasers are being used to cube stacked volume of loads of pulpwood via a drive-through, measuring pulp via photo imaging from cameras, harvester measurement systems, and finally, bone dry content of chips is now measured via probes which can be hydraulically dropped into loads to get real time BD content and process the data into the payment system. Click here to view the presentation.

Log breakage study and automated scaling implementation – Bruce Moran (Scaling Supervisor, Interfor, Campbell River, B.C.) 

Interfor studied why some contractors had consistently better results than others.
Their assumption is that a faller needs to produce about
100 m3 per day (20 mbf) and that 10% would be lost to breakage. What they found was a strong correlation with yarding tree-length logs and breakage, vs. yarding manufactured lengths and giving the fallers enough time “doing more and making more value by doing less”. Determining cost of breakage vs. cost of decreased production was the key to finding the balance. Having fallers remove broken log sections in the woods reduced the breakage further by eliminating the chance that already broken pieces would increase in severity due to handling. They also had to track performance of logging contractors. Their philosophy is “people do what you inspect, not what you expect”. Brad stressed that you need the support of management. Click here to view the presentation on managing log breakage.

Interfor’s work on scaling via scanners is focused mainly on smaller second growth logs. Interfor is working with the ministry of forestry on approval and already has equipment in place. The System measures the log after debarking (so under bark measurement not a factor). It has the advantage of not requiring the removal of log bundles from water storage until needed (saving log handling costs and reducing the associated breakage). Log load information (boom and block identification) will be recorded during the dewatering and scanning process. It is commonly agreed that scanners are accurate for determining gross volumes, i.e., lengths are accurate to ½ inch over 60ft, diameters are accurate to approximately 1/8”. Currently accepted methods of measuring diameters (rads) create less accurate volume results than scaling by scanner, which measures in very small increments. A log could be scanned 100 times and the result each time would be extremely consistent. Future challenges with the system includes the scanners inability to see rot and grade, however, these are small compared to benefits. Click here to view the presentation on Interfor's automated log scaling system

The secrets to accurate acreage calculations – Jon Aschenbach (Vice-President of Sales, Atterbury Consultants, Inc., Beaverton, Oregon)

Jon suggests prioritizing the placement and number of timber cruise plots. With GPS the acreage of timber stands can be calculated with good accuracy. Some consumer grade GPS units ($70 to $400) are almost as accurate for acreage calculation as the $2,000 to $4,000 models. Jon gave a live demonstration of the accuracy of this simple and inexpensive GPS system by showing the coordinates of the meeting room, tracking GPS satellites through the ceiling and roof of the building. Bottom line was that given the relative low cost of the new advanced GPS technology, data recording hardware, and data processing software, one can hardly afford to use the old manual methods given their lower levels of accuracy not to mention the efficiency issues. Click here to view the presentation.

Significance and recognition of exotic insect pests in standing and harvested timber – James LaBonte (Taxonomic and Survey Entomologist, Oregon Dept. of Agriculture, Salem, Oregon)

The number one way that exotic wood boring insects get introduced onto North America is through solid wood packaging. Many are already established in the US and Canada and are here to stay (e.g., emerald ash borer). Imports are increasing and thus the incidence of exotic bark beetles are as well. Some insect species can look very similar; with one being rather harmless and the other a serious threat. Unfortunately, the number of taxonomists is decreasing due to retirements and no new taxonomists are in the pipeline. Jim and his colleagues are using graphics to develop guides so “lay-people” can identify the threatening insects. Jim brought us up to speed on the exotic insect threats that are currently considered a threat to North America, or already are. Click here to see the presentation.

Scaling deductions for logs with frost seams and grading logs with large knots based on Northwest Log Rules Advisory Group (NWLRAG) – Tom St. Laurent (Manager, Yamhill Scaling Bureau; and Secretary, Northwest Log Rules Advisory Group, Forest Grove, Oregon. 
Tom brought us up to speed on the developing NWLRAG rules for reducing volume and grade for oversize knots and reduction of volume due to frost cracks (primarily in western hemlock. Mill studies had determined that the current #2 sawmill grade, which has an allowance of a 2 1/2” knot, was discovered to be too lenient given the 65% construction grade lumber requirement, however, by including the knot collar in young growth logs brought the grade back into line. The current guidelines have improved the situation quite a bit. Scaler variation is always a concern as knots characteristics have many different degrees: size, density, placement, etc. Click here to see the slides on oversize 

Frost seams have been an ongoing problem in Hemlock. Generally scalers take a 1” deduction for straight checks and pie-cut the spiral checks. This has helped in the area of consistency, but more work needs to be done to determine proper deduction, which is difficult to assess as all volume outside the scaling cylinder is not to be considered when using Scribner scale. Bottom-line is that things are better and more study is ongoing. Click here to see the slides on frost seams.

An overview of log scaling in New Zealand, and some details of export (JAS) and domestic (3D) scaling.– John Ellis (Group Technical Manager, Toll Owens Logistics; and Managing Director of Scaling Research International, Mount Maunganui, New Zealand).

John brought us up to speed on the overall status of the forest products industry in New Zealand. Some of the problems that the industry is facing are the eroding value of the US dollar and increased transportation costs. Export logs in New Zealand are scaled with JAS (Japanese Agricultural Standard), while most domestic logs are scaled via weight and the New Zealand 3-D method. Accuracy standards are + or – 3%, scalers should agree on diameters with the check scaler 62.5% of the time and 95% of the log diameters should be within 2 cm. He gave an overview of the scaling procedures and methodologies for both JAS and 3D, which utilizes a unique formula for modifying stem form based on taper. Click here to see the scaling profile on New Zealand.

Scaling study with artificial lights: can logs be scaled and graded accurately under lights? .– Peter Dyson (Researcher, FPInnovations-Feric Division, Vancouver, B.C.)
FPInnovations-Feric undertook a study to determine if logs could be scaled accurately under artificial light conditions. As a starting point, they used 50 lux for young growth and 75 lux for old growth. The results were within 0.5% excepting that the bigger more valuable grades, as a component, were outside the tolerance. They then increased the lighting to 120 lux and the results improved. Click here to see the presentation on scaling in dark conditions under artificial light.


The “Quick Cruise” Option for the Idaho Department of Lands – Steve Fairweather (Mason Bruce & Girard, Portland, Oregon)

This was a project done by Steve for the Idaho Department of Lands (IDL), and called the “quick cruise”. The pilot project was done on 848 stands covering 70,000 acres. The IDL wanted to use a “stand based” inventory but found that it was too costly to do it the conventional way. The system uses stratification, tallies tries by species or dbh (no heights, no defects). Quite simply, this system takes advantage of the relationship between basal area and volume. Uses  Vq/Vs = BAq/BAs. So far the IDL is very happy with the results and expanding this method across their timber land ownership. Click here to see the presentation.

Automated log merchandiser/scaler to measure and buck for most value – Andy Dick (Director, Logjiztix, Whangaparaoa, New Zealand)

Logjiztix purchased a prototype machine that merchandizes stems by scanning a tree length stem and then cross-cuts it into the most valuable log lengths. This system evolved from a manual “caliper and tape” based system, which showed a lot of promise, but was too heavily reliant on a workforce that had limited technical ability. This processor does 70 loads (2,200 tons) of logs a day. The machine scans length and diameter and bucks stems into logs lengths that maximize value and gives detailed production data in real-time. The benefits include smaller landings, reduced field staff, reduced truck time, reduced harvest cost, improved safety, better on time deliveries, platform for further technology (x-ray, more scanners, MOE testing), and improved log value recovery. The system has been thoroughly tested and has shown that it can dramatically increase profits. Click here to see the presentation on the Logjiztix log merchandizer and here to see the technical paper on the system.

Andy also brought a presentation on a portable tool for log scaling (the Hitman sonic tester) which can measure the stiffness of the wood fiber of a log and thus is able to determine wood with a high strength ratio, which is suitable for LVL or stress rated lumber. It is a small handheld unit the measures the speed of sound-waves that travel through the log. Click here to see a presentation on the Hitman sonic tester.  

Recovery from simulated sawn logs with Sweep – Robert Monserud (Team Leader – Forestry Science Lab, USFS Pacific Northwest Research Station, Portland, Oregon)

Robert and his colleague, Christine Todoroki wanted to assess loss from sweep (assuming straight sawing in a sawmill) and if in fact there was loss from ovality in a sawmill. For the sweep test, real logs were mapped and then simulated with increasing amounts of sweep (and crook). This approach was chosen instead of actual empirical log tests because logs are too variable and thus results would never be conclusive as opposed to measuring and mapping a log and then simulating (via an optimizer program, Autosaw) the same log over and over again with increasing amounts of sweep. On average, recovery dropped 2.4% for each 1” of sweep (determined “bow string” method) for 16’ logs. Whether the sweep was constant (sweep), or 4’ from the end (crook) the results of the study did not change. Click here to see the presentation on recovery of simulated sawn logs with sweep.

In addition to the sweep study, Robert and Christine studied the effects of ovality of species and ran simulations of various degrees of ovality, both in terms of comparison with round logs of the same size and in terms of rotation. On average recovery was best when sawing parallel to the major axis and contrary to many older references was a bit better than that of a round log with the same volume. Click here to see the presentation on recovery from oval logs

TMS Central Committee Officers and Contacts

Chairman: Matt Fonseca                     Matthew.Fonseca@unece.org

Vice chairman: Dennis Moore            

Secretary-Treasurer: Thelma Alsup    4alsups@centurytel.net

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 Updated 2007-11-07