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Linking raw material characteristics with industrial needs for environmentally sustainable and efficient transformation processes

Using wood raw material efficiently is difficult, due to great variation in wood quality, which is not fully known until the final stage is reached. The end-manufacturers' real needs are not known well enough either at an early stage. This means that more forest than necessary is harvested in order to produce the amount of final products required. Furthermore, unwanted by-products are produced that are difficult to sell. This leads to high costs for both the manufacturer and consumer, and to valuable forest material being harvested in a sub-optimal way.
In practice, several methods of judging potential log quality are based on statistical comparison between bulks of logs and bulks of boards by matching distributions of properties. Sensors evaluating the wood material have become more elaborate (for example, X-ray systems for inspecting logs and vision systems for grading boards). A method for handling detailed and comprehensive data material that can deal with more than a few parameters is required.

The aim for Lineset is to facilitate a secure and automated system for industrial use to enhance the use of forest. The basis for this is to develop a detailed sawmill raw material database, based on individual logs and boards. The database will consist of data from the forest, the log sorting station, the saw line, the automatic green sorting station, the handling of stacked wood and finally the automatic cross-cut saw at the end manufacturer.

The objective of the project is to gain better knowledge concerning the linking of forest properties and production parameters to final consumer needs, and vice versa.

By installing traceability systems at the sawmill and sawmill end manufacturer, it will be possible to gain the amount of highly usable data necessary, and the tools for converting that data into knowledge. Doing this will mean that a step towards a much higher optimisation of forest raw material and production resources will be obtained and, thus, a big step will be taken towards the overarching aim of the project.

Progress to Date
An industrial survey was carried out in the participating partners' countries to specify the needs and requirements of a system for individual tracking of information in the forestry wood chain. Two possible industrial uses for the traceability concept could be anticipated:
1) control of production, with a marking frequency in the order of 100%
2) control of measurement accuracy, with a marking frequency in the order of 2-3%.

A technical specification for the selected wood industries of the project was also carried out, resulting in two traceability systems.

The results from the Lineset-project concerning traceability systems for wood can be grouped into three main areas:
1) knowledge concerning problems and the cost of the technique. Industrial wood traceability systems can now be specified for profitable applications and value-for-money technical installations.
2) relationships between raw material specifications and final customer needs. Choosing a more suitable raw material for a specific product can now be more easily accomplished. This will reduce the amount of unwanted by-products and increase the number of satisfied customers.
3) potential of benefits/profits. Several possible applications, which can offer high potential profits for utilising wood traceability, have been mapped out.

It is quite clear that in spite of the presentation of results and discussions many forest industry representatives do not yet understand the potential of how wood traceability systems can improve the value of wood.

The amount of misuse of wood material is still not known. It can, however, be estimated to be in the region of several per cent. Action for improving the use of wood raw material is urgent. As a result of this project, a follow-up project was launched for Framework Programme 6.


Scientist responsible for the project

Drottning Kristinas vaeg 67 Box 5609
114 86 Stockholm
Sweden - SE

Phone: +46 8762 1800
Fax: +46 8762 1801


Project ID QLRT-1999-01467
Organisation AB Traetek, Swedish Institute for Wood Technology
Area 5.3.2
Start date 01 February 2000
Duration (months) 36
Total cost 2 988 553 €
Total EC contribution   1 663 792 €
Status Completed

The partners


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