Automated quality assurance is the key idea behind the new sensors developed for the wood manufacturing industry. Regardless of the sensors currently used, quality control to a large extent is still highly labour orientated because today's image based sensor technology has its flaws as they primarily use a single sensor type and tend to neglect the advances made in computer vision and image analysis. Based on X-ray imaging, colour charged couple device (CCD) cameras, laser based Tracheid sensors and smart-sensor systems, as well as neural networks, genetic algorithms, computer-tomography imaging and modern statistical approaches, the developed technology not only brings high performance automation to wood manufacturing, it also brings an unprecedented accuracy to its automation, therefore reducing flaws, labour and wastage while increasing productivity standards. For example, the X-ray based imaging can determine inner flaws or fungi within the wood that would not necessarily have been detected, but would have sooner or later, result in high wastages. Likewise, certain treatments to harden or beautify wood, such as heating, may often result in waste or warping which would escape detection under standard sensor technologies, but not the accuracy of a laser based quality control system. In providing an "intelligent", multi-sensor approach to wood manufacture, the Austrian developers have succeeded in testing their development in six prototype systems and are currently looking for manufacturing and joint-venture agreements with partners interested in exploiting the technology.
Intelligent manufacturing of wood products using colour, X-ray, and computer tomography-based quality control
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