How Light is Used in Lumber Automation

As with just about any other market, lumber automation relies heavily on a variety of sensors to efficiently and accurately produce quality products. One of the most flexible sensors used in this industry is a UV light sensor. From evaluating the consistency of wood grain in panels to verifying the quality of boards as they move forward through the production process, there are numerous ways that UV light sensors serve as reliable, high-speed industrial automation machines for the working of wood worldwide.

Often, the UV light sensor detects the use of crayon markings on wood panels, boards, and products. This is because crayons contain materials that fluoresce under UV light, allowing the sensor to quickly detect them once the beam interacts with the material. The crayon is typically used upstream as wood boards begin to enter the production cycle, but it’s also used downstream by quality control personnel and other production workers.

Examples of UV Sensors in a Lumber Automation System

  • Identifying rejected pieces — Knots in boards are the most often seen quality issue as they contain gaps, making the board weaker and less appealing visually. These boards are marked with crayons so they will eventually be removed. If the board contains other flaws, it will be marked for removal.
  • Identifying cutting locations — Depending on the application, it may be necessary for a board to be cut in a certain location downstream. The crayon is used to indicate the location, angle, or length of where the cut should occur.
  • Identifying more desirable boards — Some wood boards or panels may be more visually appealing or have a more desirable grain pattern than others, increasing their value and usability. Higher-quality boards or lower-quality boards may be marked accordingly to identify them and either remove them from production or permit them to move forward.
  • Detecting fungicide — Depending on the application, it may be necessary to determine whether a fungicide has been used on the board. Since fungicides react with UV light, the sensor will detect this in the production cycle so that another system can take appropriate action or alert a worker to inspect the board.
  • Verifying finishing details — Various board finishes are applied throughout the production process, such as laminates, adhesives, glues, varnishes, and other treatments. As long as these finishes contain a UV tracer (and many do), a UV sensor can be used to verify their presence as part of a lumber automation system.

These applications aren’t limited to one specific upstream or downstream company, either. Both ends can take advantage of industrial automation machines for the working of wood with UV sensors and even color sensors playing an active role in ensuring overall product quality and manufacturing efficiency. The underlying reason for using UV sensors for wood automation and controls is that they are far more accurate and efficient than manual verification, and in other instances, they’re even more cost-effective.

Case in point: Learn how EMX Industries’ sensors supported a leading manufacturer with a lumber optimization program, enabling more rapid automation while driving down operating costs. Read the application note here.

How UVX Luminescence Sensors Excel in Lumber Automation

At EMX Industries, Inc., our UVX line of luminescence sensors is used in countless industries worldwide. For lumber automation specifically, the UVX series supports all of the applications mentioned above — and more. First and foremost, UVX sensors are designed for high-speed industrial automation.

  • With high-speed 10 kHz switching (the equivalent of 10,000 cycles per second), a UVX sensor can support virtually any high-speed production environment.
  • Compared to machine vision systems, our UVX sensors support lumber automation programs at a fraction of the cost — allowing you to achieve the same results (with potentially even greater accuracy) while keeping costs down.
  • UVX sensors can be quickly and easily integrated into any production line and feature a variety of accessories to make installation fast and simple.
  • Thanks to its integration ease and flexible spot size detection, it can be used in-line at an angle and with a wide range of operating distances, making the UVX line a far more beneficial solution that proves ROI more rapidly than competing solutions (in fact, the UVX line features an operating range of 3–6 times greater than competing sensors!).

Transform Your Wood Automation and Controls with UVX

We know that our UVX line of luminescence sensors is the lumber automation tool your organization needs to further automate and streamline your production. To show you firsthand how a UVX sensor will work with your application, we’re offering complimentary sample tests. Simply send in your sample, and we’ll provide a complete reporting detailing its performance along with recommendations for implementation (and if the UVX won’t work for your application, we’ll let you know exactly why).

Ready to get started with the UVX sensor? Fill out the sample request form now.