Manufacturers' news

BioVision Edger retrofits: Hyne Timber achieves its goals!

15 June 2017

The global financial crisis wreaked havoc on many in the industry, and it distinguished the resilient. One company that is standing tall today is Hyne Timber, operating from 11 sites across Australia’s Eastern Seaboard. Like many companies it had to curtail its capital investment plans, but now it is back in the game of keeping up with the evolution of advancements being offered by forward-thinking, world-class vendors like USNR.

Coming out of the crisis, the company immediately looked to grade scanning technology for its edger lines, investing wisely to extract the greatest value from its green mill process. And as this recent major investment project was nearing completion, Jon Kleinschmidt, CEO of Hyne Timber, emphasized the importance of remaining competitive in a company newsletter. “Sawmill technology developments have advanced significantly and we need to reinvest to ensure that we can remain viable and competitive. The BioLuma scanner upgrade to the green mill (at Tumbarumba) will enable visibility of knots in each board to assess for knot size, knot location and dimensional properties so as to make a better edging decision. This will maximize the value we extract from each board.”

Hyne Timber is a progressive, privately-owned company, and one of the largest manufacturers of dimensional timber products in Australia. Its operations are situated in the eastern regions of Australia, and comprise two modern sawmills, a laminated beam plant, as well as several sales and distribution centers.

Hyne was established in 1882 in Maryborough, Queensland, processing hardwood at small sawmills in the region. It gradually expanded to truss plants, retail outlets and distribution centers. In 1986 it built a new sawmill at Tuan to take advantage of stands of slash pine (Southern Yellow Pine) in the region. And in 2001 it expanded its holdings when it purchased the Tumbarumba sawmill, subsequently investing in major capital upgrades to the mill.

At Tumbarumba the company operates a log yard, sawmill (supplied by USNR), dry kilns, planer mill, treatment plant and storage/distribution facilities. The mill focuses its efforts on producing high quality structural timber for construction, and its lower grade material is exported to Asian markets or used domestically in pallet plants.

The USNR-supplied sawmill was installed and started up in 2002-2003, comprising a double-length infeed with a reducer quad bandmill, a horizontal shape sawing line, two edger optimization lines, and two 72-bin trimmer/sorter/stacker lines.

Wise investment

As vision technology matured, Hyne Timber realized that gains could be achieved utilizing this new method for detecting defects in its green material. Chris Skeels-Piggins, Manufacturing Manager for the company, explains. “For Radiata pine, knots and stiffness define 80% of the downgrade reasons in structurally graded products. With our edgers cutting mostly sap (outer) wood, knots are our primary reason for downgrades. The BioVision system allows us to see these knots and make an informed decision on what to do with them.”

Hyne Timber and USNR have developed a solid relationship over many years, and this was a key reason the company chose to work with USNR on this project. Chris commented, “We already had USNR optimization throughout the mill, and a strong relationship for support. The decision was an easy one.”

Support is a very important aspect of any supplier-customer relationship, as Chris well knows. “Being on the opposite side of the world, having someone on call 24/7 is essential to our business.” Chris commented there are individuals in the USNR service organization that his team has come to know, and who are well versed about the Hyne Timber systems and processes, and this facilitates quick resolutions when issues arise.

Upping the ante

The edgers process material from raw sizes of 2.4 to 6.0 M (8-20’) lengths, 75 mm to 600 mm (3-24”) widths, and 25 mm to 75 mm (1-3”) thicknesses. The edger lines operate at 32-36 ppm, and include USNR’s Maximizer positioning infeeds, two 5-saw edger machines – one with reman head, and short-coupled tipple-finger outfeeds. Optimization is MillExpert and, when first installed, scanning utilized Smart TriCam sensors for geometric measurements.


The new BioVision frame fit right in where the previous frame had been.

In this recent project, the transverse scan frames were replaced with new USNR BioVision frames that each accommodates 22 BioLuma 2900LV sensors. For this application the two rows of sensors are arranged above and below the flow, for 2-sided scanning which is typical for an edger process.

The BioVision systems at Hyne Timber are predominantly required to grade for knots over 10mm in diameter, as well as wane. The systems offer additional features, defect recognition and classification attributes listed below.

  • Geometric, wane, shallow face & edge wane (saddle-back), skip, crook and twist
  • Sophisticated compound wane rules; primary and secondary wane rules allow precise control over quantity and location of wane along the board
  • Knot size and location
  • Knot classification
  • Splits/shake
  • Increased skew/offsets
  • Automatic classification based on Surface Defect Recognition
  • Molding and industrial shop optimization
  • Solution comparison between grade and geometry-only solutions (see screen below)
  • Flexible, easy to use product set-up, for any customer-desired combinations
  • Multiple grades, with individual wane rules and values, are easily programmed
  • Parameters support regional grade rule variations

Improved grade yields

Chris said he was very satisfied with both grade uplift, and the progression of the projects. “We are very happy with the results. Grade yield improved by about 4% across all products.” Chris was not surprised that the mill lost a small amount of solid fiber recovery. He commented that the optimization system features parameters that quantified the volume loss for them ahead of time. “Because of the knot sizes and configuration of the wood we are processing, we fully expected we would reduce the volume of fiber recovery. The simulations we did told us that would happen, it did happen, and we got the subsequent grade uplift that we needed.” He also explained that the system is performing as expected; the task for Hyne Timber is to ensure they utilize the systems’ capabilities to get the best possible value from their investment.

In addition to improving grade uplift and value, BioVision in the sawmill allows for focused sorting and specialized handling, drying and treatment of certain grade products as defined by the mill and identified by the BioVision system.

BioLuma 2900LV sensors

  • High density color images
  • 0.02” x 0.04” (0.5mm x 1.0mm) color scanning resolution
  • 2500 Hz scan rate
  • 8” (203mm) depth of field
  • High density laser profiles 0.30” (8mm)

The BioLuma family also offers sensors with varying technology capabilities for other applications; laser profile only, vision only (used in combination with existing USNR laser profile sensors), and the addition of GrainMap™ grain angle measurement for more comprehensive defect detection and classification, used for both green and dry mill grade optimization.

Acheiving Value

Chris reported that the MillExpert system is similar to what the mill’s personnel had been using prior to the upgrade, and the major focus for training was on the new sensors. Training was performed on site which allowed Hyne Timber to have more people involved.

Hyne Timber personnel who were key to the success of the project included Steve Kerr, Mat Thomsen and James Davies as project managers for the two lines. Jack Galvin, site electrician, managed the electrical requirements of the new scanners, which included installing the new computers, pulling cables and minor PLC code changes. A local fabrication firm was on contract to remove the old scanning system and install the new frames. On the USNR side were Bob Arnold, sawmill grade scanning manager; Shawn Devantier, project manager; and Mark Mellow and Paul Kangas were on site to oversee installation of the new scanners and start-up the system.

The key driver for Hyne Timber’s business is ensuring it extracts the maximum value from the resource that has been entrusted to the company. It’s modern, progressive approach will keep it at the forefront of competitive advantage through ongoing investment to effectively meet the needs of its customers.

Jon Kleinschmidt concluded in his newsletter, “We’ve progressed a long way in 20 years, from (manual) visual grading, to laser-based geometric scanning, to full (machine) vision scanning. The changes we’ve seen over the last 20 years will occur at a much faster rate as new technology evolves.”

USNR has been a front-runner in advancing this technology, and we are proud that the strong relationships we’ve forged with customers like Hyne Timber have allowed us to provide the tools our customers need today to meet their goals.

Source: USNR \ SöderhamnEriksson