CC-Link IE network improves sawmill productivity

At first glance, wood processing may not appear to need cutting-edge manufacturing technology, but that was not the case here. When Danish company Dansk Træemballage A/S (DTE) looked at how to increase their sawmill’s precision and productivity, one of the first challenges was to establish the right automation control network. The CC-Link IE gigabit Industrial Ethernet was what they chose

DTE process over 300,000 m³ of tree logs a year. The process converts logs into rough-cut timber and finished lumber by performing debarking, profile cutting, sawing, sorting and stacking activities. After processing, they ship 150,000 m³ of finished wood to five production sites making wood packaging like crates and pallets.

All these processing stages need high-quality, reliable and responsive inverter drives to position and power processing equipment. The production plant uses over one hundred such drives whose operations are all controlled simultaneously in real-time.

Demanding customers

Aside from the key important factors of speed, accuracy and reliability, the quality finish is increasingly important for DTE. As Orla Poulsen, owner of DTE, explained. “We focus on the food industry, which has strict dimensional and stability standards for the quality of their crates and pallets.

DTE needed to ensure their PLCs could adjust the inverter parameters for optimal performance without communication problems. To keep production smooth and efficient in the harsh operating environment, DTE selected the robust CC-Link IE network. CC-Link IE provides data transfer rates of 1 Gbps for high-speed communications. Offering over 120 stations per network, it accommodates all the VSDs across the saw line as well as supporting future growth. The result is a more reliable and productive application as well as increased business competitiveness as quality and output both rise, without changing the mechanical aspects of the plant machinery.

Says Lars Venborg, Technical Manager at DTE.  “The high-speed transfer of data creates a responsive system improves the quality of our lumber and increases our productivity. It is very important that DTE can get the greatest yield out of each log. By benefiting from the high-speed response time and bandwidth that Gigabit Ethernet offers, the machines on the saw line can assess the dimensions of each log as it goes through the mill in real-time. In this way, DTE can make the most of its raw materials.”

CC-Link IE reduces downtime

“We also considered maintenance activities and the future of the sawmill commented” Lars Venborg. “With our previous system we had to change the software every time we replaced an inverter. We struggled with downtime, and always needed both technicians and programmers to replace or add a drive. With a CC-Link IE, it’s easy to replace or add inverters during operation as there’s no change to the software setup.”

Orla Poulsen concluded “the CC-Link IE network helps us improve the productivity and performance of our sawmill. Even better, we also are achieving this in a cost-effective manner.”