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 AI plays matchmaker at Sweden's Norra Timber
[Oct 12,  2023]

 Goldeneye technology at Norra Timber¡¯s Sa¡§var Sawmill

The industrial boom in northern Sweden continues at pace, with substantial investments taking place at Norra Timber¡¯s sawmills.

The company, owned by Norra Skog's forestry owner¡¯s association, has opted to invest SEK500m in cutting-edge technology upgrades.

¡°The sawmill is updating its already modern machinery to make it possible to read a log's individual fingerprint,¡± said Fredrik Samuelsson, sawmill manager at Norra Timber Sa¡§var Sawmill. ¡°So now, instead of only being able to sort logs by characteristics such as dimensions and length, the X-ray option allows us to view the internal characteristics of a log, such as any knots, shakes and fibre deformation. With the help of this information we can process logs even more efficiently into products our buyers really want. In other words, we make sure it's the perfect match every single time.

¡°With the help of advanced technology utilised throughout the sawmill process, we are able to sort logs in a completely new way and determine what the final product will be before we insert the bandsaw blade into the log. In the past we visually detected characteristics along the bandsaw saw line. Thanks to AI technology, we can now ¡®swipe¡¯ right or left at the beginning of the process. It¡¯s another step towards treating and maximising each log individually, instead of processing logs collectively,¡± said Mr Samuelsson.

The board of Norra Skog, which is owned by its 27,000 forestry business members, has committed to investing just over half a billion SEK in modern technology at its three sawmills in Ka¡ãge, Hissmofors and Sa¡§var. The investment in Sa¡§var totals SEK200million, and includes a new log sorting line (including the land it is being built on), as well as upgrades to the saw intake to improve control over the saw line. This will enable individual logs to be identified, as well as make it possible to follow and document logs throughout the entire sawing process - ensuring maximum utilisation of the raw material.

¡°With continuous improvements to our processes, we hope to get closer to 100% value exchange in the future. It is an important technological step that will make even better use of the forest's sustainable products¡±, says Fredrik Samuelsson.

Ka¡ãge Sawmill is investing SEK300m in a new splitting saw, an advanced X-ray machine and the ongoing construction of new, more modern equipment for timber sorting, which will increase capacity by 70%.

Hissmofors Sawmill has invested SEK20m in an X-ray machine equipped with the very latest technology. Pine and spruce are now processed simultaneously, and measuring capacity is increasing.