Cutting-edge new saw line
AKD is distinctive amongst its key competitors for its reputation as a high quality producer and its vertically integrated operations. Locally sourced logs are processed at their Colac green mill. The logs are loaded on conveyors and pass through scanning devices to assess log rotation, grading of timber, board density and fibre stiffness. Each log is then automatically rotated to ensure maximum recovery (optimal usage of each log) prior to passing through the saw line. The sawn timber is then transported from the green mill for kiln drying and further processing, according to the intended end use.
The existing legacy saw line at AKD was 25 years old and reached its limit in terms of volume throughput. Being a forward thinking company, AKD knew that by investing in new technology, they could future proof the mill as well as improve reliability, throughput and recovery.
“When we decided to build a new saw line, we visited mills in the US and Europe to see how the latest technologies were being used and the benefits they provide,” explained Brady Wicks, National Automation and Controls Manager, AKD Softwoods. “A key priority for the new line was to reduce the amount of electronics on the machine, by housing them in a climate controlled environment to avoid mechanical damage resulting from dust and vibrations on the saw line. After looking at a few different options, we decided to implement a modular saw line with centralized I/O,” he said.
The new saw line leverages the latest control, automation, information and safety technologies from Rockwell Automation, using Ethernet communications. Allen-Bradley® GuardLogix® Programmable Automation Controllers provide integrated control and safety for the saw line and PowerFlex® 755 variable speed drives with safe torque-off meet the challenging drive and safety requirements of the conveyors, band saws, kilns and processing equipment. Studio 5000® software was used for commissioning – minimising complexity and reducing the risk of potential errors.