Optimize sawmill production and reduce downtime

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3 minutes Reading time
3 minutes Reading time

Like other machine tools, the machines in a sawmill are connected to each other via sensors and gateways in order to be able to map them in the IoT(Internet of Things). This allows status and process data to be used to optimize production.

The challenge: Collecting process and status data in the sawmill

Sawmills use band saws to process trees into beams, planks, boards and roof battens – an industry that generated sales of 6.5 billion euros in Germany in 2020. The saws used for this purpose are machine tools manufactured by specialized machine builders. The portfolio of these companies covers all sawing technologies, from band saws to edger and gang technologies to circular saws and profiling technology. The digitization of products has already begun.

This is because modern, larger sawmills are highly automated production facilities that have to operate with maximum efficiency. The market for sawn timber is always on the move. Among other things, weather conditions and pest infestation have an effect. In order to adapt to price fluctuations, more and more sawmills want to record status and process data so that they can keep an eye on important indicators (KPIs) at all times.

The solution: All important indicators in one app

In the wood processing industry, it is very important to record the origin of the tree and thereby prove sustainable management. Essentially, it’s about what region the wood comes from and what pesticides were used. To do this, sawmills need to know the entire value chain from the forestry operation to their products and bring together all the data from different sources.

In cooperation with the digitization specialist logicline, the machine and plant manufacturer has begun to expand its product portfolio to include digital offerings and services. The machines collect real-time data to control and optimize production and logistics in the sawmill with a mobile KPI app – such as the cut quantity in the hour. In addition, the solution also integrates data from existing databases.

logicline developed the app using the assets360 building block system. It quickly and flexibly implements specific functions for the Industrial IoT. The KPI app uses assets360 blocks such as User Management, Edge Computing and Mobile Framework for its tasks. The data is collected with sensors and sent to the Cumulocity IoT cloud platform via an edge gateway. The app thus replicates the data flow for the IIoT and can be extended to meet customer-specific requirements.

The result: Overview of availability and performance

Both sawmills and the machine manufacturer have a full overview of the availability and performance of the machines through the app. As a result, the sawmill is informed about the achievement of production targets, as well as about downtimes and causes of malfunctions.

The evaluation of all machine data also paves the way for predictive maintenance. In the process, adaptive algorithms use the machine data to detect whether malfunctions are imminent. Now technicians can service or repair the unit during a scheduled shutdown.

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