Pollard Lumber pioneers bucking scanning & optimization

25 March 2020

USA-based, Pollard Lumber, is once again blazing new trails with the technology for their recently upgraded bucking line. The sawmill is proud to announce that the world’s first next-gen JS-50 laser scanners are now up and running.

The new Nelson Brothers Engineering (NBE) optimizer receives geometric data from a single overhead bank of 12 dual camera JoeScans. The scanners are arranged linearly in 12 zones with 65 inches between each zone. This setup allows for stems up to 65 feet long to be scanned with a very short infeed. It also allows for optimized solutions to be delivered before the stem reaches the saw. This speed is critical for the bucking line to keep up with the pace of the rest of the mill.

Pollard Lumber Vice President Andy Pollard is no stranger to the benefits of optimization technology. “There’s a misconception that bucking optimization is easy because the cuts are simple to make,” Pollard says. “But every other decision downstream depends on this first bucking solution.”

Robert Cecil of Cecil Company provided the optimizer integration for the project. He very much agrees with Andy Pollard’s assessment. “If you buck a log to 10 feet, you won’t produce many 12 foot boards from it,” Cecil adds with a laugh.

Cecil and Pollard worked together to fine tune the price-driven optimizer algorithms so that a good mix of log lengths are produced. “Andy is a really sharp guy,” Cecil says. “It’s great for the optimizer to be able to include his intuition with the speed and precision of the new JoeScan heads.

Overall, everyone has been extremely happy with the smooth start up. The optimizer produces very good decisions that even a veteran operator would miss. The new single cable Power-over-Ethernet (PoE) connectors and QuikLock mounting plates make the JS-50 easy to install and easy to work on. The Pollard Lumber team described the start up process as “plug and play.” Cecil and the Nelson Brothers Engineering team were impressed with the simplicity of the new scanners and how easy they were to interface with at the software level.

So what’s next for the sawmill in Appling, Georgia? The speed and simplicity of the new JoeScans may lead to a second bank of JS-50s on the bucking line, or even upgrades to the edger and trimmer using the same model scanner.

Pollard Lumber holds the title as the first sawmill in the world to run JS-50 scanners, but there are sure to be many more following in their footsteps in the near future.

Source: JoeScan