How machine vision can optimise wood processing

Machine vision imaging is used in many industries to increase the efficiency of manufacturing processes by improving productivity by using machines with AI that are more accurate than a human, providing quality control checks, helping to reduce faults, injuries and waste, as well as helping with packaging and recycling processes.  There are many different elements to machine vision systems and how they can be used and adapted to various business types to improve production. 

One industry that you might not be familiar with machine vision imaging and components being used within is the wood manufacturing and processing business, but it’s becoming more commonplace as this industry recognises how this technology can assist its workforce and help to improve profits.  Let’s explore in more detail how machine vision can optimise wood processing.

How can machine vision optimise wood processing?

There are numerous ways that machine vision can optimise the manufacturing of wood to improve the industry for the better.  Let’s take a look:

  • Quality control: Machine vision systems can provide quality control checks of the wood before it goes to sale or is used to create wooden furniture products.  Defects in the wood such as knots, discolouration, splits, decay, resin and so on, will negatively impact the strength of the wood and its appearance, resulting in customer returns and client dissatisfaction.  Machine vision can be used to check the quality of the wood and notify a user of any defects found in a piece before it gets further down the production line.
  • Reduce profit loss: Machine vision systems will reduce return costs and profit loss.  Because the machines can be set up with high accuracy for detecting faults in the timber, this will ensure a wood manufacturing business only sells and uses the best quality wood available.  Faults that might be missed by a human operator won’t make it through so there will be less of an impact on business profitability due to returns or customer loss due to poor quality of wood sold on to clients.
  • Accurate measurements: Machine vision can be used to measure the dimensions of wood to verify it is accurate. This technology is more accurate than laser measurement, and it can also measure in 3D.  This is done by analyzing the digital images and comparing them to a reference image.  Machine vision technology can be used in a number of different industries, for example, the furniture industry. The furniture industry could use machine vision to measure the thickness of their wood, which would make sure that it is accurate and consistent with what was ordered.  Again, this will reduce waste and reduce returns.
  • Faster and more accurate wood grading:  Grading wood manually is a laborious task, however, a machine vision system can grade hundreds of planks of wood every minute.  This allows human workers to complete more satisfying and stimulating tasks.
  • Reduce waste by optimizing cuts:  A machine vision system can be used to identify the best cuts and improve the quantity of grade 1 cuts by optimising the cutting process, thus reducing wastage and maximising profitability. It can also measure the quality of the cut and provide feedback on how to improve it.  This technology has been used in various industries such as furniture, construction, and so on. It helps facilitate more efficient cutting practices while also reducing the wastage of raw materials.

Final thoughts

Wood processing and cutting is a common practice in many industries, such as furniture manufacturing. It is also an expensive, laborious and time-consuming process. Machine vision can optimise the process from grading wood and measuring wood faster than humans and more accurately, right through to improving the wood cutting to reduce waste.

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