Innovative Machines for Innovative Products
When it comes to cutting a new type of beech LVL panels, Pollmeier relies on the decades of experience of the PAUL circular sawing specialists and invests in a panel rip saw type SK-VARIO as well as in a CNC cross-cut system type C14 II including handling equipment.
The owner-managed beechwood sawmills of Pollmeier in Creuzburg (Thuringia) and Aschaffenburg (Bavaria) are considered to be the most efficient throughout Europe. Already in 2010 Pollmeier announced to Paul Maschinenfabrik based in Dürmentingen (Baden Württemberg) the development of a completely new product. From the beginning of the project, the appropriate production facilities also played an important part. What’s the use of the best product if it can’t be produced in a cost-effective manner?
LVL (Laminated Veneer Lumber) made of softwood has been enjoying an increasing popularity for years now. LVL consists of about 3 mm thick rotary cut veneers and is mainly used for the production of joists, beams and panels. Pollmeier’s vision was to produce this laminated veneer lumber from beechwood, not from softwood. The advantage of beechwood is that it has considerably higher strength properties; at the same time, however, it is also considerably harder to process. Furthermore, the finished product needs to be certified to be able to use it for building purposes later. So, there were quite a number of obstacles to overcome. The biggest advantage of beechwood LVL is that due to the higher strength of beechwood, smaller cross sections will be sufficient to obtain comparable strength properties as conventional LVL. The predevelopment phase was completed in 2012. Pollmeier took the decision to build a completely new factory for the production of beechwood LVL at the Creuzburg location.
The procurement of the required production equipment was the focus of attention. First of all the rotary cut veneer must be produced. The individual veneer layers are glued together in a press. Panels of up to 18 m in length, 1.8 m in width and 80 mm in thickness are produced in this way. In another process step the strips are ripped and cross-cut, if required. Further process steps follow, depending on the product.
Ripping of the panels and the subsequent cross-cutting of the strips produced became Paul’s task. The panels with a weight of up to 2 tons are ripped into maximally 18 strips on a panel rip saw type SK-VARIO. The individual saw blades in the machine can be freely positioned via a CNC control. A residual strip that may be produced can be separated on one side using a special splitting wedge and a connected separating channel. The principle of the saw corresponds to Paul’s K34VARIO which has already been developed in 2003 and is frequently used already. To meet the special heavy-duty requirements, the machine had to be completely redesigned. The process-reliable separation of the residual strips posed another challenge. The decades of experience in the sawmilling sector (circular edgers and circular resaws) were of benefit to Paul in this connection. The residual strip is pushed into a vibrating conveyor using a special separating channel. The vibrating conveyor feeds the residual pieces from the cross-cut system and the residual strips from the rip saw to an existing chipper.
Process-related defects in the strips are to be cut out, if required. The Paul CNC cross-cut system type C14 II is used for this purpose. Elaborate and very robust handling equipment had to be developed here as well to be able to feed the strips that still have a weight of up to 350 kg and a length of up to 18 m into the cross-cut system. The maximum cross sections are 300 x 80 mm, i.e. 350 x 50 mm.
Both machines are fitted with the latest Linux-based MAXI 6 control generation. In addition to the user-friendly user interface via touch screen, the network-compatible machines are fully integrated into the superordinate master computer system.
The cooperation between the two companies may be called exemplary. The user and the manufacturer of the machine have jointly developed a system which is tailored to the particular needs. The two specialists have ideally complemented one another. Both Pollmeier as the absolute material specialist and Paul as the experienced mechanical engineering company have succeeded within very short time in implementing an unprecedented timber processing line offering highest flexibility and maximum efficiency.
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