Madras Plant 1 Reborn as an Optimizing Cross-Cutting Plant
[September 1, 2021] Madras Plant 1 is back as an optimizing cut plant. Crews gutted the old manual cut plant last year and extended the building. The new highly nimble cross-cutting operation removed their training wheels in June.
Keeping It Simple
Bright Wood used a different strategy with its second optimizing cut plant. “Madras Plant 11’s process is rip, scan, and cut all of the lumber coming into the plant,” Dallas Stovall, CEO/President, said. “Plant 1 is designed to scan and cut only.”
Plant 4 or Plant 3-1/2 rip most of the lumber for Plant 1. Some of the 5/4 pine, 6/4 pine, 1-1/2 pine, and white fir are purchased. All inbound is separated by width before it arrives at the plant.
“We scan and cut the units in Plant 1,” Dallas said. “The advantage is simpler sorting and flexibility on when we cross cut.” A Lucidyne scanner (same as Plant 11) scans the boards and then feeds them to two fully automatic cut-off saws.
One Rip = Easier Sorting and Faster Changeovers
“The sorting system is one of the best at Bright Wood for the simple fact that the lengths are separated,” Homero Lopez, Plant 1 Manager, said. “You know on this kicker you are going to be grading this length. The grader just has to worry about grading and stacking down.”
“The plant is designed for quick changeovers,” Homero said. “By doing only one rip at a time, we can do changeovers on the fly. Typically, our changeovers take 5 to 10 minutes.”
Wait There Is More
Plant 1 is adding a second line. “We’re calling the first line Plant 1 West,” Dallas said. “The second line – Plant 1 East – should be installed later this year and will be a clone of the first line.”
One difference is the East line will have a USNR scanner instead of a Lucidyne. Bright Wood installed its first USNR scanner in the Prineville Cut Plant in 2020. “We’ve been able to make substantial gains with the USNR scanner,” Keenan Stovall, Optimization Manager, said. “It is good at detecting defects with its image processing and deep learning technology. It is also user friendly.” Three new USNR scanners will also be going into Plant 11 at some point in the future.
Plant 4’s rip saw will not have enough capacity to feed four cutlines when Plant 1 is complete, so Plant 4’s south-end manual cutline will shut down. Staff will transfer into Plant 1 East to fill the openings for an infeed operator, scanner operator, cut-saw operator, and graders. There will be four to five graders per line.
The Next Level of Efficiency
“Efficiently cutting wood is super important to what we do,” Keenan said. “Any gains we can make in terms of being more efficient, creating higher quality, and reducing man-hours are always important.”