Grading machines and their speeds

The strength grading of timber by machine has seen many technological developments in the last few years.  The first type of machine, developed back in the 1960s, worked by physically bending the timber in order to assess the stiffness, and thereby estimate the strength (not a proof loading test!), but these days there a several other ways it is done.

In this post, we will look at the machines approved (as at January 2017) for machine strength grading of timber in Europe, with some quick comments on their mode of operation and maximum operating speed.  We will cover them in order in which they are listed by CEN TC124 WG2 TG1 (approximate order of development).  This is for guidance only – please contact the machine manufacturer or your Notified Body for proper information.

1. Cook Bolinders
Tecmach Ltd, Sanderson Centre, Lees Lane, Gosport, Hants. PO12 3UL
Mechanical bending type machine (minor axis) [mechanical stiffness]
Maximum feed speed 100-150 m/min

2. Computermatic Micromatic
Measuring and Process Control Ltd, Unit 2, Tabrums Industrial Estate, Battlesbridge, Essex, England SS11 7QX
Mechanical bending type machine (minor axis) [mechanical stiffness]
Maximum feed speed 105 m/min

3. Raute Timbergrader
VTT, P.O.Box 1000, FI-02044 VTT, Finland
Mechanical bending type machine (minor axis) [mechanical stiffness]
Maximum feed speed 48-124 m/min

4. EuroGrecomat-702
MiCROTEC s.r.l. – GmbH, Via Julius Durst 98, 39042 Bressanone (BZ), Italy
X-ray type machine [density, size and position of knots]
Maximum feed speed  80-300 m/min

5. Goldeneye 702 (GoldenEye-702)
MiCROTEC s.r.l. – GmbH, Via Julius Durst 98, 39042 Bressanone (BZ), Italy
X-ray type machine [density, size and position of knots]
Maximum feed speed  450 m/min (and able to do board splitting)

6. EuroGrecomat-704
MiCROTEC s.r.l. – GmbH, Via Julius Durst 98, 39042 Bressanone (BZ), Italy
X-ray type machine [density, size and position of knots] combined with
Mechanical bending type machine (minor axis) [mechanical stiffness]
Maximum feed speed 80-120 m/min

7. Dynagrade
Dynalyse AB, Brodalsvägen 7, SE – 433 38 Partille, Sweden
Acoustic type machine (longitudinal resonance) [dynamic stiffness, without density]
Maximum feed speed  100-240 pieces/min

8. Viscan (ViSCAN)
MiCROTEC s.r.l. – GmbH, Via Julius Durst 98, 39042 Bressanone (BZ), Italy
Acoustic type machine (longitudinal resonance) [dynamic stiffness, without density]
Maximum feed speed  180 pieces/min

9. EuroGrecomat-706
MiCROTEC s.r.l. – GmbH, Via Julius Durst 98, 39042 Bressanone (BZ), Italy
X-ray type machine [density, size and position of knots] combined with
Acoustic type machine (longitudinal resonance) [dynamic stiffness]
Maximum feed speed 150 pieces/min (acoustic) and 80-300 m/min (xray)

10. Goldeneye 706 (GoldenEye-706)
MiCROTEC s.r.l. – GmbH, Via Julius Durst 98, 39042 Bressanone (BZ), Italy
X-ray type machine [density, size and position of knots] combined with
Acoustic type machine (longitudinal resonance) [dynamic stiffness] (a Viscan)
Maximum feed speed 180 pieces/min (acoustic) and 450 m/min (xray) (and able to do board splitting)

11. MTG 960 (MTG with balance)
Brookhuis Applied Technologies BV, Institutenweg 15, 7521 PH Enschede, The Netherlands
A handheld portable grading machine (and weighing scales)
Acoustic type machine (longitudinal resonance) [dynamic stiffness with density]
Maximum feed speed not stated (manual operation)

12. Precigrader
Dynalyse AB, Brodalsvägen 7, SE – 433 38 Partille, Sweden
Acoustic type machine (longitudinal resonance) [dynamic stiffness with density]
Maximum feed speed  180 pieces/min

13. Grademaster
Dimter GmbH Maschinenfabrik, Illertissen, Germany
Acoustic type machine (longitudinal resonance) [dynamic stiffness with density combined with
Optical scanner for knot measurements]
Maximum feed speed  25 pieces/min and 180 m/min

14. Escan FWM/FW
Luxscan technologies, Z.A.R.E Ouest, L-4384 Ehlerange, Luxembourg
Acoustic type machine (longitudinal resonance) [dynamic stiffness with density]
Maximum feed speed  180 pieces/min

15. Triomatic
CBS (Concept Bois Structure SARL), 4 Rue des Longs Champs, 25140 Les Écorces, France
Acoustic type machine (ultrasonic time of flight, and pin indentation density) [dynamic stiffness with density]
Maximum feed speed  30-40 pieces/min

16. CRP
Automatisation J.R.T Inc, 405 avenue Galilée, Quebec, Canada
Mechanical bending type machine (minor axis) [mechanical stiffness]
Maximum feed speed  250 m/min

17. Xyloclass T
XYLOMECA, 41 rue Michel Montaigne, 24700 Moulan Neuf, France
Acoustic type machine (longitudinal resonance) [dynamic stiffness with density]
Maximum feed speed  50 pieces/min

18. Noesys
SARL Esteves, Zone artisanale, Route du Malzieu, 48200 Saint chely d’Apcher, France
Acoustic type machine (edgewise flexural resonance) [dynamic stiffness with density]
Maximum feed speed  4 pieces/min

19. MTG 920 (MTG without balance)
Brookhuis Applied Technologies BV, Institutenweg 15, 7521 PH Enschede, The Netherlands
A handheld portable grading machine
Acoustic type machine (longitudinal resonance)  [dynamic stiffness without density]
Maximum feed speed not stated (manual operation)

20. Viscan Plus (ViSCAN-PLUS)
MiCROTEC s.r.l. – GmbH, Via Julius Durst 98, 39042 Bressanone (BZ), Italy
Acoustic type machine (longitudinal resonance)  [dynamic stiffness with density]
Maximum feed speed 180 pieces/min

21. Xyloclass F
XYLOMECA, 41 rue Michel Montaigne, 24700 Moulan Neuf, France
Acoustic type machine (flexural resonance) [dynamic stiffness with density]
Maximum feed speed 20 pieces/min

22. Viscan Compact (ViSCAN-COMPACT)
MiCROTEC s.r.l. – GmbH, Via Julius Durst 98, 39042 Bressanone (BZ), Italy
Acoustic type machine (longitudinal resonance)  [dynamic stiffness with density]
Maximum feed speed 35 pieces/min
Maximum feed speed of high speed version (HSV) is 80 pieces/min

23. MTGbatch 962/966 (with balance)
Brookhuis Applied Technologies BV, Institutenweg 15, 7521 PH Enschede, The Netherlands
Acoustic type machine (longitudinal resonance)  [dynamic stiffness with density]
Maximum feed speed 30 pieces/min

24. MTGbatch 922/926 (without balance)
Brookhuis Applied Technologies BV, Institutenweg 15, 7521 PH Enschede, The Netherlands
Acoustic type machine (longitudinal resonance)  [dynamic stiffness without density]
Maximum feed speed 30 pieces/min

25. Rosgrade
Rosén & Co Maskin AB, 531 94 Lovene, Sweden
Acoustic type machine (longitudinal resonance) [dynamic stiffness without density]
Maximum feed speed 100 pieces/min

26. EScan FM/F
Luxscan technologies, Z.A.R.E Ouest, L-4384 Ehlerange, Luxembourg
Acoustic type machine (longitudinal resonance)  [dynamic stiffness]
Maximum feed speed 180 pieces/min

27. E-CONTROL model AC
Innodura, 11 avenue Albert Einstein, 69 100 Villeurbanne, France
Acoustic type machine (longitudinal resonance)  [dynamic stiffness with density]
Maximum feed speed 80 pieces/min (10 pieces/min for semi-automatic version)

28. Rosgrade plus
Rosén & Co Maskin AB, 531 94 Lovene, Sweden
Acoustic type machine (longitudinal resonance)  [dynamic stiffness with density]
Maximum feed speed 100 pieces/min

29. Viscan portable WITH balance  (ViSCAN-portable_WITH_balance)
MiCROTEC s.r.l. – GmbH, Via Julius Durst 98, 39042 Bressanone (BZ), Italy
A portable grading machine
Acoustic type machine (longitudinal resonance)  [dynamic stiffness with density]
Maximum feed speed not stated (manual operation)

30. Viscan portable WITHOUT balance (ViSCAN-portable_WITHOUT_balance)
MiCROTEC s.r.l. – GmbH, Via Julius Durst 98, 39042 Bressanone (BZ), Italy
A portable grading machine
Acoustic type machine (longitudinal resonance)  [dynamic stiffness without density]
Maximum feed speed not stated (manual operation)

31. WoodEye Strength Grader
Innovativ Vision AB, Idögatan 10, 582 78 Linköping, Sweden
Acoustic type machine (longitudinal resonance)  [dynamic stiffness with density] combined with
Laser tracheid effect type machine [slope of grain]
Maximum feed speed 180 pieces/min and 450 m/min

32. RS Strength Grader
RemaSawco AB, Snickaregatan 40, 582 26 Linköping, Sweden
Laser tracheid effect type machine [slope of grain]
Maximum feed speed 150 pieces/min

Edit 15/10/2017 following the TG1 meeting in Vienna we add two more machines to this list:

33. LuxScan OptiStrength XE
Luxscan technologies, Z.A.R.E Ouest, L-4384 Ehlerange, Luxembourg
X-ray type machine [density, size and position of knots] combined with
Acoustic type machine (longitudinal resonance) [dynamic stiffness] (an EScan F)
Maximum feed speed 180 pieces/min (acoustic) 240 m/min (xray)

34. LuxScan OptiStrength X
Luxscan technologies, Z.A.R.E Ouest, L-4384 Ehlerange, Luxembourg
X-ray type machine [density, size and position of knots]
Maximum feed speed 240 m/min

35. STIG (strength timber grading machine for Slovenian spruce)
ILKON – Inštitut za les in konstrukcije, Ulica Nadgoriških borcev 43, 1231 Ljubljana-Črnuče, Slovenia
A portable grading machine
Acoustic type machine (longitudinal resonance)  [dynamic stiffness without density]
Maximum speed 10 seconds per piece (manual operation)

Some of these machines have many available settings – covering different species, different growth regions and different grade combinations.  Some have only a few settings.  Some machines are no longer manufactured.

There are other types of grading machines around the world, some in use in Europe for output control grading (which, unlike machine control, does not require all machines of the same type, to operate with identical performance).

Visual strength grading is done differently – although the underlying principle and standardisation framework is the same under the European system.  Machines can be used to do visual strength grading – in which case this is still visual grading and not machine grading. There is an increasingly blurred line though – as machines can be used to measure “machine grading” type parameters (such as density) to combine with visual grading.

Update 23/1/2017: Thanks to Martin Bacher for letting us know about machine #13. This missing machine is now added.
Update 31/1/2017: Some more corrections for machine #13 with thanks to Martin Bacher
Update 15/10/2017: Added machines 33 and 34 (approved at the TG1 meeting 10/11 Oct 2017)
Update 25 & 28/11/2017: Corrected the feed speeds for machines 33 and 34
Update 26/11/2017: Added the feed speed for the HSV version of Viscan Compact (approved at the TG1 meeting 10/11 Oct 2017)
Update 5/4/2018: Added machine 35 (approved at the TG1 meeting 4/5 Apr 2018)
Update 8/11/2018: Corrected the name of Cook-Bolinders (which is currently wrong in the ITTs), and updated the manufacturer address, and corrected the manufacturer for the Computermatic Micromatic
Update 14/11/2018: Added hyperlinks to manufacturer websites

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