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Log traceability and forest automation

The Indisputable Key

Whereas the majority of the industral sectors have developed systems of traceability, from the supplies of raw materials of components, to the final products in the market, the Forestry and Wood network is more in the beginning of traceability partly due to a complicated supply chain structure.
The objective of this project is to develop a methodology and advanced technologies that can improve the use of wood and optimize the forest production through the chain oftransformation, minimizing environmental impacts.
The Indisputable Key is a project launched by EU. 29 partners from 5 countries : Estonia, Finland, France, Norway and Sweden. The partners represent research institutes, universities, industrial developers, forestry and sawmill companies.

Wood properties are hard to predict due to that wood is a living material. There will always be loss of material during refinement – the amount of loss is strongly affected by the matching of raw material (particular wood properties) to the end product. This material loss also varies depending on the kind of end product. A small percentage of loss can add up to a substantial amount of money. To refine a log with the right wood properties for a specific end product, traceability is essential. If one could pin-point certain trees, due to their properties, to a specific end product the material loss could be greatly reduced and the end product quality could be improved.
An individual marking of logs will enable the industry to trace refined wood material back to its origin. To successfully accomplish this, marking has to take place and be sustained at every stage were the wood material is refined. No such system is available on the market today.

To achieve such full traceability the applied code mark must be detectable at each step. This would require costs for detectors on each vehicle and also code marks that must be detectable from certain distances and through snow, ice and mud. One marking technique to be used on the harvester in this project is RFID transponders. RFID transponders as a marking method for individual logs has been investigated in previous projects. This coding was linked to Individual Associated Data, IAD, within the harvesters computer. Field tests proved that the marking technique using transponders was quite successful but with the major drawback of the marking cost. Although the price tags on transponders are declining alternative marking techniques have to be considered. Another problem to be solved is the storage of transponders on the harvester. A single harvester can produce up to 1500 logs/day. Depending on the tag size, the magazine size may become a problem.
Therefore, alternative solutions of achieving full traceability are being investigated.

Belongs to: Engineering Design
Last changed: May 11, 2020
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