Lineal Scanning on a Bucking Line
This is the most common type of scanning for a bucking line. Here’s how it works:
The log is placed on a chain or a belt. The chain or belt moves the log lengthwise through a scanner. The scanner typically consists of 3 or 4 laser profiling scan heads. This is a simple system and can be very effective.
It does require a long transport chain or belt, greater than twice the length of your longest stem. Sometimes the mill property layout makes this difficult or cost prohibitive. Additionally, it requires a lot of steel to support the log through the scan zone.
In some cases this can be addressed with a multi zone scanning system. In a two zone system one zone is responsible for scanning the leading half of the stem, the other from the trailing half. The difficulty with multi-zone scanners for bucking is that it typically means the log needs to enter from the size of the zone. The scan frame needs to be C shaped. It is difficult to shield sunlight from a system like this. However if the bucking system in a fully enclosed building this can be a great option.
Another challenge is that a lineal scanning system typically uses an encoder measuring the chain or belt travel. Therefore it is important the stem doesn’t slip. If the stem can slip on the transport, then an additional technology will be needed to make accurate length measurements.
Snapshot Scanning on a Bucking Line
Bucking scanning can also be done with a snapshot type scanning system, which measures the log without moving. This can either be done with a large bank of profiling sensors, or with a flying spot time-of-flight sensor.
A snapshot scanning system reduces the length of the transport necessary, which can make it a good fit for upgrades to existing non-optimized bucking lines.
Transverse Scanning on a Bucking Line
Finally, there is the possibility of transverse scanning of stems. It doesn’t appear that this is being done in sawmills today.
However, it would give good length measurement. In many cases it would require scan heads that could operate in at least partial sunlight. There are also challenges with the transverse transport. If the log is not well supported and sections are bouncing as it is scanned, this will lead to poor measurements.