Proof-of-concept equipment is under development to tackle the problem of measuring fiber orientation and density on the OSB mat before the press, which is expected to produce significant cost savings to the average OSB plant.
The production of OSB (Oriented Strand Board) involves converting a log into dried wafers, or “flakes”. Flakes are aligned on a forming line to generate a mat, which is pressed at high temperature with adhesives and pressure to form the boards themselves.
The structural strength properties are derived from the overall density of the board (the amount of flake used) and the orientation of the flakes in the two directions.
Technologies have been developed to measure density, including X-Ray and mechanical measurement techniques, but these measurement tools do not have the capability to measure the fibre orientation (or direction of the strands).
New and powerful Terahertz technology is expected to play an important role in sensing and imaging within the forest products industry as a result of its inherent safety, the transparency of wood at these frequencies, the resolution that is possible with the technology, and its sensitivity to internal fibre structure.
While there are many applications in the industry that could ultimately benefit from these capabilities, the OSB industry applications are the first target of research efforts presently under way.