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Austrian forestry company seeking an automatic, fast and standardized determination of roundwood quality

Country of Origin: Austria
Reference Number: TRAT20211217001
Publication Date: 20 December 2021

Summary

An Austrian wood processing company is seeking solutions for a reliable identification of roundwood quality. The solution should guarantee an automated and standardized analysis of physical parameters of timber surface. In the framework of an innovation challenge, solution providers should offer sensor or image recognition solutions under a technical cooperation agreement.

Description

As part of an innovation program, an Austrian company is seeking solutions from Europe and beyond. The company is active in the forestry sector. Their core competence and core business are harvesting and sale of roundwood. 

The roundwood is distributed to sawmills, where a quality check is conducted to determine the pricing of timber. The material being assessed usually has a size between 3 and 5 meters. Currently, calibrated electronic devices determine value-determining characteristics, such as diameter, length, curvature and lumbering. In addition, personnel at the sawmill visually assess the logs for other criteria within a few seconds. After manual input of the visual evaluation at a control panel, the quality classification and pricing of the wood is automatically evaluated. For the quality check, the end faces on both sides of the log are primarily relevant. An assessment of the interior of the log is not part of the task.

Due to high throughput speeds and an unfavorable system design, the sorting staff only has a very short time to correctly recognize and assess the corresponding characteristics. This task requires high concentration, fast action and hours of monotonous work from the employees in the sawmill. Their decisions on the visual characteristics of the wood have a direct impact on the pricing of the material.

The company is looking for novel solutions to improve the quality determination process. The solution could range from sensor technologies to any other image recognition solution. The envisaged cooperation type is a technical cooperation agreement.

IMPORTANT NOTE: This technology request is part of an innovation challenge which is open for application until January 18th 2022. If an expression of interest is made and a solution to the Austrian companies can be offered, the applicant will be guided towards an application platform. The selection of the applicants will be made by February 15th 2022. By the end of February 2022, the selected applicants can have bilateral meetings with the Austrian company.

Expertise sought

Potential solutions could range from novel sensor technologies to automated image analysis to measure and analyze data of roundwood during the quality process. Solutions could be components complementing existing systems increasing the degree of automation, but also novel technologies.
In particular, the solution should measure physical parameters such as surface structure, discoloration (blue stain, red streak, tan), Box, resin galls, cracks, etc. Should the requirement for additional characteristics (e.g. knots, partial debarking, etc.) arise in the future, it should be possible to extend the technology. Another relevant factor is the dusty, damp working environment. The technology sought must be robust and be able to work under these conditions. A long service life would also be desirable.

Requested partner

The Austrian company is looking for startups, SMEs or research centers from Europe and beyond. Potential partners should offer solutions to capture physical parameters of roundwood (e.g. by means of sensor technologies, image analysis or any other technology) during the quality analysis process.

The Austrian company wants to work as equal partners in the form of a technical cooperation agreement, under shared IP conditions, to co-develop and/or implement the technology into their quality analysis process in a test project on a selected site.

Cooperation offer is closed for requests