Automated Manufacturing Equipment to Meet Your Wood Industry Needs

Editor’s note: This post was originally published on 4/24/18 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehension.

What is automated manufacturing equipment?

Automated manufacturing equipment is specifically designed to integrate manufacturing machines and software to ensure that the processes run on their own through the use of computer programming.

At Tank Fab, we pride ourselves on engineering specialized automated manufacturing equipment to fit our customer’s needs.

There is no request too wild or out-of-the-ordinary for us to take on.

The unique thing about Tank Fab is that we not only design the system for you, but we also manufacture and, in some cases, install the system.

Automated manufacturing equipment (sawmill and lumber)

The sawmill and lumber business is unique and requires many automated pieces of manufacturing equipment.

Here’s an example of how we were able to provide a creative solution to a problem our client was experiencing.

Case study

One of our lumber customers needed a way to permanently mark their wood products for warranty purposes.

The conventional method in the dimensional wood products industry is to identify each piece of wood with a plastic tag after the wood has been processed from tree from into its final form.

Many times this tag is either inadvertently removed during use in construction, or falls off during shipping of the lumber to its destination.

This was a problem for our customer and we were happy to provide a solution.

We love unique tasks like this.

The answer

Our engineers came up with a system that would imprint their company logo into the end of each piece of wood.

Next, we fabricated the wood-stamping machine to the engineer’s specs.

Then, we installed the final piece of equipment for the client.

This new wood stamper presses the customer’s logo into the end of each board for identification purposes.

Our client now has a branded logo stamped onto their wood so they will always be able to properly identify their products.

The wood preservation industry

Here’s how we were able to help a client dealing with a frustrating wood preservation situation, with an automated manufacturing solution.

Case study

After the wood has been treated with preservatives, on occasion, the product will drip preservative after it is treated. This created three significant problems:

  • The client needed to maintain a large containment area that would capture all of the preservatives that drips from the product. This area is regulated by federal, state, and sometimes even local laws that state how the area needs to be maintained.
  • The client would need to dedicate a forklift(s) to this area, or wash the lift every time it leaves the area, to prevent contamination of the environment outside this containment area.
  • A bottleneck was created because the product needed to be drip-free before it was shipped to the client’s customer.

Our clients needed a solution to this common problem.

The answer

Tank Fab created a material handling system, we call it a  transfer deck, for the wood-treating industry to meet this need.

This system includes a set of drip bays.

If the wood product is dripping when it exits the autoclave, it is transferred to one of the drip bays until it has stopped dripping. These bays offer many benefits over the typical containment area. The benefits include:

  • The bays are elevated angled: This allows the preservative to drain more efficiently from the wood product. We also capture all this preservative in a collection pan at the front of the bay, thereby facilitating the quick capture and re-use of this preservative.
  • The bays are elevated above the facility’s floor: This allows the bays to be considered the facility’s primary containment, as per the federal regulations, and the facility’s floor underneath to be your secondary containment. This eliminates the need for a synthetic material liner under the facility’s floor in this area.
  • It eliminates handling of the wood product with a forklift: Because the wood products stay on the cart, or tram, while the wood drips in the bay, it eliminates the one-step of pulling the wood product off the cart and moving it to the drip containment area. One less move and one less chance of potentially damaging your wood product with a forklift!
  • It eliminates the dedicated forklift issue: Once the wood product is free of dripping, it is moved via the transfer deck to a “unload” bay. Here, the preserved wood product can be moved by your normal yard lifts to the shipping process area.

Turnkey multipurpose autoclave systems

Autoclave definition 2400/19

An autoclave is a very strong container that is heated, where it is safe for chemical reactions to take place, and other processes that depend on high pressures and temperatures, for example, steam sterilization.

We’ve manufactured a number of turnkey autoclave systems including:

  • Autoclaves for preservation of wood products.
  • Autoclave systems for vulcanization of rubber products.
    • Autoclave systems of this type are used in the rubber industries for vulcanizing tires, rigid hose, and/or flexible rubber hose.
  • Autoclave systems for fiber cement or aerated concrete.
    • Fiber cement siding and aerated concrete use very similar industrial equipment during the manufacturing process.

What do YOU need?

Have a need that has no current equipment solution to fill that need? Let us design it for you!

Contact us today to learn more about how we can deliver automated manufacturing equipment that solves your biggest manufacturing challenges.

Where do the challenges arise in your manufacturing process? Could any of these solutions streamline or simplify your processes?

Author: Jeffrey Lippincott

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