Homanit has been producing HDF/MDF panels in Losheim since 1995. The high-quality thin panels are used wherever precision is in demand. Whether as flexible wall unit, covering element in exhibition stand construction or carrier panel for laminate flooring: Homanit panels are used in many ways. In Losheim, panels of a thickness from 2 mm to 8 mm are produced.
The challenge: foreign objects in the production process reduce the quality of the product
The production of thin panels starts with the supply of raw materials. Besides local primary wood, secondary raw materials are used. The wood chips can contain foreign objects, which, if not separated from the production process, can cause substantial loss of quality. Rubber parts are especially problematic. If they reach the refiner, a rubber piece of the size of a fingernail will be ground to thousands of small particles which find their way into the panels. When sanding the finished panels, the rubber particles fall out and leave small holes. Complaints and returns are the result of poor-quality panels.
The CHIPINSPECTOR was put into operation at Homanit in Losheim in April 2017. Since then, the CHIPINSPECTOR has been monitoring 500 tons of wood chips per day and separating foreign objects before they reach the production process. The dual-energy method allows, for the first time, the reliable differentiation between materials of the same weight per unit area, such as wood and rubber, due to the material-specific absorption.
If the CHIPINSPECTOR identifies foreign objects, they will be separated by easy to maintain and robust precision flaps, just in time before defibration in the refiner. The conveying width of the wood chips is divided in 14 segments. Upon identification of foreign objects, the material flow of the concerned segment is, in a split second, temporarily diverted out of the process.
Since the commissioning of the CHIPINSPECTOR, Homanit has noticed a significant improvement of the panel quality. Besides the improvement of the product quality, a further advantage of the system lies in the fact that the maintenance costs for downstream machines can be reduced and their life prolonged. While the refiner discs were worn after three months before the installation of the CHIPINSPECTOR, they can now be used for up to nine months.
Besides planning and commissioning, the project is completed by the training through the GreCon Academy. The operation staff is trained on site to deepen their knowledge of operation, adjustment and software of the system.
- Reliable detection of foreign objects using dual-energy X-ray method
- Even material distribution by vibrating conveyor
- Diversion of foreign objects via precision flaps to minimise the reject of good material
"The special applications in which our thin panels are used do not allow loss of quality.”
"Since commissioning, the rate of complaints caused by foreign objects approaches zero."
"Thanks to the separation of foreign objects, we can use the refiner discs two to three times longer than before.”
Andreas Niehren, Head of Raw Panel Production at Homanit