Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

With artificial intelligence to a better wood product

20.11.2019

Empa scientist Mark Schubert and his team are using the many opportunities offered by machine learning for wood technology applications. Together with Swiss Wood Solutions, Schubert develops a digital wood-selection- and processing strategy that uses artificial intelligence.

Wood is a natural material that is lightweight and sustainable, with excellent physical properties, which make it an excellent choice for constructing a wide range of products with high quality requirements - for example for musical instruments and sports equipment. Unfortunately, as most natural products, wood has a very uneven material structure that extends over several length scales.


This modified swiss wood can replace tropical ebony in many applications.

Swiss Wood Solutions AG

Therefore, large safety margins are often required during processing, which limit the efficiency of material utilisation. With the help of science, this drawback could soon be resolved. A key technology for this is artificial intelligence.

Neuronal networks sort out flood of data

Mark Schubert works in the research department "Cellulose & Wood Materials" at Empa. In recent years, he has worked intensively on machine learning, with the goal of optimizing the functionality of wood. Schubert and his team would now like to apply this experience to other areas of wood processing.

Every processing company faces the problem of interpreting and making decisions based upon the results of the receiving inspection, which provides data on the density, moisture content, fibre direction and annual ring position of the raw wood. In order to process the wood profitably, the sequential production steps such as separation, sorting and treatment must be well planned and many process parameters set correctly.

Finally, the quality control shows whether the settings used were correct and whether the processing of the wood was successful. Employees with a sense of proportion and years of experience can often help to avoid mistakes. However, there is no holistic approach that records and analyzes the raw material and process parameters that would allow product quality to be predicted in real time.

Premiere at start-up company Swiss Wood Solutions

That's about to change. Mark Schubert analyses the flood of data produced during wood processing using deep neural networks and incorporates them into the manufacturing process. In order to implement this innovative approach, Schubert works closely with Swiss Wood Solutions, a start-up established at Empa under the management of CEO Oliver Kläusler.

The company specialises in the refinement of indigenous woods. Using a special press and know-how built up over many years, spruce or maple wood is turned into a hard, dense special material that can replace tropical ebony.

The compacted wood species have already been successfully used for violins, guitars and clarinets, as well as for practice swords of the Asian martial art Budo. Now, the existing trial production is to be significantly expanded. Last week the company ceremoniously put its first own industrial press into operation.

Together with Swiss Wood Solutions, Mark Schubert will now expand the range of experience so that high-tech hardwood products can be manufactured with consistent quality despite the growing amount of raw material processed.

Mark Schubert, Empa and the Swiss Wood Solutions team will be exhibiting at the Swiss Innovation Forum on 21 November 2019 in the Congress Center Basel.

Wissenschaftliche Ansprechpartner:

Dr. Mark Schubert
Cellulose & Wood Materials
Phone +41 58 765 76 24
mark.schubert@empa.ch

Dr. Oliver Kläusler, CEO
Swiss Wood Solutions AG
Phone +41 79 819 72 77
klaeusler@swisswoodsolutions.ch

Editor / media contact

Rainer Klose
Communication
Phone +41 58 765 47 33
redaktion@empa.ch

Weitere Informationen:

https://www.empa.ch/web/s604/ai-for-wood-production
https://www.empa.ch/web/s302/bio-inspired-wood
https://swisswoodsolutions.ch

Rainer Klose | Empa - Eidgenössische Materialprüfungs- und Forschungsanstalt

More articles from Materials Sciences:

nachricht Thermophones offer new route to radically simplify array design, research shows
03.07.2020 | University of Exeter

nachricht The lightest electromagnetic shielding material in the world
02.07.2020 | Empa - Eidgenössische Materialprüfungs- und Forschungsanstalt

All articles from Materials Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Electrons in the fast lane

Solar cells based on perovskite compounds could soon make electricity generation from sunlight even more efficient and cheaper. The laboratory efficiency of these perovskite solar cells already exceeds that of the well-known silicon solar cells. An international team led by Stefan Weber from the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research (MPI-P) in Mainz has found microscopic structures in perovskite crystals that can guide the charge transport in the solar cell. Clever alignment of these "electron highways" could make perovskite solar cells even more powerful.

Solar cells convert sunlight into electricity. During this process, the electrons of the material inside the cell absorb the energy of the light....

Im Focus: The lightest electromagnetic shielding material in the world

Empa researchers have succeeded in applying aerogels to microelectronics: Aerogels based on cellulose nanofibers can effectively shield electromagnetic radiation over a wide frequency range – and they are unrivalled in terms of weight.

Electric motors and electronic devices generate electromagnetic fields that sometimes have to be shielded in order not to affect neighboring electronic...

Im Focus: Gentle wall contact – the right scenario for a fusion power plant

Quasi-continuous power exhaust developed as a wall-friendly method on ASDEX Upgrade

A promising operating mode for the plasma of a future power plant has been developed at the ASDEX Upgrade fusion device at Max Planck Institute for Plasma...

Im Focus: ILA Goes Digital – Automation & Production Technology for Adaptable Aircraft Production

Live event – July 1, 2020 - 11:00 to 11:45 (CET)
"Automation in Aerospace Industry @ Fraunhofer IFAM"

The Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Technology and Advanced Materials IFAM l Stade is presenting its forward-looking R&D portfolio for the first time at...

Im Focus: AI monitoring of laser welding processes - X-ray vision and eavesdropping ensure quality

With an X-ray experiment at the European Synchrotron ESRF in Grenoble (France), Empa researchers were able to demonstrate how well their real-time acoustic monitoring of laser weld seams works. With almost 90 percent reliability, they detected the formation of unwanted pores that impair the quality of weld seams. Thanks to a special evaluation method based on artificial intelligence (AI), the detection process is completed in just 70 milliseconds.

Laser welding is a process suitable for joining metals and thermoplastics. It has become particularly well established in highly automated production, for...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

International conference QuApps shows status quo of quantum technology

02.07.2020 | Event News

Dresden Nexus Conference 2020: Same Time, Virtual Format, Registration Opened

19.05.2020 | Event News

Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium AWK'21 will take place on June 10 and 11, 2021

07.04.2020 | Event News

 
Latest News

Rising water temperatures could endanger the mating of many fish species

03.07.2020 | Life Sciences

Risk of infection with COVID-19 from singing: First results of aerosol study with the Bavarian Radio Chorus

03.07.2020 | Studies and Analyses

Efficient, Economical and Aesthetic: Researchers Build Electrodes from Leaves

03.07.2020 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>