Meet DiscBot, our new wood quality detective

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Developed and built in-house, Scion’s new ‘DiscBot’ is a novel scanning technology designed to assess a range of wood properties that affect the quality of sawn timber and other end products. The automated disc scanner uses a robot to move wood discs past different sensors, which capture information on wood density, microfibril angle, chemical composition and spiral grain angle.

A near infrared camera is used to detect the different light absorbing qualities of lignin, cellulose and other chemicals in the wood. Wood density is measured using X-rays, and stiffness by the speed at which an ultrasound wave travels through the wood. Masked light transmission is used to detect the presence of spiral grain by measuring how light is distorted as it travels through the wood.

“As we’re aware, this technology is unique,” says wood quality scientist, John Lee. “The DiscBot will enable us to better understand the quality of wood that’s been laid down throughout the whole tree, how this is affected by genetics, silviculture and site, and the implications for end product quality. This knowledge will help us to better characterise the forest resource that’s out there, so that we can look at how we can best add value to it.

“Historically, we’ve measured wood properties on core samples taken from one or more heights in a tree, which gives us limited understanding of the variation in wood properties within a tree. The DiscBot can test multiple discs quickly and efficiently, to provide a more complete picture of the full extent of variation that exists. The volume and speed of data generated will be invaluable for our more expansive projects like the Growing Confidence in Forestry’s Future programme, and for our commercial clients.”


For further information
Contact John Lee at john.lee@scionresearch.com