Valutec is one of Europe’s leading suppliers of industrial timber kilns. With operations in Sweden, Finland, Russia and Canada, the company has annual sales of around 30M USD and has delivered over 4,000 kilns to the market.

The challenge

Assist Valutec in the implementation of a long-term smart control system for industrial kilns that is easy-to-use, can withstand the harsh kiln environment, and can deliver optimal timber drying conditions in accordance with different wood types and drying routines.

The solution

A robust hardware solution with a Programmable Logic Controller (PLC) connected to temperature sensors, heat coils, fans, etc. A PC monitors and controls all PLCs. The PLC and the PC are connected to a PROFIBUS or PROFINET network. The PC software uses Open Control Communication (OPC) standards to communicate with the PLCs.

How we did it

We worked closely with Valutec’s in-house team, utilizing several open source and commercial add-ons from Valutec partners such as Siemens. A test system was used as a beta site to perform incremental updates and evaluate the results before solutions were deployed at live kiln sites.

Benefits

Thanks to the simple and intuitive user interface, a kiln can be configured locally to fit many different kiln types and suit individual wood drying requirements and processes. The system uses simulation software to fine-tune its operational settings in order to deliver optimal wood-drying results with minimal energy usage.