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Industry & Trends

Biele Automates States Industries’ Hardwood Plywood Panel Line

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April 28, 2022 | Bill Esler

Eugene, OR—States Industries (IWF Booth C1446) has automated its hardwood plywood panel line in Eugene, OR.

Biele Group (IWF Booth B7523implemented the project, putting in an automatic line to produce hardwood plywood panels up to 10 ft. long through a short-cycle multi-opening press. Completed in 2021 and now fully operational, it is the first project on which the two firms collaborated.

The project consists of fully automatic handling and cleaning of the substrate, gluing on top and bottom surfaces, and semi-automatic lay-up of top and bottom hardwood veneers that then feed the four-opening press.

Behind the press, the line also cleans the overhanging veneer from the panels without trimming any of the substrate, and includes a vertical putty section in situations where panels need to be repaired before stacking. All these processes are completed continuously without stops. By customizing the system design, Biele accommodated the required processes with the available floor space, adapting to States Industries’ needs.

The investment represents a strategic move by States Industries, which brought the new line into operation early in 2021. The project increased the company’s production capacity of high value panels, while improving manufactured product quality on a wide array of panel sizes, substrates, hardwood veneers, and order quantities.

“The deployment of capital toward manufacturing higher value hardwood plywood has been well timed for the demand we’ve been experiencing in the market,” says States Industries Vice President of Manufacturing, Ted Downs. “We’ve been able to produce significantly more 3-ply and 2-step production at a much lower fall-down rate than through our conventional vertical multi-opening presses.”

Downs says Biele’s automation facilitated better efficiency and grade recovery. As a result, “We’ve been able to reinvest in our people and additional automation. It’s allowed us to increase our focus toward customers with more demanding expectations and products requiring greater panel engineering, higher value, and tighter standard quality expectations.”

Biele USA is part of Biele SA, headquartered in Spain, and providing state-of-the art turnkey projects for several sectors of the woodworking industry, often incorporating Biele’s own manufactured hydraulic presses. In 2015, Biele consolidated its presence in North America, installing manufacturing lines for leading companies and increasing the work team and capacity of its subsidiary Biele USA in Atlanta. Recently Biele named David Thomas its technical service manager.

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