Laser lines turn wood into high-tech material

Glulam trusses have outstanding material properties and a low net weight. From an architectural point of view therefore, this material offers a wide range of design possibilities. An extremely high degree of precision is required when manufacturing glulam trusses in order to comply with the strict tolerances involved. The timber processing industry is therefore increasingly coming to rely on LAP laser technology to increase the precision and speed of the glulam truss manufacturing processes.

Wood is the oldest building material known to man. As fossil fuel reserves are running out, its significance as a construction material is once again steadily increasing. What's more, the atmosphere created by this renewable raw material is natural yet comfortable and therefore fully in keeping with the times.

State-of-the-art processing technology for timber construction significantly extends the scope of applications of this natural material. Wood is used in the form of glulam trusses as the load-bearing element in roof structures of residential buildings and also very large spaces, industrial production halls for example.

Glulam trusses, also referred to as arched trusses, are so-called glue-laminated timbers. These beams are produced by gluing together at least three layers of timber whose fibres run in the same direction and are primarily used in timber engineering. They have a very high load-bearing capability and also have a high aesthetic appeal.

Glulam trusses span enormous distances

 The first glue-laminated timber structures were produced as early as in the 19th century. With glue-laminated timber, technically dried timber boards are joined together using finger joints to produce long slats which are then glued firmly together in layers. These components can be manufactured in more or less any shape, size or form.

The low net weight of glulam trusses makes them particularly suitable for spanning large distances. Beams can be adapted to roof pitches by varying their height, or by introducing a simple curvature. Straight glulam trusses are used in many construction projects; as rafters, for example, or roof girders with 50 metre spans. Curved supporting structures can span distances of more than 150 metres without intermediate support.

Optimisation of manufacturing processes in the wood processing industry using laser projectors
 These dimensions and reliable material properties can only be achieved through extremely precise workmanship of the glulam truss material and strict adherence to the specified tolerances. Any errors or inaccuracies could have fatal consequences.

"Of course trained personnel can obtain fairly good results using guide rails, chipboard templates, by creating elevations with measuring tape and plumb line, or by using precision gauges", concedes Martin Hegemann, person responsible at LAP for sales and distribution in the timber industry. "But this is extremely time and labour intensive. The limitations of conventional processing methods soon become apparent when it comes to manufacturing curved profiles." The timber processing industry is therefore increasingly coming to rely on LAP laser technology to optimise manufacturing processes and carry out post-manufacturing quality controls.

The extremely precise and focussable LAP line lasers support the entire manufacturing process throughout a wide range of applications. The projector projects outlines and complex contours on work surfaces and workpieces. The necessary projection data is obtained by the WOOD Pro System,e.g. from a CAD program.

LAP laser projectors are used in all situations where precise construction data is indispensable: when prefabricating timber load-bearing structures or connecting elements, and also in furniture and construction element manufacturing, or at CNC stationary machines. LAP laser sensors measure the thicknesses of particle boards and MDF boards once they have passed through the sanding line or check the parameters downstream of the planing facility when manufacturing glue-laminated timber slats.

Error-free and with millimetre precision
 Fully-automatic machine facilities have been used in the wood processing industry to manufacture traditional and also innovative structures for a number of years now. Optimised cutting specifications are provided by camera systems at a screen in sawmill machines for example, or workpieces such as glulam trusses, are post-processed on gigantic CNC machines. Well known manufacturers such as Derix and Poppensieker already use LAP laser technology to increase the efficiency of their production processes.

The entire work process is supported by LAP servolasers and/or LAP projectors. The operator therefore works with visual displays and can simply move an existing contour. This eliminates material errors or defects. This means that material which up till now could not be used for glulam trusses can now be put to good use in the manufacturing of premium quality products. Crane operators can perfectly position large-format components on the facilities. The system can determine the new position of components using various interfaces developed by LAP and also software features at the processing machine.

Glue-laminated timber is thus manufactured as high-tech material to an extremely high degree of precision which means that, with the support of LAP laser systems, load-bearing structures of virtually any shape and size can be built.

Implementing extraordinary solutions professionally and reliably
  "The demand for load-bearing structures that come in different shapes and forms and allow unusual architectural ideas to be put into practise will increase in future. They are very eyecatching and demonstrate what you can really do with this material 'wood' when you really put your mind to it", comments Hegemann. Timber structures are also increasingly being used in earthquake-prone areas. "LAP laser projectors increase precision and also save time and therefore money. They allow constructional concepts and parameters to be put into practise professionally and reliably."

LAP is is a member of the Studiengemeinschaft Holzleimbau e.V. Elfriede-Stremmel-Straße 69 D-42369 Wuppertal Tel.: +49 (0)202 / 9783581 Fax: +49 (0)202 / 9783579

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