X-Ray Scanning Helps Make Better Lumber

This post is part of a series that explores how technology drives the U.S. softwood lumber industry.

Lumber mills are continuously planning for the future and investing in new technology that will increase the quality of softwood lumber used in homes all across the United States and the globe.

X-ray scanning, which is like a CT scan for a log, is an emerging technology that will help drive innovation. While not all mills utilize it yet, it’s something that mill owners see real value in integrating into operations to produce better logs more efficiently.

Small imperfections in lumber—such as knots hidden inside lumber—can lower the quality of logs. X-ray scans allow for mills to automatically reposition logs and lasers to avoid these knots and produce higher grade lumber.

“Right now, we look at the log with lasers to see the external geometric properties of it. We can see everything about the log except for what’s on the inside. But if we knew what was on the inside, we could position a log differently and actually get more value out of the log,” says Jason Brochu, Co-President of Pleasant River Lumber Company in Maine.

X-ray scanning is just one example of the softwood lumber industry’s future-oriented outlook fueled partly by a fair-trade environment. A level playing field gives American mills the confidence to invest in technological developments that keep the industry competitive in a global market. To learn more about how fair trade keeps the industry fair and competitive, visit here.