The world’s biggest woodworking exhibition, Ligna, held its 2015 edition as always in the expansive halls of the Hanover exhibition centre in Germany, last May.

"That exhibition made it clear how rapidly the production technology for wood based panels had developed since the previous Ligna show in 2013," said Hauke Kleinschmidt, general manager at EWS and son of its founder, Hans-Peter Kleinschmidt.

"The technology employed in quality measuring systems for panel production lines is an important part of that continuous and ambitious development," he added. "Of course new technical solutions become a natural part of the daily development of any enterprise, as a result of the ‘learning curve’ which exists within every company. However, these product improvements are not always enough to match the forward leaps in innovation in panel production technology."

A further driving force for new technical developments is the objective of always positively differentiating an enterprise from its competitors.

Electronic Wood Systems says it has two competitors which it takes seriously in the global market.

"No company in competition with others can afford to be so naive as to see itself being in a constantly leading role in all areas of its enterprise," said Matthias Fuchs, also a general manager at EWS. "To assert itself against the hardest competition, it must also ensure that its performance level is similar to that of its competitors. Over and over again, special effort is required to develop strong advantages, if only for a limited time."

Electronic Wood Systems has introduced several improvements to, as well as new developments in, its product range.

The company says that one exciting development is the travelling Area/Weight System, MASS-SCAN X MultiEnergy, in which the x-ray energy is automatically adapted to suit the panel thickness/area weight being produced. The higher accuracy thus achieved especially improves the production of thin panels, says EWS.

Moreover, it says, this MultiEnergy model opens up a new possibility for use within continuous particleboard production lines.

Up to now, travelling Area Weight Systems were mainly used in the production of MDF, but now the technology of adjustable x-ray energy can also, for the first time, be used to supervise the forming of particleboard, says Mr Kleinschmidt.

"What is new here is the fact that the forming of both surface layers, and the core layer, can be measured selectively. In the first instance, the first surface material will be scanned using low x-ray energy. After this, a second travelling Area Weight System additionally scans the core material – in fact with increased x-ray energy – whereupon the measuring values of the first scan can be deducted.

"Finally, the material in all three layers will be measured by a third area-weight system to evaluate the last surface layer by deducting the first and second scan."

Mr Fuchs added: "All three measuring systems are synchronised and travel across the full width of production. With this new measuring procedure, for the first time, an optimum selective setting for all three layers of a particleboard former is possible".

The EWS thickness gauge THICK-SCAN has also been adapted – on account of the much faster conveying speed in the continuous production of thin panels – by several significant improvements. The company says that today’s thickness gauge has a resolution of 0.01mm [0.0004"].

"To understand how exact this is, one should remember that the average diameter of a human hair amounts to 0.07mm," said Mr Kleinschmidt. "The technical developments include an improvement to the linear transducers, a decrease in the mechanical tolerance and a compensation for the material expansion of the frame and mechanical parts by temperature measurement in all measuring heads."

The company says that, in addition to this, superior software takes into account the smallest influence caused by the individual type of panel and by the various conveying speeds.

Moving on to another of EWS’ well-known products, an improvement to the blow detection system CONTI-SOUND – which works with ultrasonic technology – is, says EWS, spectacular. It can be equipped with an air jet device called the ‘Airknife’, which eliminates the air turbulence caused by the conveying of the panels. This improves the early warning function before a blow occurs. Changes to the panel properties can thus be recognised even better and be explained in a sound picture, says the company.

Electronic Wood Systems says it has introduced to the market, with some success, its continuous non-contact weighing scale CONTI-SCALE X, based on x-ray technology.

This new development, says EWS, has proved itself by various applications in particleboard, MDF and OSB production. It precisely determines not only the panel’s weight, but also its weight distribution.

After the newly-developed spark extinguishing system, ALF 8000, is approved by Factory Mutual, the marketing and sales activities of these systems will be strengthened in 2016, says the company.

Electronic Wood Systems is looking for cooperative partners, such as manufacturers of dust filters, exhaust systems and dryers and also for additional representation – and for distributors in all countries – for this product.

In the future, EWS says it will become even more deeply engaged with the production process and the technology of wood based panels. This, it says, requires close collaboration with the panel manufacturing plants and with the manufacturers of complete production lines.

"Industry 4.0 is no clear objective," said the founder of EWS, Hans-Peter Kleinschmidt. "Had it been given this name before, we could have already claimed it for our technical solutions since the day our company was founded. Adaptable product developments in measuring systems should be part of the development of the wood panel factory of tomorrow; a factory with further progressive automation.

According to the company’s philosophy, and apart from the newest technical possibilities of product development, the management of Electronic Wood Systems says it also considers worldwide social and environmental trends.

For example, the new EWS factory is built of wood and is very energy-efficient, with triple glazing, insulation, led lighting, a network of inhouse technology and wood pellet heating to use almost zero energy.

"When we choose a new employee, we are not only looking at their technical knowledge. Overall abilities have a stronger relevance. It is of great importance to be able to listen carefully to the customers, to be capable of team work and to offer the best possible service, both internally and to the customers," said Mr Kleinschmidt senior.

Electronic Wood Systems will celebrate its 20th anniversary in September this year and the company says that through its successful development, difficult times had to be overcome which were not necessarily a disadvantage. It says that these times were defining moments for the company and have strengthened it at the same time