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    Rough sawn, kiln-dried lumber contains characteristics such as knots and bark pockets that are considered by most people to be defects. When using boards to produce furniture components, these defects are removed to produce clear, defect-free parts. Currently, human operators identify and locate the unusable board areas containing defects. Errors in determining a defect and its location, known as operator error, lead to lower lumber yield and increased product cost. Technology exists that would alleviate these problems and is a viable option to avoid wasting lumber because of human error. This study was performed in a rough mill collecting data on the errors made by humans when marking defects. Computer-based simulation tools were used to assess the significance of these errors. It was found that three-quarters of the decisions made by human operators are erroneous in some way resulting in an absolute yield loss of approximately16.1 %. Thus, automated defect detection systems that perform more accurately than do humans could have a payback period of 1 year or less.

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    Buehlmann, Urs; Thomas, R. Edward. 2002. Impact of human error on lumber yield in rough mills. Robotics and computer integrated manufacturing. 18: 197-203.


    human error, material loss, lumber yield, wood processing

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