In Sweden, Taigatech AB, a university start-up company has developed a unique recognition technology that, in a cost-effective and time-efficient way, can recognize a log with the help of artificial intelligence (AI). For sawmills, this means that it is possible to increase recovery rates per sawn log.
Taigatech has developed a recognition technology that works much like Face-ID on an iPhone, but for logs. By scanning the log end surface, the specific log can be recognized among thousands of others.
The technique can be likened to tracing a fingerprint but in this case, you can get information about where the tree originates from, its length, diameter, internal structure, and anomalies such as knots and pitch pockets.
X-raying logs in sawmills to assess the quality of the log prior to positioning and determining the saw pattern is nothing new. However, conventional X-ray technology is comparatively expensive, and is why Taigatech’s software is seen as a very interesting low-cost alternative for sawmills.
Approximately 85 million cubic meters of forest is harvested in Sweden every year. By using our software, sawmills can expect a four to ten percent increase in raw material utilization, said John Randelin, Co-Founder of Taigatech.
John Randelin and his fellow student Antonio Butkovic have a keen interest in the forest industry and AI but it was when Antonio did his bachelor’s thesis at wood processing major Moelven Industrier in 2020 that the idea for Taigatech emerged.
Moelven also proved to be very positive towards the concept, which gave them the confidence to invest in the company.
The Taigatech team consists of Antonio Butkovic, John Randelin, Christoffer Johnsson, Erik Dahl, and Arvid Viktorsson, from both Karlstad University and Chalmers University of Technology (Chalmers), and Fredrik Kahl (missing), Professor of mathematics and leader of the research group in computer vision at Chalmers.
The students run the company alongside their studies, but the dream is to commit full-time. A dream that does not seem completely unthinkable. Being first with this technology in the world, they have already generated interest among sawmills internationally, including Australia.
In ten years’ time, I hope that our technology is implemented globally at sawmills. Not being able to track logs is a major problem that lacks a cost-effective solution today. There are X-ray companies that sell solutions, but no one has demonstrated the same product as we have, said John Randelin.
Taigatech has joined Paper Province, a world-leading business cluster within the forest bioeconomy based in Karlstad, Sweden. They see the membership in Paper Province as a step in the right direction to reach out with their innovation.
It would be valuable to have a meeting with other sawmills to get ideas and views on how we can further improve our solution. We also want to make contacts, get advice and understand other uses for our product than just sawmills. Getting traceability throughout the value chain is also desirable, ended John Randelin.