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Case study: Wespine takes Matthews Swedot 3400 on board

Supplier: Matthews Australasia By: Matthews Intelligent Identification
26 May, 2010

Leading Australian softwood sawmiller, Wespine, relies on the Matthews Swedot 3400 Drop on Demand inkjet printer to meet the high-speed printing needs of its busy timber plant.

Key facts:

  • High-speed capability allows for greater output.
  • Printer can be integrated with business database.
  • Low maintenance eliminates downtime.
  • Large central ink reservoir services multiple printers.
  • Designed to suit industrial environment.

Wespine, which has a processing capacity of 450,000 cubic metres of premium quality plantation grown sawlogs a year, needed a printer that could keep up with its high-speed production line - 90 boards a minute to be exact! 

The West Australian timber mill installed 4 of the Matthews 3400 units to print alphanumeric and geometric technical specifications on various grades and lengths of timber, which move along the production line in random order. The printers are linked to Wespine's grading system so that they can identify the specifications for each board coming down the line and adjust the printed message.

Wespine's technical development manager, James Szabadics, says, "We may get a number of different products coming along the line, so that was one of the challenges of the printing job. We had to be able to print down to a 70mm width board, and those boards are moving past at a rate of 90 lugs a minute. The time available to print the message was pretty small on a narrow board shooting past at that rate, so that drove us towards the 3400. Other high-resolution solutions seem to want to go a bit slower."

The 3400 prints a low-resolution message, which is sufficient to meet Wespine's requirements Szabadics says.

"The message varies depending on the product. It is based on the timber's grade, and we have a number of grades - for example MGP10, MGP12, MGP15, non-structural boards and a couple of proprietary products," he says.

Wespine looked at a number of printers from various companies before deciding to install 4 of the 3400 units from Matthews to upgrade its line just over 4 years ago. The units are still working reliably and producing good print quality in the timber mill's rugged environment.

"The things we liked about the Matthews' units were, first of all, they could meet our speed requirement - that was great - plus their tolerance, which is how close we have to get the print-head to the surface of what we’re printing on," Szabadics says.

"Our print-heads are on a series of skids that we've designed in-house. We have a leading skid and a trailing skid. The print-head is on the trailing skid so we take the shock out of the print-head because it doesn't wear the initial bump. The leading skid takes the shock."

Szabadics says Wespine is also rapt with the low maintenance requirements of the 3400 Matthews Swedot.

Originally published on the Matthews blog