Integrating digital technology into your existing plant

Photo of Jonathan Loubier
Written by

Jonathan Loubier


6 June 2023

station EFFECTO en usine chez Preverco

How to integrate digital technology solutions without throwing a monkey wrench into your machinery? 

Software that knows how to handle your hardware

All wood-processing operations have one thing in common. Their robust machinery is here to stay. Unfortunately, when you want to collect and process the data inside those machines, you first have to overcome three major problems:

  • Even if the machinery is old, it represents a significant investment, and there’s no way it’s going to be changed just to put new technology in.
  • Because there are different brands of machinery using different technologies, the data that can be collected is not in a standard format for easy cross-referencing.
  • The machines are not actually connected to each other so they don’t talk to each other.

To make matters even worse, the machines are completely detached from your inventory. The upshot of all this is that it’s virtually impossible to get an overall snapshot of the situation in the plant because any attempt at data collection is 100% manual, massively time and energy consuming, and highly unreliable.

Fortunately, the EFFECTO Suite of products is designed to seamlessly link all the disparate elements together so that they can communicate with each other in the same language and on the same platform.

Creating a link between machines

EFFECTO connects to each machine individually, then generates a common database to collect the right information, cross-reference it, and add value.

We simply call up the information and display it to operators on a control screen so that they can monitor their current production and performance. At a higher level, we correlate a number of production steps so supervisors can get information on their entire department.

We can also make sure that the operator doesn’t have to do anything at all. As an example, we can install a smart trash bin on the user’s premises where each batch is fitted with an RFID identification tag (optional) so it can be traced through all stages of processing. At the machine’s intake point, the operator puts the tag in the smart trash bin equipped with an RFID reader. This will automatically remove the batch’s raw material from inventory and associate it with the production, for an accurate, real-time yield report. The operator will get an alert in case of any error or discrepancy.

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EFFECTO is well acquainted with Logitex, Comact, Autolog, Kallfass, Prologic+ … and our technologies are compatible with all their machinery.

The key to success is close collaboration with OEMs

The key to success in the integration process depends on close collaboration with the original equipment manufacturers. We need OEMs to gain access to a database, a file system, or a PLC (Programmable Logic Controller).

Users need to make an official request so we can deal directly with their OEMs. In 95% of cases, OEMs simply create an account to give us access. And once in a while, they have to do a little development work on their own. Depending on the data the user needs, and especially if the data is not stored, the OEM will have to make some changes. When this happens, we contact the OEM and manage the technical points directly, so that users don’t have to worry about any technical constraints.

Pour notre client la scierie Dubot, on optimise la planification de la production en regroupant les commandes.

Adapting to the specific needs of each operation

Whenever necessary, we can develop innovative solutions adapted to pretty much any user’s machinery, like we did for Preverco’s hardwood sawmill for producing top-of-the-line parquet flooring. We worked closely with them on a development project for automating traceability. First we designed temporary RFID compartments on the edger that automatically managed the inventory of manufactured products. We also connected RFID-enabled portals between the plant’s warehouses to manage the transfer of batches into inventory each time a portal is passed. And we installed RFID trash bins at machine entry points to manage the consumption of raw materials associated with each batch.

A partner you can trust

When selecting a supplier for installing technology, it’s important to consider all the factors, not just the financial ones. What you really need is a partner you can trust to stand by your side over the long term, to grow, and to adapt with your business.

EFFECTO has been successfully installing its technology solutions for close to 20 years. Our team has the in-depth experience working in the field, looking after user needs, and dealing with their data. We don’t just install software, we’re there on location ensuring that operators, forklift drivers, and administrative staff know how to make the most of it, helping them become more efficient, and putting them in control.


About the author: Analyst programmer Jonathan Loubier has been with EFFECTO since day one. He knows our applications inside out, as well as the specific needs of all our users.

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