"The P2 Patchman – A Next Generation of Patching Technology"
"Patchman got an upgrade – have you heard of P2?"
In the face of an increased demand on good quality surface veneer, Raute introduces 2ndgeneration patching solution with the newest technology advancements.
Patching is the process of removing defects from the veneer raw material, increasing the amount of valuable surface veneer. This is a practical solution to the current situation, where there has been a growing demand of panels, but a decrease on the large-diameter logs available.
What has changed?
"Our goal was to develop an automated patching line. We wanted a line suitable for a variety of wood species, patch shapes and veneer thicknesses. Also, we wanted to improve the raw material utilization ratio and work output, making patching more cost-efficient", describes Erkki Kauranen, Patching Technology Manager from Raute's Mecano business unit. "A fully automated patching line can make about 3,000 patches/h/patching level", adds Hanna Lankinen, Product Manager of Veneer Patching from Raute.
How has P2 been welcomed?
"Exceptionally well. We have been amazed how quickly the word about P2 spread", says Kauranen." As of now, four RauteSmart patching lines have been sold; three birch veneer lines to Russia and one pine veneer line to Chile. These lines are fully automated and can be operated by just one person. The Chilean line will also be equipped with a by-pass conveyor and a hot melt gluing system, ensuring patch retention on thin veneer, or if the patch needs to be of a certain shape.
Galina Shamanina, the Chief Technologist at the UIFK mill in Russia, has been delighted about Raute's second generation Patchman, "the P2 has optimized the total output of our production process", Shamamina describes. "We have been especially satisfied about the possibility to patch large knot defects (up to 1.57 inches), and of the chance to make many patches, also double patches, for the veneer sheets. All and all, the P2 produces stable quality, which we like", Shamanina adds.
With P2, effort was put on improving the dies' durability. Its cutting tools are made from solid tool steel and automatically calibrated after sharpening. Each die has a 5 mm (0.197 in) room for sharpening. As one sharpening takes 0.1 mm (0.00394 in) of space, and you need only one sharpening per year, the lifespan of a die has been greatly improved.
Why is P2 an excellent addition to the North American markets?
"The shop floors are getting smaller and smaller as the price of energy, along with operating costs, has increased", explains Kauranen. "With the P2 Patchman, effort was put on developing the line's modular structure. We are proud that P2 is easily adaptable to almost all circumstances and locations", continues Kauranen. "Installing the line takes only about a month. This is quite rare for a new product, as many of the modernization projects require more time".
Energy efficiency and environmental sustainability have been some of the biggest trends on forestry business lately. The P2 Patchman answers this call by using less electricity than before. "The previous Patchman had more suction fans, causing noise problems and large electrical load. The 2ndgeneration Patchman is much more energy efficient," concludes Kauranen.
With several lines installed and more in negotiation to Russia and Poland, it is clear that the hype around the P2 will carry on.