Stiles Machinery, offers complete-system, best-in-class machinery solutions for the primary manufacture and secondary fabrication of Mass Timber Structural Elements. This includes infeed and outfeed material handling; lumber grading, scanning, finger-jointing; high-speed pressing and CNC fabrication; and planing, sanding, and coatings. Backed by the nation’s largest team of 24/7 service and support specialists, an extensive inventory of ready-to-ship parts, and the industry’s only nationally accredited workforce training program.
What is Mass Timber?
Mass timber consists of several engineered wood products having large dimensions – Glued-Laminated Timber (GLT), Cross-Laminated Timber (CLT), Nail-Laminated Timber (NLT), Dowel-Laminated Timber (DLT), and some types of Structural Composite Lumber (SCL). The large dimensions in thickness and width result in these products having a fire-resistance rating, which makes them suitable for use in Type IV Building Construction (section 602.4 International Building Code) and offers a low-carbon alternative in commercial building construction.
GLT is a structural product made from laminated layers of lumber that are all oriented in the same longitudinal direction. The lumber can be all the same grade for use in axial loading (columns and truss members), or they can be arranged with high-grade lumber on the outer layers and lower-grade lumber in the core layers for flexural loading (beams). Depending on end use, the number of lumber grades utilized in a glulam combination can range from 1 to 5 different grades.
CLT is a structural panel product made by laminating layers of lumber in alternating orientations - longitudinal and transverse to the panel length. The number of layers can range from 3 to 9 in total. CLT can be made with a single grade of lumber. However, most common configurations utilize a higher lumber grade in the longitudinal layers, and a lower lumber grade in the transverse layers. The use of Laminated Veneer Lumber (LVL) in the laminating layers is also allowed in the standards.
Mass Timber Manufacturing
Stiles Machinery can help you with selecting the best-in-class machinery solutions that will allow you to produce mass timber products quickly, efficiently, and with minimal manual labor.
Lumber Scanning, Grading, and Defecting
- Physical measurements such as bow, crook, and twist are measured to determine if a board needs to be processed before entering the machining process.
- Moisture content is measured to ensure the lumber is at the correct levels for proper adhesive curing. The defect location of every board is noted, and automated systems further down the production line can process out sections of the board.
- Our automated lumber scanning, grading, and defecting solutions can operate at production speeds of 500 feet per minute. This is a quantum leap in production and accuracy compared to a human conducting visual grading at approximately 10 boards per minute.
- These systems handle laminating lumber of all lengths, widths, and thicknesses - from tilt-hoist to vacuum-lift systems. This handling system improves the throughput production of Mass Timber facilities.
- Once the wood is prepared and cut, our finger-jointing machinery solutions glue them together. Finger jointing involves receiving the graded bundles of lumber, in the correct percentages for the laminated layups, and precision machining the finger-joint profile.
- Adhesives are applied to the finger profile with our automated adhesive spread systems, that assure exact mixtures and consistent spread rates. The finger-jointed boards are then run through an in-line system that presses them end-to-end, then cured using radio-frequency waves.
- Handled in our conveyor and storage systems and fed into the presses in the correct quantities to assemble the layups for the GLT and/or the CLT.
- GLT is typically made with a percentage of high-grade lumber on the outer top and bottom laminations, and lower-grade lumber in the core laminations. CLT is typically made with higher-grade lumber in the longitudinal layers, and lower-grade lumber in the transverse layers.
- Adhesives are applied to the wide face of the laminations with our automated adhesive spread systems, that assure exact mixtures and consistent spread rates.
- GLT and CLT involve taking the long laminations, that have had adhesive applied to their wide faces, and pressing them in a chamber for the adhesive to cure. A critical feature of our pressing solutions is radio-frequency curing.
- Depending on size, the radio frequency chamber in our GLT and CLT presses can cure the 20-ft section in approximately 2 to 6 minutes. For manufacturers interested in flexibility, we also offer a Combi-Press that can be used for GLT and CLT using the same equipment.
Planing and Sanding
- For Architectural or Premium Grade GLT and CLT production, planning and sanding is a critical step in the process. After the glue is cured and dried, they’re stored and ready for the planer machine, which cuts it into flat, even thickness, ready to be shaped.
- GLT planers can plane all 4 sides of beams in one pass, and knives can be used to make an eased edge during this single-pass planing process.
- Industrial sanders provide a large increase in production compared to manual sanding. The GLT and CLT sanding solutions provided by Stiles also process the material in one pass.
- One of the most impactful elements in Mass Timber Construction is CNC Machining. The precision that CNC brings to the details needed for receiving steel connection has allowed Mass Timber manufacturers to produce the structural elements for multi-story Mass Timber Buildings.
Coating and Sealing
- Cross-laminated timber and glulam beams are often left exposed, to protect these innovative structural materials from environmental elements and preserve their structural integrity, appropriate coating and sealing systems are essential.
- By using high-quality coating and sealing techniques, the mass timber industry ensures that these eco-friendly materials can be utilized in a wide range of construction applications, offering a sustainable alternative to traditional building methods.
Automation and Equipment Training
Once we have a designed process with all your equipment and software chosen, Stiles can make sure everything gets installed and set up correctly and that your team knows how to work with the new automation equipment and processes. Stiles offers courses and custom training for you and your team to help you implement these new processes. We’re here to help!
Whether you’re a small shop or a large production manufacturer, you have made significant investments in your success, and Stiles is here to support you every step of the way.
Do you want to produce more efficiently? Processes and flows are key. We optimize these together with you, re-organize them and make sure that you reduce your lead time and save costs. This enables you to implement customized manufacturing and achieve your business goals.
Industrialized construction is evolving. Automation, robotics and advanced technology are raising the level of productivity, efficiency and precision for builders in North America.
Project management services from Stiles make it easy to streamline your entire project - from concept and consultation to integration and implementation.