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Title:
VENEER LATHE AND METHOD OF PRODUCING VENEER
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2020/240078
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
The veneer lathe (1) comprises rotatable spindles (3) for engaging the ends of a block (2), a centering device (4) for measuring dimensions of the block (2) for determining optimal centering of the block (2), the centering device (4) comprising centering spindles (5a, 5b) for engaging each end of the block (2), transfer arms (6a, 6b) moveable in the axial direction of the spindles (3) for engaging the ends of the block (2) and in a direction that is perpendicular to the axial direction for transferring the block (2) from the centering device (4) to a peeling position, a knife assembly (35) comprising a knife (7a) and a nose bar (7b), which is in the form of a rotatable roll, and a support device (8) comprising a lower roll (8) and an upper roll (8b) at a distance from the lower roll (8a) for supporting the block (2) during peeling.

Inventors:
VESTERINEN MIKKO (FI)
AUVINEN JUSSI (FI)
LYYTIKÄINEN ILPO (FI)
NIETOSVUORI TIMO (FI)
PENNANEN ANTTI (FI)
POIKELA MATTI (FI)
VARTIAINEN SEPPO (FI)
Application Number:
FI2020/050319
Publication Date:
December 03, 2020
Filing Date:
May 13, 2020
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
RAUTE OYJ (FI)
International Classes:
B27L5/00; B27L5/02
Foreign References:
US20120199247A12012-08-09
US4454900A1984-06-19
CA1157748A1983-11-29
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
BERGGREN OY (FI)
Download PDF:
Claims:
Claims

1. A veneer lathe (1 ) for producing veneer from blocks (2) by peeling, the veneer lathe (1 ) being configured for both spindle peeling and spindleless peel ing, wherein the veneer lathe (1 ) comprises

- a first set of spindles comprising at least one spindle (3) that is moveable in the axial direction of the spindle (3) for engaging a first end of a block (2) and a second set of spindles comprising at least one spindle (3) that is moveable in the axial direction of the spindle (3) for engaging a second end of the block (2), the spindles (3) being rotatable and configured to hold the block (2) in a peeling position in spindle peeling and to transmit to the block (2) torque needed for rotating the block (2),

- a centering device (4), which is configured to measure dimensions of the block (2) for determining optimal centering of the block (2) between the first set of spindles and the second set of spindles in spindle peeling, the centering device (4) comprising a first centering spindle (5a) that is move- able in its axial direction for engaging the first end of the block (2) and a second centering spindle (5b) that is moveable in its axial direction for engaging the second end of the block (2),

- a first transfer arm (6a) that is moveable in the axial direction of the spin- dies (3) for engaging the first end of the block (2) and a second transfer arm (6b) that is moveable in the axial direction of the spindles (3) for en gaging the second end of the block (2), the transfer arms (6a, 6b) being further configured to be moveable in a direction that is perpendicular to the axial direction of the spindles (3) for transferring the block (2) from the centering device (4) to the peeling position for spindle peeling,

- a knife assembly (35) that is moveable in a direction that is perpendicular to the axial direction of the spindles (3) and comprises a knife (7a) for cutting the veneer and a nose bar (7b), which is in the form of a rotatable roll, and

- a support device (8) comprising a rotatable lower roll (8) and a rotatable upper roll (8b), which is arranged at a distance from the lower roll in a radial direction of the lower roll (8a), the rolls (8a, 8b) being configured to support the block (2) during peeling.

2. A veneer lathe (1 ) according to claim 1 , wherein the first centering spindle (5a) and the second centering spindle (5b) are movable independently from each other in a first direction that is perpendicular to the axial direction of the centering spindles (5a, 5b) and in a second direction that is perpendicular to the axial direction of the centering spindles (5a, 5b) and to the first direction for al lowing centering of the block (2) before transferring the block (2) to the peeling position for spindle peeling.

3. A veneer lathe (1 ) according to claim 1 or 2, wherein the first transfer arm (6a) and the second transfer arm (6b) are configured to move linearly for trans ferring the block (2) from the centering spindles (5a, 5b) of centering device (4) to the peeling position.

4. A veneer lathe (1 ) according to claim 3, wherein the moving direction of the transfer arms (6a, 6b) is inclined 10-20 degrees from the vertical direction to wards the centering device (4).

5. A veneer lathe (1 ) according to any of the preceding claims, wherein the support device (8) is configured to be moveable linearly in a direction that is at an angle of 3-7 degrees relative to the horizontal direction so that the support device (8) descents as it moves towards the spindles (3).

6. A veneer lathe (1 ) according to any of the preceding claims, wherein the distance between the lower roll (8a) and the upper roll (8b) of the support device (8) is fixed and the rolls (8a, 8b) form an assembly that is configured to be rotat able about the rotation axis (24) of the upper roll (8b).

7. A veneer lathe (1 ) according to any of the preceding claims, wherein the lathe (1 ) comprises an electrically driven linear actuator (31 ) for moving each spindle (3) in the axial direction of the spindle (3).

8. A veneer lathe (1 ) according to any of the preceding claims, wherein the lathe (1 ) comprises an electrically driven linear actuator (34) for moving each centering spindle (5a, 5b) in the axial direction of the centering spindle (5a, 5b).

9. A veneer lathe (1 ) according to any of the preceding claims, wherein the lathe (1 ) comprises one or more electric motors that are configured to drive the nose bar (7b) and the rolls (8a, 8b) of the support device (8).

10. A veneer lathe (1 ) according to any of the preceding claims, wherein the support device (8) is provided with a feeder (20) that is configured to transfer blocks (2) to spindleless peeling without the use of the centering device (4) and the transfer arms (6a, 6b).

1 1 . A veneer lathe (1 ) according to claim 10, wherein the feeder (20) comprises a rotatable feeder arm (21 ) and an actuating device (22) configured to actuate the feeder arm (21 ).

12. A method of producing veneer from a block (2) by means of a veneer lathe

(1 ) according to any of the preceding claims, the method comprising the steps of

- bringing a block (2) to the lathe (1 ),

- rotating the block (2) in the lathe (1 ), and

- peeling veneer from the block (2) by means of the knife (7a).

13. A method according to claim 12, wherein the method comprises the steps of

- determining dimensions of the block (2) by means of the centering device

(4),

- based on the dimensions of the block (2), centering the block (2) into an optimal orientation, and

- transferring the block (2) by means of the transfer arms (6a, 6b) to a peel ing position between the spindles (3).

14. A method according to claim 12 or 13, wherein the method comprises the steps of

- rotating the block (2) by means of the spindles (3) and peeling the block

(2) until the block (2) reaches a first predetermined diameter,

- retracting the spindles (3) and continuing the peeling without the spindles

(3) until the block (2) reaches a second predetermined diameter.

15. A method according to any of claims 12-14, wherein the block (2) is posi tioned into an optimal orientation by means of the centering spindles (5a, 5b) of the centering device (4), and the block (2) is transferred into a peeling position by means of a linear movement of the transfer arms (6a, 6b).

16. A method according to claim 12, wherein the block (2) is brought into a peeling position for spindleless peeling without the use of the centering spindles (5a, 5b) and the transfer arms (6a, 6b).

17. A method according to any of claims 12-16, wherein an assembly com prising the lower roll (8a) and the upper roll (8b) is rotated about the rotation axis (24) of the upper roll (8b) during peeling.

18. A method according to any of claims 12-17, wherein the lower roll (8a) and the upper roll (8b) of the support device (8) and the nose bar (7b) are electrically driven during peeling.

Description:
Veneer lathe and method of producing veneer Technical field of the invention

The present invention relates to a veneer lathe in accordance with claim 1. The invention also concerns a method of producing veneer as defined in the other independent claim.

Background of the invention

Veneer can be produced from wood either by slicing by means of a veneer slicer or by peeling by means of a lathe. In peeling, a block, i.e. a relatively round log of wood is brought into the lathe, where it is rotated and a knife cuts veneer from the surface of the block. There are two basic types of peeling methods that are commonly used in the veneer production. In spindle peeling, each end of a block is engaged by means of a spindle. The spindles transmit to the block the torque needed for rotating the block and also keep the rotation center of the block sta- tionary. An additional torque may be produced by additional means via the outer perimeter of the block. In spindleless peeling, the block is rotated solely by means that are engaged with the outer perimeter of the block.

Before the actual peeling, the blocks are rounded. In spindle peeling, the block is typically engaged with the spindles before the rounding and the actual peeling starts after the rounding without moving the position of the block between the spindles. The rounding is done by means of a knife without contacting the block by a pressure bar or a roller nose bar. Also in spindleless peeling, it is possible to use the same knife for both the rounding and peeling, but this reduces the capacity of the lathe and therefore a separate rounding machine is often used for the rounding. The use of a separate rounding machine also saves the knife of the lathe from wear.

Summary of the invention

An object of the present invention is to provide an improved veneer lathe, which can be used for producing veneer from blocks by peeling and which allows both spindle peeling and spindleless peeling. The characterizing features of the lathe according to the invention are given in claim 1 . Another object of the invention is to provide an improved method of producing veneer from a block by peeling.

The veneer lathe according to the invention comprises a first set of spindles comprising at least one spindle that is moveable in the axial direction of the spindle for engaging a first end of a block and a second set of spindles compris ing at least one spindle that is moveable in the axial direction of the spindle for engaging a second end of the block, the spindles being rotatable and configured to hold the block in a peeling position in spindle peeling and to transmit to the block torque needed for rotating the block, a centering device, which is config ured to measure dimensions of the block for determining optimal centering of the block between the first set of spindles and the second set of spindles in spindle peeling, the centering device comprising a first centering spindle that is moveable in its axial direction for engaging the first end of the block and a sec ond centering spindle that is moveable in its axial direction for engaging the sec ond end of the block, a first transfer arm that is moveable in the axial direction of the spindles for engaging the first end of the block and a second transfer arm that is moveable in the axial direction of the spindles for engaging the second end of the block, the transfer arms being further configured to be moveable in a direction that is perpendicular to the axial direction of the spindles for transferring the block from the centering device to the peeling position for spindle peeling, a knife assembly that is moveable in a direction that is perpendicular to the axial direction of the spindles and comprises a knife for cutting the veneer and a nose bar, which is in the form of a rotatable roll, and a support device comprising a rotatable lower roll and a rotatable upper roll, which is arranged at a distance from the lower roll in a radial direction of the lower roll, the rolls being configured to support the block during peeling.

In the method according to the invention, veneer is produced from a block using a lathe defined above by bringing a block to the lathe, rotating the block in the lathe, and peeling veneer from the block by means of the knife.

The lathe according to the invention allows selection of the most suitable peeling method or a combination of the methods for each block. For instance, the peel ing can be started using the spindles and as the diameter of the block ap proaches the diameter of the spindles, a transition to spindleless peeling can be done. Because of the rotatable roll, i.e. a roller nose bar that is used as a nose bar, and the two supporting rolls, spindleless peeling and the transition from spindle peeling to spindleless peeling can be effectively controlled without a need to use spiked discs for providing driving torque and for positioning the block.

According to an embodiment of the invention, the first centering spindle and the second centering spindle are movable independently from each other in a first direction that is perpendicular to the axial direction of the centering spindles and in a second direction that is perpendicular to the axial direction of the centering spindles and to the first direction for allowing centering of the block before trans ferring the block to the peeling position for spindle peeling. This allows the block to be correctly positioned before it is gripped by the transfer arms. The block can thus be centered simultaneously as a previous block is being peeled. Also, the transfer arms can be configured to move synchronized along a fixed path, which allows a simple construction.

According to an embodiment of the invention, the first transfer arm and the sec ond transfer arm are configured to move linearly for transferring the block from the centering spindles of the centering device to the peeling position. This makes the construction of the moving mechanism of the transfer arms simple.

According to an embodiment of the invention, the moving direction of the transfer arms is inclined 10-20 degrees from the vertical direction towards the centering device. The transfer arms thus move from the peeling position upwards and to wards the centering spindles. Therefore, the centering spindles are required to move over a shorter distance from a position where the block is measured to a position where the block is gripped by means of the transfer arms. This shortens the time that is needed for starting the peeling of a block after the termination of the peeling of a previous block. On the other hand, because the moving direction is only slightly inclined relative to the vertical direction, the support device does not need to be moved backwards over a long distance. Also this allows a quick changing of the block to be peeled.

According to an embodiment of the invention, the support device is configured to be moveable linearly in a direction that is at an angle of 3-7 degrees relative to the horizontal direction so that the support device descents as it moves to wards the spindles. This provides good support for the block but does not make the construction of the lathe too high. Also, the distance from the rolls to the knife and the nose bar is maximized.

According to an embodiment of the invention, the distance between the lower roll and the upper roll of the support device is fixed and the rolls form an assem bly that is configured to be rotatable about the rotation axis of the upper roll. During peeling, the diameter of the block decreases spirally, and by rotating the roll assembly, this effect can be compensated and the rotation axis of the block can be kept stationary.

According to an embodiment of the invention, the lathe comprises an electrically driven linear actuator for moving each spindle in the axial direction of the spindle. With an electrically driven linear actuator, less space is needed in the axial di rection of the lathe compared to hydraulic actuation of the spindles. Also the control of the axial movement of the spindles and the energy efficiency are better than in conventional solutions with hydraulic cylinders. Because of the better control of the axial movement, shorter stroke is required when a block is re placed by a new block, and the changeover time is thus shortened compared to hydraulic solutions. Electrically driven linear actuators also allow longer stroke of the spindles, which allows greater variation in the length of the blocks.

According to an embodiment of the invention, the lathe comprises an electrically driven linear actuator for moving each centering spindle in the axial direction of the centering spindle. This allows similar benefits as in the case of the spindles used during peeling.

According to an embodiment of the invention, the lathe comprises one or more electric motors that are configured to drive the nose bar and the rolls of the sup port device.

According to an embodiment of the invention, the support device is provided with a feeder that is configured to transfer blocks to spindleless peeling without the use of the centering device and the transfer arms. By arranging the feeder in the support device, the feeder does not move in relation to the rolls of the support device and blocks can be fed by means of a simple construction into a peeling position between the rolls and the knife and the nose bar. The feeder allows rapid feeding of blocks to spindleless peeling. This feature can be used for feed ing small rounded blocks. According to an embodiment of the invention, the feeder comprises a rotatable feeder arm and an actuating device configured to actuate the feeder arm.

According to an embodiment of the invention, the method comprises the steps of determining dimensions of the block by means of the centering device, based on the dimensions of the block, centering the block into an optimal orientation, and transferring the block by means of the transfer arms to a peeling position between the spindles.

According to an embodiment of the invention, the method comprises the steps of rotating the block by means of the spindles and peeling the block until the block reaches a first predetermined diameter, retracting the spindles and con tinuing the peeling without the spindles until the block reaches a second prede termined diameter. The benefits of spindle peeling and spindleless peeling can thus be combined.

According to an embodiment of the invention, the block is positioned into an optimal orientation by means of the centering spindles of the centering device, and the block is transferred into a peeling position by means of a linear move ment of the transfer arms. The block is thus correctly oriented before being trans ferred to the spindles, which allows simple construction of the transfer mecha nism and quick changing of the block to be peeled.

According to an embodiment of the invention, the block is brought into a peeling position for spindleless peeling without the use of the centering spindles and the transfer arms. This allows faster feeding of small rounded logs.

According to an embodiment of the invention, an assembly comprising the lower roll and the upper roll is rotated about the rotation axis of the upper roll during peeling. During peeling, the diameter of the block decreases spirally, and by rotating the roll assembly, this effect can be compensated and the rotation axis of the block can be kept stationary.

According to an embodiment of the invention, the lower roll and the upper roll of the support device and the roller nose bar are electrically driven during peeling. Brief description of the drawings

Embodiments of the invention are described below in more detail with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which

Fig. 1 shows a side view of a lathe according to an embodiment of the invention, Fig. 2 shows a cross-sectional side view of the lathe of figure 1 ,

Fig. 3 shows a front view of the lathe of figure 1 ,

Fig. 4 shows a top view of the lathe of figure 1 ,

Fig. 5 shows a cross-sectional side view of the lathe of figure 1 with a block feeder and a linear loader, Fig. 6 shows a spindle of the lathe of figure 1 ,

Fig. 7 shows a knife assembly of the lathe of figure 1 ,

Fig. 8 shows a roller nose bar of the lathe of figure 1 ,

Fig. 9 shows a schematic view of a supporting device and part of the knife as sembly of the lathe of figure 1 , and Fig. 10 shows another view of the supporting device and the knife assembly of figure 9.

Description of embodiments of the invention

Figure 1 shows a side view of a veneer lathe 1 according to an embodiment of the invention. The veneer lathe 1 is configured to produce veneer from wood blocks by peeling. The term“block” refers here to a relatively round piece of wood, i.e. a log. The term“peeling” refers here to a method, where a block is rotated about a longitudinal center axis and as the block rotates, a sharp tool cuts wood veneer from the surface of the block. The veneer lathe 1 according to the invention can be used for both spindle peeling and spindleless peeling. The term“spindle peeling” refers here to a method, in which a block is rotated be tween a pair of spindles. Each end of the block is thus engaged by means of a spindle. At least part of the torque needed for rotating the block is transmitted to the block via one of the spindles or via both spindles. However, also some ad ditional means can be used for transmitting torque for rotating the block. The spindles also keep the rotation axis of the block stationary. The term“spindleless peeling” refers here to a method, where the ends of the block are not engaged by means of spindles. The ends of the block are thus free during the peeling. The torque needed for rotating the block is transmitted to the block via the outer perimeter of the block.

In spindle peeling, the block can be positioned in an optimal orientation for min imizing waste. The benefits of spindleless peeling include that the block can be peeled to a smaller diameter than in spindle peeling. Spindleless peeling also allows peeling of lower-quality blocks. A drawback is that usually a separate rounding step in a separate machine is needed for achieving a reasonable ca pacity.

Both above-mentioned peeling methods can be applied to a single block. Pref erably, the peeling is started with spindle peeling, and when the diameter of the block reaches a first predetermined value, the peeling is continued as spindle less peeling until the diameter of the block reaches a second predetermined value. If the initial diameter of the block is below the first predetermined value, the block can be peeled using spindleless peeling only. Spindleless peeling can be used also in other kinds of cases. A block could also be peeled in the lathe 1 using spindle peeling only, although in that case the terminal diameter of the block after the peeling is greater and more waste is produced, unless the re maining core is used for other purposes.

In both above-mentioned peeling methods, the block is rotated in the lathe 1 and a knife cuts veneer from the surface of the block. The diameter of the block thus decreases spirally, until only a small diameter core is left. The core is removed from the lathe 1 and a new block is brought into a peeling position. The lathe 1 is configured to peel one block at a time. However, one or more blocks can be prepared for peeling at the same time as one block is being peeled.

As a natural material, the size and the properties of the blocks vary. For instance, the blocks are not perfectly symmetrical. Therefore, the actual peeling is usually preceded by a rounding step. Before rounding, the blocks are debarked, but often some bark is left after the debarking. The rounding also removes any re maining bark from the block. The rounding is made before the peeling regardless of whether spindle peeling or spindleless peeling is used. However, in spindle peeling, the block is typically engaged with the spindles before the rounding and the actual peeling starts after the rounding without moving the position of the block between the spindles. The rounding is done by means of the same knife as the peeling but without a nose bar. Also in spindleless peeling, it would be possible to use the same knife for both the rounding and peeling, but because this reduces the capacity of the lathe, a separate rounding machine is typically used for the rounding. The lathe 1 can thus receive both blocks that have been rounded in a separate machine and blocks that will be rounded in the lathe 1 prior to peeling.

The lathe 1 has an axial direction, which refers here to the axial direction of the spindles that support the block during spindle peeling. In figure 1 , the axial di rection is perpendicular to the plane of the drawing. The blocks are fed into the lathe 1 using auxiliary devices that are not shown in figure 1 . In figure 1 , the feeding direction is from the left to the right.

As has been described above, in spindle peeling the block is positioned between a pair of spindles. One spindle is engaged with each end of the block. The spin dles position the block in its axial direction in the lathe 1 and hold the block stationary in the vertical and horizontal directions during peeling. Only rotational movement of the block is thus allowed. The spindles are movable in the axial direction of the lathe 1 . The spindles also transmit to the block torque needed for the peeling. However, additional torque may be transmitted via other means, such as a support device or a roller nose bar. The lathe 1 may be provided with more than one spindle at each end. Typically, double or triple spindles, i.e. two or three spindles with different diameters are provided at each end. The spindles are arranged coaxially. The lathe 1 can be provided, for example, with outer and inner spindles or with outer, middle and inner spindles. The inner spindles have the smallest diameter and the outer spindles have the greatest diameter. The diameter of the outer spindles can be, for example, in the range of 90-220 mm and the diameter of the inner spindles can be, for example, in the range of 45- 120 mm. The diameter of the outer spindles is preferably at least 50 percent greater than the diameter of the inner spindles. In the case of triple spindles, the diameter of the middle spindles is between the diameter of the inner spindles and the diameter of the outer spindles. At the beginning of the peeling, the torque can be transmitted by means of outer spindles, and as the diameter of the block approaches the diameter of the outer spindles, the outer spindles are retracted, and the torque is transmitted by means of smaller diameter spindles. This allows transmission of greater torque at the beginning of the peeling and continuing the spindle peeling down to a smaller block diameter. However, in some cases it is desirable to start spindle less peeling before the diameter of the block is close to the diameter of the inner spindles.

In the embodiment of the figures, the lathe 1 comprises a first set of spindles, which are configured to engage a first end of the block and a second set of spindles, which are configured to engage a second end of the block. Each set of spindles comprises a linearly moveable spindle 3. A spindle 3 can be seen for example in figures 2 and 5. As has been described above, each spindle 3 is configured the move linearly in the axial direction of the spindle 3. In the embod iment of the figures, the linear movement of the spindle 3 is implemented by means of an electrically driven linear actuator 31 , which can be best seen in figure 6. The actuator 31 comprises an electric motor, such as a servomotor 10, which is configured to drive a ball screw 1 1 , which is engaged with a nut 12. As the ball screw 1 1 is rotated by means of the motor 10, it moves the nut 12 and a bearing 13, which supports the spindle 3. The spindle 3 can thus be moved in its axial direction towards an end of a block for engaging the block. When the diameter of the block approaches the diameter of the spindle 3, the spindle 3 can be retracted by means of the motor 10.

Each spindle 3 is driven rotationally by a motor, which can be, for instance, an electric motor. The torque from the motor can be transmitted to the spindle 3 for example by means of a belt or chain.

The veneer is cut from a block by means of a knife 7a. The knife 7a is an elon gated plate extending in the axial direction of the spindles 3 and having a sharp edge for cutting the veneer. The knife 7a is arranged in a knife assembly 35. The knife assembly 35 is configured to move linearly. Parts of a knife assembly 35 according to an embodiment of the invention can be seen for example in figures 7, 9 and 10. In addition to the knife 7a, the knife assembly 35 comprises an end support 32 at each end of the knife assembly 35, a knife carriage body 16 and a nose bar 7b. The function of the nose bar 7b is to press the block 2 above the knife 7a for reducing variations of the thickness of the veneer and for reducing the number and depth of cracks on the inner surface of the veneer. In the lathe 1 according to the invention, the nose bar 7b is a rotating roll, and can be referred to as a roller nose bar. Non-rotating nose bars are often referred to as pressure bars. The moving direction of the knife assembly 35 is perpendicular to the axial direction of the spindles 3. In the embodiment of the figures, the moving direction of the knife assembly 35 is horizontal. The knife assembly 35 moves along guide rails 17. Each end support 32 of the knife assembly 35 is supported against a guide rail 17. The guide rails 17 or the end supports 32 of the knife assembly 35 can be provided with rolling elements. As the diameter of the block 2 decreases during peeling, the knife assembly 35 is moved forward to keep the knife 7a and the nose bar 7b in contact with the block 2. The lathe 1 is provided with electrically driven linear actuators 33 for moving the knife as sembly. In the embodiment of the figures, the actuator 33 comprises an electric motor 18 and a ball screw 19.

The knife 7a is attached to the knife carriage body 16, which is supported by the end supports 32 of the knife assembly 35. Each end of the knife carriage body 16 is supported by means of bearings against an end support 32. The knife car riage body 16 can be rotated about a rotation axis that is parallel to the axial direction of the spindles 3. This allows adjustment of the clearance angle of the knife 7a. The term“clearance angle”, which can also be referred to as a relief angle or pitch angle, refers to the angle between the flank of the knife 7a and the surface of the block 2 that is being peeled. The flank of the knife 7a is the surface facing the surface of the block 2. The knife carriage body 16 can be rotated by means of a hydraulic unit comprising a constant volume pump and an electric motor driving the pump. The rotation speed of the motor is adjusted by means of a frequency converter. The flow rate of the pump can thus be ad justed, which saves energy. By adjusting the clearance angle, the variations in the thickness of the veneer can be reduced and quality of the veneer can be controlled.

The nose bar 7b is attached to the knife carriage body 16. The nose bar 7b is a rotatable roll, i.e. a roller nose bar. The nose bar 7b is driven by means of an electric motor 28. A driven nose bar 7b helps achieving better control of the rotation speed and the position of the rotation axis of the block in spindleless peeling. The nose bar 7b can be moved relative to the knife 7a. The gap between the knife 7a and the nose bar 7b can thus be adjusted. The knife assembly 35 is provided with electrically driven actuators for moving the nose bar 7b. The actuators can comprise, for example, ball screws and electric motors. By adjust ing the gap between the knife 7a and the nose bar 7b, the thickness of the ve neer can be controlled.

During peeling, the block 2 is supported by means of a support device 8, which can be best seen in schematic figures 9 and 10. The support device 8 comprises a lower roll 8a and an upper roll 8b. The rolls 8a, 8b can be referred to as back up rolls. In the embodiment of the figures, both rolls 8a, 8b have the same diam eter. Both rolls 8a, 8b are rotatable. Both rolls 8a, 8b are also driven by a motor, such as an electric motor. Like the roller nose bar 7b, also the driven rolls 8a, 8b of the support device 8 facilitate good control of the rotation speed and cen tering of the block 2 in spindleless peeling. Because of the driven support rolls 8a, 8b and nose bar 7b, good control of the peeling process can be achieved without a need to use spiked discs for transmitting force to the block. A disad vantage of spiked discs is that they wear and therefore need to be replaced relatively often.

The distance between the lower roll 8a and the upper roll 8b of the support de vice 8 is fixed. In the horizontal direction, the upper roll 8b is closer to the rotation axis of the spindles 3 than the lower roll 8a. The support device 8 is arranged opposite to the knife assembly 35. The support device 8 is linearly moveable. As the diameter of the block 2 decreases during peeling, the support device 8 is moved to keep the rolls 8a, 8b in contact with the block 2. The support device 8 is moved linearly by means of one or more electrically driven linear actuators, which can comprise an electric motor and a ball screw. The support device 8 does not move along a horizontal path, but at a slight angle relative to the hori zontal direction. The angle can be, for instance, in the range of 3-7 degrees. In the embodiment of the figures, the angle is 5 degrees. The moving direction is tilted so that as the support device 8 approaches the rotation axis of the spindles 3 it simultaneously descents. The lower roll 8a and the upper roll 8b form a sup port roll assembly. In a basic orientation of the support roll assembly, an imagi nary plane coinciding with the rotation axis 23, 24 of the lower roll 8a and the upper roll 8b is perpendicular to the moving direction of the support device 8. In the embodiment of the figures, the upper roll 8b is configured to remain above the rotation axis 25 of the block 2 during peeling. Also the rotation axis 24 of the upper roll 8b thus remains above the rotation axis 25 of the block 2. During peel ing, the rotation axis 23 of the lower roll 8a is below the rotation axis 25 of the block 2. However, as the support device 8 is moved backwards for bringing a new block to the peeling position, the rotation axis 23 of the lower roll 8a may move above the rotation axis 25 of the block 2.

The support roll assembly is rotatable about the rotation axis 24 of the upper roll 8b. The support roll assembly can be rotated +/-3 degrees from the basic orien tation about the rotation axis 24 of the upper roll 8b. In the embodiment of the figures, the rotation of the support roll assembly of the support device 8 is carried out by means of an electric motor, a gear 29 and a toothed rack 30. However, also some other kind of actuating mechanism could be used. By means of the rotational movement of the support roll assembly, the spirally decreasing outer perimeter of the block 2 can be followed so that the axis of rotation of the block 2 does not move during spindleless peeling.

By arranging the moving direction of the support device 8 at an angle of 5 de grees in respect of the horizontal direction, the distance from the rolls 8a, 8b to the knife 7a and to the nose bar 7b is maximized. Also, a smaller rotation angle of the support roll assembly about the rotation axis 24 of the upper roll 8b is sufficient for compensating the effect of the spirally reducing diameter of the block 2 during peeling.

The lathe 1 further comprises a centering device 4 for centering the blocks for peeling and a transfer device 6 for moving the blocks from the centering device 4 to a peeling position.

Details of the centering device 4 can be seen for example in figures 2 and 3. The centering device 4 is configured to measure the block for determining opti mal centering of the block for peeling. The blocks that are brought to the lathe 1 are not perfectly cylindrical, but the shape of the blocks varies. Optimal centering of a block could be defined so that the center axis of an imaginary cylinder that fits within the block and has the greatest possible diameter coincides with the center axis of the spindles 3 of the lathe 1 . Optimal centering of the blocks en sures that the waste of wood material is as small as possible.

The centering device 4 comprises a measurement device 15. In the embodiment of the figures, the measurement device 15 is a laser scanner, but the measure ment device could also be, for instance, some other kind of optical scanner or a scanner utilizing ultrasound for measuring the dimensions of the block. The cen tering device 4 further comprises a first centering spindle 5a for engaging the first end of the block and a second centering spindle 5b for engaging the second end of the block. Both centering spindles 5a, 5b are rotatable. The centering device 4 is further provided with at least one motor for rotating at least one of the centering spindles 5a, 5b. The block can thus be rotated between the cen tering spindles 5a, 5b and the measurement device 15 can measure the dimen sions of the block. Instead of rotating the block between the centering spindles 5a, 5b, the measurement device 15 could be configured to move around the block for measuring the dimensions of the block.

The dimensions can be measured at several locations along the axial direction of the block and at several locations along the perimeter of the block. A web of measurement points is thus formed. The greater the number of the measure ment points is, the better is the accuracy of the centering. The measurement device 15 is connected to a data processing unit, which is configured to calculate the location of an optimal rotation axis for the block. The measurement data is utilized when the block is moved from the centering device 4 to the peeling po sition. The center axis of the spindles 3 are arranged to coincide with the points where the optimal rotation axis intersects end surfaces of the block. The center ing device 4 can comprise an auto-calibration function, which receives data from the peeling process and calibrates the centering device 4 on the basis of the data.

Each centering spindle 5a, 5b is configured to move in its axial direction for en gaging the block between the centering spindles 5a, 5b. The lathe 1 is provided with an electrically driven linear actuator for moving each centering spindle 5a, 5b in the axial direction. In addition, the centering spindles 5a, 5b are configured to move in the vertical direction and in a horizontal direction perpendicular to the axial direction of the centering spindles 5a, 5b. The centering device 4 is config ured to move after the measurement of the block the first centering spindle 5a and the second centering spindle 5b in relation to each other in a plane that is perpendicular to the axial direction of the centering spindles 5a, 5b. The block is thus positioned in an optimal orientation for peeling. The centering device 4 is further configured to move the block towards transfer arms 6a, 6b, which transfer the block into a position between the spindles 3. The moving range of the cen tering spindles 5a, 5b is longer in the horizontal direction that is perpendicular to the axial direction of the centering spindles 5a, 5b than in the vertical direction. This allows moving the block close to the transfer arms 6a, 6b and over the support device 8 and a shorter moving range is thus required from the transfer arms 6a, 6b. From the centering spindles 5a, 5b of the centering device 4, the block is gripped by means of the transfer arms 6a, 6b. A first transfer arm 6a is configured to engage the first end of the block and a second transfer arm 6b is configured to engage the second end of the block. Each transfer arm 6a, 6b is configured to move in a first direction, which corresponds to the axial direction of the spindles 3. By means of the movement of the transfer arms 6a, 6b in the first direction, a block can be gripped between the transfer arms 6a, 6b. Because the block is correctly oriented in the centering device 4, the transfer arms 6a, 6b do not have to adjust the orientation of the block. The block can thus be moved along a linear path to the spindles 3 of the lathe 1 . However, the transfer arms 6a, 6b could be configured to allow further adjustment of the orientation of the block. For trans ferring the block, the transfer arms 6a, 6b move linearly in a second direction. The second direction is inclined relative to the vertical direction. The second direction can be, for example, at an angle of 10-20 degrees relative to the ver tical direction. In the embodiment of the figures, the angle between the second direction and the vertical direction is 15 degrees. The angle between the hori zontal direction and the second direction is thus 75 degrees. The second direc tion is tilted towards the centering device 4. As the transfer arms 6a, 6b move upwards from the spindles 3, they simultaneously move towards the centering spindles 5a, 5b. Because the transfer arms 6a, 6b move towards the centering device 4, the distance the centering spindles 5a, 5b are required to move to wards the transfer arms 6a, 6b is shortened. On the other hand, because the second direction is close to the vertical direction, the support device 8 does not need to move over a long distance to make room for the movement of the trans fer arms 6a, 6b and for the block moved by the transfer arms 6a, 6b.

The lathe 1 further comprises a feeder 20 for feeding blocks to spindleless peel ing. The feeder 20 can be seen for example in figures 2 and 5. The feeder 20 is attached to the support device 8. The feeder 20 thus moves together with the support device 8. The feeder 20 comprises a feeder arm 21 , which is rotatable about a rotation axis. The feeder 20 further comprises an actuating device 22, which is configured to rotate the feeder arm 21 about the rotation axis. In the embodiment of the figures, the actuating device 22 comprises a cylinder. The cylinder can be a hydraulic cylinder or a pneumatic cylinder. Instead of the cyl inder, the actuating device 22 could comprise an electrical actuator, such as an actuator comprising an electric motor and a ball screw. By means of the feeder 20, small diameter blocks that have been rounded in a separate rounding machine can be fed to a peeling position without the centering device 4 and the transfer arms 6a, 6b. This allows faster feeding of the blocks.

The lathe 1 can form part of a veneer production line together with different aux iliary devices. Figure 5 shows step feeder 26, which feeds blocks to a linear loader 27. The centering device 4 of the lathe 1 is configured to retrieve the blocks from the linear loader 27 by means of the centering spindles 5a, 5b.

It will be appreciated by a person skilled in the art that the invention is not limited to the embodiments described above, but may vary within the scope of the ap pended claims.




 
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