Automated Veneer Grading Line - Veneer Automation

“We have been able to gain a new customer base because we can easily grade wood to specs with no error for our clients.” — Ben Kramer, Michigan Veneer

Automated Veneer Technology: Veneer Grading Line

Manual and belt-conveyor lines are slow and labor intensive. Existing lengthwise automatic lines are only slightly faster than manual, and they damage veneer. Our systems double or triple the capacity of even the fastest existing lines while gently handling the veneer bundles, and our system exclusively includes storage at each bay in the line.

The grading table of our line runs at a continuous speed of 20 feet per minute. Assuming an average bundle width of 12 inches, an average length of 10 feet, 24 sheets per bundle, and a utilization rate of 70 percent, the capacity of our line is about 150,000 square meters (1,613,000 square feet) per shift. Actual production will be determined by a combination of these factors.

All components are constructed with structural steel members that are welded and bolted together.


  • Large storage capacity in receiving bins
  • Bundles run along plastic strips and rubber belts, never touching unprotected steel
  • Voice-activation, which allows for fast, efficient processing
  • Instant, real-time inventory updates
  • Additional bays can be added with ease
  • Modular design allows you to expand system as your business grows

Contact Veneer Services® - Sawmill Machinery

Veneer Grading Line System

Automation engineering: veneer grading table with walkway

Grading Table and Walkway

A series of belts with plastic strips between them carry the veneer bundles down the length of the table. At no time does the veneer touch unprotected steel; wear surfaces are made of plastic and stainless steel. Bundles down to four inches wide can be loaded side by side with no space between them to maximize the throughput. A speed-up section is located at the end of the grading table to create the space between the bundles required for proper operation of the rest of the system. A gearbox and variable-speed motor drives the belts.


veneer mill automation: veneer grading storage bins from Veneer Services

Six Modular Sorting Bays with Storage Decks

After the bundles pass the speed up section, they begin to transfer onto the sorting bays. Each sorting bay has a series of belts that carry the bundles. If a bundle in destined for that bay, a tipple opens to allow that bundle to transfer below onto the storage deck. Tipples are activated by pneumatic valves and high-quality cylinders with appropriate cushions and controls.

Sensors locate the leading and trailing edges of the bundles and index them on the storage deck to maximize the storage capacity. As the deck fills, a light flashes to notify the persons stacking that the bay is getting full. If the bay completely fills and another bundle is on the tipple ready to be indexed, the system will stop until sufficient room is created by moving a bundle from the bottom of the storage deck.

When the stacking persons are present to unload the deck, there is one button they can push to move the bundles to them if the bundles are not within reach. At this point, each bundle they remove allows the system to advance another bundle to their reach. When the stacking persons finish unloading the bay, they simply press the button again to return the system to indexing. If they forget to press the button before leaving, the system returns to indexing in six seconds. Each bay is constructed to allow the future addition of more bays.

wood veneer factory - Sorts and singles table from Veneer Services

Sorts and Singles Table

In practice, we have found the most efficient way to achieve fast sorting and to minimize the initial cost of the system is to allow the grader to pull the shorts and singles from the table and not send them down the line. This table can take up to six sorts. Using this method, you can achieve up to 10 to 12 sorts with only six automatic bays. We supply a table with movable dividers to store these bundles for stacking.

automation technology controls - veneer sorting line controls

Electrical, Safety, and Controls System

All motor and function controls are enclosed in cabinets, including the main disconnect. All cables from the control cabinet are included and run in protective tubing. Customers must bring power to our control cabinet.

Our system has operator’s station for the infeed conveyor and scissors lift located near the scissors lift. Another for the grading line is located along the grading line railing. Safety E-stops or pull cables are included at every work station.

The machine requires the reading of existing bar codes for proper location control and inventory data. We include a bar code reader at the end of the grading table and one at each modular bay. This way we ensure that bundles are accurately placed. Integration with the customer’s existing database and inventory controls system is not included in our price. The customer is responsible for implementing the connection between our system and their existing system.

We supply the machine with the main voltage required for local demands. Control voltage is 24v DC.

Storage bays for sliced and sorted wood veneer - veneer grading line foundations from Veneer Services


The machine will be supplied as an assembly with a complete frame ready to be placed on your concrete floor. The customer is responsible for providing a proper concrete floor for the machine. The loading is low enough to sit on most existing concrete floors. The unit will be bolted to the floor upon final placement.

Optional Equipment

sawmill automation - Veneer grading Line storage bins

Additional Modular Sorting Bays with Storage Decks

The system is designed to allow the addition of almost unlimited additional bays. They are priced individually and in groups for additional savings. Installation of each additional bay takes approximately three working days.

Pallet infeed and return system for veneer grading line

Pallet Infeed and Return Section

A gearbox and motor drives two chains running in tracks fitted with wear strips to bring the full pallets onto a scissors lift in front of the grading table. A scissors lift (included) positions the pallets at the correct height for comfortable loading of the grading table. The standard arrangement is for the incoming pallets to come from the side of the scissors lift. The standard chain infeed deck is approximately 26 feet long. A set of gravity rollers allows a platform loaded with empty pallets to be easily pushed back for removal by a forklift.

Contact Veneer Services® - Sawmill Machinery