Sunday, 23 October 2016

Wood machining with a focus on French research in the last 50 years

Published Date
Volume 73, Issue 1pp 163–184

Review Paper
DOI: 10.1007/s13595-015-0460-2


Cite this article as: 
Thibaut, B., Denaud, L., Collet, R. et al. Annals of Forest Science (2016) 73: 163. doi:10.1007/s13595-015-0460-2

Author 

  • Bernard Thibaut
  • Email author
  • Louis Denaud
  • Robert Collet
  • Rémy Marchal
  • Jacques Beauchêne
  • Frédéric Mothe
  • Pierre-Jean Méausoone
  • Patrick Martin
  • Pierre Larricq
  • Florent Eyma

  • Abstract

    Key message

    Wood machining is compulsory both for timber separation and the surfacing of wooden objects. The anisotropy, cellular nature and multi-scale level organisation of wood make its cutting complicated to study. During the last 50 years, most of the wood machining subjects were covered by French teams.

    Context

    Woodcutting is a very old technology but scientific research is scarce on the subject. In the last 50 years, much work on basic mechanisms as well as on industrial processes has been done in France.

    Aims

    The specific nature of wood introduces strong differences between wood and metal cutting processes. The paper focuses on French teams’ contributions.

    Results

    The basic aspects of the tool–material interaction for different basic modes in woodcutting are highlighted. In primary conversion such as sawing, veneer cutting or green wood chipping, huge progress comes from automation and the possibility of linking the process to log and product quality through new sensors. In secondary processing, much has been done on the links between the cutting process, surface qualification and the properties of these surfaces for further processing, such as gluing or coating. Tool wear depends on the cutting process, timber quality and species. Trade-offs are required in tool technology and coating technologies may improve tool life.

    Conclusion

    A large amount of knowledge and innovation has come from 50 years of worldwide research effort, with France being particularly active in this period. The transfer of skills from metals cutting industry was often a key, but much is needed to move closer to both metal cutting sector and woodcutting skills among craftsmen.

    Keywords

    Surface qualityPrimary conversionSecondary processingTool wear



    1. Introduction

    A little bit of history
    It is commonplace to divide human technological prehistory into periods related to material technology, which can be directly associated with the evolution of woodcutting.
    The Wood Age was at the very beginning of the hominin species. The Stone Age is defined by the development of the ability to split flint into tools with sharp edges. It can be seen as the beginning of woodcutting, although animal jaws had been used for a long time for basic operations such as shaping a spearhead (Noël and Bocquet 1987). Oldowan hominin were using flakes of quartzite and quartz in the early Pleistocene (2 million years ago) to cut and scrape wood in the production or maintenance of wooden objects (Lemorini et al. 2014). Woodworking is commonly found in all archaeological layers at a site where Neanderthals lived 125,000–250,000 years ago (Hardy and Moncel 2011).
    With the Bronze Age some 5000 years ago and the Iron Age some 3000 years ago, the discovery of metallurgy, and with it the possibility of forging, allowed the production of a large number of new tools with sharp edges and endless geometric forms. This led to a long golden age for woodcutting among a large number of craftsmen, whose innovations were handed down to successive generations for more than 5000 years, reaching a kind of perfection in many woodcutting operations.
    The Machine Age is the last big technological revolution, arising some 400 years ago, and is associated with the beginning of material machining (mostly metal and wood to begin with). Most of the striking innovations come from machinery itself and its combination of mechanics and physics (including informatics today).
    The use of machine tools was required for metal machining due to the high level of forces in most cutting operations. Research effort since 150 years was mainly put into the machining of metal (Richards 1872), and wood machining was afforded far less attention by researchers although the volume of wood chips and the quantity of woodcutting tools are far bigger than the equivalent for metal cutting. The high level of craftsmanship in many fields of woodcutting gives the impression that everything is known today about woodcutting. However, the transfer of knowledge from woodcutting to wood machining or from craft skills to scientific approaches is not obvious.
    The beginning of the 1960s, when Annals of Forest Science was first published, is a key moment in wood machining, marked by the consolidation of scientific works from the post-war period in the reference book Wood Machining Process by Peter Koch (1964). The year 1963 was the year in which The International Wood Machining Seminar (IWMS) was founded, and it continues to gather wood machining scientists from around the world every 2 or 3 years. André Chardin (1920–1987), a pioneer of French wood machining research, was one of the founders of IWMS, but for the first 20 years of that 50-year period he was almost alone with a very small team investigating cutting forces, tool wear, the cutting process and different machining processes (sawing, plaining, peeling or slicing) on many different tropical species (Boulloud 1972; Chardin 19541958196219661967ab1968ab19711973). Looking at IWMS proceedings (Table 1) during that period (all 10 of the earliest conferences took place in Berkeley, USA), the USA was the leader of research (with 44 % of the papers) in that period, with Germany (RFA), Canada, Sweden and Norway each representing around 10 % of the papers, and France and Japan accounting each for 5 % (however Japanese scientists in the field had published a lot of work in Japanese and were latecomers to the IWMS conferences). In the last 30 years, which have been more precisely documented by literature databases (Table 2), Japan is the leader; France has improved its standing, being more or less at the same level as the USA now.
    Table 1
    Number of oral communications at International Wood Machining Seminar (IWMS) during the period 1967–1985, % per main country
    IWMS 67–85
    USA
    Germany
    Canada
    Sweden
    Norway
    France
    Japan
    UK
    149
    65
    16
    15
    14
    14
    8
    7
    5
    100 %
    44 %
    11 %
    10 %
    9 %
    9 %
    5 %
    5 %
    3 %
    Table 2
    Number of publications dealing with metals or wood machining in the period 1984–2014
    Publications
    Metals
    Percent
    Wood
    Percent
    Metals/wood
    1984–1993
    174
    9
    55
    16
    3.2
    1994–2003
    638
    32
    91
    26
    7.0
    2004–2014
    1158
    59
    203
    58
    5.7
    1984–2014
    1970
    100
    349
    100
    5.6
    USA
    387
    20
    43
    12
    9.0
    China
    301
    15
    13
    4
    23.2
    Germany
    152
    8
    30
    9
    5.1
    England
    129
    7
    24
    7
    5.4
    Canada
    82
    4
    21
    6
    3.9
    Japan
    76
    4
    58
    17
    1.3
    France
    76
    4
    45
    13
    1.7
    Sweden
    71
    4
    10
    3
    7.1
    Web of knowledge, using keywords: “wood cutting” or “wood machining” or “cutting of wood” or “machining of wood” for wood, “metal cutting” or “metal machining” or “cutting of metals” or “machining of metals”. Number of publications, % per main country only for the period 1984–2014 and ratio of number between metals and wood
    This improvement was the result of a strong impulse from the French government in favour of scientific research in the field of wood science. There were no PhD theses defended in the field of wood machining in the 1964–1983 period, but there were 37 PhD theses in the 1984–2013 period, dealing with most of wood machining subjects as can be seen in the list of PhDs (Abdallah 2011; Aubert 1987; Bonduelle 1994; Bonin 2006; Boucher 2007; Collet 1984; Gauvent 2006; Jouffroy 1999; Levaillant 1978; Martin 1997; Méausoone 1996; Rougié 2009; Simonin 2010; Zerizer 1991 The Wood Machining Group (Groupe Usinage Bois) was established on the initiative of Rémy Marchal in 1993.

    For further details log on website :
    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/9781119162346.ch4/summary

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