The application of wood drying kiln
It is known that by controlling the temperature and humidity within the interior of a hardwood kiln, lumber positioned within the kiln may be dried at a controlled rate to minimize drying related defects of the lumber as it is dried. In order to control the wood drying kiln temperature and humidity, a sample piece of lumber is selected from the lumber being dried, and the moisture content of the sample is determined outside the kiln, at preselected intervals of time. With the moisture content information, the kiln temperature and humidity are altered, if necessary, to ensure that the lumber is dried at the desired rate.
Such a process is time-consuming, is susceptible to error in calculating the moisture content, is likely to effect the environment of the kiln interior as the kiln interior is exposed to ambient conditions during removal of the sample from the kiln and is uncomfortable and potentially dangerous in that the operator must enter the hot kiln. In addition, the sample used to monitor the moisture content is re-positioned within the bulk of the lumber situated within the kiln following each moisture-determining operation. Such a re-positioning of the sample renders it inaccessible for unhindered visual inspection.
A monitoring system for a wood drying kiln having a housing with an interior wall surface, an area within the housing for placement of a charge of wood for drying of the charge of wood, and means for heating and humidifying the interior of the kiln, the monitoring system comprising: support means positioned adjacent the interior wall surface for supporting a representative sample of the charge of wood adjacent the interior wall surface and remote from the charge of wood; sensor means operatively connected to the support means for sensing a physical characteristic of the sample which is a function of moisture content in the sample; signal generation means operatively connected to the sensor means for generating a signal corresponding to moisture content of the sample as a function of the physical characteristic; control means operatively connected to the means for heating and humidifying the interior of the kiln and to the signal generation means for controlling the heat and humidity within the kiln in response to the signal received from the signal generation means;
There are problems with existing wood drying kilns dealing chiefly with the circulation of heated air through the drying chamber. There is a tendency for the heated air being directed across the lumber to be unevenly distributed leading to over drying and resultant distortion and even charring of the lumber in some locations and under drying of the lumber in other locations. This problem is also due to inadequate mixing of the heated air with recirculated air which can result in a definite temperature variance across the airstream being blown through the stacked lumber which leads to uneven wood drying kiln.
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