A characteristic of softwood tracheid cells is that they are aligned end-to-end with the grain and when light strikes them, they will channel some of the light along the cells in the direction of the grain. The grain direction and other important fiber information can be characterized using a Tracheid camera to detect this property. GradeScan uses its Tracheid sensor to provide information on all four faces of a board. This sensor's data helps GradeScan classify and measure:
- Knots, Distorted Grain and Slope of Grain, Surface Decay, Stains, Pitch, Blonde Knots, Bark, Saddle Wane, Skip, Shake, and other characteristics
Note that in this example low-resolution Tracheid image, damaged tracheid cells do not transmit light and so appear black. The area below the large knot contains blue stain, which has damaged the tracheid cells. The large knot also contains pitch (it appears very white), providing a clue that indicates that this was a live knot when the tree was harvested.
Lucidyne has been able to successfully solve one of the last remaining challenges of automated lumber grading: Timber Break. Using its high-resolution Tracheid sensor, GradeScan is able to identify incidents of Timber Break when it is especially tough for a human grader to see! Check out the example images below, color on the left and Tracheid on the right.