Buzzard – AI that revolutionizes board scanning

29.01.2020 | News

Buzzard is a Deep Learning solution for real-time defect detection. The innovative board scanning solution was named after a common hawk species that has eight times better vision than human. Buzzard is a research and engineering success that was created by our own product development in order to even better serve our customers.

In 2017, with recent advances in Machine Learning and Deep Leaning, an idea of enhancing our board scanning system with the power of autonomous artificial agents was born. The idea then grew into a project known as Buzzard and resulted in ground-breaking product development in sawn timber grading.

Detecting rotten area on timber surface has known to be extremely challenging due to its high variations in color, shape and textural appearance. In order to separate rotten area from reaction wood, sunburn and other color defects, a more effective feature extraction technique was in high demand. The difficulty in rot detection inspired and motivated the development of Buzzard which has later proven to be extremely powerful in solving the problem.

Buzzard is in general based on massive amount of data consisting of images of boards and defects on them as well as information on defect locations on the boards. In early stages, a huge team effort was put into analyzing our customers’ requirements and constructing an efficient data pipeline that enabled further development of the entire solution. Buzzard was initially created by our Data Scientist Glen Guo, who later on was joined by our software engineer Nikolay Rudakov in order to further develop the solution and make Buzzard even more powerful.

Buzzard is currently used to detect various defects on timber surface. Buzzard detects defects like rot and a more specific defect bird eye that is caused by needles grown into the wood material in Radiata Pine wood species in South America. For our customers, Buzzard comes as a standard functionality in our BoardMasterNOVA scanners and provides significantly better defect detection accuracy without compromising on production capacity.

The first version of Buzzard was released in October 2017 when it tested and then used for the first time in production at NK Lundströms sawmill in Sweden. The tests were a success and their impressive results encouraged and motivated further investments in AI in order to accelerate Buzzard’s further development. The first sawmill to have Buzzard in production use for bird eye detection was Maderas Arauco Nueva Aldea sawmill in Chile. BoardMasterNOVA grading system with the Buzzard solution was installed and commissioned at the sawmill’s dry sorting line in the beginning of 2019 (read more about the birde eye detection in Nueva Aldea).

Nowadays, approximately 29 BoardMasterNOVA systems in six different countries are using the latest Buzzard solution in defect detection. Buzzard is continuously being further developed in order to exceed our customers’ needs and requirements. Our product development is constantly adopting cutting-edge technologies in our products so that our scanning systems will provide maximum benefits to our customers.



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