Economic Feasibility of Implementing a Resin Distribution Measurement System for MDF Fiber
Scott, Keith Alan
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There have been successful techniques developed to measure resin distribution of phenol-formaldehyde adhesive on several types of wood surfaces. However, a technique that quantitatively measures UF resin on wood surfaces has been a problem because UF resin is colorless on wood fiber. The first objective of this study was to develop a technique to quantitatively measure surface area coverage and statistical distribution of urea-formaldehyde (UF) resin on medium density fiberboard (MDF) fiber. Two techniques were evaluated to quantitatively measure UF resin. One technique treated the resinated fiber with a reactive stain, such that the resin and wood could be distinguished and separated using digital image analysis. An epi-fluorescence microscope, color video camera, A/D image capture board, and image analysis software were used to measure the percent of resin coverage on the wood surface. The measured resin coverage of the treated fibers did not correlate with the target resin loading level. The other technique added ultraviolet dye to the resin and measured the distribution of resin with an image analysis system. The results of a mill trial confirmed the accuracy of the technique. This system has potential to be incorporated into a mill setting, which will provide MDF mills with a method of determining how resin is being distributed on their fiber. The second objective of this study was to identify factors that would influence the technique's acceptance among MDF mills. A questionnaire was developed, pretested, and sent to every MDF mill in the United States. The method of adding UV dye into the resin was favorable to most mills and could be tested either on-site or by a third-party company. This allows MDF mills to determine potential problems with their blending process. This method saves time and money since it is a proactive measure rather than a reactive measure. It should also lead to a more uniform and consistent product, which is the goal of every MDF mill.
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