HMI-control system makes music out of wood for Gibson
Today’s Gibson electric guitars represent the history as well as the future of the electric guitar. The models whose designs have become classics: the ES-175, ES-335, Flying V, Explorer, Firebird, SGs and Les Pauls-are a testament to Gibson’s wide appeal, spanning more than four decades of music styles.
To produce their famous guitars, Gibson uses large kilns to dry a variety of exotic wood species, such as maple, ebony and mahagony. One kiln dries 2000 board feet at a time, which means that 100 guitars can be created in each batch. In 2009, Gibson engineers hired Vacutherm, Inc, a vacuum lumber drying company, to install a new kiln control system, called the touchDry, inside five Woodmizers kilns.
Vacutherm Inc. designs vacuum kilns that are used to dry lumber and wood components – from 10,000 board feet to 10 million board feet or more of high quality wood per year. All Vacutherm vacuum kilns use the new touchDry kiln control system. Each system integrates a wireless moisture meter, relative humidity and an 8.4-in. color touch screen.
Monitouch HMI, www.monitouchhmi.net
RT Engineering was hired to design and integrate the software for the touchDry kiln control system, built by Fuji Electric Corp. of America HMI Division, into the kilns. RT Engineering tailored the control system inside each Woodmizer to meet Gibson’s specific application requirements. The system used by Gibson engineers monitors the pressure and temperature inside the kiln to more quickly dry the lumber used to build guitars.
According to Jim Parker from Vacutherm, "the touchDry kiln control system has a better user interface, provides more control over the drying process and better access to historical drying data (when compared to similar systems)." He also mentioned that Gibson engineers stated, "By updating the control system the drying time has been reduced by 30% and the quality has improved."
– Rene Varro is marketing specialist, Fuji Electric Corp. of America, www.fujielectric.com/fecoa.
Edited by Mark T. Hoske, editor in chief, Control Engineering , www.controleng.com.