Opticom Camera Survives Direct Hit at West Fraser Sawmill

By: Opticom Technologies Inc  |   Megan Horn  |   Published  775-319-7568

Sawmills are dangerous environments for cameras. There’s dust, debris, and full-sized logs and boards moving at high speeds. 

In a West Fraser mill in Florida, an Opticom CC04 camera took a direct hit by a board moving on the line—and it survived. The camera still works; it just had to be remounted on a new vibration mount

Here’s a photo provided by the mill that shows the immediate aftermath of the incident. Because West Fraser puts safety first, the operator was in his cab and all workers were safely outside the danger zone of the board.

This CC04 camera was (and is again) mounted on the mill’s edger to watch the edger tailor because, as the facility’s Lead Electrician, Richard Akers, pointed out, “Sometimes things don’t always move correctly, so the operator can see what’s going on back there.”

In this case, a couple of boards got stuck when the tailor was shifting. Boards behind them ramped up and slammed right into the camera. A board hit the camera and knocked it off its mount, then another board came behind and pushed it farther away. 

“At one point, the camera was hanging from one cord,” said Akers. “We were honestly surprised the cord held up.”

Here’s a zoomed-in shot of the camera right after the incident. The board moved it about 4-5 feet away from its mounted position, which was on the right side of this photo—by the electrical wiring.

You can see how the camera is being held up by the board and one cord. 

As any safety-conscious sawmill would, the team reviewed the footage to see what happened, which is when they discovered the stuck boards that led to the backup, ramping, and direct hit. 

The Opticom camera worked through it all. Akers said, “When we watched the footage, the camera went black for a second, then came back on to a different view because, of course, it had been pushed to a different spot.”  

“All we had to do was replace the mount,” he said. The camera continues to work, even after a high-speed direct hit. “This is a testament to the durability of Opticom cameras.”

West Fraser uses Opticom cameras primarily for monitoring operations in areas that are hard to see from operator cabs. “We’ve done our research, and they’re the best cameras that are available,” said Akers. “Plus, Opticom is super knowledgeable about sawmills and what we need for video monitoring.”

If you’re a sawmill that wants to upgrade your video monitoring to built-to-last cameras that can take a direct hit, let’s talk.

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