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AI has the potential to transform our industry

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Tech Talk by Peter Mate
Peter Mate is owner and president of Planit Canada, a software and services company devoted to servicing the manufacturing industry. For more info email peterm@planitcanada.ca
As the world continues to advance technologically, it’s no surprise that industries are looking to artificial intelligence (AI) to improve their processes. The wood manufacturing industry is no exception. From improving efficiency to reducing waste, AI has the potential to revolutionize the way wood products are made.
One area where AI can make a significant impact is in the optimization of wood cutting. Traditional methods of wood cutting involve manual measurement and cutting, which can lead to inaccuracies and waste. However, AI algorithms can analyze the wood’s grain and texture, and then calculate the most efficient way to cut it. This not 
only reduces waste, but can also increase the yield of high-quality wood from each log.
Another way AI can improve wood manufacturing is through predictive maintenance. In a wood manufacturing facility, equipment failure can cause significant delays and cost money. However, with AI-powered sensors installed on machinery, the machines can analyze their own data and predict when maintenance is needed before a breakdown occurs. This can help prevent costly repairs 
and downtime.
AI can also be used to optimize the entire production process. By analyzing data from every step of the production process, from harvesting the wood to shipping the finished products, AI algorithms can identify inefficiencies and make recommendations for improvements. This could include things such as optimizing the supply chain, reducing energy consumption, or streamlining production schedules to meet demand.
But what about the human element of wood manufacturing? Will AI replace human workers? Not necessarily. While some tasks may be automated, there will still be a need for human workers to oversee the production process, maintain equipment, and handle tasks that require a human touch. AI can actually make their 
jobs easier and safer by taking on repetitive or dangerous tasks, freeing 
up workers to focus on more skilled tasks.
Of course, there are some challenges to implementing AI in wood manufacturing. One of the biggest is the cost of implementation. Many small and medium-sized businesses may not have the resources to invest in AI technology. However, as the technology becomes more widespread, the cost of implementation is likely to decrease.
Another challenge is the need for skilled workers who can operate and maintain 
the AI technology. As with any new technology, there will be a learning curve 
and companies will need 
to invest in training for 
their employees.
Despite these challenges, the potential benefits of AI in wood manufacturing are significant. By improving efficiency, reducing waste, and increasing productivity, AI has the potential to transform the industry. So, the next time you pick up a piece of furniture, remember that it may have been made with the help of some very smart machines. And who knows? Maybe one day, even your coffee table will be able to tell you a joke.
Did you notice? Everything except this paragraph was written by Chat GPT. If you haven’t heard of it, it’s a really cool new AI algorithm that you can try for free. Scary? Exciting? To be determined, but how insane is it that I typed in “Write me a column about how AI will improve the woodworking industry?” and it spit out this column in under five seconds. We think the internet was a game changer for my generation, wait until 
AI ramps up!

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