Northwest Hardwoods, a division of Weyerhaeuser, needed to add networking capability to their mills. They needed a network system to provide workstations to track product as it flowed through the mill. Northwest Hardwoods wanted to track product with each move and at each processing step. Each of the mills used a completely different physical topology and required a unique networking solution.
Telxon Corporation (Seattle, WA)
I worked closely with NW Hardwoods personnel to survey the mills and design the networks. We used a variety of components and connection methods in these mills. Some of the network design criteria include:
- Provide redundant RF coverage with existing Access Points
- Provide a fall-back plan should the main network backbone fail
- Provide network balancing for RF system in high-traffic areas
- Minimize the number of Access Points required on each site
The network included 900 MHz RF terminals (fixed mount, vehicle mount, handheld, and PCs), fiber and copper network backbones, RF fall-back (in case the network backbone failed). The site surveys included coverage maps by Access Point (AP) and detailed AP description (mounting, coverage, backup, connection, wire run length, etc.). I surveyed the following Northwest Hardwoods mills:
|Arlington, WA||medium mill||difficult network design|
|Sedro Woolley, WA||medium mill||easy network design|
|Centralia, WA||large mill||medium network design|
|Longview, WA||very large mill||difficult network design|
|Garibaldi, OR||small mill||easy network design|
|Eugene, OR||medium mill||easy network design|
Northwest Hardwoods is currently installing the specified wired and wireless networks in their mills. They can now collect tracking data throughout the mill and use remote PCs with their normal office network.
Northwest Hardwoods can now track product through each stage of processing. They can find the status of each lot of product as it enters, moves through, and exits the mill.
The Telxon portion of the network include Arlan 900 MHz Access Points, Arlan 690 cards (PCMCIA and ISA), Telxon 870IM vehicle mount terminals, and Telxon 960SL handheld terminals.