Case Study

Freres Engineered Wood Boosts Throughput and Quality with FANUC Robots

Wood product manufacturer uses robots to boost quality and throughput.

Challenges solved by:


  • Panels’ joint quality varied, which can comprise performance
  • Equipment setup was difficult and time-consuming, tying up manpower and equipment
  • Panel vibration could cause extra wood to be cut off panel edges, also reducing joint performance
  • Needed a flexible automation solution instead of custom designed equipment for cost competitiveness


  • Robots improved quality by creating better joints and controlling vibration, which creates correctly cut panel edges 

  • Less complications in input panel process to free up manpower and equipment

  • Higher percentage of their product meets or exceeds Quality Control (QC) requirements

  • Predictable maintenance with robots’ monitoring and reporting software ZDT and service cycle

  • Gained production capacity and throughput via extended hours beyond a normal shift


Located in Oregon, Freres Engineered Wood produces Mass Ply Panel, a lumber-based structural panel used as an alternative for concrete and steel in multi-story construction projects. This sustainable building material has been used in Europe for decades and is now growing in popularity in the US.

Freres wanted to boost production efficiency and improve the quality of their panels via better joints—key to the panels’ strength. Since both ends of the panel were being cut independently by different heads at the same time, matching the cut to both ends of the panel was extremely difficult. Additionally, panels were often bowed or cupped, which adversely affected the profile of the scarf joint. Finally, panel vibration could not be adequately controlled potentially causing the cutting heads to remove extra wood from the panel edge, which subsequently compromised joint performance.

By adding FANUC R-2000iC/210L robots integrated by FANUC Authorized System Integrator PRE-TEC, each end of the panel is now positioned by the robot to the same cutting edge to ensure both joints are balanced. This has significantly improved the quality of the panels’ joints, which boosts their strength and performance. Moreover, the automated cutting system has doubled production capacity because two robots now continually feed the same cutting head. This helps optimize the manpower and floor equipment to support growth in future demand.

Kyle Freres VP Freres

We're really looking at technology and robotics in particular as a way to support the innovation that our industry needs to survive and our company in particular, to survive for another hundred years.

Kyle Freres

Vice President of Operations, Freres Engineered Wood

Meet PRE-TEC, FANUC Authorized System Integrator

PRE-TEC is a leading automation systems integrator specializing in turnkey material handling solutions. Designed systems combine multi-axis robot arms, custom end-of-arm tooling, conveyance systems, and safety hardware to address, resolve and optimize the most challenging manufacturing applications.

Freres engineered wood

About Freres Engineered Wood

What began 100 years ago as one man with his horses, Charlie and Trixie, has since grown into Oregon’s premier producer of veneer and engineered wood products for the commercial construction industry.

Other Brands We've Helped

How can we help?

Ready to start your automation journey? Have questions before getting started? We’re here to help.

Ready to start your automation journey? Have questions before getting started? We're here to help.
Fill out the form below and a knowledgeable FANUC automation expert will be in touch.