This paper reports on a study of on-line monitoring of the buffer capacity of particleboard furnish using near-infrared (NIR) spectroscopy and multivariate analysis models (chemometrics). The buffer capacity of wood furnish is known to affect the quality of polymerization and the curing rates of urea-formaldehyde (UF) resins, which may affect the mechanical properties of manufactured panel. The first phase of the study consisted of building multivariate calibration and validation models from NIR spectroscopy data to predict the buffer capacity of particleboard furnish in a laboratory environment. During this phase, a spectrometer (Ocean Optics USB2000) operating in the 550–1100 nm spectral range was evaluated. The second phase of the study took place at a North American particleboard plant over several weeks. Several multivariate calibration models were constructed and tested on-line during a four-day test period. The on-line root mean square error of prediction (RMSEP) and the coefficient of variation (CV) for buffer capacity predictions ranged from 3.45 to 0.92 and 22.4% to 5.8%, respectively.
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