Scientists at Mississippi State's Forest and Wildlife Research Center, in cooperation with the Weyerhauser Co., are expanding the distribution of a free software-training program for design and quality-control engineers in the furniture industry.
Developed at the university, the "ChoiceFrame" program models 13 different joints used throughout the industry, according to Bob Tackett, a university research assistant and one of the program's developers.
"A designer can experiment with joints by interchanging different materials or by changing the sizes of the material or fastener sizes and types," Tackett said. "With each change, a corresponding strength prediction for the joint is displayed on the computer screen."
The software is provided at no charge to furniture manufacturers following completion of a training seminar. Recent sessions have been held in North Carolina, Mississippi and Indiana, with another scheduled this spring in Utah.
Tackett said furniture joint design traditionally has involved a mix of experience and trial-and-error--a process that often became costly and time consuming. With ChoiceFrame, however, a designer can create joint designs in minutes because the layouts already are set up in a Windows program.
"A unique feature of the program is that it analyzes each joint separately," Tackett explained. "The assumed loads applied to each joint are the loads that would be applied to the frame during what is known as General Service Administration fatigue testing, a standard used throughout the furniture industry."
The software also has a database of many hardwood species and engineered lumbers, including specific properties that can be displayed to the user. Another feature allows the user to add new material properties to the database.
For additional information on the ChoiceFrame program or training seminars, contact Tackett at (662) 325-3096 or firstname.lastname@example.org.