How to Use the Orion® 950 EMC Calculator & Smart Logger™ Together
The Orion® 950 wood moisture meter won the Association of Woodworking and Furnishing Suppliers (AWFS) 2019 Visionary Award in the hardware category.
As the top-of-the-line in the Orion moisture meter series, the 950 overflows with technological advances and innovative features.
For example, no moisture meter can get you moving through a batch of wood faster, or with greater accuracy, than an Orion moisture meter. It starts with a super-easy species selection setting. From there, the Orion moisture sensors provide near-instantaneous readings of moisture levels. You can set a programmable alarm to alert you when a moisture measurement is above the moisture content threshold you specify. That way, you can take an extensive collection of meter readings even faster. If the alarm doesn’t sound off, you can keep on moving.
The Orion series also stands out as the only line of wood moisture meters that you can calibrate in the field. You can recalibrate an Orion yourself using the On-Demand Calibrator tool faster than other meters’ “calibration check” tools work. An On-Demand Calibrator comes with each Orion moisture meter. Do in under a minute what takes weeks for any other meter, since you would have to send a different moisture meter back to the manufacturer for recalibration.
As exciting as the On-Demand Calibrator is (and it’s pretty darn impressive), it is standard with all the Orion moisture meters. Where the Orion 950 stands out is with its data collection and management tools. When you pair the Orion 950 with one of our data management mobile apps, you can create a data log of moisture readings. The 950 can capture the wood moisture meter readings as you take them. You can move through pieces and batches of wood quickly, checking the meter only when the alarm goes off. The 950 is Bluetooth®-enabled and can upload the moisture measurements to the data management app.
One of the Orion 950’s other innovative data features is an additional sensor that captures ambient temperature and humidity. The Orion 950 moisture meter then uses that data to calculate the equilibrium moisture content (EMC) of that environment.
You can take your wood moisture management to the next level when you team-up the Orion 950 with the Smart Logger™. Unfamiliar with the Smart Logger? Let’s take a slight detour.
Introducing the Smart Logger
The Smart Logger is a small, flat device you can leave at the in-service location to collect the ambient temperature and humidity data in that environment over time. Each Smart Logger device can hold up to 12,000 readings and shares its data via Bluetooth with the Smart Logger mobile app. You can also use the Smart Logger app to set the interval for how often the device takes a reading and records it.
The Smart Logger was designed to help flooring installers and woodworkers have a data log to consult in case moisture-related damage occurs after installation on site. To get this protection, the Smart Logger device(s) must be left on site after you finished the job. Each device is two-square inches and weighs under one ounce. An installer can show owners how discreetly they can be placed, one in each room where the wood flooring or work has been installed.
In this scenario, you would go back to the site and upload the data stored in each Smart Logger device to the app on your mobile device. Then you’d consult the Smart Logger app, including its reporting tools and graphical charts, to help you see precisely what the ambient conditions have been and when they may have changed.
While the Smart Logger can’t tell you why something happened, it can tell you when something happened. Armed with this data, you can narrow down the timeline and jog the home or building owner’s memory of what was happening during that period. Did they turn off the HVAC or leave windows open for a couple weeks while they were on vacation?
The Smart Logger can also help, indirectly, prevent moisture-related wood flooring failure. Asking the home or building owner to leave some Smart Logger devices is the perfect opportunity to talk about how they should care correctly for their wood floor, cabinetry, or furniture.
Have them download the Smart Logger app to their own mobile devices so they can stay on top of how their ambient conditions are affecting the wood. The Smart Logger device works via Bluetooth, which requires physical proximity to upload its data to the Smart Logger app. That puts the owner on the front line, able to check the Smart Logger app regularly for the most current data.
EMC Is Your Wood’s Acclimation Target
The point of EMC is the point at which wood stops exchanging moisture with its surroundings. And that’s the goal, right? To keep your wood floor or furniture from absorbing moisture from or releasing moisture into the environment where it’s going to live for a long time. Because wood absorbing or releasing moisture are exactly the conditions under which moisture-related damage will soon appear.
As you know, wood expands and contracts relative to the amount of moisture it’s holding. When wood’s moisture levels fluctuate, that stress can manifest a variety of ugly ways, such as cupping, cracking, or buckling. Knowing an environment’s point of EMC is a critical piece of information you need to know what moisture level of the wood will protect it from moisture-related damage.
EMC is actually a data point reflective of the ambient conditions, not the wood. An environment’s EMC percentage is based on the air’s temperature, humidity, and relative humidity. This is why the Orion 950 can calculate the EMC for a given location, using its ambient sensor to collect the needed data.
The moisture condition of a piece of wood is affected by the same ambient conditions. Thus, the ideal moisture condition (MC) of the wood aligns with the EMC of its surroundings. Because the wood and air will always have at least minimal moisture exchange, getting the wood’s moisture condition within two-points of EMC is the goal target range.
Consequently, knowing the EMC of the in-service location means you now know what MC percentage range the wood for a project needs to reach to be acclimated.
The Orion 950 EMC Calculator + Smart Logger = No Guesswork
The formula using ambient condition data to calculate EMC is well-documented. And we know that EMC defines the target MC range for wood that will be installed in that environment. When you know the specific data points for sites, you can make well-informed decisions about what wood to select and when that wood is fully acclimated.
You can decide to rely on common industry conditions. For example, a typical home in the United States with a working HVAC system has a relative humidity between 30-40%. This RH range correlates with an EMC range of 6-7%. So if your wood dries down to an MC of 8%, then you should be good, right?
But what if the house is in a coastal or desert area? What if it’s not, but it’s a summer home that will see lots of open doors and windows? There is a multitude of scenarios. There’s no reason to default to the most common situation to guide where you set your acclimation target. Nor do you have to try to run your own calculations to adjust for specific conditions. Not when you can use tools like Orion 950 and Smart Logger to determine exactly what the in-service EMC percentage is and, thus, your MC target for the wood.
Let’s start during the wood selection process. Acclimation can take a long time. If you’re buying wood for a specific project, use the Orion 950 EMC calculator in the room(s) where it will be installed. Then use the Orion 950 to test the MC of wood at the store. If you can find wood that’s close to the target MC for the project, you just cut down the acclimation time needed for the project.
You can use the Smart Logger system to stay on top of your own wood storage area. If you store wood in different places or in a large space where conditions may vary, the Smart Logger devices can help you decide the best places to store wood based on its target MC.
When you know your storage environment’s EMC, you can verify whether the area is conducive for the acclimation of wood or whether you need to adjust your environment’s conditions.
A Commitment to Craftsmanship and Customer Service
The Orion 950 wood moisture meter and Smart Logger system combine together to help you prevent and mitigate potential moisture-related wood damage. Sure, they’re incredible time-savers that can help boost your productivity and availability. Beyond that, using these tools, which work with some of the most advanced technology in wood moisture management, reflects your commitment to your craft.
Your clientele will also see your commitment to them through the extra steps you take to ensure their investment is protected. You can offer a strong guarantee on your work, knowing you have the tools in place to protect both your projects and your business.
Jason has 20+ years’ experience in sales and sales management in a spectrum of industries and has successfully launched a variety of products to the market, including the original Rapid RH® concrete moisture tests. He currently works with Wagner Meters as our Rapid RH® product sales manager.