WoodWeek – 5 September 2018

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Greetings from your WoodWeek news team. This week we have a guest editorial using commentary from Murray Sherwin on the release of the Productivity Commissions's Low Emissions Report.

“Innovation is at the heart of a transition to a low-emissions economy. Innovation is also the key to high productivity, high incomes and wellbeing, and high environmental performance – all of which New Zealand has struggled with in recent decades.

Done well, the transition to low emissions can be the catalyst to lift our overall economic, social and environmental outcomes. Firm and steady political leadership, including broad agreement across the political spectrum on both the need, and the means, to make the transition is required.

New Zealand’s total emissions may be small in the global context, but all nations, however small, are contributors to the climate change problem and therefore must be contributors to the solution.”


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Productivity report big on forestry

”Act now to set New Zealand on the path to achieve a low-emissions future” The Productivity Commission has just released its final report on how New Zealand can transition to a low-emissions economy.

The Commission found that early action on key policy reforms is needed if New Zealand is to achieve its emissions reduction goals. Chair of the Productivity Commission, Murray Sherwin said that “The period to 2050 will pass quickly. Delaying action is likely to make the transition costlier and more abrupt and limit viable and cost-effective mitigation options in the future.”

Amongst the numerous changes that will be required across the economy – some disruptive, some less obvious – three particular shifts must happen for New Zealand to achieve its low-emissions goals:

  • we stop burning fossil fuels and switch to using electricity and other low-emission energy sources. This means a rapid and comprehensive switch of the light vehicle fleet to electric vehicles (EVs) and other very low-emissions vehicles, and a switch away from fossil fuels in providing process heat for industry;
  • we undertake substantial levels of afforestation to offset New Zealand’s remaining emissions. This will require sustained rates of tree planting over the next 30 years (mostly on land currently used for sheep and beef farming), potentially approaching the highest annual rate ever recorded in New Zealand; and
  • we make changes to the structure and methods of agricultural production. This will include diversification of land use towards more horticulture and cropping, and greater adoption of low-emissions practices on farms.

These needed changes are unlikely to happen at the scale and pace required unless the Government prioritises action to:

  • establish a comprehensive and durable climate change policy framework, including separate legislated long-term targets for short- and long-lived gases; a series of successive emissions budgets; and an independent Climate Change Commission
  • reform the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme and apply some form of emissions pricing to methane from agriculture and waste; and
  • devote significantly more resources to low-emissions innovation and technology, to account for the long timeframes involved in bringing innovative ideas to fruition.

The report also recommends a suite of other policy reforms to help drive the transition. These include introducing emissions standards for newly registered vehicles, a feebate scheme to accelerate the uptake of EVs, and mandatory climate-related financial disclosures.

Murray Sherwin notes that “Innovation is at the heart of a transition to a low-emissions economy. Innovation is also the key to high productivity, high incomes and wellbeing, and high environmental performance – all of which New Zealand has struggled with in recent decades. Done well, the transition to low emissions can be the catalyst to lift our overall economic, social and environmental outcomes.

He added, “Firm and steady political leadership, including broad agreement across the political spectrum on both the need, and the means, to make the transition is required. New Zealand’s total emissions may be small in the global context, but all nations, however small, are contributors to the climate change problem and therefore must be contributors to the solution.”

“In our draft report, we noted that the transition would be challenging but achievable. Having now completed our work, we continue to hold that view.”

The Productivity Commission’s final report makes 173 findings and 78 recommendations to Government.

Download the Final Report and Summary Documents here
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Caterpillar to sell forestry business

Caterpillar Announces Plan to Sell the Purpose-Built Forestry Business - Caterpillar Inc announced last week that it has entered into a preliminary agreement with Weiler, Inc. to sell the Cat® purpose-built forestry business. The sale is subject to negotiation of a final agreement, the closing of which is expected by early 2019.

“We remain committed to supporting our forestry customers and the forestry industry,” said Tom Pellette, Caterpillar Construction Industries Group President. “The sale of the purpose-built forestry business enables Caterpillar and Weiler to serve the complete forestry industry while providing customers with the same outstanding sales and service support they’ve come to expect.”

Caterpillar will continue to provide forestry excavators designed for log loading, processing and other forestry applications, in addition to supplying core Caterpillar equipment to the forestry industry. Weiler will design and manufacture purpose- built forestry products, which will be available through the Cat and Prentice dealer networks.

The proposed sale includes the purpose-built forestry product line consisting of wheel skidders, track feller bunchers, wheel feller bunchers, knuckleboom loaders, and related operations facilities including the manufacturing plant and warehouse in LaGrange, Georgia, the demonstration and training center in Auburn, Alabama, and the legacy Prentice parts distribution center in Smithfield, North Carolina.

Founded in 2000, Weiler has a long-standing history of successfully manufacturing purpose-built equipment distributed through the Cat dealer network and currently produces an extensive portfolio of products.

“We believe that the purpose-built forestry product line is the ideal addition to our current product portfolio,” commented Pat Weiler, owner and founder of Weiler, Inc. “We have a proven track record of working with Cat dealers all over the world to respond rapidly to customers with specialized product needs. We are confident that our existing product line experience, our flexible design and manufacturing strategy, and our commitment to customers provide a strong foundation to successfully serve the purpose-built forestry segment.”

It is anticipated that approximately 270 employees supporting the purpose-built forestry business will retain employment with Weiler. A small number of Caterpillar employees will continue to support forestry excavators and the existing forest products field population.

About Caterpillar – For more than 90 years, Caterpillar Inc. has been making sustainable progress possible and driving positive change on every continent. Customers turn to Caterpillar to help them develop infrastructure, energy and natural resource assets. With 2017 sales and revenues of $45.462 billion, Caterpillar is the world’s leading manufacturer of construction and mining equipment, diesel and natural gas engines, industrial gas turbines and diesel- electric locomotives. The company principally operates through its three primary segments - Construction Industries, Resource Industries and Energy & Transportation - and also provides financing and related services through its Financial Products segment.

For more information, visit caterpillar.com.

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Gough Cat committed to NZ forestry

Gough Cat committed to ongoing support for forestry industry – Gough Cat’s United States supplier Caterpillar announced recently that it has entered into a preliminary agreement with Weiler Inc to sell the Cat purpose-built forestry business, except for forestry excavators. The sale is subject to negotiation of a final agreement, the closing of which is expected by early 2019.

Gough Cat remains strongly committed to supporting its forestry customers and the forestry industry, says Gough Cat Executive General Manager Chris Heaton.

Caterpillar will continue to provide forestry excavators designed for log loading, processing and other forestry applications, in addition to supplying core Caterpillar equipment to the forestry industry. Weiler will design and manufacture purpose-built forestry products.

“The sale of the purpose-built forestry business enables Caterpillar and Weiler to serve the complete forestry industry, while Gough Cat will continue to provide customers with the same outstanding sales and service support they’ve come to expect,” says Chris Heaton.

Founded in 2000, Weiler has a long-standing history of successfully manufacturing purpose-built equipment distributed through the Cat dealer network and currently produces an extensive portfolio of products.

“Weiler has a proven track record of working with Cat dealers like Gough Cat all over the world to respond rapidly to customers with specialised product needs. We are confident this provides a strong foundation to successfully serve our customers in the purpose-built forestry segment," says Chris Heaton.

Source: Gough Cat

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Redwoods for King Country farmland

US company snaps up farmland for forestry plantation – A large-scale land purchase by an American forestry company west of Taup? will see 1148ha of farmland converted into a redwood forest.

The $7 million purchase north of Taumarunui, near Matiere, by The New Zealand Redwood Company (NZRC) was approved by the Overseas Investment Office in July.

The venture was likely to create six full-time jobs and increase New Zealand's export returns because the bulk of the timber will be exported to the United States in a processed form, the OIO consent said.

Taupo-based NZRC was formed in 2001 by the Soper Wheeler Co of California, a 100-year-old forestry firm. NZRC specialises in redwoods, which are the world's tallest trees and are found naturally in a coastal strip in Oregon and California. It has so far planted 3000ha of redwood and intends to keep establishing forests in New Zealand.

NZRC chief executive Simon Rapley said the company plans to plant redwoods on 650ha, retain the 270ha of native forest and leave the balance in pasture on the sheep-beef farm.

More >>

Source: Stuff News

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NZFOA: Massive planting rate required

Productivity Commission Report heralds massive land conversion to forestry – Forest owners say the Productivity Commission’s call for up to 2.8 million hectares of land to be turned into forests as a carbon sink would require implementing the most ambitious land-use change project a New Zealand government has ever set itself.

Forest Owners Association President Peter Weir says the scope of afforestation proposed to get New Zealand to carbon neutrality by 2050 would need a new- planting rate, of 100,000 hectares a year, which has been achieved only once in New Zealand in recent times – in 1994.

“The government would then have to maintain this planting rate for three decades to achieve the goal.”

Peter Weir says it’s vital that the government works closely with all landowning groups to ensure an efficient and equitable transition to an envisaged ‘decarbonised economy’.

“A carbon price, with a transparent and realistic system of price setting, needs to be high enough to encourage change from current activities and land use, to forestry. The Productivity Commission escalated price projections are realistic in that respect.”

Farm Foresters Association President Neil Cullen believes the only sufficient land area to achieve the Commission’s goal is to be found on farms.

“Farmers will need to have access to the best advice on how to go about planting woodlots, and so avoid the mistakes too prevalent in the past, such as poor planning for road access at harvest time.”

“That’s not just a government job, but I believe farm organisations have a central role in helping the transformation of farm properties into an integrated land use operation with a substantial investment in forestry.”

Peter Weir says that he has a concern that there might be two ‘pools’ of methane accounting arising from the report.

“It is likely to lead to a grand-parented tradeable emission right for dairy farmers which is denied to sheep and beef farmers.”

Neil Cullen says widespread planting for carbon fixing needs to focus on the species of trees which are best at doing that in the required time scale.

“In the distant future our new indigenous forests will be locking up a lot of carbon. But if you are to achieve efficient carbon capture in the relatively short term, that’s to 2050, there is no doubt that exotic trees, such as conifers and eucalypts, are the best candidates for the job.”

Peter Weir says the vast afforestation envisaged by the Productivity Commission will need to incorporate whole catchments to reach the target.

“For a scheme of such as scale, we cannot afford to get either the environmental or the economic side wrong.”

Source: NZ Forest Owners Association

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Opportunities for the AI-controlled exoskeleton

At the IFA in Berlin this week, LG is set to unveil a "wearable robot" exoskeleton designed to help workers take the load off their legs. LG has been pushing the robot angle hard lately. Last year the electronics company released robots to help out at home and in public places like airports, and earlier this year it followed up with the CLOi lineup to serve visitors in hotels and supermarkets.

The new lower-body exoskeleton also bears the CLOi brand. The LG CLOi SuitBot consists of a pair of robotic legs that a user can step into to augment their own, making it easier to stand, walk and work. The aim is to reduce physical strain and risk of injury for people who are on their feet all day at work.

The SuitBot has sandal-style shoes designed to be easy to slide your own feet into, and will automatically adjust to individual users. LG says it's comfortable and has joints that rotate in a natural way. It's also packed with artificial intelligence to let it learn and get better at its job over time, by analyzing data from the user and the environment. Taking that into account, the SuitBot can apparently suggest the best movements and stances.

Of course, it's not the first example of this type of technology we've seen. Honda has been err, treading the exoskeleton path for some years, while California startup suitX has a non-motorized exoskeleton called MAX for industry use, as well as the modular Phoenix designed to restore mobility to people with disability. Companies like Lockheed Martin have also been tinkering with supportive devices for soldiers.

For local wood processors or manufacturers, the good news is you don’t have to be at the Berlin show this week. In just two weeks’ time, local companies who will be attending the upcoming WoodTECH 2018 series, will hear from Dr. Kazerooni, the founder and CEO of US Bionics and SuitX, the California-based robotics company which designs and manufactures medical and industrial exoskeletons.

Dr Kazerooni is also a professor in the Mechanical Engineering Department at the University of California, Berkeley and director of the Berkeley Robotics and Human Engineering Laboratory. In 2005 Dr. Kazerooni also founded Ekso Bionics, which brought to the market his lab’s earlier exoskeleton products.

Dr. Kazerooni has won numerous awards, including Discover Magazine’s Technological Innovation Award and New York Times most innovative technology of the year. He is an internationally recognized authority on robotics and world leader in exoskeletons.

Local wood manufacturers for the first time will get a unique look into the options for harnessing exoskeletons for their workforce. Already close to 300 have registered for the upcoming WoodTECH 2018 series. Late registrations can still be made on the event website, woodtech.events.




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Minister Shane Jones wants criminals to help One Billion Trees project

People on the dole and those before the courts could provide some of the labour needed to implement the Government's One Billion Trees project, says Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones.

The outspoken MP told a public meeting at the Tauranga Citizens Club yesterday: 'If you can get up and go to work you should be made to do it.'

He said the forest sector was screaming out for additional employees to roll out the strategy, which would see regional plantings around the country jump from 50 million trees to 65 million next year.

After the meeting, which included a question and answer session, Jones fronted media and said with suitable training some of the people appearing before court should be sent to join planting gangs and "made to pick up a spade".

More >>

Source: NZ Herald

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Wood for energy seen as key

“The time for talking is now over and it is now time to take action,” says Brian Cox, Executive Officer for the Bioenergy Association in a review of the report from the Productivity Commission into a low- emissions economy. “The Productivity Commission has set out in a very clear manner the main opportunity areas for taking action to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. It has also identified key policy areas which should be addressed. We now need to act on these and many are low cost and easy to achieve.”

Mr Cox says that “It is encouraging that the Commission has recognised that the opportunities from utilising wood residues and waste for the production of energy are based on proven technologies, and except for in the transport area, does not involve a lot of investment and research.” “It is also encouraging that the Commission has recommended to Government that it should move to ban the use of fossil fuels in its own energy facilities such as school and prison heating. By Government showing leadership by eliminating its own fossil fuel consumption this will set a good role model for the private sector to follow.”

Mr Cox says, “The Commission has recommended urgent action if we are to achieve the 2050 target. It says that this is possible. Each year we see an increase in the number of new biomass fuelled heating facilities being installed throughout the country. We see the capability of the industry supplying biomass fuel increasing as demand for the fuel increases. There are few barriers that are not manageable so leadership from Government will provide even greater stimulus to replacing coal use for making process heat.”

“We also see the number of Councils such as Auckland who are already collecting separated food waste which could be converted into making the electricity which all those electric vehicles are going to need. Converting organic waste into useable biogas will reduce the discharge of methane as a greenhouse gas, into the air. Waste to energy is technically possible but management of the waste streams will be necessary before it can become wide spread. That will require leadership from local government. However as cities like Vancouver are already showing – it is easy and doesn’t cost a lot of money – just leadership.”

“The Productivity Commission report provides a good framework for action and builds on what is already occurring. We just need to put more effort into the low hanging opportunities such as from bioenergy.”

Source: Bioenergy Association

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Extreme fire risk in NZ may double

A warming New Zealand could help its plantation forests grow - but not without extreme fire risk almost doubling by the end of the century. Scion researchers have modelled what climate change will mean for the country's plantation forests, taking into account everything from growth gains to risk from pests, disease and wind.

The modelling suggested changing climatic conditions - notably higher temperatures and changes in rainfall - would bring little gains in productivity for our main commercial forest species, radiata pine.

But when the photosynthetic effects from increasing carbon dioxide were factored in, the researchers estimated productivity gains of around 10 per cent by 2040, and double that by 2090.

The study's lead author, Dr Michael Watt, said there were some other positives that emerged from the projections. More growth would mean greater uptake of CO2 which could further offset New Zealand's carbon emissions.

Further, two key pine needle diseases that were modelled - dothistroma and cyclaneusma - didn't appear to become more damaging under climate change. But Watt said the increased productivity would bring marked increases in wind risk, due to trees becoming taller and more slender.

Further, the average season length with "very high and extreme" climatic fire risk could almost double under climate change by 2090.



Projections of the annual frequency of Very High and Extreme forest fire danger over the fire season months. Source / Scion

Rural fires already wreak enough damage to cost the economy around $67 million each year, although they generally tended to be smaller, and not on the scale of monster blazes seen in dry places like Australia that roll through thousands of hectares of land.

Under projected scenarios, which assumed several degrees of average temperature increase and stronger, more frequent westerly winds, firefighters could face not just more and larger fires, but those with extreme characteristics that can threaten crews.

Scion senior scientist Grant Pearce found that almost all areas of the country would see an increase in fire danger, with the average fire season length increasing by about 70 per cent up to 2040, and by about 80 per cent up to 2090.

Although the most fire prone regions of Gisborne, Marlborough and Canterbury would remain the most at risk, the relative increase in risk was highest in Wellington and coastal Otago, where it could double and triple to 30 days and 20 days per season, respectively.

The new study found a further risk of damage from insects, Watt said. "We don't currently have any damaging insects with New Zealand plantations, but population levels and resulting damage are likely to increase in the future as warmer temperatures accelerate insect development."

Watt expected the new findings would prove helpful to forest managers in planning for the future.

Source: nzherald.co.nz

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Jobs



Buy and Sell



... and finally ... oops ...

A New York attorney representing a wealthy art collector phoned his client. He said, "Saul, I have some good news and I have some bad news.”

The art collector replied, "I've had an awful day, let's hear the good news first.”

The lawyer said, "Well, I met with your wife today, and she informed me that she invested $5,000 in two pictures that she thinks will bring a minimum of $15-20 million. I think she could be right.”

Saul replied enthusiastically, "Well done! My wife is a brilliant businesswoman! You've just made my day. Now I know I can handle the bad news. What is it?”

The lawyer replied, "The pictures are of you and your secretary!”

----------------------------

Two lovers were entwined in a passionate embrace on the lounge room floor when suddenly they heard a car coming up the driveway.

“Quick!” the woman shrieked. “That will be a my husband. He’s a policeman and he’s twice as big as you.”

Her companion hopped about frantically and said, “Where’s the back door?”

“We haven’t got one,” she replied.

“Well, tell me quickly, “ he said, “where do you WANT one?”

----------------------------

A man and a woman were having a quiet, romantic dinner in a fine restaurant. They were gazing lovingly at each other and holding hands.

The waitress, taking another order at a table a few steps away, suddenly noticed the woman slowly sliding down her chair, under the table and under the table cloth but the man stared straight ahead. The waitress watched as the woman slid all the way down her chair and totally out of sight under the tablecloth. Still, the man stared straight ahead.

The waitress, thinking this behavior a bit risque and worried that it might offend other diners, went over to the table and, tactfully, began by saying to the man: "Pardon me sir, but I think your wife just slid under the table."

The man calmly looked up at her and said: "No, unfortunately, she just walked in."



That's all for this week's wood news.

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John Stulen
Editor
Innovatek Limited
PO Box 1230
Rotorua, New Zealand
Mob: +64 27 275 8011
Web: www.woodweek.com

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