WoodWeek – 23 October 2019

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Greetings from your WoodWeek news team. Our first FIEA Conference series for 2020 will be the Forest Industry Safety & Technology 2020 Conference planned for 20-21 May in Rotorua & 27-28 May in Melbourne. This event is firmly focused on the needs of forestry contractors, managers, owners, health & safety leaders, harvest supervisors, transport operators, safety technology innovators and safety regulation inspectors and managers. This week we are putting out a call for all interested speakers to make contact. We are also currently engaging with key stakeholders for input. Changes in cultural factors, workplace technologies and attitudes for engagement are coming up in these discussions. We invite and look forward to your input.

Moving to value propositions for our logs – we have a story from Callaghan Innovation who have been working with Auckland and Gisborne-based Wood Engineering Technology (WET). After 15 years of R&D, they have mastered how to optimise the disassembly and reassembly processes for logs to engineered timber products. They have done it using a data-driven end-to-end automation process. WET has now developed a patented method of creating glulam.

The approach and technology underpinning WET’s innovation fit under the broad umbrella of “Industry 4.0”, which uses interconnected sensors, artificial intelligence and robotics to digitise manufacturing for greater productivity and better products.

Meanwhile, forestry-focused company, Tigercat, has purchased the manufacturers of the ‘Carbonizer’ product line. Already a commercially available product, this innovative carbon negative technology can convert processed and unprocessed wood debris into biochar. Still relatively new to the marketplace, this technology has attracted widespread interest from both the private and public sectors seeking practical methods to reduce atmospheric carbon emissions. The Carbonizer’s single step process sequesters carbon and significantly reduces debris volume while creating a product useful in agriculture.

After a huge engineering and construction effort, the new Nelson airport is now our greatest wood-is-good showcase. It's a timber masterpiece. What a fantastic way of showing the beauty and strength of wood for commercial buildings, not to mention the carbon sequestration.

Finally, we've saved the best for last. It's latest Brexit update for you – explained in the simplest terms yet. Enjoy!

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Call for Speakers: Forest Safety Conference Series

Forest Industry Safety & Technology Call for Speakers

Our first FIEA Conference series for 2020 will be the Forest Industry Safety & Technology 2020 Conference planned for 20 -21 May in Rotorua & 27 – 28 May in Melbourne. This event is firmly focussed on the needs of forestry contractors, managers, owners, health & safety leaders, harvest supervisors, transport operators, safety technology innovators and safety regulation inspectors and senior managers.

We are working closely with a wide range of international specialists, service suppliers, researchers and government bodies to develop a strong and innovative programme. Feedback from previous events is a key driver as well. A focus group will be formed to guide our speaker choices.

If you are keen to be a speaker at our conference and you are an early adopter, developer, innovator, technology supplier, service provider or researcher within the forestry sector specifically around safety, our conference team would like to hear from you. Also make contact if you are keen to be part of our focus group deciding where the emphasis of the program should be.

The 2020 Forest Industry Safety & Technology conference will include sessions based around:
- Cultural factors delivering results in improved safety outcomes
- Achieving the best practice safety in forest operations: what's working best?
- What areas have the greatest need for safety awareness right now?
- Technology developments: what’s new and working well?

If you are interested in being considered as a speaker, or would like to recommend an early adopter, case study or international expert, please contact John Stulen in our Rotorua office.





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Technology lift for logs: A better value business

Gisborne’s Wood Engineering Technology (WET) is using high tech processes to turn low-value logs – destined for wood chips – into quality timber - The strong scent of pine you get as you pass by logging depots at our major ports is one of the more obvious signs of our booming export industry for radiata pine logs.

Around seven per cent of our land area is covered in forest logging plantations, which produced exports in the form of raw logs and milled timber worth $6.4 billion last year. Nearly half of it went to China.

Our top-quality pine is highly valued, but it represents only a fraction of exports. The rest is considered second-rate and sent as logs for use in packaging or reduced to woodchip or paper. What if you could find a way to turn that exported deadwood into valuable building materials for the domestic market?

That’s exactly the goal of Auckland and Gisborne-based Wood Engineering Technology (WET) which, after 15 years of R&D, has mastered how to do it using a data-driven end- to-end automation process. WET has a patented method of creating glue-laminated timber.

The approach and technology underpinning WET’s innovation fit under the broad umbrella of “Industry 4.0”, which uses interconnected sensors, artificial intelligence and robotics to digitise manufacturing for greater productivity and better products.

WET’s industrial process exploits the variability within each log as well as the grade, or quality of the log, which is broken down and then reengineered as lumber.

It is the optimisation of the disassembly and reassembly process that gives WET its innovation edge.

“Our process allows a lower grade log from radiata pine plantations to be manufactured efficiently into engineered wood products,” says WET’s Chief Executive Officer, Shaun Bosson.

At a glance:
> A sustained commitment to R&D has seen Wood Engineering Technology (WET) develop glue-laminated timber products that are sustainable alternatives to concrete and steel.

> WET’s plant in Gisborne incorporates Industry 4.0 principles including automation, data- driven decision-making and real-time analytics fed by well over 2000 sensor inputs and outputs.

> The timber beams that WET produces offer lighter and more flexible building materials and this production creates fewer carbon emissions.

> WET is now raising capital with a view to operating its modular lumber plants near forestry regions around New Zealand.

More >>

Source: Callaghan Innovation


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China: Purchasing Manager Index

Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index is widely considered to be a leading indicate for trade - China’s official manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index inched up in September to 49.8 according to the National Bureau of Statistics from 49.5 in August.

The index has been below 50 for almost six months indicating activity was still cooling amid uncertainty caused by the protracted trade dispute between China and the US. The 50-point level separates contraction from expansion.

A sub index measuring total new orders received by manufacturers in China rebounded to above 50 in September, the first time the new order sub index showed an expansion since May.

Source: ITTO TTM Report Oct 2019


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Tigercat buys ROI/Carbonizer

Tigercat Industries Inc. based in Ontario, Canada completed the purchase of Ragnar Original Innovations (ROI) located in New Hampshire, USA. The company, founded by Anders Ragnarsson, currently manufactures material processing machinery used in the construction, forestry and recycling industries.

Tigercat is pleased to welcome Anders and his talented staff to the Tigercat team. They bring decades of experience and expertise in the design and manufacture of material processing machinery, broadening Tigercat’s range of capabilities within the marketplace. Anders has assumed the role of VP engineering, material processing products. He and his team will continue to operate from their Chester, New Hampshire location until a new facility in Freemont, New Hampshire ­– currently under construction – is completed.

The initial and immediate addition to the Tigercat line-up will be the Carbonizer product line. Already a commercially available product, this innovative carbon negative technology can convert processed and unprocessed wood debris into a product called Biochar. Still relatively new to the marketplace, this technology has attracted widespread interest from both the private and public sectors seeking practical methods to reduce atmospheric carbon emissions. The Carbonizer’s single step process sequesters carbon and significantly reduces debris volume while creating a product useful in agriculture.

All ROI products retailed to date will be fully supported by Tigercat throughout their lifespans.


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Smart shirt for forestry workers

The development of a ‘smart shirt’ being engineered to improve the safety of forestry workers is just one of the latest innovations on display at Hamilton City Council’s Smart Space.

Sensors in the shirt, being developed by The University of Waikato, can predict fatigue by measuring perspiration, heart rate and heart-rate variability, and then alert the wearer and a colleague.

The shirt's creators will be part of the upcoming FIEA 2020 Forest Industry Safety & Technology Conference series coming to Rotorua and Melbourne in May 2020. Our programme is beginning to fill with speakers and a call for speakers is being made this week in WoodWeek and Friday Offcuts.


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Mass timber showcased at new Nelson airport

Prime Minister opens new Nelson airport - The opening ceremony for Nelson Airport’s impressive state-of-the-art facility was held last week, with Prime Minister, the Right Honourable Jacinda Ardern unveiling a plaque and receiving a behind the scenes look at the newly completed terminal.

Designed by Studio Pacific Architecture and built by Naylor Love in partnership with Gibbons Construction and Fulton Hogan, the airport terminal caters for growth projections in excess of 50% of the current 1 million passengers which have passed through the facility in the last 12 months.

More than twice the size of the previous terminal, the new building has an indoor luggage carousel and offers more seating, airline lounges, conference rooms, toilets and retail spaces. The number of car parks has also increased from 600 to 900.

The new building has a distinctive local feel, with most of the timber and steel used in the construction sourced from Nelson Tasman. The locally grown and processed Laminated Veneer Lumber structure, the natural ventilation, solar chimneys, use of natural light and recycling initiatives are leading the way in the modern terminal.

The panoramic “floor to ceiling” windows showcase the wonderful climate and an innovative roof structure reflects the surrounding mountains and national parks in a combination of folded plates and beams.


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NZ researchers recognised at FGR Awards

Researchers in fields as diverse as nitrogen movement in forest soils, to the designer of a grapple on a helicopter to collect forest slash from vulnerable slopes, have been recognised at the Forest Growers Research Awards at Te Papa in Wellington on Tuesday this week.

The annual awards ceremony is to acknowledge the science and technology contribution made to the forest industry in an increasingly demanding economic and environmental marketplace.

The award winners were;

Communication and Sector Engagement

Dr Amanda Matson, Scion. Amanda’s skill set includes a great ability to communicate the research she’s doing on what’s going on under the ground in a pine forest, particularly the movement of soil nutrients.

Innovation for Sector Value

Dr Graham Coker, Scion. Graham’s study is using foliar fertiliser applications to see what works to enhance tree growth and when it’s best to apply those nutrients.

Science of International Quality

The Phenotyping Team from Scion and the University of Canterbury School of Forestry. This large team has been pulling together diverse science areas – such as genetics, remote sensing, computer modelling – to make huge world leading gains in finding, identifying, analysing and using the genetics of individual super-trees trees in Timberlands and Lake Taupo forests.

Research Participation and Implementation

Hamish McPherson of PF Olsen. Hamish has been recognised for his development work on a helicopter slash grapple which is used to remove forest slash which has fallen near to waterways. This engineering is a significant development in reducing the risks of slash in rivers causing downstream damage.

Collaboration in a Science Team

Loretta Garratt, Scion. Lorretta is the scientist everyone wants on their team according to her colleagues. Her work has varied from productivity trails to measuring nitrogen transfer in forest soils.

Young Scientist

Dr Stuart Fraser, Scion. Stuart is recent recruit to working in New Zealand to combat forest tree diseases, such as the threat of myrtle rust and dothistroma needle blight.

Photo: Scion’s Toby Stovold and David Pont looking for super-trees in Kaingaroa Forest (phenotyping team)

Source & Photo: Forest Growers Research

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Austrian logging conference report

The Symposium Formec “Forestry Mechanization" was held in Sopron and Forchtenstein (Hungary & Austria) from the 6th – 9th October, crossing over with the Austrofoma machine demonstration (held every four years). The conference is organised by Boku University, Vienna.

The purpose of Formec is to combine experience from worldwide scientists, researchers and practitioners in forest operations and planning on close-to-nature principles. As well as this, encourage cooperation, gather knowledge and improve exchange of information in forestry profession and science.

Many research projects were displayed at Formec with around 100 presenters. The presentations I found to push the envelope of forest engineering was the autonomous forwarder which emphasises the aim to get the man of the slope. Issues raised with this innovation are reliance on consistent cut slope and tracks for accurate and safe machine movement via lasers.

Of course, the Scion tree robot presented by Richard Parker would be a large talking point, adopting artificial intelligence to forest engineering in a unique way. The opportunities with this machine are outstanding; thinning, extracting directly to log truck and continuous cover harvesting as in Europe.

Austrofoma followed the Formec conference, involving a 6km trail through the forests of the Esterhazy farms (sea of red hard hats). The event saw 150 exhibitors and 20,800 visitors over four days from 7th – 10th October. The practical and future-oriented use of forestry machines on display shows that near-natural forest management is compatible with modern, contemporary forest technology.

Source: Cameron Leslie, Masters student, University of Canterbury Click here to download more information


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What next? Fence posts without wood

Business booming for startup making fence posts from waste plastic - Business is booming for a Kiwi startup which turns plastic waste into fence posts. The new company, Future Post, has invented an environmentally friendly fence post made from 100 percent recycled plastics.

As well as helping minimise plastic waste, the posts are stronger and more durabkle than traditional fence post designs. General manager of Future Post, Jerome Wenzlick said the idea was born one day on his Waiuku farm.

"We were putting a fence up around an old rubbish dump, and wooden posts were breaking into the ground," he said. "Now we are part of that circular economy, giving an end-use for something which was destined for the landfill, that's the cool part about it."

The company now employs 10 people and produces around 400 posts a day.

More >>

Source: Newshub


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FWPA on 3D printing using wood waste

“The ultimate dream for 3D printing is to print entire buildings or cities.”

We spoke to Professor Sandra Karina Löschke, the Director of the Architecture and Design Group at the University of Sydney about new technology that’s combining timber-waste products and recycled plastics to create a high-performance construction element.

Listen to the full interview on WoodChat
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... almost finally ... Solar roadway idea dumped

Sometimes we should just let a bad idea die - The editors behind the new ideas 'TreeHugger' website have always been proud to display diverse views. Derek Markham was excited about the Wattway solar roadway built in France, while I have always thought the idea was nuts. Readers complained, "This is an innovative idea. It's refreshing to see such original ideas out in the world." Sami stood with Derek and the readers, and noted, "First they ignore you. Then they laugh at you. Then they post your crowdfunding video. And then... well, let's just wait and see."

A year ago I noted that the Wattway road was generating half as much energy as expected, and again readers complained that I am rushing to judgement: "Lloyd, would you please stop bashing these solar roads? Eventually they will figure it out or it will spawn some other great green solution."

But sometimes, perhaps we should just acknowledge when something is a dumb idea and move on. According to Le Monde and Popular Mechanics, the Wattway solar road has been declared a complete flop. Driving over it made so much noise that they had to drop the speed limit to 70 km/hr.

Le Monde describes the road as "pale with its ragged joints," with "solar panels that peel off the road and the many splinters that enamel resin protecting photovoltaic cells." It's a poor sign for a project that French government invested in to the tune of €5 million, or $5,546,750.

More >>

Source: Treehugger


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Buy and Sell



... and finally ... Brexit explained





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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