Friday Offcuts 2 December 2016
The industrial landscape is changing fast. Transformation within manufacturing is being driven by significant advances in digital connectivity and analytics. This is also playing a role in creating more efficient supply chains and workplaces. Research into areas like sensors, data analytics, advanced materials, robotics, automation, 3D printing and augmented - or virtual – reality” will according to the new report, be key future focus areas for Australian manufacturers. The full report can be downloaded in the lead story this week.
In line with transformative technologies, a local sawmilling company has been in touch with us to provide an insight into their own efforts to improve safety on their work sites. Rather than heading down the path of automation with robots, the company’s thinking has been outside the square. They’re looking at a new robotic exoskeleton that can be used by its workers. It’s been developed by Panasonic, it’s no longer the realm of science fiction and it may be coming to a mill near you soon. Check out the story and the link to the technology below.
For a more light-hearted or entertaining finish to the week on, we’ve got a story on the rise of the “lumbersexuals”. Yes – they do exist. These are the good-looking guys representing the logging industry that you see in the magazines or television selling us everything from flannel clothes to aftershave. We’ve also included some pretty amazing shots caught on camera of three climbers scaling Canada’s second-largest known Douglas-fir tree, a 216-foot-high tree growing on Vancouver Island.
Finally, as we get closer to the end of the year and the traditional shut-down of offices and work places for the summer break, the last issue of Friday Offcuts for 2016 is scheduled for Friday 16 December. If wanting to get information or advertising details into the few remaining issues for the year, please send them through to us before the final issue goes out. Enjoy this week’s read and then go park yourself in front of that mirror and groom that “good looking” beard.
This week we have for you:
Mapping a manufacturing future for AustraliaCSIRO has revealed its blueprint for how Australian manufacturers can survive and prosper in an uncertain future. The Advanced Manufacturing Roadmap, which was written in collaboration with industry, government and researchers, identifies major growth opportunities and what manufacturers need to do to achieve them.
“The Advanced Manufacturing Roadmap is the compass that guides our excellent science to deliver the breakthrough innovation needed to re-imagine Australian advanced manufacturing," CSIRO Chief Executive Dr Larry Marshall said.
"Australian science can turn disruptors and increased globalisation into opportunities for value creation right here at home. Whether it's 3D printed sternums to save lives, or 3D paper weaving to help Australian SMEs break into global value chains - or as the great Billy Hughes said 'science will guide the manufacturer into greener pastures."
The Advanced Manufacturing Roadmap spells out how manufacturing is becoming increasingly global, with integration into international value chains vital. Over the next 20 years, Australia's manufacturing industry must evolve into a highly integrated, collaborative and export-focused environment that provides high-value solutions.
The sector needs to focus on pre-production activities such as design, research and development; as well as value-adding services, sustainable manufacturing and low volume/high margin customised products.
CSIRO Manufacturing Director Dr Keith McLean said this would require significant technological innovation by public and private research communities. "The industrial landscape is changing fast. We need to start evolving with it," Dr McLean said. "Australian manufacturing has a strong, high-tech future. The research sector needs to focus on areas like sensors, data analytics, advanced materials, robotics, automation, 3D printing and augmented - or virtual – reality”.
"Australian manufacturers must transform their businesses by investing in new knowledge, skills and practices." The Advanced Manufacturing Roadmap calls on Australia's research and manufacturing sectors to increase their collaboration and alignment with each other.
It also urges manufacturers to:
- Place a greater focus on participation in global value chains
- Improve their ability to attract and retain staff with skills in digital literacy, leadership, customer interface and STEM capabilities
- Increase the gender, age and ethnic diversity of their workforce
- Improve business-to-business collaboration.
The Advanced Manufacturing Roadmap is the first in a series of Roadmaps being produced by CSIRO, each aligned to the Federal Government's Industry Growth Centres. You can find out more by visiting the CSIRO website and downloading the Advanced Manufacturing Roadmap.
Recent NZ carbon price correctionsThe last three weeks has seen the biggest carbon correction of the year – the New Zealand market sold off from $18.90 to below $17. Volume overall was moderate and really driven by three major fundamentals.
1) We were due a correction – the market has doubled this year and like any market – corrections are healthy and necessary.
2) The Trump Effect. His election surprised the carbon market and helped the correction given his climate (denying) stance and threatening to walk away from the Paris Accord.
3) Speculators taking profit. Motivated by points 1 & 2 but also many have held long positions from below $5 and are happy to take profit.
At the end of last week, the market stopped falling and bounced back to $17.50 – many of the speculators selling started to back off and some became buyers. “We have held the long-term view that we would reach $20 by year end and whilst we got close – that may prove to be just out of reach. However – we believe carbon under $18 is good value” says Nigel Brunel, Director Financial Markets , OM Financial Limited.
Trump is also seen moderating many of his positions and was quoted at the end of last week saying he now believes human activity is having an influence on the climate and that he may not walk away from the Paris Accord. In any event – the USA would have to give 4 years notice to withdraw from Paris unless they left the UN altogether – that’s unlikely given he just appointed his ambassador to the UN.
“For NZUs long term – our view is we go higher from here – New Zealand has four years of Kyoto left before Paris begins including two of own elections. We still have to find and surrender 140 million NZUs between 2017 and the end of 2020. In summary - no bears here - just corrections” says Brunel.
Source: OM Financial Limited
Australia adds 16 million ha of PEFC-certified forestThis year saw our PEFC members smash through past records for new PEFC-certified hectares! In Australia alone, more than 16 million hectares of forest became PEFC-certified – an achievement that won Australian Forestry Standard (AFS) the top prize for growth during our PEFC Forest Certification Week award ceremony.
“I am both ecstatic and delighted to have received this award today,” said Simon Dorries, National Secretary of AFS. “These new hectares are in fact from just one certificate holder, bringing over 16 million hectares of additional forest within Australia.”
“What is really interesting is their motivation to gain PEFC certification – to demonstrate responsible land management to society, not simply the ability of produce certified wood for the market. This shows the great flexibility and multi-faceted nature of the PEFC system to be able to deliver such outcomes.”
Second and third place did not do badly either, with Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) and PEFC Russia adding 8.2 million and 8.1 million hectares of certified forest, respectively – an amount that in previous years would have easily given them first place!
Replacing methyl bromide to treat export logs?There is a growing desire (and an international treaty commitment) to end the release to atmosphere of Methyl Bromide, which is currently used as a fumigant for phytosanitary biosecurity treatment of logs and other exports. Joule heating (or using the log as a giant resistor) shows great promise as an alternative and some early work was funded by MPI in New Zealand.
An on-going project (initially funded under the STIMBR PGP and more recently under the STIMBR, Scion, MBIE Market Access Programme) has resulted in the design and construction of a full-size test rig which is being used to test this, along with an array of other technologies. An update on results from this and other trials will be supplied in next week’s issue of Offcuts.
Technology to suit up sawmill workersA large sawmill company in Australia has been looking at ways to improve the OH&S in its manual packing lines. Automatic systems (like robots) are either too expensive and/or unable to handle the vast complexity of timber shapes (oh to have dead straight timber), or simply do not have the productivity of a human.
Rather than robots, the company is instead pursuing another line, the use of power suits (think of what Ripley used in the movie Aliens).
They’re looking at the Panasonic AWN-03. Not so much science fiction anymore. The idea is for workers to wear this suit to provide lower back and leg support whilst packing timber.
As the idea progresses, we hope to keep you updated. For more information on the technology, click here.
Australia's forestry research recognisedHer Majesty Queen Elizabeth II has formally acknowledged the contribution of the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) to forest conservation in Papua New Guinea. ACIAR’s project Enhancing the Implementation of Community Forestry Approaches in Papua New Guinea was showcased at the Buckingham Palace reception on 15 November in London and awarded accreditation under the Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy initiative (QCC).
The QCC is a network of outstanding forest conservation initiatives throughout the 52 nations of the Commonwealth. Being awarded QCC accreditation affirms ACIAR as a global leader in agricultural research for development and highlights the important work undertaken in sustainable community forestry.
Forests cover over 60 per cent of Papua New Guinea, and 97 per cent of these forests are held under customary community ownership. Through ACIAR, Australia is supporting communities to sustainably manage native forests, grow trees and enhance the Papua New Guinean forestry sector. Community forestry is delivering economic and social benefits as well as important environmental outcomes including the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and habitat protection.
This Australian Government project is delivered by ACIAR in cooperation with partners the University of the Sunshine Coast, Papua New Guinea Forestry Association, Papua New Guinea Forest Research Institute, Ramu Agri-Industries Limited, University of Papua New Guinea, Foundation for People and Community Development Incorporated.
Source: Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research
Climbing Canada’s giant Douglas-firThis past March, B.C. conservation photographer TJ Watt captured something incredible on camera: the ascent of three climbers up Canada’s second-largest known Douglas-fir tree. The tree, affectionately known as “Big Lonely Doug,” 216 feet high and 12.4 feet in diameter, stands in a clear-cut north of Port Renfrew on Vancouver Island in a place known as Eden Grove.
Watt captured the climb using a DJI Phantom 3 Pro Drone. The video, made public in August, has already garnered more than 70,000 views on Facebook. The striking video is part of an emerging trend of using technology such as drones to bring more mainstream attention to environmental and wildlife issues.
The climb, which was done by the Ancient Forest Alliance and Arboreal Collective, had a dual purpose: to properly measure “Doug,” and to bring awareness to the issue of logging and old-growth forests.
Although Watt’s latest drone video has been an online success, it’s not the first time that Doug has been climbed. Matthew Beatty, a tree climber from Arboreal Collective, was part of a team that climbed the big fir in 2014. He was back for the second climb, the one Watt captured on his drone.
“Video and photographs go a long way in captivating and reaching out to people,” said Beatty. More >>
Real Christmas trees arrive at Parliament HouseThe Australian Forest Products Association (AFPA) and Canberra Christmas tree delivery company, “the Christmas Tree Truck” delivered real Christmas trees to Australian Parliament House today on Tuesday, exemplifying the positive contribution forest products industries can make to climate change.
The President of the Senate the Hon Stephen Parry and the Speaker of the House of Representatives the Hon Tony Smith have both agreed to display real Christmas trees in the entrance to the Senate and the House of Representatives.
AFPA Chief Executive Officer Mr Ross Hampton said, “Each tree is just one small example of all trees grown in our commercial plantations and forests around Australia. Each year more than 40 million trees are planted in our commercial plantation forests ensuring that our Australian forestry operations are completely sustainable.”
The reign of the lumbersexualsMaybe or maybe not you can relate to this story. On my way down the hall to shave, the wife asked if I was going to shave. To maintain balance of power in the castle, shaving at that point was out of the question, so I said, “Well honey, I think I might just grow out the beard and be one them lumbersexuals.” She gave me that look, as though I were a little kid and put my shoes on the wrong feet.
“Oh yeah.” I said, “You can look it up. All I need is a new flannel shirt and some work pants without holes in them.”
Lumbersexuals aren’t logger guys named Kenny who are built like coke machines that got thrown down a cliff. Lumbersexuals are handsome. They iron their flannels. Their axes don’t have pitch on the handle or dings on the edge. Unlike jog-bra women in sportswear catalogs, they rarely peer into the distance.
Lumbersexual male models peer through their foreheads directly at the camera, one shoulder forward, head cocked to the side, with a look that’s half “Beware, I’m feral” and half, “I can’t wait to kiss myself in the mirror.” Their essential accessory is the beard.
Growing a beard for most of us means nothing more than not shaving. “I’m out of the military. I’m not shaving” or “I’m not shaving until the novel’s finished” or, “Because I don’t feel like it.” Our beards are fields that go to seed when our chins have better things to do. Lumbersexuals, on the other hand, are the Liberaces of beards. We’re talking clean, trimmed, oiled, scented beards: no wood chips, no crumbs, no tartar sauce.
And don’t forget the memes.
Beard memes: “It’s good to have beardless friends. When you go out people assume you’re their leader.” And, “Excuse me ladies, my eyes are up here.” Or, “When two beards cross paths, the larger beard has the right of way.” More >>.
One billionth tree planted to celebrate milestoneThe Hancock Timber Resource Group is celebrating the planting of its one billionth tree since the organization's founding in 1985. The Boston-based timberland investment management organization recently celebrated the milestone with a group of conservation stakeholders at an event in McCloud, California at the McCloud Forest, one of the company's longest held properties.
The one billionth tree planted in McCloud was dedicated to the company's employees, stakeholders, business partners and future generations. Brent Keefer, President of the Hancock Timber Resource Group noted that the one billion seedlings, a $1.1 billion investment, have been planted on the properties it manages in the United States, Canada, South America, New Zealand and Australia.
The Hancock Timber Resource Group, founded in 1985, is a division of Hancock Natural Resource Group, Inc., a unit of Manulife Asset Management Private Markets. Based in Boston, it manages approximately 6.3 million acres of timberland in the United States, Brazil, Chile, Canada, New Zealand and Australia on behalf of investors worldwide.
Source: Hancock Timber Resource Group
Paper workers look at pay cut to save millMore than 900 workers in the Latrobe Valley could give up at least AU$100 a week to ensure Maryvale paper mill in Australia keeps its doors open. Just weeks after 700 workers at Hazelwood power plant were told they would lose their jobs next March, staff at the 80-year-old mill are considering a 5 per cent pay cut in an attempt to save their jobs.
The Herald Sun has revealed the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union has urged its members to accept the reduction after 18 months of talks over a new workplace agreement. In return, the union wants a long-term commitment from Japan’s Nippon Paper Group, the owner of Australian Paper, to invest in the mill and a Federal Government pledge to buy Australian-made copy paper.
“It’s the first time in 40 years in the paper industry I’ve been in the situation to ask people to consider a pay cut,” the CFMEU’s pulp and paper division secretary, Alex Millar said. “It’s not a situation we arrived at willingly and it’s taken just under two years of negotiations.” The collapse of the mill would be a major blow to the struggling community, which is already facing more than AU$100 million leaving the local economy each year when ¬Hazelwood is closed.
Mr Millar said workers would likely vote in a secret ballot in February. While about 500 of the 900-strong workforce at the mill are union members, the Herald Sun has been told there remains resistance to the deal. Maryvale Mill is the single-biggest private employer in the Latrobe Valley and Australia’s only manufacturer of office, printing and packaging papers.
Source: Herald Sun
New CEO to lead NZ science into successA new champion of research commercialisation, Dr James Hutchinson, has taken the helm of the Kiwi Innovation Network Ltd (KiwiNet) - New Zealand’s national network of universities and Crown Research Institutes working together to take great science discoveries to market.
KiwiNet’s 16 partnering organisations collaborate to increase the scale and impact of science-based innovation. Collectively, the consortium represents over 70% of New Zealand's publicly funded scientists. With KiwiNet’s founding General Manager, Dr Bram Smith, moving to a private sector role, Dr James Hutchinson, previously a Commericalisation Manager at KiwiNet, has been appointed as CEO.
Dr Hutchinson has experience in supporting research and innovation in the UK and internationally with a particular focus on the life sciences and global societal challenges. He led a team of programme specialists to develop and implement a platform of science policy, advocacy, networking, conferences, workshops and other initiatives, working in close partnership with the international chemical science community. He is an experienced project leader who has a strong track record of working with government, industry and academia at senior levels.
KiwiNet's PreSeed investment partners have invested over NZ$26.7 million into more than 500 projects since 2003. To date PreSeed investment (provided by the Ministry of Innnovation Business and Employment) has led to over 153 commercial deals attracting over NZ$114 million of business investment and 27 new start-up companies. Collectively, KiwiNet’s investments into research commericalisation are generating a greater than five-fold return on investment to New Zealand and this is growing.
About the Kiwi Innovation Network (KiwiNet)
The Kiwi Innovation Network (KiwiNet) comprises universities and Crown Research Institutes and agencies working together to increase the scale and impact of scientific and technology based innovation in New Zealand. KiwiNet’s role is to empower those involved in research commercialisation by helping them access the tools, connections, investment and support they need. By working together, KiwiNet aims to better leverage the combined capability of NZ research organisations and help each other to achieve greater commercial outcomes for New Zealand.
KiwiNet partner organisations include WaikatoLink, Plant & Food Research, Otago Innovation Ltd, Lincoln University, AUT Enterprises, AgResearch, University of Canterbury, Callaghan Innovation, Viclink, Landcare Research, Cawthron Institute, ESR, NIWA, Scion, GNS Science and Malaghan Institute. Principal support is also provided by the Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment (MBIE).
U.S. fires first shot in lumber disputeThe U.S. Lumber Coalition has filed a petition asking the U.S. Department of Commerce to investigate Canadian softwood lumber shipments with an eye to potentially levying new duties, kicking off a fresh round of litigation between two countries with a long history of trade disputes over wood.
The petition is said to be hundreds of pages long and its exact contents are not yet known. But the arguments it makes are expected to be familiar to the Canadian industry, which has had to defend itself against complaints of unfair subsidization and dumping in the past. In a news release, the U.S. lobby group alleged that Canadian provinces provide trees to lumber producers for a fee that is below the market value for timber, which Canada denies.
“Canadian lumber is being sold for less than fair value in the United States,” the release said. Friday’s petition details the alleged injury suffered by U.S. industry and workers because of “unfair” imports.
After the previous softwood lumber agreement expired last year, it said, Canadian imports surged from 29.5 per cent of U.S. total consumption in the third quarter of 2015 to 33.1 per cent in the fourth quarter of the same year and to 34.1 per cent so far in 2016 — at the “direct expense” of U.S. producers.
But U.S. construction has also been on the rise, and the Canadian lumber industry maintains its American counterparts cannot fulfil the requirements on its own. The petition blames Canadian imports for a drop in lumber prices. Mill closures and job losses resulted, it said, calling on the United States to “impose duties to offset the harm.”
Source: CBC News
Sth Korean economic, construction & lumber updateEconomic Update
South Korea’s GDP per capita reached US$27,214 in 2015 and is expected to touch the landmark US$30,000 level (to be more specific, US$31,744) in 2018 contingent upon some economic conditions including annual GDP growth of 2.8% for 2017 and 2.9% for 2018.
South Korea extended its trade surplus streak to 55 consecutive months in August on the back of a turnaround in exports for the first time in 20 months. Exports rose 2.6% to US$40.1 billion in August from a year ago to snap a 19-consecutive-month losing streak that started in January 2015 and imports at the same time also turned around to edge up 0.7% to US$35 billion marking the first on-year growth in 23 months resulting trade surplus came to US$5.1 billion in August.
South Korea’s consumer prices increased 0.4% in August, the slowest pace in 16 months from a year earlier rekindling concerns of possible deflation saddled with a protracted slump in domestic demand and falling exports. The country’s unemployment rate edged up to 3.6% in August, compared with 3.5% tallied in July. The monthly gain in employment was majorly led by the construction sector on the back of a fresh boom in the real estate market.
South Korea’s housing starts in year-to-date July of 2016 increased 5.2% to 68,242 buildings from a year earlier of 64,892 buildings. Housing permits in the same period also increased 10.1% to 77,705 buildings from a year earlier 70,563 buildings, amid the South Korean government’s continuous efforts to prop up the local real estate market.
The number of wood building permits and wood building starts in year-to-date July of 2016 also increased 12.0% to 9,924 buildings and 11.7% to 8,733 buildings respectively compared with those in 2015. The noticeable things are both total floor areas of wood building permits and starts in the same period of 2016 remarkably increased to 16.5% and 16.1% to 875,861 m2 and 784,317 m2 respectively from a year earlier.
South Korea’s home transactions gained 4.3% from a year earlier in August amid growing concerns over mounting household debt. Home transactions in Seoul and its surrounding areas continued to increase leading the overall transaction cases, gaining 13.8% to 57,000 from the same month last year while numbers for provincial regions fell 6.5% to 41,000. By type, transactions involving apartment units rose 3.3% on-year and those for row houses jumped 12.2%, while those involving detached houses retreated 0.9%.
Very low production costs in Eastern Russia coupled with the sharp depreciation of the Russian Ruble have resulted in a major 27% increase of Russian sawn lumber shipments to South Korea for the first seven months of 2016. Albeit a small amount compared with Canadian lumber shipments to South Korea, lumber shipments from Finland have shown a significant 86.2% increase during the same period owing to more competitive prices for lumber from Northern Europe benefitting from the weaker currencies in Nordic countries.
Source: The Canada Wood Group
Buy and Sell
... and one to end the week on .... what recession?
Recession? What recession? Check this out! It's a Mercedes Benz owned by an Abu Dhabi oil billionaire (naturally). Featuring the newly developed V10 quad turbo with 1,600 horsepower and 2800nm of torque, 0-100km/h in less than 2secs, 1/4 mile in 6.89 secs running on biofuel.
That is NOT stainless steel, people, it is WHITE GOLD!
I'm sure you'll sleep better tonight, knowing that the money you're paying for fuel these days is at least going to a good cause...
And one more for you. Not sure if we have run this one in the past. An 80-year old couple were having problems remembering things, so they decided to go to their doctor to get checked out to make sure nothing was wrong with them.
When they arrived at the doctor's, they explained to the doctor about the problems they were having with their memory. After checking the couple out, the doctor tells them that they were physically okay but might want to start writing things down and make notes to help them remember things.
The couple thanked the doctor and left. Later that night while watching TV, the old man got up from his chair and his wife asks, "Where are you going?"
He replies, "To the kitchen."
She asks, "Will you get me a bowl of ice cream?"
He replies, "Sure."
She then asks him, "Don't you think you should write it down so you can remember it?"
He says, "No, I can remember that."
She then says, "Well, I also would like some strawberries on top. You had better write that down cause I know you'll forget that."
He says, "I can remember that, you want a bowl of ice cream with strawberries."
She replies, "Well, I also would like whip cream on top. I know you will forget that so you better write it down."
With irritation in his voice, he says, "I don't need to write that down, I can remember that." He then fumes into the kitchen. After about 20 minutes he returns from the kitchen and hands her a plate of bacon and eggs.
She stares at the plate for a moment and says, "You forgot my toast."
Must be about that time of year when you start to look at shopping for the 25th. On that note, enjoy your weekend. Cheers.
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