Friday Offcuts 2 June 2017
For sawmilling companies in Australasia, details are now out on the two-yearly WoodTECH 2017 technology series ( www.woodtech.events). It’s organised by the Forest Industry Engineering Association and will be running in both countries in September. Again, it’s a “who’s who” of international saws and sawmilling technology who will be travelling into Australasia. Already over 20 North American technology providers and a significant number of European suppliers have been built into this year’s sawmilling series. Further details on the event and the programmes for both countries can be found on the event website.
In forest and resource management this week we cover a number of new developments. An area of forest representing 10 percent of the global forest cover (a whopping 467 million hectares of previously unreported dryland forest) has been unearthed using improved satellite imagery from Google Earth, Airbus Defence and Space have just announced that they’re setting up a new commercial drone start-up, named Airbus Aerial and we’ve got some researchers who are working on developing the world’s most advanced industrial paper airplanes or carboard gliders.
Pushing the boundaries in the use of satellite technology and communications, Irish based company TreeMetrics have just followed up their €1 million contract with Coillte to roll out a real-time satellite communications and data analytics platform for forest harvest planning and operations with another sizeable contract. This time the company has been successful in securing €1.2 million from the European Space Agency (ESA). They plan on rolling out a pioneering Tree Growth monitoring system, including a unique measurement sensor that tracks the growth and health of trees. The new Internet of Tree’s system was actually inspired by the Fitbit product. Further details on the announcement and more on the technology can be found in the story and link below. Enjoy this week’s read.
This week we have for you:
Inaugural National Forestry Planting Day launchedThe planting of around 70 million trees this winter officially started yesterday, on 1 June, with the official launch of National Forestry Planting Day to mark the start of the planting season for Australia’s forestry plantations.
The Australian Forest Products Association (AFPA) launched the inaugural day to highlight the mammoth and unheralded task that the plantation industry undertakes every year of planting enough seedlings every winter to cover an area equivalent to 136,000 football fields, or more than 2 seedlings for every Australian.
Co-convenors of the Parliamentary Friends of Forestry and Forest Products – Shadow Minister for Agriculture and Forestry Joel Fitzgibbon MP and Member for Barker Tony Pasin MP (photo) – marked the launch with pine seedlings in front of Parliament House. AFPA Chairman Greg McCormack said the annual event will be celebrated on 1 June every year to mark the start of the seedling planting season across Australia’s plantation estates.
“Australia’s plantations provide more than 80 per cent of the wood fibre and timber for our national forest product industries, which provides 120,000 direct jobs along the whole supply chain – many of them in regional Australia,” Mr McCormack said.
“Every year, our plantation estates grow enough timber to build the equivalent of 60,000 new houses, and that’s only possible because of the massive re-planting exercise they undertake every winter.” National Forestry Planting Day will be an annual opportunity to raise awareness about the plantations industry’s contribution to our environment and economy.
AU$106 million NSW timber project gets green lightA AU$106 million expansion at a timber manufacturing plant on the New South Wales central tablelands has been approved by the State Government. Borg Manufacturing has been given the green light to expand its existing medium density fibreboard (MDF) facility complex in Oberon to include more buildings for housing new machinery.
The plant is the town's main employer, and supplies MDF to Australian and export markets. An assessment by the Department of Planning and Environment said the development would bring about AU$51 million to the local economy, creating 230 construction jobs and about 70 ongoing jobs.
In a statement Borg said it was pleased with the outcome after a "rigorous" two-year planning process with the department. "Borg is committed to the industry, and its investment in the Oberon facility to date demonstrates its long-term vision to build an integrated world-class reconstituted wood-based panels plant that the whole community can be proud of," a spokesperson said.
The approval comes with a number of conditions, including air quality measures such as dust management, and noise reduction measures. Construction on the project is expected to begin in coming weeks and will take about 18 months.
Source: ABC News
Wood waste company wins NZ$359,000 grantA New Zealand company turning wood waste into products like mulch and animal bedding has won a Government grant to help it to process bigger volumes. Tauranga company Goodwood has received NZ$359,000 from the Waste Minimisation Fund to cover the cost of a new grinder, and to improve the company’s efficiency so that it can expand into the Waikato area.
Associate environment minister Scott Simpson says about 44 tonnes of untreated wood which should be recycled goes to the Tauranga rubbish dump every week. The Waste Minimisation Fund is funded by a $10-per-tonne levy on waste taken to dumps. So far, a total of more than NZ$60 million from the fund has been awarded to more than 100 projects.
Source: Carbon News
Sawmilling global tech series for September 2017Two years ago – over two weeks – the WoodTECH conference series run by the Forest Industry Engineering Association (FIEA) achieved a record turnout of sawmilling companies.
They were drawn from throughout Australia and New Zealand. Over 350 delegates from all major sawmilling companies in the region in addition to leading technology providers from throughout Australasia, North America and Europe converged on Melbourne, Australia and Rotorua, New Zealand.
Two years later, in September 2017, WoodTECH 2017 will again be attracting scanning and sawing technology specialists, innovators and leading practitioners from around the world to this region. The two-day independent programme is going to provide New Zealand and Australian sawmills with a unique opportunity to learn about the very latest in wood scanning, sawmilling, and mill optimisation technologies from around the globe.
“This will be achieved through a series of tailored presentations and on-site exhibitions that have been set up with industry”, says FIEA Director, Brent Apthorp.
Key companies involved in some of the longer tech presentations as part of the conference include; USNR, US/Canada, Autolog, Canada, HewSaw, Finland, MiCROTEC, Italy, ScanWare, Sweden and JoeScan, USA. Shorter updates by local and international tech suppliers are also being filled along with a series of exhibitions at both venues.
“Again, it’s a who’s who of international saws and sawmilling technology that will be travelling into Australasia” says Mr. Apthorp. “We already have over 20 North American technology providers and a significant number of European suppliers that will be involved in WoodTECH 2017 this year".
Key sawmilling tech providers involved in the September series outside of those presenting at this stage include;
Optimil Machinery, Canada,
Lucidyne Technologies, USA,
VAB Solutions, Canada,
Carbotech International, Canada,
LMI Technologies, Canada,
Nicholson Manufacturing, Canada,
Andritz Iggesund Tools,
Thode Knife & Saw,
Full details on the programme in both countries and each of the workshops can be found on the event website, www.woodtech.events. It runs in Melbourne, Australia on 20-21 September and then again in Rotorua, New Zealand on 26-27 September 2017.
Funding secured for innovative tree growth & monitoring systemIrish specialist software developer Treemetrics has won a €1.2 million contract from the European Space Agency (ESA) to provide a system for tracking tree and forest growth.
The Cork-based company has developed a system using satellite technology that allows forestry owners and investors to accurately measure and record the growth of their assets over time rather than estimating them.
Treemetrics confirmed that it has agreed a deal worth €1.2 million with the ESA under which its technology will feed data on forest growth and development into the agency’s satellite communications systems. The news comes shortly after the business agreed a €1 million deal with State forestry company, Coillte, that will help make its harvesting operations more efficient.
The agreement will ultimately provide forest owners with real-time information on the progress of their investments, tackling a key issue for investors, who up to now had to rely on estimates, according to Treemetrics chief executive Enda Keane.
The company has developed sensors that are strapped to trees. Once a month they broadcast information on rate of growth and maturity to a network which can then be communicated via satellite. The system gives clear data on trees’ and forests’ development.
European taxpayers support the ESA, which is required to use its systems to provide economic and other benefits. “It’s significant that a small Irish company can actually engage with a major agency to develop systems to help it with its work,” Mr Keane noted.
Treemetrics agreed a €1 million contract with Coillte last month. It will connect its system directly with the State company’s harvest-cutting machines, giving drivers mapping and positioning information. The technology will help reduce waste, increase efficiency and improve environmental sustainability, the company said.
Mr Keane and his colleague Garrett Mullooly set up Treemetrics in 2005 as they believed that there was a need to use new technology to replace old forestry management systems. The company has customers in 16 countries.
TreeMetrics plan to be at the Elmia Wood Show next week in Sweden at stand 913. If attending, attached is a handy map of their location at the Show.
Source: www.irishtimes.com, Photo: Treemetrics
For more information on the The Internet of Tree’s technology, click here.
Pushing for Arbor Day planting recordKiwis are being challenged to get behind Arbor Day on Monday 5 June, 2017 and be part of a record-setting attempt: to plant the largest number of native trees in New Zealand in one day.
The challenge comes from Trees That Count, an ambitious, recently launched conservation movement that aims to inspire New Zealanders to plant 4.7 million native trees in 2017 – that’s one tree planted for every person. The Arbor Day campaign provides an opportunity for everyone to make a substantial impact, says Trees That Count’s project director Tanya Hart.
“We’re aiming to get more than 10,000 trees pledged and planted for Arbor Day, which also happens to be a public holiday,” Tanya explains. “With almost 9,000 trees pledged so far, we’re well on the way to success, but we’d love for more Kiwis to get their hands dirty. There’s never been a record set for this before, and we want to set the bar high so we can do even better next year.”
The Trees That Count website ( www.treesthatcount.co.nz) features a live counting tally of planting activity that will enable everyone to keep up with the Arbor Day tally, and progress towards the 2017 goal of 4.7 million trees planted.
Celebrated by countries worldwide, Arbor Day is about inspiring people to plant and nurture trees. New Zealand’s first Arbor Day planting was on 3 July 1890 at Greytown. More than 125 years later, the day holds even greater significance as climate change becomes an ever-pressing concern.
Since 1977, New Zealand has celebrated Arbor Day on 5 June. Some environmental organisations continue to plant trees on Arbor Day, but Trees That Count wants to firmly embed the day back into the national consciousness.
Trump pulls plug on the Paris Climate AgreementFor updates on this breaking news, click here.
Budget fails on local climate change solutionsAlong with other forestry and wood products associations, New Zealand’s Forest Industry Contractors Association (FICA) was concerned at what wasn't in last Thursday’s Budget. The stagnant level of funding for growing local forests is not good enough for dealing with climate change challenges. We have a land base and local tax-paying businesses are sitting in a prime position to ‘think global and act local’.
“What was not in the Budget is just as important as what is. From our perspective, we need more like $200 million for planting trees locally”, says FICA president Ross Davis. “On any analysis, the Budget sum of less than $20 million for planting is just business as usual. A much greater effort is needed and Government leadership here would be a double-win, had they been brave enough to invest in forests for New Zealanders on our own land,” added Davis.
“Planting trees is the most effective way of spending money to ensure New Zealand meets its commitments to the Paris Agreement on climate change. The double win is that big forest plantings would sequester far more carbon and rural community employment could be boosted. Moving New Zealand much further to meet our international commitments on climate change and boosting local economies is better than paying cash to overseas groups where past experiences have been riddled with fraud.”
Davis says FICA’s view is that a greater financial signal could have been made in the Budget announcement so tree nurseries and forestry employers could begin planning for a growth boost. We need time to plant seeds and grow seedlings. How can politicians not get that solving our climate change and boosting local businesses is a good thing?
“We’re not even concerned about the mix of indigenous forests and production species, like Douglas fir and Radiata pine. We just need to get on with the job of building a bigger New Zealand carbon sink base,” added Davis. “Let’s see hard-earned taxpayers’ money invested in projects with multiplied economic benefits. Our mission is all about sustainability. Boosting local forests has to be good for the environment and our local economies,” says Davis.
Source: Forest Industry Contactors Association
Consultation opens on new fire safety proposalsMBIE is seeking feedback at the moment on proposals to improve fire safety regulations for New Zealand buildings. The consultation will run from 15 May to 14 July 2017. MBIE is consulting on the following proposals:
- increased flexibility in the use of internal surface finishes
- clarify Building Code requirements for structural performance in fire
- update the Verification Method and include more safeguards for tall buildings
- support Alternative Solutions for fire designs by issuing guidance.
The new proposals are aimed at making fire safety requirements easier to understand and apply, promoting innovation in fire safety engineering and design, and supporting collaboration between building professionals.
The proposals are mostly adjustments and rebalancing designed to simplify and support the way fire design is currently performed, or to facilitate a shift towards how it should be performed. Changes to the fire safety requirements are relatively minimal apart from some additional or new requirements for specialised areas such as tall buildings, where MBIE considers it necessary to include more safeguards for building occupants and firefighters.
MBIE has received input from the New Zealand Fire Service, the Society of Fire Protection Engineers, building control officials and architects, and has worked with international fire engineering experts to develop these proposals.
View the proposals and make a submission on the MBIE Corporate website. Read the Minister’s announcement on Consultation sought on fire safety proposals on the Parliament website.
OneFortyOne’s nursery grows nearly 8 million treesGrowing nearly 8 million trees for one season’s planting program is no mean feat, and staff and local contractor workers at OneFortyOne’s Glencoe Nursery have been working hard to deliver that amount of trees.
Over the past 12 months, OneFortyOne has invested in both equipment and infrastructure at its Glencoe Nursery to improve safety for all workers on site. However, this investment has not only improved safety, but productivity too. It has enabled OneFortyOne’s staff to grow more than 5.2 million pine trees ready for planting on its own forests, and more than 2.6 million pine trees for other forest owners this year.
This will be the third year in a row that OneFortyOne Plantations has grown such large numbers of trees to be used across its Green Triangle forests. By the end of this year’s planting season, OneFortyOne’s highly experienced Estate team and contractor partners will have planted more than 10,000 hectares of pine plantation in the region. This year’s program is estimated to be just over 3,100 hectares at 31 different areas ranging from Noolook in the north through to Donovans in the south.
OneFortyOne’s Estate Manager, Justin Jagger, said “Our re-establishment process is vital to the sustainability of the forestry industry in this region, supporting jobs directly and indirectly in all areas from the growing, harvesting, and transporting through to the processing of the end product”. Staff on the ground are feeling excited and energised about the winter work to be done.
OneFortyOne’s Area Forester, Terry Higgins, said “We do have another big planting program ahead of us for the next few months, but we are proud of what our team has achieved over the past 12 months to get the sites ready for this year’s planting. A lot of hard work goes in to re-establishment, but it is worth it when we see how important it is for the sustainability of our industry and region”.
Source: OneFortyOne, Photo courtesy of Ockert Le Roux
Trucking industry releases combination braking guideThe associations representing Australian trucking operators, manufacturers and suppliers have released a comprehensive braking guide to assist industry members understanding of current braking combinations.
“Understanding brake and stability ratings for truck and trailer combinations that have varying brake technologies is a key to achieving best practice in the trucking industry,” the ATA’s Senior Advisor, Engineering, Chris Loose, said.
The guide was developed by the ATA Industry Technical Council (ITC), the Australian Livestock and Rural Transporters Association, the Australian Road Transport Suppliers Association, the Commercial Vehicle Industry Association of Australia, Heavy Vehicle Industry Australia and the Truck Industry Council.
“This guide is a product of many hours of hard work, and is based on the collective experience of operators, suppliers, regulators and industry groups. However, it does not replace, vary or modify existing laws and regulations,” Mr Loose said. “The guide aims to assist everyone in the Australian road and freight industries, but is specifically directed towards operators and suppliers of heavy vehicles.
“It details valuable information on heavy vehicle combinations and the impact of varying braking and stability technology across the combination, understanding the performance rating tables, trouble shooting, modification and settings for trailer braking, as well as a general background on braking and stability.
“There are a lot of different kinds of vehicles and brake combinations on the Australian market and on our roads, and understanding their technicalities and limitations allows everyone to operate more safely and efficiently,” Mr Loose said. Read more on the Guide to Braking and Stability Performance for Heavy Vehicle Combinations.
Airbus now moving into commercial dronesAirbus has announced the launch of a new commercial drone start-up, named Airbus Aerial, that will focus on developing new imagery services. These services will leverage technology that Airbus has developed over the years and uses with satellites and complement that with imaging from drones and other high altitude aircraft.
“Through Airbus Aerial, we are uniquely positioned and fully committed to advancing the commercial Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) industry. It is bringing together partners from across the industry – ranging from vehicle manufacturers, data analytics companies, service providers and others – to enable data-focused services at large scale,” said Dirk Hoke, Chief Executive Officer of Airbus Defence and Space.
“Using an integrated combination of assets, from UAS platforms to satellite imagery, Airbus Aerial is rolling out a wide range of new imagery services. In the future, additional pillars of the Airbus Aerial activities will be in the area of cargo drone services as well as providing connectivity via aerial assets.”
The U.S. operation of Airbus Aerial will be headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia and be led by Jesse Kallman, a UAS industry expert with more than 12 years of experience including research at Georgia Tech. Kallman has served as a trusted adviser to executives at Fortune 500 companies, members of Congress, senior officials at the FAA and White House, and leading Silicon Valley Venture Capital groups.
“Drones are only a piece of a much larger picture for us,” said Kallman. “Airbus Aerial brings together a variety of aerospace technologies – including drones and satellites – combines them in a common software infrastructure, and applies industry-specific analytics to deliver tailored solutions to our customers’ biggest challenges.”
Funding for paper airplanesFor all those interested in UAV’s, here’s an interesting story. DARPA, the U.S. Department of Defence military research agency, whose work has resulted in staples of modern life such as the Internet and GPS systems, is now working with a San Francisco-based R&D lab – Otherlab – to develop the world’s most advanced industrial paper airplanes.
The project is part of DARPA’s awesome-sounding Vanishing Programmable Resources (VAPR) program. Its aim is to develop electronic systems capable of physically disappearing in a controlled manner. Why? Because (as any Serial fan knows), the military hates leaving any kind of equipment in the field - it may end up in the wrong hands, compromise intellectual property and technological advantage, and also has negative effects on the environment. So, researchers are looking into new materials, components, integration and manufacturing that could together realize this new class of vanishing electronics.
One such project is a cheap cardboard autonomous glider that can be used to deliver supplies to remote areas and then be discarded and biodegraded. The glider has several advantages over other supply drones that are expensive, inaccurate, and need to be recovered or have enough battery capacity for the return trip, which reduces their payload capacity.
The cardboard glider, on the other hand, is ideal for delivering humanitarian payloads to regions with undeveloped infrastructure. The glider is motorless, which means it needs to be launched from a moving aircraft or drone but it can then find its precise destination thanks to a small computer on board and sensors that can adjust its wings and rudder. In this way, an aircraft may launch hundreds of gliders in one flight, each of them pre-programmed with different destinations. According to Otherlab, a single airplane could conduct delivery operations covering the size of California.
The gliders benefit from being constructed from a low-cost, high-availability material that can ship easily in a flat package and can be assembled by anyone without a technical background. This makes it ideal for doctors in the field who need to ship medical supplies to different remote areas. Photo: Otherlab
Millions of hectares of forest discoveredScientists have discovered a whopping 467 million hectares of previously unreported forest scattered around the world, a finding that they say could have a big impact on global carbon budgeting moving forward. The finding boosts estimates of global forest coverage by 10 percent, and changes our understanding of how well drylands, where these forests happen to be situated, can support trees.
It's not that these forests were hidden away in deep valleys or remote mountain regions. An international team of scientists discovered the new forests be re-examining previously surveyed drylands around the world. The problem with these previous surveys, the scientists say, is that the low density of trees paired with the reliance on low-res satellite images and no ground validation provided inaccurate measurements.
This time around, the scientists tapped the vastly improved satellite imagery from Google Earth, which covered more than 210,000 dryland sites, and ground data gathered by the Terrestrial Ecosystem Research Network to carry out a new global analysis of dryland forest cover.
According to the results, drylands contain 45 percent more forest than the previous surveys had suggested. The new coverage is equivalent to 60 percent the size of Australia, with new forest uncovered on all inhabited continents and Africa doubling the size of its known dryland forests.
"To 'find' an area of forest that represents 10 percent of the global forest cover is very very significant, with broad consequences for global carbon budgeting and dryland restoration and management," says Professor Andrew Lowe, Chair of Plant Conservation Biology at the University of Adelaide.
"It shows that dryland regions have a greater capacity to support trees than previously perceived and understood. With its low opportunity costs, dryland could therefore provide a unique chance to mitigate climate change through large-scale conservation and afforestation actions. It also shows the potential for improved livelihoods of the people in these areas."
Drylands currently make up around 40 percent of the world's land surface, and could expand by 11 to 23 percent by the end of this century, the researchers write in The Conversation citing current climate modelling. Finding that these regions can support more trees and in turn store more carbon, could therefore be very useful knowledge for conservationists mapping out strategies for the coming decades.
The research was published in the journal Science.
Source: University of Adelaide
Another multi-million dollar claim for CHH?Leading building products manufacturer Carter Holt Harvey may soon face another multi-million dollar legal claim in respect of its widely-used Shadowclad building product. Shadowclad, a form of timber weatherboard cladding, is already the subject of court proceedings in New Zealand brought by the Ministry of Education in relation to approximately 880 leaky school buildings.
Auckland legal firm Adina Thorn Lawyers has now secured funding to launch a class action on behalf of owners of residential and commercial buildings containing the allegedly defective product.
Adina Thorn, who is also running the current NZ$200 million plus funded “plaster cladding” class action against the James Hardie Group of companies, says the firm’s latest initiative follows numerous approaches from building owners experiencing weathertightness issues with Shadowclad.
In 2014, Fair Go reported on 24 property owners who believed that they had been supplied faulty or sub-standard Shadowclad material. “Given Fair Go’s research, the extent of the Ministry of Education’s claim, and the approaches we have had, it seems that the issue is widespread and that the company needs to be called to account. Read more.
Author delves into NZ's forestry pastA woman whose father established the state mill at Waipa and promoted the establishment of the Forest Research Institute, now Scion, in New Zealand has launched a new book on forestry. Elizabeth Orr's Keeping New Zealand Green was launched recently at Scion Rotorua by Peter Berg - a well-known figure in forestry circles.
The book covers the history of the New Zealand Forest Service, the development of the country's pulp and paper industry and the state of forests.
Mrs Orr is the daughter of Pat Entrican, who was director of forestry at the Forest Service from 1939 to 1961. In the book, she tells stories about Tasman's Kawerau mills, the biggest industrial plant built in New Zealand up to that time. She also tells the story of how the Forest Service was set up to preserve the native forest and stop it from being cut out completely.
Mrs Orr said they were not altogether successful with this and conservationists came along in the 1970s. However, in the long run the Forest Service worked out good ways of having sustainable forestry in the bush, she said.
She said, at the end of the book, she made a plea to politicians for better preservation of our biodiversity. Mrs Orr started research in December 2008. She said the book was a co-operative effort, with help from more than 40 former members of the Forest Service.
As well as being the author of Keeping New Zealand Green, Mrs Orr is best known for her part in the passing of the 1972 Equal Pay Act, and as the first woman chancellor of Victoria University of Wellington.
The book is available at book stores and at www.steeleroberts.co.nz.
Buy and Sell
... and one to end the week on ... carrying bricks
Check this out for worker skills. He doesn't drop one!! An amazing video from Khulna, Bangladesh.
And one more for you. A teacher was trying to make use of her psychology courses.
She started her class by saying, “Everyone who thinks they’re stupid, stand up!”
A minute went by and no one stood up until little Larry popped up.
The teacher said, “Do you think you’re stupid, Larry?”
“No, miss, but I didn’t like to see you standing there all by yourself!”
And on that note, have a great weekend. Cheers.
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