Friday Offcuts – 20 October 2017

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We’ve got another technology focus for this week’s issue – everything from smart forestry with harvesting operations, robotic automation in manufacturing through to a look at cardboard and tall timber housing projects.

Let’s start with the cardboard housing. In building and construction, the Wikkelhouse cardboard house is already pretty popular across Europe. It’s built from 24 layers of cardboard. It’s then wrapped around a mould, bonded together with an eco-friendly superglue, covered in breathable foil and clad in wood paneling to protect it from the elements. You might scoff but they’re suggesting it’s going to last 50 years (maybe upwards of 100 years). It’s cheap and can be built on site in just one day. Maybe – if able to get them across to this part of the world - or manufactured locally - they could provide part of the answer to the current housing crisis. Remember, Christchurch has had a carboard transitional cathedral, the world’s only cardboard cathedral, since August 2013 and it’s standing up to the elements very well.

In tall timber, they’re still working on the 80-story timber tower being planned for Chicago. If given the green light, it’s going to be the world’s tallest timber tower. Singapore-based architects have also recently completed the first phase of the Fuzhou Forest Walkway in China, a snaking treetop walkway that will span over 19 kilometres. On completion it’s going to provide people with a treetop experience set in amongst Fuzhou’s sub-tropical forests.

More tech stories this week include an update from Komatsu who are heading down the “smart forestry” road with drones, improved data collection and analysis to help with future harvesting operations. The Australian’s are now also looking to the stars. Like the recent success from the Kiwis (25th May this year saw the first orbital-class rocket launched from a private launch site, the Mahia Peninsula), Australia has also just announced its intention to build on its very early success of getting a satellite into space (believe it or not, they did it some 50 years ago) and to create their own space agency.

Finally, other news this week includes; a new take on driverless trucks with vehicles being remotely controlled by operators working at centralised driving stations and an Australian project that’s aiming to capture carbon emissions and store them in building materials. Enjoy this week’s read.



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Forest industry scientists recognised with awards

The Forest Growers Research Conference was held this week. Forest researchers had a chance to celebrate their own when the Forest Growers Research awards were presented at an industry conference in Christchurch.

Carolyne Anderson of Scion Research won the Contribution to Science Award on Tuesday night for her work in managing the recording of tree growth measurements. As well as managing the Scion trial and data base, she managed the trials data base for many forest companies across the country.

"I'm an assistant research leader in the forest systems team, and I manage the permanent sample plots database for the company. It is a national database that stores tree growth data for Scion trials as well a for forestry companies. Nominators commented that the permanent sample plots data from across the forest estate was an invaluable asset and they were fortunate it was managed by Anderson. The database was described as world-class and the envy of many countries.

The Communication and Sector Engagement Award went to Landcare Research hydrology scientist Chris Phillips. Phillips was involved in forestry-related hydrology research for many years. He was involved in a project to better understand the contribution that riparian buffer zones played in mitigating sediment loss in waterways.

He was part of the Growing Confidence in Forestry's Future programme, focussing on how to minimise productivity losses from steep land and alternative forest management systems on steep erosion-prone land.

Richard Yao won the Innovation that Enhances Sector Value Award for his work as an economist at Scion. Yao specialised in identifying and measuring the economic value provided by forest ecosystem services. He has also been heavily involved in the development of the Forest Investment Finder, a GIS spatial economic modelling tool that enabled economic benefits from ecosystem services to be combined with wood production values at a forest, catchment or regional level.

The Science International Quality Award went to Plant & Food Research scientist Graeme Clare for his science allowing high-quality insects at the required life-cycle stage to be supplied for test laboratories. To do this on a large scale needed a team to develop insect breeding protocols in the lab and feed and keep the insects alive until required. Data from the research supported Ministry of Primary Industries in market negotiations with international trading partners.

Shaf Van Ballekom of Proseed, Amberley, won the Research Participation and Implementation Award for his commitment to supporting research through funding programmes and personal involvement over many years. Under Ballekom's leadership, Proseed has done research and innovation projects with work on radiata attenuata hybrids planted in cold parts of the South Island.

The Young Scientist Award went to Hunter Harrell of the School of Forestry at University of Canterbury. Harrell had made a great contribution to Forest Growers Research projects such as cable-assist harvesting and development and testing of the tension monitoring app, nominators said. He had also assisted many final year forestry students in their end of year projects.

Source: stuff.co.nz

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Integrating trees into rural landscapes

Adding timber trees to multi-use farmland has both environmental and economic benefits, and University of Melbourne researchers are working with landholders and investors to develop new business models for what could be the future of forest plantations in Australia.

The global demand for wood is increasing. On current trends, the area of tree plantations globally will need to double by 2050 to meet future demand. In Australia, an expanding population and increasing use of wood in construction for design as well as tree planting for environmental benefits is driving the increased demand for wood products.

To address how new plantations might be supported, researchers at the University of Melbourne are exploring new approaches for integrating tree plantations in rural landscape.

“There is a large area of farmland in Australia where different types of planted forest could be integrated with existing agricultural land uses,” says Project Leader Professor Rod Keenan, from the School of Ecosystem and Forest Sciences at the University of Melbourne. “Adding trees to rural landscape can benefit agricultural production, help to mitigate climate change and support the restoration of forest landscapes, while also providing a future supply of timber and additional income for farmers,” Professor Keenan says.

The study will focus in two key forestry regions in Victoria: Colac-Otway and Gippsland. The researchers will assess the attitudes and experience of industry, investors and land owners and analyse past approaches to plantation investment partnerships in Australia and around the world. This knowledge will be used to build new business investment models that can meet the needs of different investment partners.

“In the first instance, the project team would like to speak with landholders in the two target regions about their views on integrating tree plantations within rural landscapes” says Professor Keenan.

Hancock Victoria Plantations is a project partner and Chief Operating Officer Cameron MacDonald explains that the lack of new plantation timber will limit expansion in forest processing, leading to an increasing reliance on imported timber products. “More investment in plantations can drive innovation in timber processing and increased economic value to regional communities,” Mr McDonald says.

Midway Limited Chief Executive Officer Tony Price echoes these sentiments. “We are keen to work with a range of landowners to identify new and innovative opportunities that lead to more trees in the landscape and deliver win-win outcomes for both the forest and agricultural sectors while also providing environmental benefits such as carbon sequestration, biodiversity protection and improved water quality,” Mr Price says.

Professor Keenan says that while farm forestry has been promoted for some time, the missing element has been financial capital. “The aim of this study is to come up with models that can link rural landowners with the finance sector and with industry. That’s why we are working with business researchers from Swinburne University who will assess timber industry, financial sector and landowner requirements for investment partnerships.”

“We’re also collaborating with other research institutes, including CSIRO, who are conducting similar research that promotes the integration of trees in rural landscapes and welcome input from anyone with experience in this area”.

If you would like to share your experience of farm forestry or plantations please contact Professor Rod Keenan at rkeenan@unimelb.edu.au or on Tel: (03) 9035 8227.

The project is funded by the Commonwealth Government’s Voluntary Matching Program, co-funded by HVP Plantations, Midway Ltd, Australian Paper, AKD Softwoods and One Forty One Plantations Ltd with research conducted through the University of Melbourne. Forest and Wood Products Australia administer the project on behalf of the Department of Agriculture and Water.



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WoodSolutions launches comprehensive Timber Species App

WoodSolutions has launched the WoodSolutions Species App to support professionals in the design and build industry, including furniture makers and DIYers to choose and specify the best timber species and products for structural, exterior and interior applications.

The free App, now available for Apple and Android devices from their app stores, covers a broad range of hardwood and softwood species, lists suppliers for each of the species and details application types and available engineered wood products. The comprehensive list of 100+ Australian and imported timber species can be filtered by wood type, colour group, Bushfire Attack Level (BAL), durability and strength ratings to provide a refined search result.

The WoodSolutions Species App will support design professionals during the research phase of a project and will enable them to find the fit-for-purpose solution for their requirement.

“Our objective,” explains Eileen Newbury, National Marketing and Communications Manager, “was to take all that wealth of resources and information available on wood species and deliver it into a convenient, easy to use tool that is available on the go. The app has the potential to make the decision process so much easier and faster.”

The WoodSolutions Species App is available for free download in the iTunes (Apple) or Play Store (Android). To download it, simply search for WoodSolutions in each of the stores and click download. To find out more about the App, click here to download the WoodSolutions Species App infographic – functionalities and features at a glance.

For inspirational case studies and more detailed information about timber species and wood products, including free technical design guides and expert advice, please visit woodsolutions.com.au

Source: Forest and Wood Products Australia Ltd

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Cardboard cathedral – how about cardboard houses?

Here in New Zealand we have our own cardboard cathedral in Christchurch. And just as architect Shigeru Ban's design was chosen for its speedy, inexpensive construction, so is the Wikkelhouse cardboard house finding favour in Europe.

The Wikkelhouse was launched in April last year and received a lot of publicity – it could be built on site in a day, was cheap, seriously cool, and is said to last 50 years, although some pundits have said it could probably last 100 years.

Turns out the idea has really taken off. The Wikkelhouse company now says there are houses on rivers and rooftops, in nature reserves and cities, and one Wikkelman house is a university classroom in Amsterdam. The company is even developing a Wikkelhouse boutique real estate office in the heart of Amsterdam's business district.

The Wikkelhouse seems especially suited to housing, both full-time residences and holiday homes. Each house is built from 24 layers of top-quality cardboard, which are wrapped around a mould as it is rotated. The layers are bonded together with eco-friendly superglue. "The result is an incredibly robust sandwich," with "exceptional constructive strength", the company says. And, of course, the material is also fully recyclable.

Each house is then wrapped in breathable foil and clad in wood panelling to protect it from the elements. The company is so certain of its durability, it says it will last a "lifetime". Because the house is modular – made from 1.2m segments – it can be extended to any size. You can even change it later, should you want to make it larger or smaller.

But here's the rub. Irma Verschuuren of Wikkelhouse says the house cannot yet be distributed to this part of the world. "We only deliver Wikkelhouses in the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, France, Germany, UK and Scandinavia. At this point we are not able to ship to other countries, because shipping and installation costs would be significantly more expensive.

"Within 2 years we will expand our international distribution network, but to tell you the truth we have no idea when Wikkelhouse will come to your part of the world." Perhaps there is scope here for a joint venture? The Wikkelhouse is providing a solution to the housing crisis in other cities, perhaps it could also find a following here. In Europe, you can have one delivered and installed for just €30,000 (just under NZ$50,000).

More>>. For further information and images click here.



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Expressions of interest - Woodflow 2018

Early expressions of interest are being sought from presenters for next year’s Woodflow 2018 technology series. It’s being run in June next year in both New Zealand and Australia by the Forest Industry Engineering Association (FIEA).

What is it?
The Woodflow series is Australasia’s premier technology event run every two years. It provides insights into innovations and new tools being developed and employed by leading forestry, wood products and transport companies.

The objective, with 30% – 40% of delivered log costs being contributed by transport, is to profile the very latest technologies for moving wood from the forest through to the log yard, processing plant, port or market. New initiatives and operating practices being employed to improve planning, logistics & operations within the wood supply chain are also showcased.

The FIEA event is run every two years. It’s run in both Australia and New Zealand. In 2017, the wood harvesting event, HarvestTECH, was sold out. Over 450 logging contractors, forestry managers and key suppliers attended. It was the largest event of its type yet seen in New Zealand.

In September 2016, over 250 harvesting contractors, wood transport operators and planners attended FIEA’s Wood Flow Optimisation event. The 2018 event will be building on the success, momentum and feedback that's been provided by the industry over the last two years at both of these events.


What’s being covered?
- Effective tools, models and case studies for collaboration through the wood supply chain
- Remote sensing and real-time tracking of logs and wood products
- Innovative systems to integrate planning, operations, harvesting, transport & sales
- Advances in automated measurement, materials handling, packaging and distribution
- New innovations around log and wood product handling, trucking, rail and shipping
- New mobile communications and data transfer technologies for local operations
- Developments in information technology and data management
- Opportunities using robotics, automation, augmented and virtual reality, machine learning, telematics and UAV’s
- Health and safety initiatives around forestry and wood transport operations
- Resolving key skills and labour shortages
- International models adding value to supply chain management.


If you have a new technology, are currently undertaking research in this area, can recommend a topic or a speaker that you think would really add value to the event or have an interesting case-study that showcases just how efficiencies have been improved within the wood supply chain, please make contact with brent.apthorp@fiea.org.nz before Friday 3 November.

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Unique branding opportunity offered to Australasia’s suppliers

A unique opportunity is being offered to key product and service suppliers to Australasia's wood processing and manufacturing industries. Every two years, the Forest Industry Engineering Association (FIEA) Forest Products Industry maps have been produced.

They’ve been produced since 2000 and they’re the only printed mapping resource of their kind in this region. New updated maps are being produced and distributed by FIEA throughout New Zealand and Australia in early 2018.

Since first being produced, the large 980mm x 680mm colour FIEA maps have provided the most up to date industry reference for the Australasian forest and wood products industry.

They include information on all major sawmills (location, ownership and production) and also show all major wood processing operations including pulp & paper, fibreboard, particleboard, plywood, veneer, paper & paperboard operations, major chip mills, wood manufacturing operations in both New Zealand and Australia. Over 4000 maps are printed and distributed every two years through major industry magazines and the map advertisers.

An opportunity still exists for those companies who’d like to be involved in the 2018 industry map. An early opportunity to advertise on the new map was offered to and taken up by a number of the key suppliers and technology providers to the regions sawmilling industry as part of the recent WoodTECH series. However, a few remaining spaces are still available at a discounted rate for a limited period.

Actual size: 980mm x 680mm. Booking for the remaining adverts along with positioning on the map will be accepted on a “first come first served” basis. If interested in securing a space on the new 2018 map, please make contact with FIEA’s Sponsorship Manager, Gordon Thomson on gordon.thomson@fiea.org.nz or Tel: +64 7 921 1384 or +64 27 275 8022.

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Australia creating own Space Agency

Australia has announced that it would create its own space agency to increase its share of the AU$330 billion space economy. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said the agency would be part of Australia's development of an innovation and science economy. But the government has provided few specifics.

"It's a small agency to coordinate and lead," Turnbull told reporters. "The space sector, of course, is one of enormous potential." Acting Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science Michaelia Cash said the agency's charter would be developed by the end of March.

"The global space industry is growing rapidly and it's crucial that Australia is part of this growth," Cash said in a statement. "A national space agency will ensure we have a strategic long-term plan that supports the development and application of space technologies and grows our domestic space industry," she added.

The opposition Labor Party said such an agency was needed to increase Australia's share of a global space economy from less than 1 percent of what the government estimates is worth $330 billion. Labor said Australia and Iceland were the only countries in the 35-member Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development that do not have a space agency.

Australia in 1967 became one of the first countries to launch a satellite and images of astronaut Neil Armstrong's first steps on the moon were transmitted by NASA's Honeysuckle Creek tracking station in Australia. But successive governments have baulked at establishing a space agency because of cost. The government has yet to announce how much it will invest in the new agency.

Source: pddnet.com




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Drones, IT and 3-D images to assist Komatsu

Building machinery maker Komatsu will bring its "smart" construction know-how into forestry operations, harnessing both drones and information and communication technology-equipped logging machines to improve efficiency by about 10 times.

Verification testing on the so-called "smart forestry" concept has recently started in central Japanese prefecture of Ishikawa. Images of a forest taken in 3-D by a drone will help analyze the concentration of trees, as well as their height and locations. While managing the terrain and machinery data via the cloud, Komatsu's harvester -- a hydraulic excavator with logging and delimbing functions -- will be deployed to fell trees.

The mechanization of surveying and logging operations that have hitherto been done manually will contribute to labour saving. In the past, it took a day to survey a hectare of land, a task that involved four to five workers. A drone could finish the same process in half a day, and only one worker -- who will control the vehicle -- would be needed.

The logging process, which now requires more than 10 workers, would only need one worker under the smart forestry concept, meaning the new system would boost the efficiency of each task by around 10 times.

Komatsu is working to put the system into practical application as early as possible because: "Even though many manmade forests reach the perfect time for timber harvest, logging often does not proceed due to the labour shortage in Japan," said Kiyoshi Mizuhara, a Komatsu senior executive officer.

In Europe, which pioneered the mechanisation of forestry operations, Komatsu will bolster the ICT functions for forestry machinery. The company plans to expand the productivity improvement services and maintenance contracts for forestry companies using the MaxiFleet service which manages data on machine's operational status.

Source: asia.nikkei.com



T-pod may be the cargo drone of the highways

We hear a lot about the coming of driverless transport trucks, but where might they first enter common use? Well, perhaps in Sweden. That's the home country of Einride, a startup that recently announced development of a sort-of-driverless electric vehicle known as the T-pod.

Although plans call for T-pods to have some autonomous driving features, the camera- and telemetry-system-equipped vehicles will also be remotely controlled by operators working at driving stations located in central facilities. That way, those people could go home at the end of their shift every day, as opposed to being on the road for days or even weeks at a time – it would be not unlike the way in which military drones are currently piloted in real time, in places far from the actual war zone.

Each vehicle should measure about 7 metres in length, and be capable of carrying 15 standard pallets worth of cargo. It will weigh 18 tonnes with a full load, covering a distance of approximately 200 km on one charge of its 200-kWh battery pack.

The first full-scale prototype has just been unveiled, with road testing reportedly scheduled to take place later this year. Assuming that goes as planned, the first production T-pods should then start transporting goods between the Swedish cities of Gothenburg and Helsingborg – it's a distance of about 219 km, so they'll presumably have to recharge en-route.

It is hoped that by 2020 there will be an "active fleet" of 200 T-pods, utilizing a network of roadside charging stations. According to Einride, the vehicles will not only be quieter, safer and more eco-friendly than traditional transport trucks, but they should also more economical – they won't have cabs/sleepers, one operator could "drive" more than one semi-autonomous T-pod at a time, and transport companies wouldn't have to cover costs such as drivers' hotel bills.

Source: Einride, Gizmag

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AFS welcomes forest management certification support

Australian Forestry Standard Ltd has welcomed the federal government’s assurance that forest certification continues to guarantee the legality of national domestic wood supply. Federal Minister responsible for forestry Senator Anne Ruston has announced that amendments to illegal logging legislation will streamline and simplify the importation and processing of timber products certified under Australian forest certification schemes.

As Australia’s largest certification program for sustainable forest management with more than 24 million ha certified, AFS is the Australian member of PEFC, the world's largest forest certification system. “The government is to be congratulated on its continued tough stance on illegal logging and recognition that major forestry operations in Australia are 100% independently certified,” AFS CEO Simon Dorries said.

“Government and public building authorities are placing greater emphasis on Australian standards in their regulations to ensure the sustainability, environmental security and legality of products used in the housing and construction industries,” he said. “Chain of custody is especially suited to projects such as new-build commercial and office buildings, private and social housing projects, renovation and refurbishment schemes, and civil engineering projects.”

Mr Dorries said the simple act of sourcing or purchasing an Australian-branded product could have far-reaching positive implications, not least in terms of sustainable consumption, arguing that improving the productivity and profitability of forests and trees was central to achieving sustainability across landscapes and livelihoods.

AFPA CEO Ross Hampton said illegal logging regulations should be effective but not impose unnecessary red tape and compliance costs on Australian producers who were doing the right thing and already operated within a stringent legal and compliance framework for sustainable forest management. “Australian major forestry operations are 100% independently certified; nowhere is native forest or plantation management more sustainable,” Mr Hampton said.

Photo: Looking over HQPlantations’ operations at Beerburrum on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast are Michelle McAndrew, sustainability manager, HQP, Ross Garsden of BSI Australia, and Simon Dorries, CEO, AFS Ltd

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China’s building 19km treetop walkway

China’s magnificent new walkway is giving people a treetop experience of Fuzhou’s sub-tropical forests unlike any before. Singapore-based LOOK Architects recently completed the first phase of the Fuzhou Forest Walkway, a snaking treetop walkway that will span over 19 kilometres at completion. The elevated pedestrian pathway looks like a dragon’s back threading down the lush Jinniushan mountain and offers urban dwellers the chance to reconnect with nature and brings attention to one of the city’s quickly diminishing green lungs.

Covered in greenery thanks to a sub-tropical climate, Fujian’s capital of Fuzhou is one of China’s greenest cities and is famous for its numerous banyan trees that line the streets. LOOK Architects’ Fuzhou Forest Walkway brings nature closer to the city with an elevated path that covers the full breadth of Jinniushan mountain and offers beautiful views of the canopy, the city, and mountains beyond.

The walkway can be accessed via 10 different entrances, each with unique and eye-catching features such as the grand 24-metre-wide spiral ramp at the entrance of the existing Jinniushan indoor sports hall. Built with a gentle gradient, the elevated walkway is punctuated with amenities that include rest shelters, viewing decks, observation towers, and teahouses with bathrooms. The structure is also equipped with WIFI connectivity, touch-screen information boards, and visitor traffic monitors, giving the project the potential to set a new bar for China’s eco-routes.

Source: inhabitat.com



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Converting carbon emissions into 'green' concrete

An Australian pilot project capturing carbon emissions and storing them in building materials aims to have a full-scale production plant by 2020. Mineral Carbonation International, an Australian company developing carbon-utilisation technology has officially launched its technology and research program at the Newcastle Institute for Energy and Resources.

The launch included a demonstration of the hour-long process bonding CO2 - stored in large cylinders at one end of the warehouse - with crushed serpentinite from the nearby Orica Kooragang Island operation, permanently converting it into solid carbonates.

“This mimics but greatly speeds up the natural weathering by rainfall which produces common types of rocks over millions of years,” MCI said. “These carbonates and silica by-products have the potential to be used in building products such as concrete and plasterboard to create green construction materials.”

By 2020 MCI hopes to be producing 20,000 to 50,000 tonnes of the bonded material for building companies, and said it anticipates the process will be economically viable even without a high carbon price.

“There is a big demand among consumers for green building products,” said Marcus Dawe, chief executive of MCI. The interest around the carbon brick has been extraordinary, but we’re going beyond that.” Read more.

Source: theguardian.com

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Proposed 80-story wooden skyscraper a preview of the future

In a city lined with pathbreaking towers and skyscrapers, the River Beech project, if it comes to fruition, may earn its own chapter in the history of Chicago architectural marvels. That’s because this proposed 80-story tower, a joint research project between Cambridge University, Perkins + Will, and Thornton Tomasetti would be a tall wooden tower, a landmark in the accelerating development of high-tech timber as a new type of 21st century building material.

“I don’t think there’s a height limit,” says Andy Tsay Jacobs, director of the Building Technology Lab at Perkins + Will who has collaborated on the River Beech proposal. “The answer is yes, wood can go 80 stories, no problem. The issues are less on the technical side than on the code side.”

According to Tsay Jacobs and his colleague Todd Snapp, an architect and principal at Perkins + Will’s Chicago office, this is a serious design representing the firm’s belief in the material, and the potential of a new generation of tall timber towers. Designed to fit in with the firm’s Riverline project, a huge riverfront development, though it isn’t actually part of the proposal (it’s more to give it a real world site and circumstances to inform the design) the 80-story beechwood structure would be the world’s tallest wooden tower if completed.

The River Beech project follows other proposals and research aimed at encouraging tall timber towers, including a Skidmore, Owings & Merrill proposal to build a wooden skyscraper. According to Snapp, the difference with River Beech is that the designers started from scratch and focused on engineering and designing the best possible wooden tower (The SOM plan sought to recreate a traditional concrete structure with wood).

While it’s still in an early research phase, the River Beech plan shows a vision of a future that many architects and engineers feel isn’t a far-fetched as many may believe. Since it was first introduced last fall, the design has been tweaked and updated, and Tsay Jacobs believes it’s only a matter of testing, and updating building codes, before tall timber becomes a common part of construction.

“Mass timber can have a negative carbon footprint,” he says. “This is building with a renewable natural resource. You can’t replant the ore or rocks you’re extracting for steel and concrete.”

Source: curbed.com

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Simplifying robotic pick-and-place with 3D

Robotic pick-and-place is an important automated manufacturing process in many industries. In this application, robots pick up parts presented one at a time and place them in a preset order and location, even when the exact location and 3D orientation of the part is variable.

By using 3D smart sensors with onboard software, an industrial robot can perform this task autonomously—something that could previously only be done by a skilled worker.

Here are the 3 main application types this simple smart sensor driven robotic system can perform:

1. Pick-and-place to stack and unstack target objects, similar to a palletizing or de-palletizing application.
2. Random placement and picking up off of a moving conveyor.
3. Placing objects into structured bins by height of the parts, at 1, 2, 3, and 4 stacks high.

The three applications listed above cover the majority of the real-world examples where 3D can be used in automated manufacturing.

The following is a common real-world pick-and-place application:

1. Pick-and-place of incoming raw materials or subassemblies traveling on pallets. Objects are scanned with Gocator. The sensor reports the object position and directs the robot to place the object randomly or directly on a conveyor.
2. Objects are scanned again as they travel down the conveyor, and then picked up by the robot and placed into an appropriate bin.
3. Finished products are scanned and then stacked/re-stacked/palletized.

For further information on the new system, click here.

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Scion Annual Report showcases a successful year

Scion has issued its annual report for the 12 months ending 30 June 2017 presenting a successful year for the Rotorua-based Crown research institute. Chair Tony Nowell says Scion’s 70-year legacy of delivering science impact gives the institute the confidence to think boldly about the future.

“I am excited by Scion’s unique contribution to shaping a truly sustainable future for New Zealand. In our annual report, we are proud to present some of the past year’s achievements that are stepping us towards our vision as we help unleash the power of forestry to deliver prosperity from trees.”

Mr Nowell said a special highlight of the year was Scion’s partnership with Ngati Whare to co-develop a novel propagation technology for indigenous trees. Now Ngati Whare is using the technology in its new state-of-the-art commercial nursery in Minginui, which will be opening local employment and economic opportunities as demand for indigenous forestry increases.

Another highlight of the year were the awards received recognising Scion’s environmentally-friendly Ligate™ bioadhesive. In a world first, the Scion bioadhesives team developed 100 per cent biobased-adhesives and resins that could replace formaldehyde-emitting adhesives. Made from natural sources, including forestry and agricultural waste, these bioadhesives and resins are petrochemical-free, have very low formaldehyde emissions and can be made and used in existing manufacturing operations. With an increasing interest in sustainable alternatives in the global wood adhesives market the opportunity for this environmentally friendly glue to become commercially successful is very promising.

Key achievements in the Growing Confidence in Forestry’s Future research programme are summarised in the report. The programme has made significant progress towards increasing productivity and profitability, and demonstrated that increasing site utilisation by increasing final crop stocking can substantially lift productivity, and many companies are altering their silvicultural regimes to reflect this.

The report also presents the successful outcome of feasibility study for an inland container terminal at Kawerau, with a rail link to the Port of Tauranga. A total annual saving of approximately NZ$4 million in avoided transport costs is expected once the container terminal is fully operational, in addition to a net reduction in vehicle emissions and decreased congestion on the roads. Establishment of the container terminal is now progressing.

Financially 2016-17 was a good year for Scion. Revenue grew 4.6 per cent to NZ$51.9 million (budget $50.3 million) providing a net profit after tax of NZ$2.3 million (budget $1.6 million), and cash reserves increased to NZ$15.5 million (budget $7.3 million) supported by an NZ$8.4 million net cash surplus from operating activities. Scion’s complete Annual Report can be downloaded from www.scionresearch.com

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Jobs


Buy and Sell


...and one to end the week on ... nesting falcon

We may have used in the past - but it's too good not to use. Sent in by a local reader.

He says, I've received many remarkable nature photographs over the years but this photo of a nesting Falcon is perhaps the most remarkable Nature shot that I've ever seen. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Nature is truly breath-taking! I've sent this to most of my older friends. The younger ones probably have never seen a falcon and wouldn't recognize it.

For your information. The last Australian-made Ford car rolled off the assembly line at the company's Broadmeadows plant in NW Melbourne in October 2016. For all you petrol heads out there, it was a blue XR6. It meant the end of the road for the Ford Falcon, a motoring icon that was embedded in Australian culture for more than half a century.



OK, one more for you.

An 80 year old man was arrested for shop lifting. When he went before the judge he asked him, "What did you steal?"

He replied: "A can of peaches".

The judge asked him why he had stolen them and he replied that he was hungry.

The judge then asked him how many peaches were in the can.

He replied "6".

The judge then said, "I will give you 6 days in jail."

Before the judge could actually pronounce the punishment, the man's wife spoke up and asked the judge if she could say something.

The Judge said, "What is it?"

The wife said "He also stole a can of peas"






And on that note, enjoy your weekend. Cheers.

Brent Apthorp
Editor, Friday Offcuts
Distinction Dunedin Hotel
6 Liverpool Street, Dunedin 9016, New Zealand
PO Box 904, Dunedin 9054, New Zealand
Tel: +64 (03) 470 1902, Mob: +64 21 227 5177, Fax: +64 (03) 470 1906
Web page: www.fridayoffcuts.com


This week's extended issue, along with back issues, can be viewed at www.fridayoffcuts.com

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