Friday Offcuts – 20 April 2018

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As many of you now know, rules change in just two weeks for forestry companies, managers and contractors who’ll be dealing with local Councils in New Zealand. The new National Environmental Standards for Plantation Forestry come into force on 1 May 2018. The new nationally consistent regulations replace regional and district council plan provisions for plantation forestry activities. To help with the transition, MPI have already held a series of workshops around the country and a number of tools have been produced to help foresters and councils to work out if consents are needed for forestry activities. A second round of workshops have also been planned next month. Further details and links to tools and upcoming meetings are contained below.

In Australia this week, a new report highlights the economic and social contributions that forestry and wood products bring to the regions. This time, it’s Queensland. Last year, the industries contributed AU$685 million to the Queensland economy in direct sales, a total of AU$1.624 billion once flow-on effects in other industries are included and a total contribution to gross regional product (the regional equivalent of GDP) of AU$731 million. The Queensland forestry industry also generated over 8,400 direct jobs. A link to the full report is contained in the story in this week’s issue.

In forestry education and training, NZ$3 million of Scholarships (including internships, cadetships and apprenticeships) across New Zealand’s primary industries have for the first time been brought together into one place for students that are looking for help to fund their future study or training. For those involved in supplying careers information to students, the link below should perhaps be incorporated into any of the resources being developed. For young researchers in forest-based sciences, nominations are currently being sought for the Blue Sky Young Researchers Innovation Award promoted by the International Council of Forests and Paper Associations. This month, a University of Canterbury forestry student has also picked up top forest industry honours having just been awarded the prestigious annual Southern Wood Council scholarship.

Finally, in forestry safety this week, OneFortyOne and contractor partners in the OneSafeGroup are continuing their work improving safety across the Green Triangle region of SA and Victoria. They’ve expanded their focus into mental health and well-being with mental health taking over physical injuries as the major cause of absences from work in Australia. Feedback from Forestry Corporation of NSW staff and contractors has also been fed into a new Safety Strategy titled 360 degrees SAFE. The video in the story below shows FCNSW employees and contractors outlining exactly just what the 360 degrees SAFE concept means to them.

The Forest Industry Engineering Association is also currently working alongside industry leaders and early adopters of safety culture and technology tools to bring new learnings to this year’s Forest Industry Safety and Technology conference series. It’s running in mid-August in both Rotorua and Melbourne. Details on this year’s forest industry safety event will follow. Enjoy this week’s read.

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New rules for NZ forestry companies start on 1 May

New Zealand’s Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) has travelled the length of the country over the past six months hosting workshops for councils and the forestry sector on the new National Environmental Standards for Plantation Forestry (NES-PF) which come into force on 1 May 2018.

The new nationally consistent regulations replace regional and district council plan provisions for plantation forestry activities. The regulations are based on existing good practice standards for the forestry industry.

The NES-PF covers eight core activities in the life-cycle of a plantation forest. Most forestry activities are permitted by the NES-PF provided foresters meet the permitted activity conditions. If not, they will need to apply to council for a resource consent.

Three risk assessment tools are available to help foresters and councils determine when consents will be needed for forestry activities. These tools identify the risk of wilding conifer spread, erosion, and disturbance to waterways while fish are spawning.

“The workshops provided foresters and council staff with an overview of the NES-PF and information on their responsibilities under the new regulations,” said Oliver Hendrickson, Director Spatial, Forestry and Land Management, MPI. Under the NES-PF plantation foresters will need to familiarise themselves with the requirements for each forestry activity and understand how the three tools apply to their own land.

When required they will need to prepare (and keep records of) a forestry earthworks management plan, harvest plan, and quarry erosion and sediment management plan for submission to council. “The workshops also enabled foresters to discuss any issues they needed further clarification on, which allowed us to streamline and tailor our communications and guidance material to best meet their needs,” he said.

MPI has produced further guidance on the NES-PF which is available for download on the MPI website. Of particular interest to the forestry sector, are the NES-PF User Guide and the Consent and Compliance guide.

“We have met with more than 500 foresters during the NES-PF workshops. The general feeling is that these regulations provide more certainty for the sector, and the long-term benefits for both the environment and forestry sector productivity are welcomed by both the forestry industry and local authorities,” he said.

A second round of workshops will be hosted by MPI and the New Zealand Institute of Forestry next month. The purpose of these workshops is to provide an opportunity to apply the NES-PF in a scenario-based activity, assessing the forestry industries ability to apply and navigate the regulations. For more information on the NES-PF visit:

Source: MPI

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NZ$3m of Scholarships now available to students

Foresters, geneticists, robotics engineers, farm managers, entrepreneurs... Students wanting to use their talents to help New Zealand grow, can now search an extensive online database of scholarships to help fund their future study or training.

The database, originally developed in 2016 by GrowingNZ – the Primary Industry Capability Alliance (PICA) – has recently been relaunched at

“By adding additional scholarships and including internships, cadetships and apprenticeships relating to New Zealand’s primary sectors, we’ve doubled the number of scholarships featured to 270 - worth over NZ$3million,” says Dr Michelle Glogau, CEO of GrowingNZ.

New search functionality helps potential applicants narrow down the scholarships of most interest or relevance to them. The range of filters includes region, study or training level, tertiary institution, and subject area. A number of scholarships are exclusively available for: Maori; Pacifica Peoples; Asian; and rural students.

As an industry, education and government alliance, GrowingNZ is on a mission to attract 50,000 more people needed by New Zealand’s primary sectors by 2025. “We don't just need a lot more people. We need more people who are better qualified and with a diverse range of skills for our primary sectors to thrive,” Dr Glogau explains.

Dr Glogau is quick to point out that the scholarships provide successful applicants with more than just money. “Many scholarships offer intangible benefits such as support via mentoring; networking opportunities with industry leaders; and internships. Our experience shows that after graduating, scholars are highly likely to pursue careers in our primary sectors. Ultimately, they contribute to our success so it’s a win-win.”

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Forestry adds AU$731 million to the Queensland economy

The forest industry contributed AU$685 million to the Queensland (QLD) economy in direct sales alone last financial year, increasing to a total of AU$1.624 billion once flow-on effects in other industries are included. This led to a total contribution to gross regional product (the regional equivalent of GDP) of AU$731 million.

That was among the key findings of a new industry snapshot funded by Forest & Wood Products Australia and conducted by the University of Canberra in conjunction with consultancy EconSearch, a division of BDO. In terms of jobs, the QLD forestry industry generated over 8,400 direct jobs including almost 3,300 in forest growing and initial processing, and over 5,100 in secondary processing.

The plantations of southern pine generate the largest number of jobs (1,666 in growing and initial processing), followed by timber harvested from native eucalypt forests (691 jobs), Araucaria plantations (608 jobs) and native cypress forests (207 jobs) – showing the QLD forest industry draws on timber from a range of sources. All these areas also generate further jobs in ‘secondary processing’ of initial timber products into further products, with imported timbers also used in the secondary processing sector.

The industry is an important contributor to the economy in several regional communities and contributes to diversification of the economy in many regions. While most jobs - 5,167 - are in the South East region that includes Brisbane, 1,837 were generated in the Wide Bay Burnett region, 919 in the Southern region, 393 in the Central region, and 577 in the North region.

The Local Government Area with the highest dependence on the forest industry for employment was Gympie, with 4.6% of jobs directly dependent on forestry. While ABS Census data shows a 40.7% decline in total employment in the forest industry between 2006 and 2016, reflecting both increasing productivity in some parts of the industry and overall decline in size of other parts, this overall trend masks some differing trends within different industry sectors.

For example, between 2011- 2016, there was growth of 9.5% in employment in jobs involving establishing, managing and harvesting forests and plantations. QLD forest industry workers are slightly less likely than those in other industries to earn lower incomes (less than $600 per week), largely due to the higher rates of full-time work, but also less likely to earn high incomes (above $1,250 per week). In addition, 3% of the industry’s workforce identifies as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander, slightly higher than the 2% amongst QLD workers more generally.

Over 70 per cent of forest industry businesses reported difficulty recruiting heavy machinery operators, people with skills in occupational health and safety training and those able to operate hand-held machinery such as chainsaws.

Lead researcher Associate Professor Jacki Schirmer said that businesses remain hopeful: “A little less than half surveyed (45%) felt demand would remain the same, and the remaining businesses (55%) felt that demand would grow over the next 12 months. That said, obtaining labour, the increasing cost of labour, government regulations and rising input costs are still big challenges for many businesses”.

“It is important to remember that the majority of forestry jobs are generated by the processing sector, as is the majority of the industry’s flow-on economic impact. This highlights the importance of local processing of wood and fibre for generation of jobs.”

Dr Schirmer would like to thank the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries for their support in the project. To read the report Socio-economic impacts of the forest industry – Queensland in full, click here

Source: FWPA

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Celebrating 100 years of Queensland research

The timber industry is one of Australia's manufacturing success stories. People will always use timber and there will always be timber due to its sustainability provided it is responsibly grown and managed.

Fortunately, this was recognised over 100 years ago when Richard Matthews (RM) Hyne, founder of Hyne Timber and Member of the Queensland Legislative Assembly successfully introduced a motion that the government take immediate action in the replanting of forests and the creation of a Department of Forestry.

And so, with the support of other such visionaries, the journey began towards ultimately establishing a forest and forest products research facility in 1918. 100 years on and Government officials, stakeholders and industry came together to reflect on the significance of research and science in this ever evolving and growing industry.

During the centenary celebration, James Hyne, Executive Director of Hyne Timber spoke about the 100 years of Queensland Government research and development, supporting the industry's security and growth.

"Forestry and forest products need science. Trees are a living, natural resource and they all differ. What you can do with trees and how you can do it better has evolved significantly over the years and will never stop evolving, diversifying and improving provided we maintain a continued scientific focus.

"Therefore, the Queensland Governments Department of Agriculture and Fisheries Salisbury Research Facility is a critical innovation centre. To name a few, the Facility has undertaken extensive work on drying plantation pines to improve the usability of the wood by increasing straightness and stability.

"The quality of our products is benchmarked by industry standards and certifications which are essential for builders and home owners using our products in the majority of Queensland homes. This facility has played an integral role and continues to be involved in underpinning such standards with a fundamental knowledge of timber product through extensive testing over many years." Mr Hyne said.

The research facility also introduced acoustic technology to enable the timber industry to make improvements on grading timber and ensuring quality products. Preservation technology and ongoing improvements to treatments ensures durability of timber products and more efficient use of timber in exposed environments. The establishment of the termite resistance of exotic pines in Queensland was a milestone moment for industry and the community.

The Salisbury Research Facility's ongoing support provides a highly valuable, technical reference point for all manufacturing and optimised use of timber to further grow the industry. The facility plays a significant role in educating and developing today's leaders including James Hyne himself during his formative years of his Cadetship. Mr Hyne concluded his speech by taking the opportunity to officially thank the Queensland Government for the ongoing investment in the Facility.

"I'd like to thank the Queensland Government for their ongoing support and investment in forest and forest product research through the Salisbury Research Facility. The staff work with us as partners. They deliver technical expertise with a commercial, customer service focus. We appreciate the pride they take in their work and the passion they share for our industry”.

Photo: Hyne Timber's Geoff Stringer and James Hyne with the Salisbury Research Facility Team.

Source: Hyne Timber

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E-dockets - the future for the forestry sector?

A couple of issues ago we ran a piece from Mobile Mentor on the mobile technology trends being seen within the forestry industry. This week we cover the rollout of electronic log docketing across a number of major forestry businesses across Australasia that Randall will be addressing at the upcoming WoodFlow 2018 series ( that runs in both Australia and New Zealand. It runs in Melbourne, Australia on 20-21 June 2018 and then again in Rotorua, New Zealand on 26-27 June 2018.

eDockets connect harvesters, haulage contractors and sawmills in Australia

Some of the oldest and most persistent challenges in the forestry industry have been addressed through an informal but very successful collaboration between industry players in Australia.

One of big challenges that every forest company deals with is the persistent use of paper-based processes across the forestry supply chain. In many cases, paper dockets are the single source of truth, from the pick-up in the forest to delivery at the sawmill.

The dockets are collected from the loader and haulage contractors and sent to the forestry company. Someone in the back-office has the job of interpreting each driver’s handwriting to key the data into a spreadsheet and reconcile errors and missing dockets.

This process is prone to human error, so naturally there are delays, errors and incorrect invoices that need to be resolved. As a result, the paperwork lags the product going to the mill by about 6 weeks which directly impacts cash-flow, not just for the forestry company but also their harvest, loader and haulage contractors.

The second major issue is that forestry operators also have poor visibility of inventory in the forest which easily results in over-supply, spoilage and shrinkage and all these impact on profitability.

The third challenge is the high mortality and injury rate in the forest. This is hurting the industry reputation and makes it harder to attract and retain quality staff.

eDockets Some of the leading forestry operators in Australia are addressing these challenges with mobile technology and progressively adding additional features over time.

For example, The Forestry Corporation of New South Wales has pioneered the use of eDockets by deploying the EDx app to all its haulage contractors. Drivers receive the app on their devices using a secure deployment process.

These electronic dockets allow for docket data to be richer and more accurate than their paper equivalents. The EDx app uses geofencing and validation to only allow valid input from the drivers. In addition it enables each load to be geotagged at the collection point, the delivery route and the delivery destination.

The gross and tare weights are added to the eDocket app at the weighbridge, calculating the net weight and finalising the docket as a complete record of the transaction. This docketing record is synced to their back-end system throughout the delivery process, allowing real time awareness of the status of each delivery.

Because cellular coverage is non-existent, the EDx app is intelligently designed to work in an offline first manner. Whenever the truck receives a patch of mobile coverage, for example driving over a hill on a public road, the EDx app calls out automatically to receive any updated data and submit updates to dockets completed or in progress.

Further smarts allow electronic dockets be started on one device and completed on another. This mitigates the risk of data loss through lost or broken devices and further allows for drivers to maximise efficiency, loading trucks at the end of a shift and allowing another driver with a separate device to continue the delivery from the depot the next day. Electronic docketing allows for more accurate sales information, providing Forestry Corporation revenue assurance and improved cashflow.

More >>.

Source: Mobile Mentor

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ForestTECH News newsletter now out

The April issue of the News has just been sent out to industry. It’s a monthly newsletter collated to improve the communication and networking amongst the local ForestTECH community – all forest resource managers, inventory foresters, mapping and GIS specialists and researchers in this part of the world.

It’s been going since the idea was raised by delegates at the ForestTECH event late in 2016. Since early 2017 then, this regular update has continued to generate keen interest and contributions from the industry across Australasia. Readership is climbing rapidly. At this early stage, we’ve already got well over 1000 who are subscribing to the monthly tech update. Thanks for all of your support and input.

If interested in checking out the last issue – sent out earlier in the week –visit You can subscribe on line – it’s free. Remember, if you have a story, article or link that you can share, if you have just published some research in this area and would like another platform to disseminate information to your peers or to the wider industry or if you have information on a new product or innovation that you’d like to share, get in touch by emailing:

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360 degrees SAFE for Forestry Corporation of NSW

Safety in any industry is important and the forest and timber industry is one where focus and commitment to safety is essential to ensuring your workforce – be they in the forest, on the roads or in a mill – stays safe at work and returns to their family at the end of every day.

Forestry Corporation of NSW is proud to be working on a renewed commitment to safety. Forestry Corporation CEO Nick Roberts said that last year we asked staff and contractors to consider ‘What’s safe…’ “The feedback and ideas generated from all quarters fed into a new Safety Strategy for Forestry Corporation.” To help garner focus on safety we developed the concept of 360 degrees SAFE.

“360 degrees SAFE means we make safety the most important part of everything we do. It means we consider all the hazards around us before starting work. It means we take responsibility for our safety and set the standard for our colleagues, our teams, our customers and the industry. It means ensuring every one of us gets home safely to our family every day.”

“360 degrees SAFE is a complete safety picture and in my mind answers the question we asked at the start – What’s Safe? …….. 360 degrees SAFE”

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New camera cuts sawmill maintenance by almost 60%

A self-cleaning camera created by ExcelSense Technologies, a UBC-based venture, has cut maintenance downtime at one of the log lines in a British Columbia sawmill by almost 60 per cent. By providing the ability to see a critical but previously invisible process on the worksite, the technology enabled millworkers to prevent a recurring clogging problem from developing on multiple occasions.

“We wanted to offer a reliable, economical solution to an issue faced by many industrial worksites: the inadequate surveillance of key operations because of the absence of cameras or the repeated contamination of existing cameras,” says ExcelSense founder and CEO Nima Nabavi. “In most industrial settings, a normal camera would likely need to be cleaned by external means every few minutes.”

Owned and operated by Canfor, the BC mill had been dealing with frequent clogs at the outfeed of one of its log lines — an enclosed area where sawdust, oil and resin would accumulate. If they could see what was happening inside, millworkers would have an opportunity to intervene before a clog developed and damaged equipment or otherwise interrupted production. But due to the constant flow of material into the area, installing regular cameras there would have provided no benefit; their view would have been obstructed in a matter of minutes.

So, Canfor, always looking to increase safety and productivity at its sites, agreed to test out the ToughEyeTM: a robust, one-piece self-cleaning camera that ExcelSense claimed would not only supply clear visuals for the lifetime of the unit — about 90,000 cleaning cycles — but also do so without using water, detergents, pumps or compressors. Housed in a heavy-duty metal casing, the camera features a special active mechanism that weakens the bonds between the contaminants and optical surface, allowing it to rid the surface of oil, water, sand, dust, mud and other substances by effectively “blinking” like a human eye.

Further details and the full story can be found on the website.

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Forestry safety group focuses on mental health training

As part of its ongoing commitment to safety, OneFortyOne and its contractor partners in the OneSafeGroup are continuing their work improving safety across the region’s forestry industry, expanding their focus into mental health and wellbeing.

OneFortyOne’s Emma-Kate Griffiths recently organised an accredited St Johns ‘Mental health first aid course’ for Group members, teaching people how to provide initial support to adults who are developing a mental illness or experiencing a mental health crisis.

“We know that mental health has taken over physical injury as the largest cause of absences from work in Australia, and so it was important to all the companies in the OneSafeGroup to prioritise mental health training in the same way we train our people in first aid”, Mrs Griffiths said.

Local harvesting company, Harvestco, was keen to participate and support the mental health of its workers. Safety Officer, Tim Stapleton said “At Harvestco, we want to actively influence the positive mental health of our team, and this training provided the perfect opportunity for me to learn how to recognise and respond appropriately to signs of mental illness.”

Chipping and Logging contractor LV Dohnt & Co were also delighted to take part in the training, sending 7 of their team to participate with plans to send all their supervisors and team leaders in the future. LV Dohnt’s Alicia Geue said “We know how important mental health awareness is. Unfortunately, we make judgements on the unknown and I personally misunderstood so much about this topic, but because I was fortunate enough to participate in the course I am now more prepared to deal with my own emotions and behaviours, and those around me.”

LV Dohnt’s WHS and Compliance Manager John Bruttomesso thanked OFO for organising the training, finding the course exceptional in helping to understand mental health illness. “I am confident that I now have the tools to identify persons that could be affected by this illness, and my approach would definitely be different at home and my workplace as a result of the training”, said Mr Bruttomesso.

The nationally recognised OneSafeGroup who will be presenting at the Australian leg of the upcoming WoodFlow 2018 event in Melbourne on 20-21 June, was formed to foster collaboration and improve safety across the forestry industry and the wider Green Triangle region.

“We know through our industry collaborating in all aspects of safety, physical and mental health and wellbeing, our people can have a positive impact at work and in the wider community”, said OFO’s Emma-Kate Griffiths.

Source: OneFortyOne

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XLam Australia now commercially producing CLT

XLam has announced that it has now begun manufacturing Cross Laminated Timber (CLT) panels at its Wodonga site in Australia.

“XLam is very excited to finally offer the building and construction industry a locally produced treated or non-treated CLT product”, said XLam CEO Gary Caulfield. “The opening of our state-of-the-art facility represents a significant milestone for our company and the industry. Congratulations and thanks to the entire project team on the delivery of the new ‘high-tech’ plant.”

Mr Caulfield noted that “lead-times for product from our New Zealand plant are currently at 16 weeks from the date of contract signing and upon receipt of suitable engineering and architectural details/drawings. We have made a commitment to the Australian market that the new plant will offer the same great service to our Australian customers.”

The XLam manufacturing plant represents a AU$30 million investment within the Logic industrial estate, a location choice supported by the City of Wodonga local council. XLam’s business model includes design, manufacture and installation capacity to deliver comprehensive construction solutions for customers throughout the Asia Pacific region.

Photo: XLam production team at the new Logic factory

Source & Photo: XLam

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Forest remote sensing data acquisition trial

We reported on a trial in a recent issue of Offcuts where researchers from NSW DPI, University of Tasmania, Interpine, SCION and the University of Sydney have been working collaboratively on an FWPA funded remote sensing project. The joint trial is designed to assess and compare data captured from a range of sensors and aerial and ground-based platforms in order to extract detailed information relating to stand and tree level attributes.

In addition to the previous story, a video has recently been posted from the team at Carabost State Forest P. radiata plantation in southern NSW where further details on the project and outcomes can be viewed.

Source: R&D Works, April 2018, Interpine

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NZ forestry student picks up major award

A University of Canterbury forestry student has just received top forest industry honours with a major scholarship being awarded. This year’s Southern Wood Council (SWC) Scholarship has been awarded to Rob Sheppard, a Bachelor of Forestry Science student, studying at the University of Canterbury, Christchurch.

Rob, a mature student, had worked extensively in agriculture and tourism since leaving school. As well as an outdoors background including guiding (canoeing, horse trekking and hiking), instructing and animal control he also has family interests in both sawmilling and farming. Rob was also employed by a SWC member company, Port Blakely for three months work experience over the 2017/2018 summer period.

The Scholarship is the seventh that has been awarded to students as part of an annual scholarship programme set up by the Council in 2011. The annual scholarship awarded by the SWC is one of the most prestigious and valuable awarded to forestry students in New Zealand. In any one year, the SWC has up to $13,500 committed to three student scholarships.

“The Annual Scholarship is an opportunity for forestry and wood products companies in the lower South Island to put back something into the industry and to support outstanding students studying towards either the Forestry Science or Forest Engineering courses at the School of Forestry” says SWC Chairman, Grant Dodson.

“The SWC is delighted to award this year’s scholarship to Rob and the industry is keen to continue to support the current scholarship recipients (Logan Robertson, 2017 Scholarship winner and Rhys Black, 2016 Scholarship winner), both in their study – and in their future employment” says Mr Dodson.

The University Scholarship is offered each year by the SWC in addition to running the largest gathering of its type for forestry contractors and those working within the local forestry, wood products and transport industries. A major industry training and awards evening in May of each year is run with well over 350 attending. This year’s SWC Forest Products Training Awards is being run in conjunction with Competenz, local industry and key suppliers to the forestry industry in Dunedin on Friday 25 May 2018.

Source: Southern Wood Council

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International innovation award open to young researchers

The Australian Forest Products Association is calling all young researchers in forest-based sciences to put their hands up and apply for the Blue Sky Young Researchers Innovation Award. These are prestigious awards and the winners will be announced in Canada in 2019, Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Forest Products Association (AFPA), Mr Ross Hampton, said.

“The Blue Sky Young Researchers Innovation Award takes place biennially and grants up to three awards to the most attractive submissions during the CEO Roundtable promoted by the International Council of Forests and Paper Associations (ICFPA),” Mr Hampton said.

“Young researchers carrying out projects using forest based raw materials, process improvements or other innovations throughout the value chain are encouraged to apply. Researchers involved in movements towards a bio-economy are particularly encouraged. AFPA will be coordinating Australian applications and the full terms of reference are available on our website,” Mr Hampton said.

Applicants need to be students or other researchers under 30 years of age carrying out research innovation projects relevant for forestry, forest products processing technologies and forest products in academia, at a public or private research centre or company research or innovation department.

“Up to three finalists will be chosen from Australia, who will then have their travel and accommodation expenses in May 2019 to Canada covered, so they can present their submissions. Entries close on the 30th of June 2018,” Mr Hampton concluded.

Terms of reference for entrants can be found here

Source: AFPA

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Industrial drones for remote operation in construction

There is absolutely no doubt that drones offer a high ROI for the construction industry. But the notoriously traditionalist sector has been slower than others to adopt drones on worksites. Now global drone leader DJI and commercial drone data company Skycatch have scored a deal to deliver 1,000 high-precision drones to construction giant Komatsu.

It’s a big step forward for the commercial application of drones. “This represents the largest commercial drone order in history,” says DJI. “Each drone is manufactured by DJI and outfitted with specialized Skycatch technology, and is the first time DJI has manufactured a custom drone for a partner.”

Komatsu has been out in front of a push to innovate in the construction sector. Far beyond dump-trucks and excavators, Komatsu is developing unmanned and autonomous vehicles for remote operation in dangerous terrain. They are introducing technology to allow machines to tackle skilled operations with minimal driver input. They are working on connecting machine operators and project managers, providing data on jobsite conditions and equipment. Drones are a logical area to pursue. DJI explains their use on the job site:

“The Skycatch Explore1 drone autonomously flies over job sites to create highly accurate 3D site maps and models and will be deployed on Komatsu job sites. This map data will be used for Komatsu Smart Construction’s new data service that enables robotic earth moving equipment, used in the earthwork stage of the construction process, to correctly dig, bulldoze, and grade land autonomously according to digital construction plans.”

“Conducting a site survey using a drone used to take hours. However, by implementing Explore1, users can carry out surveying quickly and easily. Now it is possible to perform drone surveying every day. Taking off, landing and flight route setting are all automated. Ground Control Points (GCPs) are no longer needed. 3D data is immediately generated and an entire construction site can be visually checked with the 3D map. The Explore1 is a true game changer for the construction site,” said Chikashi Shike, President of Smart Construction Division at Komatsu.


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Buy and Sell

... and one to end the week on ... planting Q.C.?

First – a note back on the story from last week. That’s the one where you lifted your right foot off the floor and made clockwise circles. Then with your right hand you drew the number '6' in the air. For most of us, try as we could, your foot changed direction.

One of our readers sent this in last Friday in response to the test which in itself, was even more interesting.

“For reasons unclear, my youngest son (also a gifted mathematician) scribes all of his numerals in the opposite manner to me e.g. he makes a 7 and a 9 from the bottom up and a 6 from the centre out and down to the bottom (and so on). No one taught him this, he just does it naturally.

I first attempted drawing the 6 top to centre (my normal mode) then tried drawing 6 in the opposite way (clockwise if you get the drift) to what I do usually i.e. as my son would draw it and it also enabled me to master your riddle (above).

Go on – give it a go. Weird huh?

And your weekly story. An oldie but a goodie. After having their 11th child, an Irish couple decided that was enough, as they could not afford a larger bed. So the husband went to his doctor and told him that he and his wife didn't want to have anymore children.

The doctor told him there was a procedure called a vasectomy that would fix the problem but it was expensive. A less costly alternative was to go home, get a firework, light it, put it in a beer can, then hold the can up to his ear and count to 10. The husband said to the doctor, "B'Jayzus, I may not be the smartest guy in the world, but I don't see how putting a firework in a beer can next to my ear is going to help me."

"Trust me, it will do the job", said the doctor.So the man went home, lit a banger and put it in a beer can. He held the can up to his ear and began to count: "1, 2, 3, 4, 5," at which point he paused, placed the beer can between his legs so he could continue counting on his other hand.

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:

This week's extended issue, along with back issues, can be viewed at

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