Friday Offcuts 26 October 2018
In New Zealand, Red Stag Timber has also announced that they have several building projects planned aimed at showcasing the potential of timber as a construction material for large-scale building projects. These will precede the planned NZ$35 million Cross-Laminated-Timber plant planned to be built next year. CLT and other wooden panel products will be used in apartments, a retail and office complex and a hotel in Christchurch and Auckland. The idea is to showcase large scale laminated timber construction and to provide the buildings and underlying details around timber construction to encourage further investment and development.
We’ve also included news this week on a raft of new innovations around wood products. In Europe, the modified wood cladding and decking manufacturer, Kebony, has just opened the company’s new factory in Belgium. Growth and international sales, according to the company, have increased on average, 30 percent year-over-year, for the past seven years and the new manufacturing plant is expected to double production capacity for the product.
In Austria, a company is reported to have developed a new wood-carbon fibre composite system that’s made up of several layers of wood ply bonded to carbon fibre layers. Closer to home, Naxan, described as an engineered wood product that looks and feels like hardwood, is being introduced into the Australian market (with the construction product supplier also having exclusive rights in the NZ market as well). Further details on both developments are contained in the stories below.
As anticipated, with just over two weeks to go before the first leg, the New Zealand event, of the annual ForestTECH ( www.foresttech.events) series runs, registrations from resource managers and inventory foresters continue to flow in. Pre-conference workshops are getting close to full with two of the three workshops in Melbourne already booked out.
This week we’ve included a story on the planned launch as part of the New Zealand event of a Forest Inventory Reporting System (an innovative end-to-end solution for designing forest inventories, capturing data, analysing the captured data and reporting the results) by the Australian company, Universal Forest Systems. Registrations for both the New Zealand and Australian programmes can still be made on-line. That’s it for this week. Enjoy this week’s read.
This week we have for you:
500 MT wood pellet operation being exploredAltus Renewables Limited and Mitsui & Co Ltd. have entered into a new long-term wood pellet offtake agreement in relation to Altus’ Tuan wood pellet production facility located near Maryborough, Queensland and will jointly explore the construction of a significant new production facility in Australia’s Green Triangle region of South Australia and Victoria.
The 1 million metric ton (MT), 10-year sale and purchase agreement, will see the export of 100,000 MT of industrial wood pellets per annum from the Port of Bundaberg to the Japanese power generation market.
Industrial wood pellets are used at power stations reducing their carbon emissions. Additionally, Mitsui has provided Altus with a finance facility that will enable the company to upgrade its Tuan wood pellet production facility to achieve an annual production of 125,000 MT.
The funds will also enable the company to complete the construction of a dedicated wood pellet storage and export facility at the Port of Bundaberg, including a new export conveyor linking Altus’ facility to Queensland Sugar Limited’s ship loading infrastructure.
Altus Renewables Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer Ian Sandeman welcomed the agreement with Mitsui. “The long-term offtake and financing agreement will enable us to substantially scale up and respond to growing market demand from the Japanese market,” Mr Sandeman said.
Altus and Mitsui have also entered into a memorandum of understanding to conduct a feasibility study for the construction of a greenfield 500,000 MT per annum wood pellet production facility to be located in the Green Triangle region of South Australia and Victoria.
“Building on our Queensland operations, we are looking forward to further strengthening our relationship with Mitsui by exploring opportunities to build a world-scale operation in the Green Triangle region with the potential to be the biggest plant in Australia,” Mr Sandeman said.
The facility is estimated to take approximately two years to complete, bringing employment opportunities and investment to the region. Altus and Mitsui aim to complete a feasibility study on the Green Triangle Project by the first quarter of 2019.
Eastland forestry training programme underwayEastland Wood Council’s Generation Programme is under way. The 14 trainees in the inaugural programme, which aims to provide a direct pipeline of work-ready, skilled and trained people into employment in the forest industry, were last week were welcomed with a whakatau at Turanga Ararau.
Eastland Wood Council chief executive Kim Holland said the trainees were excited to have the opportunity to be earning as they were learning. In April, the Generation Programme was funded NZ$215,000 over three years from the Government’s He Poutama Rangatahi employment scheme, plus an additional NZ$60,000 from the Ministry of Social Development.
Generation Programme participants will spend six weeks at a forestry base camp industry-introduction programme, followed by “learn while you earn” employment with contractors, complemented with part-time courses and a continuing individualised training plan through EIT Tairawhiti, Turanga Ararau and Competenz.
Students will also receive pastoral care from First Choice Employment and programme manager Siobhain Fyall. The new programme is set to produce 12 graduates in the first year, 30 in the second and 60 in the third.
During the six-week base camp programme, trainees will take part in an early morning fitness routine, have drug and alcohol education programmes, and learn the core general requirements they need to work in the forest industry. They will also have industry days where they will visit various forestry operations, including silviculture, earthworks and harvesting.
Feedback from the first trainees had been great so far, said Ms Holland. “One has already been working with a contractor and told the others how much he loved being out in the forest every day and going to work — even getting up early.”
Photo: Pictured at back from left are George Tanirau, TJ Kilburn, Eastland Wood Council chief executive Kim Holland, Tahi Hiroki, Destiny Muri, Vita Wilson, Henry Koia, Zyon Moana, Tikai Harris and Generation Programme manager Siobhain Fyall. At front from left are Mikaire Bell, Justus Apiata, Matthew Peneha, Caitlin Hauiti and Anaru Kingi. Picture by Paul Rickard
Source & Image: Gisborne Herald
Red Stag to showcase timber constructionRotorua-based timber products company Red Stag is about to embark on several building projects to showcase the potential of timber as a construction material in large-scale building projects. Red Stag is New Zealand's largest saw miller, employing 300 people with annual turnover of NZ$220 million.
The building projects come ahead of plans to build a NZ$35 million Cross-Laminated-Timber plant near its Whakarewarewa plant at Rotorua to be operating in 2019 and producing laminated panels up to 16.5m in length and 4.9m wide.
The first project will be five-level apartments at Clearwater Resort on the northern outskirts of Christchurch using cross laminated timber, and other panel products. The Ministry of Primary Industry through its Primary Growth Partnership is covering about 8 per cent of the NZ$20m Clearwater project.
After completion of the Clearwater project there will be two in Auckland - a retail and office complex, and a hotel. The Government was already building three-story timber structures in Auckland as part of Housing New Zealand projects, managing director of Red Stag wood solutions, Jason Cordes, said.
Red Stag is also planning to expand its truss and frame operation located in Hamilton Airport's industrial park which produces frames and trusses, floor cassettes and wall panels - designs which bring floor and wall construction together in components to speed up construction.
Cordes, said the New Zealand industry was on the verge of providing large scale laminated timber construction. The opportunities offered in large-scale timber construction had already been demonstrated overseas, he said.
"In Christchurch we will showcase good architecture, good engineering and the best in acoustic properties and fire-resistance. We will make the whole process transparent so everyone can see how it is done and how economically viable timber can be."
Forest Inventory Reporting System being launchedAfter a successful release in Australia, Universal Forest Systems has announced that they will be launching the Forest Inventory Reporting System (FIRS) in New Zealand at the Foresttech conference in November.
“FIRS is an innovative end-to-end solution for designing forest inventories, capturing data, analysing the captured data and reporting the results” says Ashley Goldstraw, Forestry Apps Developer for Universal Forest Systems. “It’s a web-based application that supports the design of inventories in a browser and includes tools for digitising, creating plot locations, managing field devices and tracking progress”.
“You can undertake a complete forest inventory without the need for any other software, but it still integrates with other systems if you want to bring your own data” says Ashley Goldstraw. “Plots are transferred to the Firs Data Capture (FirsDC) app on an Android device via the internet, eliminating the need to bring the device into the office. Once the plot templates are downloaded to the device, the app may run without internet”.
Inventory crews may also use the integrated GPS to locate plots in the field, capture data, check the data with built-in data validations and view summary statistics. Completed plots are then uploaded back to FIRS via the internet, where they can instantly be summarised.
“Inventory data is volumated and grown using built-in biometric equations, which users may interact with. Once you have your biometrics and grading set up, the results are available as soon as the data is loaded into FIRS. There is no messing around with cables, emailing files or transferring to folder locations, and the data has already been exposed to dozens of validation checks before it arrives. FIRS has almost eliminated data management overheads.” said Elspeth Baalman, Forest Biometrician at Universal Forest Systems.
Ashley and Elspeth will be outlining their new Inventory Reporting System in just over two weeks in Rotorua, New Zealand on 14-15 November and then again in Melbourne, Australia on 20-21 November as part of the ForestTECH 2018 series. Full details on the programmes and pre-conference workshops (some are already full so you’ll need to check on availability on-line) can be found on the event website, www.foresttech.events.
Natural engineered wood product for AustraliaAn engineered wood product made entirely from natural materials is all set to revolutionise the Australian architecture and built environment. An Australian-first, the new product, Naxan is a sustainable building material with versatile application in decking, cladding, architectural facades, hand railings, fencing, interiors and window framing among many more.
Naxan, known globally as Resysta, has been introduced into the Australian market by Australian construction product supplier, TEXO. Naxan is manufactured from three core natural materials, rice husk (60%), mineral oil (18%) and rock salt (22%), using advanced technology to create an engineered wood product that looks and feels like hardwood.
Naxan engineered wood can be used anywhere across detached housing construction, or mid high density residential, commercial, retail and industrial projects.
Naxan engineered wood delivers several benefits including environment-friendly characteristics with all-natural construction; natural weather resistance against sun, rain, frost and salt water ensuring the product remains free of swelling, splintering, rotting and cracking; termite and pest resistance eliminating any need to treat or replace material due to damage; guaranteed long lifespan, saving time and money over the long term; BAL 40 fire rating, making it suitable for bushfire prone areas; slip-resistant and anti-fungal properties ideal for use in marine areas and decking applications in wet zones such as pools; and 15-year warranty.
Describing Naxan as a sustainable product set to revolutionise the building industry in Australia, TEXO Group Sales & Marketing Manager, Stephen Sigmund said Naxan looks and handles like wood but without the environmental impact of traditional commercial timber growing and logging.
TEXO has secured exclusive rights to the marketing and sales of Resysta under the Naxan brand in Australia and New Zealand. Initially, Naxan will be available across the Sydney, Newcastle and Wollongong markets, although the company is already fielding enquiries from across the country.
According to Mr Sigmund, there has been a significant level of pre-launch interest in Naxan simply because of its adaptability to such a wide range of building and commercial environments. TEXO is currently receiving enquiries from a number of Tier 1 builders, developers and architects.
He adds that Naxan comes with a strong international pedigree with major brands such as Starbucks using the product to provide highly tactile and resilient fitouts in their retail stores, while Hilton Hotels have also used the product in outdoor decking and pool areas.
Focussed resources finding mark with industryThe latest issues of www.woodtech.news and www.foresttech.news have just been sent out to an ever-increasing readership across Australasia. Both communication platforms have arisen directly from industry requests and suggestions. To build on the regular technology events being run by the Forest Industry Engineering Association in Australia and New Zealand, feedback from those attending has been clear. Let’s set up a more regular platform to communicate amongst ourselves. Aside from getting together at the annual tech events, opportunities for more regular communication throughout the year are rare.
Both newsletters have been going for a while now. Both have already built up a very large community of readers in both parts of the industry. They’re now providing the very latest updates on breaking news, research results, information on new products, equipment, tools and innovations, reports and links for each particular industry. They are at this stage monthly.
As the names suggest, www.woodtech.news is subscribed to (it’s free) by sawmilling, wood manufacturing and wood products companies across Australasia. The second, www.foresttech.news is aimed at resource managers, remote sensing, GIS and forest mapping specialists and inventory foresters.
Links to both of the latest issues of www.woodtech.news and www.foresttech.news can be read here.
If not already receiving – and you’d like to be added to the list – you can sign up directly on each of the links above. Of course, any contributions, comments or suggestions for each will be welcomed. They’re yours to use.
Airbus partners with NZ research instituteThe Centre for Space Science Technology (CSST) and Airbus Defence and Space have announced a partnership agreement, which will give New Zealand businesses, industry, government and the research community access to an even wider selection of high resolution, weather independent, near real-time satellite imagery.
“In the past, New Zealand has lagged behind other nations in our application of Earth observation (EO) data, which has limited our ability to optimise the use of resource-limited inputs, manage risk, remain internationally competitive, respond to regulatory requirements, and minimise environmental impact,” said Steve Cotter, CEO of CSST.
“In order to address this issue, a key component of CSST’s original business case was to make EO data more available and affordable. We are starting to execute on that plan by negotiating strategic data partnership agreements which increase the availability and affordability of EO products and services in New Zealand and the wider Pacific region.”
CSST is now the primary provider of Airbus satellite data and products in New Zealand and the Pacific Islands. With science and commercial applications ranging from disaster monitoring and border security through to agriculture and forestry, access to Airbus products increases CSST’s data offerings to include a broad range of satellites, from compact cubesats (which can fit in the palm of your hand) to highly sophisticated radar satellites (size of a bus), used for collecting very-high-resolution data about the Earth’s surface - day or night, rain or shine.
Airbus is one of the world’s most renowned commercial space organisations, operating in over 35 countries worldwide, supplying satellites for many governmental space organisations including the European Space Agency and German Space Agency. Airbus is also the prime contractor for over 70 EO satellites, with a full suite of observational purposes and types of leading-edge sensor technology on board.
Airbus’s EO data often best serves decision-makers who require daily revisits, need business-critical information regardless of weather conditions or cloud cover, and require access to very-high-resolution imagery (down to the tens of centimetres), which can only be provided by the latest technology.
“Satellite imagery, especially weather-independent synthetic aperture radar (SAR) imagery, provides a great breadth of opportunity for scientific and commercial application in a place like New Zealand, known as the land of the long white cloud,” said Seyed Miri, Regional Manager for Airbus Defence and Space. “We have had several opportunities to work with CSST since their organisation was established and see them as a valued partner. We are delighted to finalise this partnership agreement and expand the good work of both organisations.”
Top of the South to celebrate inaugural awardsThrough a culmination of keen forestry contractors, forest owners and wood councils from the Nelson & Marlborough region have come together to initiate forestry awards for the industry in the top of the South Island, New Zealand. Having seen the success, other regions have generated from staging awards in Eastland, Northland, Southland and more recently Southern North Island, the committee feel very sure the same effect will be offered to the local industry.
The key objectives of the awards will most definitely be to attract skilled employees to the region as a valued forestry industry player, to upskill and lift the skill base of the forestry workforce and to provide an opportunity to celebrate and unite the forestry industry. With nominations opening in March next year there is sure to bring about healthy and challenging competition between the regions, contractors and crews.
“We have a lot to celebrate about our industry in this part of the country, we have been industry leaders in the past with mechanisation and have some really capable people working the slopes. It’s fair to say we have seen the benefits of the other regions that manage forestry awards and we think our industry is keen to follow this too”, says Nathan Taylor committee representative & facilitator.
That is supported with comments from Brendon Whitley, Chair of the Marlborough Forestry Industry Association, “The forest industry is going through a period of unprecedented growth and change. Technology advancements in mechanisation, robotics, drones, and satellite imagery is creating efficiencies and opportunities every day”.
“The skillsets of those working in the industry are also undergoing change. The top of the South region has been the forefront of this technology revolution, punching well above our weight. We have a number of highly skilled and experienced people, and It is great to be able to recognise their contributions to our regions success.”
There are fourteen categories to be awarded across individual and companies, with the ultimate award being the Skilled Professional of the Year 2019. The awards will culminate to an evening of celebration, presentations and dinner on Friday June 14 in Nelson at the Trafalgar Event Centre.
Certified timber heart of new Heyfield buildingSporting clubs are often a critical factor in building and maintaining a sense of community in small regional towns and the facilities used to house them are often much more than just change rooms for sport, providing a meeting place and social hub as well as community facility used for larger functions.
Wellington Council in Victoria’s East Gippsland recognised this pivotal role and set out to rejuvenate the town’s sporting pavilion as part of a wider master plan to upgrade the Gordon Street Recreation Reserve. The pavilion, which hadn’t been upgraded for 30 years, is a central hub for the community of Heyfield and home to the local football, netball, basketball, cricket and even pigeon racing clubs.
Architect Paul Katz describes the pavilion upgrade as providing “a fresh lease on life with new and upgraded features. The new and existing façade is expressed with timber battens wrapped around the building creating a strong and inviting presence to the pavilion.”
Wellington Council had expressed a keen desire in its brief for the building to lead by example, incorporating a design that was sustainable and beautiful. The solution was to use timber in a dynamic and highly visible way on the pavilion’s façade and to incorporate timber into the flooring, joinery and cabinetry as well as bench seating.
To ensure the timber satisfied the brief’s sustainability criteria, 100% of the timber used in this project was certified. The flooring, timber battens around the façade and kitchen bar and server joinery were all sourced from the ASH mill in Heyfield, which is a mill that is certified by Responsible Wood to Australian Standard 4707 relating to chain of custody.
A spokesperson from ASH explained the importance of this project to the company: “This project is very close to our hearts, as our head office and mill are located in the heart of Heyfield. This community is such a caring, supportive group of people, we wanted to give a little back to the town that has given us so much.”
The Gordon Street Reserve Pavilion has been short-listed as a finalist in the 19th Australian Timber Design Awards in Sydney on October 16. Responsible Wood is the sponsor of the Australian Certified Timber category.
China-U.S. trade dispute sparks uncertaintyThe market uncertainty being caused by the China-U.S. trade dispute is now one of the most important topics to watch, even amid myriad changing developments and issues that continue to impact market dynamics worldwide. The first volley was made by the U.S., and then (on August 23) China retaliated with a 25% import tariff on U.S. SYP logs.
Following that, on September 17, the U.S. announced 10% tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports (effective September 24). The next day (September 18), China announced 5%–10% tariffs on $60 billion of U.S. goods (also effective September 24). Most of the timber and wood products exported from the U.S. to China are included on the list of items affected.
Southern yellow pine log shipments from the U.S. South had been slowing before the implementation of the 25% tariff, impacted by China Customs’ decision in April to increase phytosanitary inspections and begin full enforcement of documentation requirements on incoming log shipments; as a result, the July trade data revealed a drop in SYP log exports of 25% from April. In addition, the CFR price of SYP logs being offered by U.S. suppliers has seen large declines in the last several months versus other species.
While the U.S. represented only a modest share of China’s total log and lumber imports in H1/2018 (13% of softwood logs, 2% of softwood lumber, 7% of hardwood logs, and 21% of hardwood lumber), fully 54% of U.S. log exports and 38% of lumber exports went to China in 2017. Clearly, the U.S. export industry relies heavily on the China market.
China’s predominant wood products exports to all markets are wood furniture and seating products (63%), followed by plywood (14%). Of China’s timber and wood products exports to the U.S. in 2017, US$12.9 billion (35.7% of the total) went to the U.S., led by wood furniture and seating (US$9.28 billion). Overall, the U.S. represented 41% of China’s wood furniture export value last year.
There is little doubt that both countries will be impaired by this tariff war, with both ultimately losing competitiveness in each other’s markets.
Source: Russ Taylor, Managing Director, FEA Holdings – Canada Inc
Kebony doubles production capacityModified wood cladding and decking manufacturer Kebony has announced the opening of the company’s new factory in Flanders, Belgium. The Kebony technology modifies sustainably sourced softwoods by heating the wood with a bio-based liquid. By polymerizing the wood’s cell wall, the softwoods reportedly take on the attributes of tropical hardwood including high durability, hardness, and dimensional stability.
The company says it has experienced continued annual growth with international sales rising by an average of 30 percent year-over-year for the past seven years. In order to meet the increased demand, the new factory has been opened to enable Kebony to double its current annual production capacity to more than 200,000 square feet of Kebony Clear wood.
Kebony’s original factory in Norway will continue to specialize in the production of Kebony Character wood while maintaining its status as the company’s research and technology hub. Situated in the heart of Europe, the new factory is ideally located to benefit from a variety of European connections. The close proximity to the port of Antwerp will enable the export of Kebony products to European and overseas markets, such as North America, to become more efficient and cost-effective.
Construction of the facility was delivered within budget, with funding supplied by European investors. Plans for further investment would give Kebony the potential to quadruple its current production to nearly 900,000 square feet.
Structure yields new wood composite technologyWood is often described as “nature’s composite.” It’s composed of long cellulose fibres that are aligned along the direction of stress—and those fibres are all bound together by a lignin (organic polymer) matrix. If you substituted the word “cellulose” with “carbon fibre,” and then exchanged the word “lignin” with “epoxy,” you would be describing a basic carbon fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP) composite!
With that in mind, how is it even possible to improve upon wood? Nature is the best designer, after all. Well, wood is great, but it’s pretty difficult to make curved geometries that maintain the natural strength of wood. That may be about to change, thanks to a company in Austria that has developed a wood-carbon fibre composite system. And the best part about this system is that it’s modular, so it can be assembled into large spanning structures.
And whereas nature relies on evolution to determine what works and what doesn’t, Austrian architectural design firm Digital Architects relies on composite simulation to give its product evolution a kick-start.
The Digital Architects composite system comprises several layers of wood that are ply bonded to carbon fibre layers (as shown in the photo). This concept was first developed for the façade of the new Varna Library, located in Varna, Bulgaria. Since then, the system has evolved and the construction process used to assemble these panels into larger structures is now known as the active grid monocoque (AGM) method. These panels can be assembled to form structures of all sizes, providing thin, high-spanning structures, with three-dimensional curves and high strength-to-weight ratios.
To learn more about AGM and composite simulation, click here.
Source: Timber Architecture & Constructions News, www.engineering.com
VicForests releases results from auditVicForests released the results of its May 2018 Australian Forestry Standard (AFS) Surveillance Audit report for Responsible Wood certification. The audit endorsed VicForests’ strong management practices and found the organisation conformed across all AFS indicators.
The report made note of VicForests’ continual improvement of its management systems and the emphasis it placed on harvest planning and preparation, and the protection of biodiversity values. General Manager of Corporate Affairs, Alex Messina, said VicForests was proud of its Responsible Wood AFS certification which has been maintained for more than 10 years.
“This is a clear endorsement of VicForests’ management systems including harvesting operations and protection of biodiversity such as the Leadbeater’s Possum and Greater Glider,” Mr Messina said VicForests has maintained Responsible Wood (Australian Forestry Standard) since 2007 and undertakes regular independent audits to monitor its management systems and operations in accordance with these requirements.
The Responsible Wood standard is endorsed by the international Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) – the largest such system in the world which covers around 240 million hectares of forest across 30 countries and equates to around two-thirds of the world's total certified forest area.
The report highlighted one previous minor non-conformity which had been identified in an earlier audit. Corrective action to address this issue is in progress however the non-conformity was raised in this report as it has not yet been completed. This action is expected to be completed by December 2018.
VicForests will work with industry, stakeholders and the community to ensure it continues its strong record of sustainable timber harvesting and is best placed to achieve continued re-certification of Responsible Wood standard. VicForests has also announced plans to seek Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) Controlled Wood standard by 2020.
The May 2018 AFS Surveillance Audit report is available at the VicForests website at www.vicforests.com.au
Buy and Sell
...and one to end the week on ... setting an example
A woman was walking down the street when she was accosted by a particularly dirty and shabby-looking homeless woman who asked her for a couple of dollars for dinner.
And on that note, enjoy your weekend. Cheers.
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