Friday Offcuts – 13 September 2019

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Yesterday the first of the FIEA sawmilling technology series, WoodTECH 2019 wound up in Rotorua. It’s certainly been an informative couple of days. The second leg of the series will be running for Australian sawmill and production managers, mill supervisors, engineering staff and saw-doctors in Melbourne next week.

Again, the turnout from international and local technology providers along with local mills this week has been outstanding. Around 350 are attending the two-yearly sawmilling series this year. Suppliers of saws and sawmilling technologies presenting and exhibiting (leading companies from Sweden, Germany, the USA, Canada, Singapore, Australia and NZ have been involved) and the series of practical troubleshooting workshops run as part of this year’s series, struck a chord with New Zealand mills this week. Further information on this latest technology series will follow.

As part of this week’s event, local sawmillers have heard how artificial intelligence (AI) is already being integrated into their timber scanning, sawing and saw sharpening equipment. Recent new data released by a global technology firm points out that kiwis are embracing AI in the workplace - even more so than countries like Australia, USA, UK, Germany and Japan. The survey shows that NZ employees stood out for their willingness to be trained by AI, their confidence in job security and the positive impact they believe this intelligent technology is going to have on their jobs. Another report released last week, Towards Our Intelligent Future, also reinforces the importance of AI. It shows global GDP could be 14 percent higher with AI, and New Zealand could gain between 5.6 and 10.4 percent of total GDP, compared to a scenario without AI. Further details and links to the full report are contained in stories this week.

In other tech events being run by FIEA, augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR) developers have outlined how these technologies are being employed in a raft of industries, including our own. Company-X, that has presented to NZ forestry and wood products companies in the past, has just picked up the distribution rights to light weight head-mounted tablets that can be clipped onto a hard hat. It can be used as a smartphone, a computer or a video camera – all through voice commands. The potential becomes obvious here; hands-free on-site inspections, maintenance in a mill environment and instructions off site for repairs and maintenance in forestry operations. We’ll keep you updated as this technology is being adopted.

And finally, we’ve built in a couple of stories added to the first issue of harvesttech.news that was sent out to harvesting and wood transport companies across the region earlier in the week. The first is part of a two-part series written by a B.C. log cartage operation running 14 log trucks evaluating what’s out there in the market for electronic logging devices and their journey to implement electronic logbooks for their own trucking fleet. The second details results from a recent trial aimed at reducing the risk of build-up of ‘slash’ on cutover in steep forested areas. A helicopter slash grapple was designed, built and trialled on a steep harvest area in Kanuka Forest, Gisborne, managed by PF Olsen Ltd. Results are detailed below and in this month’s issue of harvesttech.news. That’s it for this week. Enjoy this week’s read.



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VR takes school children on renewable forestry journey

Teachers from across Australia were recently given the opportunity to experience and learn about innovative virtual reality (VR) teaching resources developed by ForestLearning, a program of Forest and Wood Products Australia (FWPA).

The ForestVR™ toolkit for schools will educate students on the renewable cycle of timber in an immersive and engaging way, while overcoming the problems around inaccessibility and safety of visiting physical forests and manufacturing plants.

Following the completion of 360-degree filming at 28 different locations across South Australia and Victoria’s Green Triangle region, New South Wales and Queensland, footage was used to create seven VR video experiences and five virtual 360 tours.

Beth Welden, ForestLearning Program Manager, said these virtual tours have been designed specifically for school students, to tell the renewable “seed-to-shelter” pine story and the “forest-to-fine-flooring” Spotted Gum story in a fully immersive way.

“This is a novel way of engaging students, allowing them to visit places they wouldn’t normally have the opportunity to access as a school field trip. We hope to provide meaningful educational experiences, aligned to the Australian Curriculum, that truly engage students on sustainable and renewable forest and wood products,” Welden said.

Ric Sinclair, Managing Director at FWPA, said the ForestVR™ toolkit is a great example of the organisation’s commitment to embracing new and innovative ways to communicate important messages to the community.

“We are wanting today’s young people to grow up with an appreciation of the sustainable and renewable nature of our forests. As the decision makers, voters and consumers of the future, it is important that today’s school children have an affiliation with wood and are fully aware of the benefits,” Sinclair said.

The ForestVR™ toolkit was launched at the 2019 Geography Teachers’ Association of Victoria’s Annual Conference. During the showcase, teachers had the chance to experience and test the VR experiences first-hand using headsets, and were given the opportunity to provide feedback.

A number of accompanying ForestVR™ teaching resources were also explored during the teacher workshop, which were developed in partnership with ForestLearning by the Geography Teachers’ Association of Victoria and the Design and Technologies Teachers’ Association of Victoria. The teaching resources aligned to the Australian Curriculum help teachers to incorporate VR immersive experiences, virtual 360 tours and spatial mapping exercises into their teaching units using forest and wood products as a context for learning.

The aim of the workshop was to enable the teachers to become more confident adopters of VR tools and technology and to receive practical teaching tools, tips and tricks for using ForestVR™ within their classrooms.

The conference was also used as an opportunity to recruit teachers to trial the ForestVR™ toolkit in their own classrooms, which will form part of a pilot phase before a refined version is released more broadly later this year.

Welden said it was exciting to see the new technology and resources in the hands of teachers and to hear their positive feedback, following the year of hard work that led to their development. “We were enthused by the positive reactions of the teachers. We are confident that with their input, we will deliver a robust, engaging and industry-first suite of resources,” Welden said.

The ForestVR™ experiences and teaching resources can be found at the ForestLearning website. The virtual tours can be experienced using a tablet, iPhone or a VR headset. Lesson plans in the form of teaching and learning resources will also be launching soon, following school trials and feedback.

Source: FWPA

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First production trial of helicopter slash grapple

Erosion and debris flow from forestry operations is currently a live topic. Severe weather events in the Nelson and Gisborne regions of New Zealand last year caused localised debris flows of mud and ‘slash’ (woody debris from windthrown trees, broken tops and branches, and residues from harvesting operations) beyond the forest boundary on to neighbouring properties. Concerns have been raised about industry practice and the efficacy of management controls over plantation forestry.

At an industry workshop sponsored by Forest Growers Research Ltd on harvest residue management on erosion prone land in Auckland in August 2018, forest industry stakeholders supported a project to address improved extraction of slash from the cutover and adjacent waterways. One idea to reduce the risk of build-up of ‘slash’ on the cutover in steep forested areas was to design, build and trial a helicopter slash grapple.

A prototype multi-tine slash grapple was designed by Helihawk Ltd of Taupo and built by Colchester Engineering Ltd of Matamata in February 2019 (photo). The site for the first production trial of the Helihawk Slash Grapple was a steep radiata pine harvest area in Kanuka Forest, Gisborne, managed by PF Olsen Ltd. The helicopter contractor undertaking this trial was Wairarapa Helicopters Ltd based in Masterton, and the pilot was Tim Williams a very experienced helicopter pilot.

Results of analysis of time study data linked to net helicopter payload as measured by an on-board load cell, showed average net extraction productivity of 18.5 tonnes per productive flying hour when extracting slash only. It was recommended that as much log material is extracted first before using the slash grapple.

In these conditions the cost of slash extraction averaged NZ$135 per tonne of slash removed, or approximately NZ$112 per metre of stream length. When the cost of cleaning the stream using the helicopter slash grapple was averaged over the volume of wood extracted from the harvest area, the net cost was only NZ$1.05 per cubic metre of wood produced.

Using manual workers to remove harvest residues from steep or incised gullies, can readily be recognised as a dangerous task. Sending machinery down into gullies close to waterways to remove harvest residues, while effective, often results in soil disturbance and sedimentation of waterways.

This initial trial showed that the slash grapple designed, built and trialled by Helihawk Ltd was well matched to the task required and the helicopter used for the trial. The implementation of safe and efficient helicopter slash extraction substantially reduces or eliminates the unsafe nature of manual stream cleaning, and minimises the risk of negative environmental outcomes. While the environmental impact is low, high operating costs limit the use of helicopter slash extraction to sensitive or high-risk areas only.

Acknowledgement - Keith Raymond, Forest Growers Research Ltd, the project co-operators Helihawk Ltd, Wairarapa Helicopters Ltd and PF Olsen Ltd and the funding from the Forest Growers Levy Trust.

Source: Wood Matters August 2019, Forest Growers Research



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Britton Timbers to acquire Burnie veneer business

Long established Tasmanian timber processing business, Britton Timbers is acquiring the Specialty Veneers (incorporating Corinna Timbers) veneer and panel processing facility at Somerset in North West Tasmania.

Britton Timbers General Manager Shawn Britton says the acquisition aligns perfectly with the company’s ongoing strategies to produce quality decorative timber and timber products for the furniture and joinery industries, including meeting the increasing demand for natural timber products in commercial applications.

Britton Timbers is a family owned company that for 112 years has operated a Tasmanian Oak and Blackwood timber processing business at Smithton in North West Tasmania, and timber distribution centres in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane. Acquiring Specialty Veneers means the company now employs over 180 people in permanent positions of which 105 are in regional Tasmania, as well as a significant number of local contractors to support its businesses operations.

“When the opportunity to purchase the veneer processing facility presented itself, we jumped at it. The veneer and panel business is a very important asset to the entire Tasmanian forestry industry and the purchase signifies a strong and prosperous future for Tasmanian veneers” Mr Britton said.

“The Somerset facility produces decorative veneers and veneered panels, primarily in Tasmanian Oak and Tasmanian Blackwood as well as small volumes of myrtle, huon pine, celery top pine and sassafras. The mill is operated by a highly skilled team of over 20 employees and we are thrilled to secure their employment and welcome them to the Britton Timbers team. Specialty Veneers has a loyal customer base that we will continue to supply with the same high-quality product they are used to and the mill’s current processing capacity will also be maintained.” said Mr Britton.

Mr Britton said that the co-operation of public forestry manager Sustainable Timbers Tasmania had been highly significant, particularly the transfer of existing supply contracts, as the ongoing availability of resource from Tasmania’s sustainably managed native forests will be pivotal to the success of the businesses going forward. The business will continue to be a proud processor and supporter of certified timber products in association with the Responsible Wood and Tasmanian Timber brands.

Source: Britton Timbers




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Kiwi employees embracing a future of AI

The New Zealand workforce has stood out in a new multinational employee survey for their 'fearless acceptance' of new technology. New data released by global technology firm Genesys shows Kiwi employees are the most secure in their roles when it comes to embracing artificial intelligence (AI) in the workplace, compared to all other countries surveyed including, Australia, USA, UK, Germany and Japan.

New Zealand employees stood out for their willingness to be trained by AI, their confidence in job security and the positive impact they believe this intelligent technology will have on their jobs, the survey revealed. They also had the highest level of trust in their employers to use AI ethically and appropriately.

According to the research, 51% of New Zealand employees surveyed stated they were open to being trained by AI, Bots, and human-like robots compared to the overall average of 37%, and up to 21% and 19% more than Japan and Germany respectively.

New Zealanders were also least resistant to using some form of technology for training, with only 12% ‘not willing’ to use a virtual assistant, augmented reality (AR) or virtual reality (VR) compared to the global average of 26%.

Furthermore, New Zealand workers' intrepid approach to the future was highlighted across a spectrum of sentiment questions targeting the direct impact AI currently has, and is predicted to have, on their jobs. Results saw below-average negative, and above-average positive sentiments expressed in all questions relating to the ‘impact’ on jobs, and of note:

The research shows New Zealand respondents are 9% less concerned AI/Bots will take their jobs in 10 years compared to other regions – and a full 14% less than UK respondents. Meanwhile, 38% of New Zealanders believe AI will have a positive impact on their jobs in as little as five years.

At 88%, New Zealand had the highest net positive views on the impact of technology in the workplace. Sixty two percent of respondents from New Zealand feel they already possess the skills required to work in an AI-enabled workforce; 15% more than the average and 12% more than respondents from Australia.

Source: bizedge



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Overseas forestry investment continues

Forestry deals continue to keep New Zealand’s Overseas Investment Office (OIO) busy and 16 consents have been approved since the new streamlined forestry test was introduced in October 2018. OIO approved five consents in July totalling 6500ha from overseas buyers to buy land for forestry purposes.

Consents for the January to June period totalled 47, covering a net land area of 14,483ha, well up on the 5559ha recorded for the corresponding period in 2018. These included the acquisition of a 4273ha parcel in South Wairarapa by Swiss-German owned Kauri Forestry, 711ha in Wairoa to Te Au Ltd of Singapore, 217ha at Kennington Rd, Marlborough to Australian entity Marberry and two forest lots totalling 1200ha in Port Underwood, Marlborough, to UK-based NZ Forest Industries and Issoria Offshore.

The forestry test means that land is used almost exclusively for forestry activities. The OIO may also place conditions on the consents to ensure existing arrangements remain in place, or to place new provisions on the use of the land. The total asset value of OIO-approved deals for the first six months amounted to NZ$3.6billion, versus NZ$838.4million for the comparable 2018 period.

More >>

Source: nzherald



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Research shows the value of AI

New research published by the Artificial Intelligence Forum of New Zealand (AI Forum) is calling for urgent action to progress the use of AI to address some of New Zealand’s most pressing social, environmental and economic challenges, and not wait for a formal Government led national strategy.

The study called Towards Our Intelligent Future positions AI as a fundamental tool to tackle issues highlighted by the Treasury’s new Living Standards Framework for Wellbeing, launched in December 2018, and also the United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

It reveals how New Zealand can benefit from AI supporting wellbeing and sustainability, along with the multi-billion-dollar boost to the economy it could provide by 2030. By then, models from McKinsey and PwC show global GDP could be 14 percent higher with AI, and New Zealand could gain between 5.6 and 10.4 percent of total GDP, compared to a scenario without AI.

It also shows New Zealand is performing reasonably well in the international AI discussion, but highlights an urgent need to invest more and secure a supply of home-grown talent.

Ben Reid, Executive Director of the AI Forum, says “this research will inspire New Zealand to benefit fully from the age of AI – we want to encourage greater investment, both public and private, convince organisations and individuals to invest more time and energy, foster more research and development, open up more data and motivate creativity and innovation to bring about a new AI-enabled vision for New Zealand”.

“As a general-purpose technology, it means we won’t be able to live without it, just like electricity or the Internet – artificial intelligence is going to be just as important. The study provides a better general explanation of AI, local AI case studies of AI in action, analysis of what’s needed to boost its acceptance and adoption, and the first examination of Māori attitudes, perceptions of and engagement in AI”.

More >>.

Source: AI Forum

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Biomass boiler lays foundation for carbon neutrality

Global food producer Danone is planning to cut carbon dioxide emissions at one of its plants in New Zealand by 20,000 tonnes per year, with the installation of a new biomass boiler.

The NZ$30m boiler, which is to be installed at the company’s Nutricia spray drying plant in Balclutha, on the country’s South Island, is the first stage of Danone’s plans to make the facility entirely carbon neutral by 2021. The Balclutha plant processes raw milk sourced from 18 local farms into a powder that is used as the base for the production of its Infant Milk Formula (IMF) brands, including Aptamil and Karicare.

Spray drying plants convert milk into a dry powder using heat from a boiler. As a result, around 85 per cent of the plant’s energy consumption comes from steam production. The new biomass facility will replace the gas or coal typically used as an energy source in boilers with sustainable, locally-sourced wood fuels, according to Cyril Marniquet, Danone’s New Zealand operations director.

“Danone’s biomass boiler at the Balclutha facility will be fuelled by by-products or residue of forestry activity that may ordinarily go to waste,” said Marniquet. “These lumber production by-products, while traditionally disposed of or burned, are valuable sources of heat, steam, and electricity when used in a biomass boiler system.”

With four commercial forests within a 50km radius of the Balclutha plant, the facility will have a reliable source of biofuel, in addition to providing an economic benefit to the local forestry industry, Marniquet said.

“Danone will source fuel from local partners who participate in New Zealand’s Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification scheme, to ensure fuel is being sourced from sustainably managed forests,” he said. “Danone also plans to broaden its source of fuel to include urban wood waste.”

The boiler is due to be installed by the end of 2020 and will be commissioned in 2021. Resource management company Veolia will design and manage the construction of the biomass boiler.

Source: theengineer.co.uk, Photo: Danone

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Pine plantations extend lifetime of methane

New Zealand’s North Island pine forests are prolonging the life of methane in the local atmosphere by as much as three years, climate researcher Jim Salinger says. Dr Salinger said new computer modelling showed New Zealand had underestimated the impact of methane in its greenhouse gas emissions and would need to set tougher targets for methane reduction.

The modelling showed compounds called monoterpenes emitted by pine plantations in the North Island were extending the life of methane in the New Zealand atmosphere from 12.5 years to 15 years. Dr Salinger presented the research to Parliament's Environment Select Committee today.

"The extra monoterpene emissions from our pine forests, they augment the lifetime of methane ... by probably in the order of two to three years," he told RNZ. Dr Salinger said the longer lifespan gave methane a much bigger impact on climate change in New Zealand than previously thought.

"That really means methane's share of New Zealand greenhouse gas emissions is not 42 percent of total greenhouse gas emissions but is now 50 percent. So that is a significant increase," he said.

"Given that our methane impact on the atmosphere is higher than we perceived, we need in terms of targets to raise the target to say 20 percent methane reduction by 2030 and at the upper end of the proposed range by 2050 because we're going to get more bang for the buck for reduction of methane than carbon dioxide."

Dr Salinger said the research showed there was collateral damage from any attempts to plant pine trees en masse in order to mitigate global warming. He said native New Zealand trees did not release as much monoterpenes as pine trees.

Dr Salinger said the study was the first time the effect of monoterpenes in the North Island had been modelled. He said the study was conducted by researchers at the University of Florence, Penn State University, and the University of Oklahoma.

Dr Salinger said monoterpene levels in the New Zealand atmosphere were estimated based on observations made over pine forests in other countries. He said the research was important for New Zealand because of the relatively high contribution of methane to the country's greenhouse gas emissions.

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For Our Future program helps develop industry leaders

A group of 46 managers from across the forestry and wood products industry have recently graduated from the 2019 For Our Future Regional Collaborative Leadership Program. The course was delivered by the Australian Rural Leadership Foundation for Forest and Wood Products Australia (FWPA).

The program’s focus was on building collaborative leadership skills of mid-level managers to increase their capacity to take national leadership roles. Managing Director of FWPA, Ric Sinclair, said it was critical for up-and-coming leaders to gain knowledge that goes beyond technical skills, such as communication and problem solving.

“FWPA looks at offering initiatives to our members and stakeholders that will not only benefit them and their careers, but also to help grow the industry as a whole. That’s what developing leadership capability is all about,” said Sinclair. “An important aspect of the For Our Future program is giving managers a better understanding of the workings and challenges across different regions and throughout the supply chain. This way they can collaboratively work together to contribute to a strong future for forestry.”

About the program

Regional cohorts attended a first session on local engagement and leadership skills, which was hosted in Tasmania, Gippsland and South East Queensland and Northern New South Wales. Participants then gathered in Canberra for a combined second session on national collaboration, as well as current and future industry issues and the opportunities they may present.

Throughout the sessions, participants engaged in experiential group learning in order to:

- Develop strong leadership capability, from critical thinking to negotiation, facilitation and communication; and
- Gain a deeper understanding of the shared challenges and opportunities faced by the industry across Australia to work towards practical, collaborative solutions.

There was also the opportunity to foster ongoing relationships for peer support and networking.

Chief Executive of the Australian Rural Leadership Foundation, Matt Linnegar, shared the importance of the program. “Investing in people is a bold and worthy action for the industry,” he said. “Being able to lead through complexity and take on different perspectives is critical to the industry succeeding into the future.”

Ongoing benefits

Participants noted the value of networking to future leadership opportunities and the importance of understanding differences and similarities across regions, claiming that it is the “best tool in their tool kit”. Others stated the “benefits could flow for years” and the course has “challenged preconceptions and gave a range of ways to think about leadership”. For another, it gave them “the confidence to step forward”.

Sinclair said the feedback from recipients was extremely encouraging. “They gained valuable skills and industry relationships that will last with them throughout their careers. The support was unanimous for continuing a regional-national approach to leadership development and learning,” said Sinclair.

The For Our Future program is planned to run again in 2020 with new regional cohorts of participants. A report on the program is available on the FWPA website: Australian Rural Leadership Foundation final report

Source: FWPA


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Monash scoops prize at Melbourne Design Awards

Monash University has been awarded Gold at the 2019 Melbourne Design Awards for Gillies Hall, its new 150-bed residential accommodation complex on its Peninsula campus. The building is recognised in the ‘Architecture - Multi Residential - Constructed’ category, and has been celebrated for its design process and delivery of a space that reflects technical, social and aesthetic considerations.

The building, named after Monash alumnus and prominent Australian political satirist, actor and director Dr Max Gillies AM, opened its doors earlier this year and provides residents with a range of modern, high quality and sustainable living spaces, during a planned period of growth for the University on Peninsula campus.

The expansion of Peninsula’s facilities continues to develop the University’s world-class allied health, business and education precinct, further strengthening the local health and education workforce in the Frankston and Mornington Peninsula region.

Expected to be over three times more energy efficient than existing residential halls, the project is the first large scale building in the country to achieve Passive House certification. Combined with a cross-laminated timber (CLT) structure, the building sets a new benchmark for sustainable design and construction.

Designed by Jackson Clements Burrows, and working closely with engineers AECOM and contractor Multiplex, the use of CLT is expected to have halved the carbon emissions associated with construction relative to a concrete structure and will remain as a carbon store for the life of the building.

For more information on the building, click here

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RealWear for forestry or wood products?

Company-X has become the first and only Australasian reseller for head-mounted tablets from established global innovation leader, RealWear. The agreement, covering Australia and New Zealand, adds additional capability to Company-X, which purchased augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR) expert Pepper Creative in June.

RealWear is a leading manufacturer of head-mounted tablets. The lightweight headset has a narrow “boom arm” with a “micro-display” that appears as though the worker is viewing a 7” tablet screen. The screen can be positioned just below line of sight, so the user can easily see glance on the screen like a dashboard. To keep the experience completely hands-free all inputs are entirely voice-activated.

“Essentially, it’s a ruggedized tablet computer completely optimised for hands-free use that clips on a hard hat,” Company-X AR/VR specialist Lance Bauerfeind explains. “It runs off the Android operating system and apps, so we can write customised apps for our clients, exactly like you can for a tablet. The core functions that are built into the headsets are the voice command functionality that has been enabled for all existing apps and navigation.”

Lance and his team first came across RealWear’s HMT hands-free wearables when looking for a device for a client’s onsite inspections and audits. They had already tried a competitor’s device but found the first option blocked the user from seeing people, which was a barrier. The HMT-1 or HMT-1Z1 is designed specifically to maintain situational awareness while improving productivity.

“We’d heard of RealWear,” Lance explains, “but were initially sceptical of the smaller screen. Our concerns were unfounded as it is very user friendly as the screen is mostly a reference check for the voice commands.”

One project using RealWear HMT, Lance outlines, is a proof of concept with off-site monitoring requirements. “The challenge was to help technicians onsite at remote distribution hubs. The technicians carry out repair and maintenance on site so using the HMT needs no computer or laptop. Because it’s hands free, users can carry on working, so for testing, inspecting, repairing functions, troubleshooting is going to be more efficient”.

The device can also be used just like a smartphone for remote voice calls. Users can also share camera feed for picture-in-picture video calling. This means a technician can discuss an issue, record it and save it. Information stored in the device is synced back to their corporate systems.

Anything you can do with an app on your phone, you can do through this headset but just using voice commands instead of tapping the screen. The opportunities in the wearable devices space are significant. Think now of maintenance, on-site repairs in out of the way locations …..

Source: Company-X

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Zero Carbon – and we can prove it!

If New Zealand’s ambition is to be a zero carbon economy by 2050, then it must nurture its wood industry. Many industries claim to be driving towards lower emissions but none have the low carbon profile of the wood sector. The WPMA Chair, Brian Stanley, says; “no other major industry in New Zealand can deliver carbon sequestration, carbon storage and emissions reduction like the wood industry”.

Mr Stanley adds, “….and the industry now has independent, third-party certification extending right from the forest to the marketplace to prove that our wood-based packaging and construction products do the right thing by the environment. Our customers in New Zealand and overseas expect no less”.

On Wednesday in Rotorua, WPMA highlighted that both major international certification programmes for forestry; Programme for Endorsement of Forest Certification and Forest Stewardship Council guarantee that wood products from New Zealand come from sustainably-managed forests. In addition to this, WPMA has just launched its Environmental Product Declarations for wood products.

These EPDs provide independent assurance of the environmental credentials of wood. “It’s crucial that our customers understand the significance of these environmental guarantees”, says Mr Stanley, “this is why we will, very shortly, also be launching environmental guidance to architects and engineers as part of the WPMA Wood Design Guide Series”.

Whilst the New Zealand industry is getting on and proving its worth in terms of environmental protection it is being seriously undermined by overseas subsidies distorting the NZ market. “If the Government wants a zero-carbon manufacturing sector creating good jobs in the regions – and the NZ wood industry is a perfect example of this - then it must play a much more active role in helping it to grow”, says Mr Stanley.

“The Minister of Finance has made it crystal clear in his directions to the Overseas Investment Office that he wants foreign investors in forestry to support local wood processors and manufacturers. It’s disturbing to see that 90% of OIO applications to buy forests in NZ in the last couple of years make absolutely no attempt to do this. Is the OIO listening to the Minister I wonder?”

“A zero-carbon economy isn’t just going to happen. It needs to be driven by every mechanism that the government has at its disposal. The NZ wood industry is one of the few sectors delivering a triple-bottom-line of regional wealth, strong community and environmental enhancement. Let’s be sure we are doing everything we can to grow it”, concludes Mr Stanley.

Source: WPMA

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Canadian lumber industry celebrates NAFTA panel ruling

A joint NAFTA panel has given the United States three months to rethink its tariffs on imported Canadian softwood lumber but the saga for Canada’s troubled softwood companies is far from over.

The five panel members — including three Canadians and two Americans — said in a ruling on Wednesday they couldn’t agree with the U.S. International Trade Commission that there was evidence Canadian imports were causing injury to the U.S. industry. It gave the commission 90 days to reconsider the evidence it used to draw that conclusion.

“This decision supports what Canada has been saying all along: U.S. duties on Canadian softwood lumber are unfair and unwarranted,” said Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland in a statement. The panel’s decision is an important step in the right direction in having these duties on Canadian exports removed and the sums collected reimbursed.”

Among the panel’s findings is that the U.S. softwood industry was in the midst of its most profitable period ever, which made it hard to accept the conclusion that Canadian wood was harming it.

More >>.

Source: Vancouver Sun

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Wooden electric motorcycle a dangerous beauty

This innovative electric motorcycle from French company Newron is among the first to break the traditional motorcycle design trend. The first thing you’ll notice is that quite a lot of it is made out of wood.

That alone is a radical departure from typical motorcycle design, but one that will not catch on where there is any kind of weather. The second thing you’ll notice is that pillar of wood right at the front of the seat. Stop too hard and that thing will be all up in your business, and not in a good way.

A motorcycle by definition needs two wheels in the same plane and a seat somewhere in the middle. Electric motors are getting more powerful, and batteries are gaining capacity; all of this tech is likewise getting smaller.

Motorcycles powered by electricity don’t need petrol tanks, and their flow of electrons are neither aided nor hindered by gravity. All of this means that motorcycle design is about to take a hard turn away from what we all know as the classic “motorcycle” look.

We’re at the very forefront of electric vehicle design, and while right now we see a lot of electric motorcycles that look just like their petrol-fuelled counterparts, mark my words: we’re going to see a whole lot more unusual designs. The constraints created by an internal combustion engines are evaporating.

Newron’s bike is quite a bit different from early, boxy electric motorcycle designs and not just because pieces of it are wooden. The battery itself, instead of being hidden, is adorned with subtle LED lighting and small ports that make the whole thing reminiscent of a jet engine. Everywhere else, the bike has incredibly clean lines and a swooping architecture that would make a fan of mid-century modern design absolutely swoon.

Newron is partnering with French firms Dassault Systems and Advans to build the bikes. There will only be twelve of them produced and offered for sale, and those will be available, briefly, next year. There’s no word on the price, but the look of the thing screams “if you have to ask, you can’t afford it.” Power, capacity, charge times are all a big mystery at the moment. That said, It’s awful pretty, isn’t it?

Source: uk.motor1

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... and one to end the week on ... Ireland declares war on France

The French President, is sitting in his office when his telephone rings.

“Hallo, Mr. Macron, " a heavily accented voice said. “This is Paddy down at the Harp Pub in County Clare, Ireland. I am ringing to inform you that we are officially declaring war on you!”

“Well, Paddy,” Macron replied, “This is indeed important news! How big is your army?”

“Right now,” says Paddy, after a moment’s calculation, “there is meself, me cousin Sean, me next door neighbour Seamus, and the entire darts team from the pub. That makes eight!”

Macron paused. “I must tell you, Paddy, that I have 100,000 men in my army waiting to move on my command.”

“Begora!” says Paddy. “I’ll have to ring you back.”

Sure enough, the next day, Paddy calls again. “Mr. Macron, the war is still on. We have managed to get us some infantry equipment!”

“And what equipment would that be Paddy?” Macron asks.

“Well, we have two combines, a bulldozer, and Murphy’s farm tractor.”

Macron sighs amused. “I must tell you, Paddy, that I have 6,000 tanks and 5,000 armored personnel carriers. Also, I have increased my army to 150,000 since we last spoke.”

“Saints preserve us!” says Paddy. “I’ll have to get back to you.”

Sure enough, Paddy rings again the next day. “Mr. Macron, the war is still on! We have managed to get ourselves airborne! We have modified Jackie McLaughlin’s ultra-light with a couple of shotguns in the cockpit, and four boys from the Shamrock Bar have joined us as well!”

Macron was silent for a minute and then cleared his throat. “I must tell you, Paddy, that I have 100 bombers and 200 fighter planes. My military bases are surrounded by laser-guided, surface-to-air missile sites. And since we last spoke, I have increased my army to 200,000!”

“Jesus, Mary, and Joseph!” says Paddy, “I will have to ring you back.”

Sure enough, Paddy calls again the next day. “Top o’ the mornin’, Mr. Macron, I am sorry to inform you that we have had to call off the war.”

“Really? I am sorry to hear that,” says Macron. Why the sudden change of heart?

“Well,” says Paddy, “we had a long chat over a few pints of Guinness, and we decided there is no fookin’ way we can feed 200,000 prisoners.






And on that note, enjoy your weekend. We look forward to catching up with Australian sawmillers next week in Melbourne for the second leg of this years WoodTECH 2019 series. 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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