Friday Offcuts 23 June 2017
Four days of interactive activities including two-one day field tours to local contractors showcasing new logging innovations, presentations from contractors and technology leaders as well as a comprehensive exhibition area (both inside and outside the venue) provided a unique opportunity for local harvesting operations. It wasn’t only the kiwis though. A good contingent of contractors and forest managers and owners from Australia, along with companies drawn from the US, Canada, the UK, Singapore and Papua New Guinea were all involved. It was another outstanding week of learning for the logging industry in this region. You can check out some of the in-field action from the Forest Growers Research tour covered by TV1 this week by clicking here. Further details will follow in upcoming issues.
Part of the event this week focussed on the move to mechanisation on the hill – the increasing use of robotics, teleoperation of equipment, new sensors collecting operational and production data and powerful analytics packages that can make use of the collected data for logging operations. We’ve also included this week a short piece and link to an article looking at just how these new technologies are now driving a step change and are reshaping just how we do business.
In wood processing this week we find that in addition to sawmills in this region being busy, mills everywhere have been cutting at record levels with globally traded softwood lumber reaching an all-time high in 2016, the NZ$24million redevelopment of Japanese-owned Pan Pac Forest Products in the lower South Island of New Zealand has just been completed and we have included a story on a visit by a well-known Australian company to review some of the very latest saw doctoring technology in Germany. Enjoy this week’s read.
This week we have for you:
NZ$24 million sawmill redevelopment completeJapanese-owned Pan Pac Forest Products has completed the NZ$24million redevelopment of its Milburn sawmill which is now fully operational and staffed.
The Milburn plant, south of Dunedin, near Milton, has some of the newest and most environmentally efficient equipment on site, from its fuel source, to air emission cleansing to its "latest technology" kiln drying facilities.
Milburn uses 100% radiata pine to mill appearance grade lumber, at present solely for export to Asian customers. The more than year-long redevelopment has doubled output from 50,000cum of lumber a year to 100,000cum, with plenty of capacity to spare.
Pan Pac has been operating in Hawke’s Bay for 44 years and 30 months ago bought part of the former Southern Cross Forest Products company out of receivership, which is its first foray into Otago. With minimal loss to production, the dry sorting equipment from the Milton plant was moved to Milburn, and other new sawmilling equipment installed, all in large sheds.
"Really, at 100,000cum we are in the niche market area. Output of 500,000 cu m has become the commercial industry standard," Pan Pac managing director Doug Ducker said. Pan Pac’s operations manager at Milburn, Blair Watson, said logs were sourced from around Otago, from small forest holdings and also City Forests, Matariki and Wenita. Mr Watson said the kiln was the largest one of its kind in the southern hemisphere.
Mr Ducker said emission issues at the former Milton site had been overcome with the installation of a $1.5million electrostatic precipitator, which is the final cleanser for emissions. The filtration system removes fine particles from gases using an induced electrostatic charge. The plant uses just 5ha of the total 37ha of land around it.
Mr Ducker said expansion was part of the future plans. The new plant itself was operating at about 50% of capacity at the moment. He expected that in 10 to 15 years there would be a large amount of 1990s-planted Otago forests "coming on stream", largely from small forest owners.
Global softwood lumber prices trending upwardsGlobal Lumber Trade
Globally traded softwood lumber reached an all-time high in 2016. WRI estimates that 118 million m3 of lumber was traded last year, or 10 percent more than in 2015. Imports to the US account for about one-third of globally traded lumber and have almost doubled in five years. China accounted for about 17% of import volumes in 2016, followed by the United Kingdom, Japan and Germany.
Lumber markets – North America
Lumber production in North America in 2016 was up six percent from the previous year, reaching its highest level since 2007. The biggest rises in production occurred in the US South and Eastern Canada, while the increases in western Canada and the western US were more modest.
Prices for lumber in the US have jumped during the first four months of the year to hit a 13-year high in April. Many of the commonly traded grades surged in price by more than 20% from April of 2016.
Lumber markets – Northern Europe
Sweden exported 12.9 million m3 of softwood lumber in 2016, which was the highest volume exported since 2006. The increase from 2015 was a modest 1.5%, with shipments to Denmark, Japan, China and France rising the most. Domestic lumber prices in both Finland and Sweden continue to be close to their lowest levels in ten years in US dollar terms, as reported in the Wood Resource Quarterly.
Lumber markets – China
Prices for imported softwood lumber to China have been in a steady upward trend during 2016 and 2017 with the average import price in March 2017 being 13% higher than 18 months earlier. The biggest change in pricing over the past two years has been that prices for Russian lumber are no longer substantially cheaper than those for lumber from other supplying regions, but instead are rather close to the average import price.
Lumber market – Japan
Total housing starts were up 3.2% in Japan in the 1Q/17 as compared to the same quarter in 2016, and the economic outlook for the coming year is slightly more optimistic than that for last year.
Prices for domestic and imported lumber have remained practically unchanged for almost a year in Yen terms. With the Yen strengthening against the US dollar during the first four months of 2017, lumber prices have increased so far this year in US dollar terms.
Lumber market – Russia
After a substantial decline in softwood lumber export prices during 2014 and 2015, Russian lumber prices have trended upward for most of 2016 and early 2017. Average export prices in March 2017 were 12% higher than in the same month last year, and prices for wood going to China have gone up even faster over the same time-period. Export volumes to China in the 1Q/17 were unchanged from the previous quarter, holding steady at the second highest level on record.
Source: Wood Resources International LLC
German saw doctoring quality profiledAs the number of people wishing to be saw doctors continues to decline further, technology investment in saw doctoring is needed to overcome the professional skills time lost in the modern saw shop.
Keymatic decided to look at things a little differently when a new website Keymatic Technologies, a division of Key Knife South Pacific was set up. They were fortunate to have James Ledingham come on board as a senior saw doctor at about the same time.
Without waiting for LIGNA 2017, Terry Parsons, Director of Key Knife South Pacific and James Ledingham went on their own trade mission to look at complimentary saw doctoring technology in Germany.
“Although each of these suppliers exhibited later at LIGNA, all were very keen to meet the two Australians that came to spend time to learn about their equipment” said Terry. “In their respective factories, firm bonds were made over hours together, rather than the business card passing at a trade show. It was time very well spent”.
Terry has provided local saw doctors with a quick look into the highlights of their trip.
• BESTAR, Germany. This was to look at the steel providers for the timber industry. The QC involved in the analysis of the knife, saw and chipper knife steel was well worth the visit.
• Mummenhoff Technologies, Germany. Here we saw a level, tensioning and testing machine for circular saws. It hammered both sides of the saw and tested in a vertical plane. Unfortunately, the software has been written in Windows XP and there may not be the justification to warrant further investment in the software to upgrade it.
• Gerling Automation, Germany. We looked at advanced saw shop equipment for brazing, polishing and saw manufacture – both manual and automatic. Our particular area of interest here was the brazing equipment which uses a high frequency heating system which allows for the brazing of joints with repeatable quality, with a temperature controlled brazing and annealing cycle providing brazing joints with supreme quality.
With its close proximity to Mercedes Benz in Stuttgart, Gerling Automation additionally work with a number of providers building some incredible machines. One we saw was laser welded white plastics, inside a black wiring harnesses, for Bosch Germany, for use in motor vehicles. While providing a 100% test as part of the same machine.
• Grasche, Germany. Here we watched saw doctors hammering up to 1000 plates a shift. The size of the factory reminded us of how big the sawing industry that we are all part of here in the South Pacific.
• HDS-Group Remscheid, Germany . Watching James check circular saw tension on a 500mm diameter saw, I remember him saying – “who would have thought when I started my apprenticeship at Mt Beauty Timbers, that years later I would be checking saw tension on a saw in a factory in Germany?”
For more information about these companies and technologies, visit the new website www.keymatic.com.au.
Troubleshooting and a raft of new technologies around saw selection, maintenance, operation and design have also been built into the two-yearly sawmilling event, WoodTECH 2017 being run for local sawmillers and saw doctors in Australia and New Zealand in September. You can check out the extensive programme of presentations, exhibitions and workshops planned by visiting the event website, www.woodtech.events.
Pioneering project using residue-based bio-fuelsBuses in the Helsinki region and most of machinery and trucks used by the City of Helsinki are switching to waste and residue-based biofuels. Helsinki Region Transport HSL, the City of Helsinki and the producers of renewable fuels involved in the project are all pioneers in carbon-neutral transport. The project is internationally significant.
Commercial vehicles operated by the City of Helsinki and bus services commissioned by HSL will fully switch to renewable fuels by 2020. This is a pioneering project in global terms. The construction services company, Stara, which operates most of the city's vehicles, will be involved from the City of Helsinki's side.
The participation of key players in the BioSata project enable a rapid transition to biofuels. HSL, Stara, UPM, Neste, Teboil, St1, the Ministry for Economic Affairs and Employment, the Finnish Petroleum and Biofuels Association and the Technical Research Centre of Finland VTT are jointly seeking the most extensive possible use of biofuels. The project is part of the Helsinki region's Smart & Clean project, which aims to achieve the most attractive zero-emission mobility in the world.
The advantage of high-quality liquid biofuels lies in the fact that neither new vehicles nor a new distribution infrastructure are required. Local emissions can be reduced through the targeted use of biofuels. Particulate emissions can be reduced by up to a third, by using renewable diesel in older vehicles and machinery. At best, biofuels reduce greenhouse gas emissions caused by the production and use of fuel by 80-90 per cent compared to fossil fuels.
"Taking into account the number and types of vehicles involved, such as buses, trucks and construction machinery, BioSata is Europe's largest coordinated advanced biofuels project. The project will also involve follow-up measurements. These measurements will cover issues such as fuel performance, impacts on local emissions and energy efficiency, and maintenance needs," says Research Professor Nils-Olof Nylund of VTT, who is in charge of coordinating the project.
Vehicles serving on HSL's routes in the Helsinki region include around 1,400 buses, which consume about 40,000 tons of fuel each year. Stara's own vehicle fleet uses around 2,000 tons of fuel a year. About 500,000 tons of biofuel are produced in Finland on an annual basis. The national energy and climate strategy requires that Finland raise the share of biofuels to 30 per cent of all fuels by 2030. Finland is a leading country in the use and development of advanced biofuels based waste and residues.
Source: UPM-Kymmene Oyj
Rayonier’s NZ timberlands playing key role in export marketsDavid Nunes, CEO of Rayonier Inc., presented June 6, 2017, during REITWeek: NAREIT’s Investor Forum. During his presentation, Nunes said the company has 1.9 million acres across the U.S. South, nearly 400,000 acres in the Pacific Northwest — all west of the Cascade Range — and a little more than 400,000 acres in New Zealand.
Rayonier’s timberland in New Zealand and in the Pacific Northwest are both playing key roles in export markets. New Zealand is a region “where we are uniquely exposed to and provides us great access to Pacific Rim markets,” he said. Rayonier’s 400,000 acres of Pacific Northwest timberland is commanding higher pricing because of the strength of the export market, particularly to China, where the government banned the harvest of natural forests last year, which “has greatly helped all importers of wood, whether it’s logs or lumber, into China,” he said.
“That affected the Northwest,” Nunes said. “It probably affects New Zealand even more. New Zealand has benefited tremendously from that.” New Zealand enjoys a strong domestic market as well as serving strong markets in both Korea and India, he said.
The following is excerpted from the transcript of the presentation:
“I think one of the things that distinguishes our exposure in both the Northwest and New Zealand is just the importance of optionality, and the export markets play a big role in that. If you look at the Northwest, the Northwest is essentially operating at pricing levels that are at or above where we were at the last peak -- the peak of the last housing cycle. And that's really a function of the strength of export markets. And a lot of that, from an incremental standpoint, is the role that China plays. China instituted a ban on the harvest of natural forests last year that has greatly helped all importers of wood, whether it's logs or lumber, into China. And that affected the Northwest.
It probably affects New Zealand even more. New Zealand has benefited tremendously from that. We have seen this translate into higher levels of consumption and lower levels of inventory in China. And then in addition, we -- in our New Zealand operations, we enjoy a very strong domestic market there, as well as strong markets in both Korea and India. And so we view that as a really nice diversification in terms of our portfolio. And New Zealand, if you think about it from a yield standpoint, New Zealand provides yields that are comparable to the Pacific Northwest.”
Source: Industry Intelligence Inc
World’s tallest timber office building launched in BrisbaneNext year Brisbane will be the home to the world’s tallest and largest engineered timber office building. We have covered this planned building in previous issues but Acting premier and Minister for Infrastructure and Planning Jackie Trad and Impact Investment Group this week joined Lendlease to celebrate the launch of 25 King at the RNA Showgrounds redevelopment in Bowen Hills.
At a height of almost 45m, the ground plus nine-storey tower designed by Bates Smart will become the future home of global engineering firm Aurecon. The tower includes three bespoke ground level retail tenancies built using cross laminated timber (CLT) and glulum (glue laminated timber) which has a structural strength akin to traditional concrete and steel.
Mark Menhinnitt, Lendlease’s managing director, urban regeneration said the company was proud to be delivering the next generation of sustainable workplaces with state-of-the-art technology in Queensland. “25 King is set to become the tallest and largest engineered timber office building in the world which is a wonderful achievement for the Brisbane Showgrounds precinct,” he said.
The building is due for completion in late 2018, with Lendlease’s Building business developing and building the asset. Lendlease will continue to work with its partners to lease the approximately 7900sq m of remaining office space. Earlier this year, 25 King was acquired by Impact Investment Group (IIG), their second commercial building in the showgrounds redevelopment.
It is Lendlease’s fifth engineered timber building in Australia and joins International House Sydney, Forte Apartments and Library at The Dock in Melbourne, and Jordan Springs Community Hub in Western Sydney.
Defeat for Tasmania’s plan to unlock forestsThe Tasmanian Government's horror week in the upper house has continued, with MLCs swinging the axe on its contentious forestry legislation. The bill would have allowed logging in 356,000 hectares of forests two years earlier than a moratorium would have allowed. It was defeated in the Legislative Council, with seven MLCs voting it down, with five in favour.
In March, Tasmania's forestry industry group was preparing a campaign against the bill, with Forest Industries Association of Tasmania (FIAT) boss Terry Edwards saying "none of my members believe this is a good idea". Mr Edwards said he was relieved the bill had failed. "We know exactly what the consequences would have been from the passage of that legislation, which we've made the Government aware of," he said. "More importantly, we're concerned about where to from here”.
Source: ABC News
Laser system recognises tree species automaticallyA joint research project by Tampere University of Technology’s mathematics laboratory and the Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke) has developed a new method of recognising tree species based on laser scanning measurements. The method enables the calculation of classification features in a completely new way.
The researchers from TUT and Luke received promising results when testing a fully automatic method of recognising tree species. In the future, this method can be applied to automate timber measurements during felling, selection of trees to be felled and optimisation of cutting.
“This method also allows for efficient measuring of the extensive materials needed in forest ecology research concerning tree species and the competitive relationships between their crowns”, says principal scientist Raisa Mäkipää from Luke.
A method previously developed by TUT is used to recognise the tree species. In this method, individual trees can be extracted from the forest plot level point cloud data, and the structure of their crowns can be reconstructed as comprehensive 3D models. The created tree models consist of consecutive cylinders, which determine the structure of the tree stem and branches as well as the branching structure.
“Previously, it was possible to make a rough distinction between the stem and the crown, based on the point cloud. Now, we are able to make out individual branches and analyse the characteristics of their diameters, volumes and branch angles”, says Markku Åkerblom, member of the research team and a researcher at TUT.
For recognising the species, the researchers defined 15 classification features, the values of which were then calculated for each tree. Some of these features are completely new and some have been used in previous studies. The new aspect is that now their value can be calculated more accurately, as they can now utilise information about the tree’s entire crown. Furthermore, the magnitude of the testing data far exceeds any previous study.
NZ structural log prices hit 20-year highNew Zealand structural log prices have hit their highest level in more than two decades as local mills compete with the export market to secure supply to meet demand from the domestic market.
The price for structural S1 logs lifted to $124 a tonne this month from $123 a tonne last month and $114 a tonne at the same time last year, reaching the highest price for the grade since April 1994, according to AgriHQ's monthly survey of exporters, forest owners and saw millers.
"The New Zealand domestic log market has slowly but consistently risen this year, and the past month was no different," AgriHQ analyst Reece Brick said in his report. "Supply and demand fundamentals remain skewed in favour of sellers rather than buyers, squeezing even more returns out of harvested logs."
The market remains strong for most segments of the domestic industry, even as the volumes traded slowed when winter weather stymied construction activity, AgriHQ said, noting that local wood supply had been hampered due to difficulties harvesting in wet weather. While strength in the local housing market is helping stoke demand, the main driver behind higher domestic prices is that export markets are draining supplies out of New Zealand, the report said.
"Domestic mills are in a tug-of-war with export log traders for unpruned logs and are facing the prospect of further hikes in log procurement costs," Brick said. "A large portion of mills are still paying below the export market for logs. Log suppliers are currently attempting to gauge mills ability to absorb higher log prices. All signs suggest more increases are on the cards."
Prices in the log market are heavily reliant on Chinese demand, which is expected to hold in the medium term after the Chinese government introduced restrictions on logging native forests and reduced tariffs on imported logs to 11 percent from 13 percent to discourage the use of native wood, AgriHQ said.
New Zealand exported 1,666,639 cubic metres of logs in April, up 3 percent on March volumes and 21 percent higher than a year earlier. Some 72 percent of the volume was exported to China. "The volume exported in April is one of the largest amounts exported in the last 10 years and is only surpassed by August 2016," Brick said.
The value of log exports is expected to climb to NZ$2.66 billion this year from NZ$2.22 billion last year and reach $3.14 billion in 2021, according to the latest Situation and Outlook for Primary Industries published by the Ministry for Primary Industries last week.
Waratah wins National Safeguard AwardWaratah New Zealand, a leading manufacturer of mechanical tree harvesters based in Tokoroa, has been awarded the “3M Best use of innovative New Zealand design or technology to eliminate or manage a risk” award at the recent Safeguard New Zealand Workplace Health and Safety Awards for its head orientation sensor.
The award was given to the New Zealand-originated design or technology initiative which best demonstrates a solution to a specific health and safety issue, including new designs or control methods which help to eliminate or minimize a risk. Chain shot is a phenomena that can be caused when a saw chain breaks during operation, potentially releasing high speed fragments during the operation of a cutting head on a mechanical tree harvester machine. There are currently effective features already fitted to mechanical tree harvesters to reduce the risk of chain shot.
The Waratah head orientation sensor is a conceptual supplementary system designed to alert the machine operator when the chain saw is aligned with the machine cab. The operator can then rotate the saw to a different orientation to reduce the risk of chain shot impacting the machine.
Waratah approached the New Zealand company, Hunter Safety Lab, to see if they could adapt their award winning IRIS technology for potential use with mechanical tree harvester heads. IRIS was originally developed to help prevent hunters from accidentally targeting other members of their hunting party.
The head orientation sensor consists of a highly ruggedized infrared laser sensor which is mounted to the harvester head. The sensor detects retroreflective tape which is applied around the perimeter of the cab window, directly in front of the machine operator. When the sensor detects that the saw is aligned with the cab, the system then alerts the machine operator that the head position is not optimal and that it should be adjusted away from the cab.
The system is currently under evaluation.
Source: Waratah NZ
Hans Drielsma elected AFS chairRespected forester Dr Hans Drielsma has been elected chairman of Australian Forestry Standard Ltd. Dr Drielsma, who has served as interim chairman since the resignation of Kate Carnell AO at the AFS AGM in Sydney last year, was elected at a recent meeting of the AFS board of directors.
Internationally renowned, Dr Drielsma played a key role in the development of the Australian Forest Certification Scheme and its endorsement by the Program for the Endorsement of Forest Certification. He was instrumental in the development of a more active multi-national promotion of the PEFC in the Asia region, and has served on the PEFC International Governance Review Panel.
A recipient of the prestigious Institute of Foresters of Australia’s Norman Jolly Medal for outstanding services to the forestry profession, Dr Drielsma has post-graduate qualifications from Yale University in forest policy and natural resources sociology. He was managing director of ForestsNSW (now Forestry Corporation of NSW), executive general manager of Forestry Tasmania, and a board member of the CRC for Forestry.
Dr Drielsma said he was encouraged by the solid progress of AFS in the Australian market, which particularly was a result of the efforts, both nationally and internationally of CEO Simon Dorries. “Recent visits by PEFC International secretary-general Ben Gunneberg have also helped AFS gain added recognition with both Ben and Simon communicating with high-profile companies and certification stakeholders here,” he said.
Dr Drielsma said AFS Ltd was focused this year on a revision of the standards process and rolling out a refreshed marketing and communication program. “A professional promotion campaign to lift the community profile of AFS is a real priority for us,” he said.
Dr Drielsma chairs a board of directors comprising Alison Carmichael, general manager, Agsafe Ltd, Alan Bones, general manager, sales and marketing, Carter Holt Harvey New Zealand, Nathan Trushell, acting CEO, VicForests. Colin Fitzpatrick, CEO, TABMA Australia, Suzanne Little, environmental scientist and certified auditor, based in Sydney, and Craig Smith, NSW district secretary and divisional national vice-president, CFMEU.
What’s now and next in analytics, AI, and automationAs we’ve reported in recent issues, rapid technological advances in digitization and data and analytics have been reshaping the business landscape, supercharging performance, and enabling the emergence of new business innovations and new forms of competition. At the same time, the technology itself continues to evolve, bringing new waves of advances in robotics, analytics, and artificial intelligence (AI), and especially machine learning. Together they amount to a step change in technical capabilities that could have profound implications for business, for the economy, and more broadly, for society.
Read more about some of the key trends and opportunities now open to business through digitisation, analytics, artificial intelligence, and automation innovations.
Australian major industry dinners plannedMark the dates into your diaries for;
2017 Forestry Industry Innovation Awards and AFPA Gala Dinner
The AFPA Gala Industry Dinner is being held on Tuesday, 12 September at Parliament House, Canberra. As part of the dinner, the Association will present the 2017 Forestry Industry Innovation Awards. Nominations are now open for the inaugural awards, with the winner of each category to receive on the night a $1000 cash prize and an exclusively designed timber trophy.
Leaders will be recognised in three award categories:
- The 2017 Innovation in Safety Award - Sponsored by Forestry Corporation of NSW - The 2017 Innovation in Training Award – Sponsored by ForestWorks - The 2017 Innovation in Business Award – Sponsored by Visy For information about the awards, and the gala dinner, please visit the AFPA website.
VAFI Annual Dinner 2017
Save the date! The 2017 VAFI Annual Industry Dinner is being held on Friday 17 November 2017. Last year's dinner was a great success and they're making this year's even better. Last year, they celebrated their history and this year they plan on looking to the future. For more details, and if you would like to become a sponsor of the dinner, please contact VAFI’s Media and Communications Manager, Natalie, on 03 9611 9000.
Source: The News Mill, VAFI
Help on central dispatch dissertationCentrally Dispatched Roundwood Haulage commonly known as Central Dispatch, takes place when timber transport is dispatched centrally by an external Logistics Management Company.
A Woodflow Distribution Manager working with the Irish company, Coillte is currently conducting a survey on Centrally Dispatched Roundwood Haulage. It’s part of his research towards a Masters in Supply Chain Management being undertaken through the Dublin Institute of Technology www.dit.ie.
The aim of the survey is to pose questions to key stakeholders in Ireland, Scotland and New Zealand, relating to the implementation of a system of centralised dispatch of roundwood haulage. The expectation is that results from the research will highlight lessons, both at home and abroad that will support the maintenance and ongoing development of roundwood haulage in Ireland, where the commercial semi-state forestry management company Coillte are implementing central dispatch of Coillte delivered pulpwood by Trimble Forestry.
The survey is expected to take no longer than 5 minutes to complete. The link to the survey is www.surveymonkey.com/r/HYPNFX3 Survey participants are not required to identify themselves or their business. Anonymity is assured and the closing date for submissions is next Wednesday, 28 June.
Buy and Sell
... and one to end the week on .... bedtime music for forestry folk
Finally, for all you forestry and wood products folk out there, check out this week’s video. Bedtime music with a distinct forestry theme. Brett Foxwell, an engineer/animator based in Oakland, California, recently released the video to accompany the musician bedtimes' new single, WoodSwimmer. Using a milling machine and animation camera, Foxwell photographically scanned cross-sections of new and old wood samples. Very impressive.
And on that note, have a great weekend. Cheers.
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