Friday Offcuts – 24 January 2020

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As we look towards this year for technology trends, Deloitte have just released their Technology, Media & Telecommunications Predictions for 2020. It’s well worth a read. In 2020 the expansion of AI chips into a variety of devices and new applications will be seen, the use of 5G technology will pick up and more intelligent robotic assistants are going to be seen operating. This isn't only in our homes - but in the workplace as well. The market for industrial robots in 2020 is expected to reach nearly US$18 billion. That’s a nine percent increase over 2019. Sales of the professional service robot (these are the robots working alongside humans in industrial and manufacturing operations) are expected to grow at an even greater pace with revenues predicted to be 30 percent more than in 2019.

The pace of change in the workplace is increasing exponentially. Opportunities to capitalise on some of these new technologies, particularly in the adoption of robotics and automation technologies (more often than not being brought into our own sector through other manufacturing industries) will be a key theme of the WoodTECH 2020 - wood manufacturing ( www.woodtech.events/wt20) series being planned with key tech developers at the moment. It's going to run in August of this year for local wood producers. We’ll keep you updated as this innovative programme is rolled out and opportunities for getting involved are announced.

Also, in the technology space this week, we’ve included a number of stories relating to data capture within the forest. Following the ForestTECH 2019 event that ran in Rotorua at the end of last year, Scion undertook a trial using one of their drones carrying the Emesent Hovermap sensor. The technology, designed to automate the collection and analysis of data in challenging GPS environments, was unveiled for the first time at ForestTECH 2019 to the country's inventory foresters. The Scion trial enabled the drone to fly independently of the operator – but this time – it wasn’t above but underneath the forest canopy. Details on the trial, a video and a link to further information on the technology is contained in this week’s issue of Offcuts and in a more detailed story that we've uploaded to foresttech.news

Also, at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show that ran just a couple of weeks ago, the drone industry’s leading manufacturer, DJI, introduced for the first time two new sensors along with a new method of lidar scanning which, they’re claiming is going to deliver “better sensing performance at a fraction of the cost” of traditional lidar units. The autonomous drone-based transportation start-up, Volocopter, has also just revealed their first partner for the new VoloDrone industrial and commercial electric vertical take-off and landing craft. It’s John Deere. The craft can be flown remotely and can carry a payload of up to 200kg. Although focussing initially on agricultural uses, forestry applications immediately spring to mind here. And on that note, enjoy this week’s read.



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Technology advances at Bell Bay mill showcased

Timberlink CEO Ian Tyson, last Tuesday welcomed Guy Barnett, Tasmanian Minister for Resources, to Timberlink’s Bell Bay mill to see recent investments in technology and safety upgrades in action. Timberlink enters the new decade strongly positioned for growth supported by the investments in upgrading the Bell Bay Mill.

The installation of new state of the art Contra Flow Kilns (CFK), will cut down waiting times for drying timber, whilst decreasing heat power usage by 30%. A new Lucidyne grade scanner that uses state of the art AI technology to measure for strength, quality and defects in every piece of timber in real time has been installed in the planer mill. The system’s software learns with every photo that it takes, scanning up to two boards per second. This ensures that every piece of engineered structural timber meets the stringent Australian standards requirements whilst removing the need for manual intervention, creating a safer workplace for our people.

Minister Barnett was impressed with the efficiency gains provided by the new CFK and Lucidyne grade scanner, the first of its type in Australia. “This is a great example of Australian manufacturing in the 21st century, in Tasmania delivering improvements in energy usage and safety through technology”, Minister Barnett said.

A new automated packaging line that robotically places bearers under packs of timber has also been installed, which Ian Tyson explained will alleviate a bottleneck to improve efficiency and output. In addition, there have been upgrades to the roads network to separate heavy plant equipment from smaller vehicles. “This is a great outcome for improved safety, so our people go home safe, every day”, said Mr Tyson.

The latest round of investment in upgrading the Bell Bay mill created 90 jobs in the construction phase and crucially 6 new permanent full-time jobs. The investments also support the long-term future of the mill and the estimated 650 jobs that directly and indirectly rely on the mill. “This is a terrific investment in technology and equipment in regional Tasmania here at Bell Bay, in a facility which is state of the art, that is value adding, downstream processing, creating jobs and it’s sustainable” said Minister Barnett.

Mr Tyson added, “Timberlink has continuously invested in this mill to ensure it remains internationally competitive since taking ownership in 2013, while growing and securing employment within the Northern Tasmanian region. We are well positioned for continued growth and look forward to further investments in 2020.”

Photo: Tasmanian Resources Minister Guy Barnett with Timberlink CEO Ian Tyson

Source: Timberlink

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Hyne Timber Tumbarumba back up and running

As recovery gets underway for the Tumbarumba region, NSW, the Hyne Timber Mill is back up and running, despatching truckloads of timber, thanks to the many volunteers and emergency services who protected it throughout the bushfire crisis. A number of team members from Queensland have been deployed to Tumbarumba to assist with the Mill's recommencement and enable impacted team members more time to recover personally where required.

Employing approximately 230 people directly, the Mill is part of a circular economy worth AU$2 billion every year to the South West Slopes region and supporting almost 5000 jobs in total. Hyne Timber CEO, Jon Kleinschmidt said Hyne Timber’s Tumbarumba Mill is categorised as critical infrastructure and was protected accordingly by qualified strike teams.”

“Last week, I had the opportunity to meet with the Fire and Rescue strike team to understand the reassuring fire prevention measures and readiness they had in place. I also met with many Rural Fire Service volunteers and emergency services, many of whom are our own team members, who continued to fight bushfires, put in containment lines and help the broader community.” Mr Kleinschmidt said.

Today, the town is busy rebuilding and Hyne Timber remains focused on supporting the community through the long-term operations at the Mill. “Once small volumes of existing log yard stocks have been processed, we will be prioritising the processing of salvaged burnt log which we have done before. Once we remove the burnt bark, the structural grade timber is the same quality our customers value and we appreciate their ongoing support.”

Hyne Timber, Visy Pulp and Paper and AKD Softwoods are the three largest employers within the region's industry, collectively employing over 750 people directly across Tumbarumba and Tumut. Collectively, and with the support of the Softwood Working Group, the companies are engaging constructively with all levels of Government.”

“We have welcomed preliminary meetings with the NSW Deputy Premier, the Hon. John Barilaro who has also been appointed the Minister for Disaster Recovery. I look forward to continued dialogue and support from all levels of Government to secure ongoing log supply and longer distance freight support, amongst other challenges, for the industry moving forward.

“As with support for individuals and wildlife, Government support for the industry and associated economy will be critical as part of the ongoing recovery efforts.” Mr Kleinschmidt concluded. Hyne Timber thanks all those who supported team members, the community and the mill, including the emergency services, volunteers, staff and many others.

Source: Hyne Timber

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CHH NZ sawmill may close

Carter Holt Harvey says it has begun consulting staff at its Whangarei sawmill about the potential closure of that site. It is understood the sawmill employs about 111 staff. "Following a major upgrade to increase productivity at our Kawerau sawmill, our Kawerau and Nelson sawmills now have sufficient capacity to service our domestic customers," chief executive Clayton Harris said.

"These sawmills are also better located in terms of access to logs and proximity to customers." Continuing log shortages in Northland contributed to the company's "in-principle decision" to close the Whangarei sawmill, he said.

"The decision has been made reluctantly but the sawmill had been facing log shortages for some time and our analysis was that it's only going to get worse." Carter Holt Harvey would be working closely with the union and affected staff to ensure that staff had the support they need, he said. Staff would be consulted and the company would then consider feedback before making a final decision, he said.

Source: Stuff.co.nz

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Registrations open for major Forestry Safety series

Registrations are now open for the eagerly awaited Forest Safety & Technology conference series being run by the Forest Industry Engineering Association in conjunction with a number of key industry partners. These major Safety updates for the forestry sector are held every two years. Like previous tech updates, the series is being run for forestry companies in both New Zealand and Australia. It runs in Rotorua, New Zealand on 20-21 May and then again in Melbourne, Australia on 27-28 May 2020. Keynote speakers and the full programme details will be released shortly.

This year, the focus is on key aspects relating to communications, fatigue and mental health. Case studies from innovators and leaders in safety communication and management will feature along with technology solutions to support practical management of safety in the workplace. Log transport safety initiatives will also be covered this year at both events.

Central themes covered include;

• Which industry and workplace changes are driving safety priorities?
• Can we be proactive using culture to enhance safety communications?
• What advances are technology bringing to make safety more user-friendly?
• Case studies: Who’s driving new ideas in implementation and prevention.

Mark the dates into your diary. Registration information and early details can be found on the event website, www.forestsafety.events



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The future is connected, smarter and robotic

• - 5G will make cities and agriculture smarter and provide new opportunities to tackle sustainability challenges

• - Long-awaited technologies will finally talk to each other

• - More robots coming into the workforce


Deloitte late last year released the 19th edition of its Technology, Media & Telecommunications Predictions, which suggests that long awaited technology advances are just about to arrive.

“Until now, technology has been advancing in fairly discreet fields,” said Grant Frear, Deloitte Partner. “In 2020 we’re expecting to see a number of technologies begin to work together and bring a long-awaited mesh of capabilities. We will see AI chips used in a wider variety of devices, an increased use of 5G technology and more intelligent robotic assistants in our homes and workplaces. We predict that many technologies will begin to finally ‘talk’ to each other in 2020”.

“With AI chips coming down in price and 5G networks becoming a reality, I’m confident that our innovative regions and agricultural sector will use these advances to better manage sector productivity and their environmental impacts” said Grant Frear, Deloitte Partner.

Focussing on the trend towards technology connectivity Grant Frear, Deloitte Partner, said, “Deloitte has identified a canopy effect where edge AI chips, robots and private 5G will soon be working together, and promising innovations like low-earth orbit satellites finally come to life. In this new context we can expect our smart phones, manufacturing businesses, and healthcare robots to all take a step up and provide a better experience for the people they serve.”

“This intersection of people and technology is clearest in the realm of professional service robots,” said, Grant Frear, Deloitte Partner. “While we expect to see the market for industrial robots (which are often robotic arms) in 2020 to reach nearly US$18 billion, a nine percent increase over 2019; professional robot sales will grow at a far greater pace. Of the almost one million robots we expect to be sold for enterprise use in 2020, we predict that just over half of them will be professional service robots, generating more than US$16 billion in revenue—30 percent more than in 2019.”

“These robots will be helping the humans they work with, rather than replacing them. Often used in logistics, professional service robots are critical in fulfilling our demand for online shopping in a globally connected market place. In doing so, they are also accelerating the fourth industrial revolution and are sign of a rapidly changing workplace where we rely more and more heavily on technology to assist us in our lives.”

Full report available here.

Source: deloitte

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Kangaroo Island hit hard by fires

Shares late last week in Kangaroo Island Plantation Timbers remained voluntarily suspended from trading on the Australian Securities Exchange, in accordance with Listing Rule 17.2. The Company intends to release information progressively during the period of voluntary suspension.

The Company advised that Kangaroo Island has been subjected to renewed fire activity, as the Ravine Fire escaped containment lines during another extreme weather event on Thursday 9 January. KIPT’s own fire crews worked alongside South Australian Country Fire Service brigades attempting to control the eastward spread of the fire. Nevertheless, the fire burnt a large area of farmland, causing further damage to buildings, fences, property and, several of the Company’s remaining plantations.

The map (seen on this link) shows the estimated burnt area as of Friday 10 January. The map is subject to change, as CFS ground crews complete their assessment, and due to the possibility of further outbreaks. Thankfully, the fire has not spread too much since January 10 and is now within containment lines.

The map shows Flinders Chase National Park and its associated Wilderness Protection Areas (WPAs) in a dull green, and plantation areas in bright green and tan. It does not distinguish between KIPT plantations (over 95% fire affected) and independent grower plantations (100% fire-affected). The estimated area over which fires have burned is marked with diagonal black lines.

The Company’s Timber Creek Mill was in the fire’s path and suffered some damage. The treatment plant was not damaged but the post peeler has been damaged. This equipment will be essential in turning smaller fire-damaged pine logs into much-needed fence posts, given about 3,000km of fencing will need to be replaced urgently on Kangaroo Island following the fires, and given that the limited mainland supplies of fence posts will be needed in other fire regions.

The Company continues to consider its other options for the salvage of fire-damaged timber and is working through the other actions outlined in its announcement of 6 January 2020.

Photo: The KIPT24 fire truck on West End Highway on the night of January 3, 2020, Picture: Tim Wilson

Source: Kangaroo Island Plantation Timbers

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New Lidar technology unveiled at CES 2020

As you’d expect, DJI had a big presence at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES). But on top of showing off the company’s hardware line-up and handheld imaging systems, the drone industry’s leading manufacturer is introducing a success story from its Open Innovation Program: Livox.

Livox has big ambitions in the lidar sensor space. At CES 2020, the start-up introduced two new sensors and a new method of lidar scanning which, it claims, is set to deliver “better sensing performance at a fraction of the cost of traditional lidar units.”

The aim is to make lidar easier and more affordable to integrate into products and applications. Livox has eyes on everything from autonomous driving to smart cities, mapping and mobile robotics. Livox’s lidar technology uses a new Non-Repetitive Scanning pattern. The method offers significant benefits over the traditional Repetitive Linear Scanning pattern favoured by other lidar sensor providers.

The environment scanned by a Livox sensor increases as the laser explores new spaces within its Field of View (FOV). Livox’s scanning method enables nearly 100% FOV coverage with longer integration time – a feature the company claims doesn’t exist in any market alternatives today at this price point.

More >>.

Source: dronelife.com



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Understory drone - making decisions on the fly

A drone capable of flying independently of an operator has cruised beneath the tree tops of a Rotorua pine forest along a flightpath it had mapped itself in what is thought to be a world first. The use of drones to capture data like photographs and video from the air is common, but it relies on the operator keeping the drone in sight and the drone talking to a GPS system, so it knows where it is.

The drone that recently took to the air in the Scion forest trial area was different. It was an industry standard DJI M600 carrying an Emesent Hovermap sensor unit that was discussed at demonstrated to forest managers and inventory foresters at the recent ForestTECH 2019 series. It can create a map when GPS is unavailable by using simultaneous localisation and mapping (SLAM), and a laser-scanner that doubles as a collision avoidance system to keep the drone safe while flying close to obstacles. The Hovermap sensor fully integrates with the drone flight control system.

“Lidar has been used in forestry for almost 20 years to carry out forest inventory, however the resolution has always meant that we can’t get enough information about the quality of the trees,” says Robin Hartley, who leads Scion’s unmanned aerial vehicle research programme. The problem is that the scanner is not being able to penetrate the canopy enough from above, and up until now, we have not been able to fly a drone safely under the canopy to fill in these gaps”.

“Another issue is that we have to be able to keep the drone in our line of sight to operate it, which really limits what we can do standing on the ground in the middle of a tall forest. The Hovermap system has changed all that,” says Robin. “It can build a 3D map on the fly and uses that to find a viable route to a target. This includes making decisions to avoid dead ends, and to re-plot new routes to reach the target. The system also enables the craft to sense new obstacles that appear as it is scanning and flying.”



A safe, efficient and effective way to gather under canopy data is the last piece in the puzzle of representing a forest digitally and creating a complete picture of the forest from above and below that identifies and characterises individual trees. Scientist David Pont, says the system is a game changer for measuring individual trees in forest inventory and research trial settings. “We can now develop the methods to detect tree stems and take detailed measurements including location, diameter, height, stem volume, branching, and stem defects, all of which determine the value of wood in the trees.

“This information will be used to guide precision forest management such as tree thinning operations, targeted applications of fertilisers and more accurate information for tree harvest and marketing.

“Data like this has the potential to revolutionise the measurement of research genetics trials” says David. “Exceptional individual trees for inclusion in tree improvement programmes can be identified, and improved descriptions of tree characteristics will help us make better tree breeding selections, resulting in better trees shaping tomorrows forests”.

Autonomous flying will also speed up the data gathering process and make it safer. A drone can move above uneven ground cover in scrub faster than someone pushing through blackberry hoping they don’t twist an ankle in a hole. Areas that have been previously completely unreachable will also be able to be surveyed. Hovermap-enabled craft will also be able to carry additional sensors, providing more data than ever.

This work has concentrated on data-gathering in a plantation forest but the technology is equally usable in native and urban amenity forests, for example. Forest health, predator damage and control, storm damage etc could all be monitored to keep all New Zealand’s forests growing strongly.

Notes: For more information about the work and UAV use in forestry contact David Pont or Robin Hartley.

Emesent is a spin-out from CSIRO’s Data61. It specialises in robotics, AI, drone autonomy, mapping, and data analytics and is leading the way in automating the collection and analysis of data in challenging environments.

The Hovermap sensor was originally developed for use in underground mines where there is no GPS signal, and the environment is confined, dark and hostile. Forests are equally challenging environments, with no GPS, rough terrain with hidden obstacles such as rocks, holes and fallen trees buried in thorny, scrubby undergrowth.

A more detailed article relating to the trials can be viewed on the forest remote sensing website, foresttech.news

Source: Scion

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Volocopter and John Deere team up with new drone

Autonomous drone-based transportation startup Volocopter has revealed its first partner for its new VoloDrone industrial and commercial electric vertical take-off and landing craft: John Deere . The agricultural and industrial heavy equipment company is working with Volocopter on a VoloDrone-based aerial crop-dusting system.

VoloDrone, which Voloctoper unveiled at the end of last year, has 18 rotors and a fully electric power system that can provide up to 30 minutes of flight time for the aircraft, and carry up to 440 lbs. It’s designed to operate fully autonomously along a set path, or be piloted remotely for manual control if needed.

John Deere is equipping the VoloDrone with a sprayer and tank array mounted to its cargo connection points, which will be able to dispense pesticides, liquid fertilizer, anti-frost agents for unseasonable inclement weather and more. Both partners also see potential in applications like sowing seeds for new crops from the air.

The VoloDrone is potentially a better, more precise and more cost-effective alternative to using a helicopter for these applications, Volocopter says. They’ll be working with John Deere to test and prove that out with initial pilots to be conducted during the next agricultural growing season.

Source: techcrunch




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Wind farm proposal on forest land gaining momentum

A proposed large-scale wind farm project in the Wide Bay region of Queensland, valued at up to AU$2 billion, is moving forward thanks to facilitation support provided by the Palaszczuk Government. Minister for State Development Cameron Dick said the Forest Wind project could create around 440 construction jobs and boost renewables supply for Queensland’s future energy needs.

“This would be one the largest grid-connected wind farms in the southern hemisphere,” Mr Dick said. “The wind farm would generate approximately 1200 megawatts at capacity, which will power more than 550,000 homes. This could increase Queensland’s installed power generation capacity by approximately nine per cent. The project will now move into the detailed assessment stage, which will also include the assessment of its development application.”

Mr Dick said the proposed wind farm would be located within state forest land between Gympie and Maryborough. “It would co-exist with established southern pine timber plantations that support our forestry industry,” he said.

Forest Wind Holdings, a joint venture between Queensland-based renewables firm CleanSight and Siemens Financial Services, has proposed to locate up to 226 wind turbines across the sites. The plantations are owned and managed by HQPlantations on land under licence from the state.

“Locating the wind farm on plantation licence areas would be a first for Queensland. It’s a great example of private enterprise thinking outside the box to help boost renewable energy generation in our state.” Forest Wind Holdings has confirmed that subject to receiving all relevant approvals, construction of the wind farm could commence as early as fourth-quarter 2020.

HQPlantations CEO Jeremy Callachor said he was excited about the possibility of supporting the Queensland Government’s long-term renewable energy targets in a material way. “We will work closely with Forest Wind Holdings to leverage complementary opportunities for improvements in fire protection and road access in the estate, and to ensure there is minimal impact on timber production,” Mr Callachor said.

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Australian PM flags hazard reduction focus

The Australian Forest Products Association (AFPA) has backed Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s proposal for national fuel reduction standards across all land tenures to be considered in a Royal Commission into the recent bushfires.

Speaking on the Credlin program on Sky, Mr Morrison said that a Royal Commission would look at climate change impacts but most importantly also the role that fuel load build up is playing as bushfires grow in intensity and frequency. The Prime Minister said:

“Hazard reduction is as important as emissions reduction and many would argue, I think, even more so because it has an even more direct impact on the safety of a person going into a bushfire season.

“We report all the time on what our emissions reductions are but across the country there is not a national system of reporting to track how hazard reduction is progressing… it is a very reasonable expectation people have that there are national ¬standards, that there is transparency around how this is being achieved.”

AFPA Chief Executive Officer Ross Hampton said the Royal Commission should examine how mechanical fuel reduction can complement controlled burns to reduce fuel loads across the landscape on all land tenures, as occurs in other bushfire-prone countries.

“There is near universal support for fuel load reduction after these tragic fires. But everyone also understands that winter burn offs are dramatically dropping in area due to a narrower window of good weather,” Mr Hampton said. “The missing tool in Australia is using machines to also do some of this work - especially in areas around our bush villages, towns and key assets such as mobile phone towers and sub stations.”

Mr Hampton said while timber-producing native forests and forestry plantations are actively managed to mitigate against catastrophic bushfires through evidence-based programs of mechanical fuel reduction, thinning, access roads, and controlled burns, the remaining 93% of Australia’s 132-million-hectare forest estate is not managed in the same way to address the build-up of fuel loads.

“Nationally, over three decades, the average annual area treated for fuel reduction has fallen by more than 30%, whilst the area burnt in bushfires has tripled. State governments are failing to meet hazard reduction burn targets. Clearly, the status quo is not good enough.

“While the forestry industry is doing its part in the small area of forest we look after, the management of the rest of the forest estate – held in a mix of land tenures including National Parks and private farmland – is putting communities and lives at risk.

“The Prime Minister’s proposal to have national standards and more transparent reporting requirements could be a useful tool to ensure targets are being met.”

Source: AFPA



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50-year anniversary School of Forestry planned

New Zealand’s School of Forestry will be hosting a conference and celebration in recognition of 50 years at the University of Canterbury (1970-2020). The celebration will include a two-day conference and field trip together with organised social events between 15-17 April 2020. The opportunity for graduating year groups to organise their own reunions from the evening of 17th April into the weekend of 18/19 April has also been set up.

The event is being held at the University of Canterbury based in the new Haere-roa Student Association building which opened in 2019. Further details on the activities being planned around the 50th year anniversary can be found here

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Cypress glulam beams for pre-fabricated homes

Research by Queensland’s Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF) to develop a new sustainable timber product has delivered additional jobs and a boost to a Queensland construction company. Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries Mark Furner said the research by DAF’s Forest Product Innovation team had proven to be a win-win good news story for Cooroy-based Eco Cottages.

“An innovative collaboration between DAF and Eco Cottages, which began in 2017, has resulted in high-quality cypress glue-laminated beams which have helped deliver cheaper, more sustainable housing and jobs for Eco Cottages,” Mr Furner said. “Eco Cottages is using the cypress glue-laminated beams in the construction of their sustainable, pre-fabricated modular homes.

“Since the collaboration began, Eco Cottages has employed an extra eight full time employees including five apprentices, all of whom are locals, with the manufacture of the cypress beams generating four full time positions, two of whom are apprentices. This totally Queensland-focused effort involves cypress timber harvested from the Barakula State Forest, Hurford Hardwood which operates a cypress sawmill at Chinchilla, Eco Cottages and DAF.”

Eco Cottages Director Greg Phipps said the partnership with DAF had made possible the production of low cost, environmentally friendly cypress glue-laminated beams. Eco Cottages is the only manufacturer of cypress glulam in Queensland and our new factory has allowed us to increase manufacturing capacity to support our modular building construction program.”

Mr Furner said several characteristics made Queensland cypress Eco Cottage’s building material of choice. “DAF researchers established timber properties, identified suitable adhesive systems and manufacturing protocols and performance tested the final engineered-wood beams. DAF has enthusiastically supported this worthwhile venture and continues to provide guidance and support to the initiative as well as extensive product and process testing.”

Photo: Eco Cottages cypress beams – More than 200 cypress glue-laminated beams have been used in Eco Cottages new Cooroy factory

Source: Department of Agriculture and Fisheries

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C3 supports bushfire relief

Forestry-aligned logistics company, C3, a subsidiary of LINX Cargo Care Group, has participated in a truck convoy to help farmers affected by recent bushfires in Bairnsdale. C3 drivers, Stuart Clark and Peter Keem, joined 29 other local truck operators in running 1500 round bales of hay from Portland to farms near fire ravaged East Gippsland.

The 530-kilometre journey completed last weekend saw C3 itself deliver 220 bales of hay with a pair of Mercedes Actros 2653 coupled with B-doubles kindly loaned to the cause by C3 partner, Force 8. All 31 trucks were welcomed in Bairnsdale with a police escort.

It was an emotional journey for those involved according to Hayley Elkington C3 Forestry Manager. "For the many volunteers who gladly gave up their weekend to be part of such an important initiative it was pleasing to see it come together so well and very humbling at the same time," she said.

"Seeing the reaction of people in these areas laid to waste by fire and drought and their appreciation upon arrival of the hay was an experience that will stay with us," Elkington said. Driver Stuart Clark, whose son Dale Clark also piloted a truck along with stablemate Jason Cambell, at transport specialist Mibus Bros, said the response from the Portland community was overwhelming.

"There were more donors than we could have hoped for and we had to get more trucks with all the hay we ended up with from local businesses," he said. The reception the drivers were given by locals from farming communities like Buchan South, according to Clark, made it all worthwhile. "We were ecstatic with how the whole event went and I was very proud to be part of it," Clark said. The convoy was organised by Warrnambool owner-operator Edward White.

As part of ongoing drought and fire relief efforts provided by LINX Cargo Care Group, C3 is supporting forestry customers to find salvage solutions for plantations of burnt timber in NSW and Victoria. "Following these devastating fires, it's a focus for our group to help where we can and contribute to communities in need and communities in which we operate during this challenging time," said Elkington.

Source & Photo: primemovermag.com.au

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... and one to end the week on ... the little old lady

A farmer stopped by the local mechanic's shop to have his truck fixed. They couldn't do it while he waited, so he said he didn't live far and would just walk home.

On the way home, he stopped at the hardware store and bought a bucket and a gallon of paint. He then stopped by the feed store and picked up a couple of chickens and a goose. However, struggling outside the store he now had a problem - how to carry his entire purchases home.

While he was scratching his head he was approached by a little old lady who told him she was lost. She asked, 'Can you tell me how to get to 1603 Mockingbird Lane ?'

The farmer said, 'Well, as a matter of fact, my farm is very close to that house I would walk you there but I can't carry this lot.'

The old lady suggested, 'Why don't you put the can of paint in the bucket, carry the bucket in one hand, put a chicken under each arm and carry the goose in your other hand?'

'Why thank you very much,' he said and proceeded to walk the old girl home.

On the way he says 'Let's take my short cut and go down this alley. We'll be there in no time.'

The little old lady looked him over cautiously then said, 'I am a lonely widow without a husband to defend me. How do I know that when we get in the alley you won't take advantage of me?

The farmer said, 'Holy smokes lady! I'm carrying a bucket, a gallon of paint, two chickens, and a goose. How in the world could I possibly do that?'

The old lady replied, "Set the goose down, cover him with the bucket, put the paint on top of the bucket, and I'll hold the chickens!".






And on that note, enjoy your weekend. Cheers.

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


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

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