Friday Offcuts – 1 November 2019

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This week we cover a story on a NZ wood manufacturing company – a relative newcomer to the industry – producing glue-laminated timber products. As part of their business strategy, they’ve embraced Industry 4.0 principles. Automation, data-driven decision-making and real-time analytics fed by well over 2000 sensor inputs and outputs is driving their Gisborne operation. Data underpins everything. Much of this unique process is automated. Interestingly they describe and think of themselves as a technology business, not a wood processing business. You can check out the article from a recent Callaghan Innovation posting.

Industry 4.0 and raft of new innovative product, processing and manufacturing technologies will also be featuring at next year’s WoodTECH 2020 event being run in August in New Zealand and Australia. Today, we’ve included a call for early Expressions of Interest to present in the series. If you’d like to be considered as a presenter (maybe showcasing the development of a new product, new equipment, a case study of an early adoption of new technology or operating practice…) or you represent an overseas tech or equipment provider in this part of the world, now’s your chance to get in early. If interested, please make contact with us.

This week Future Foresters have launched the first in a series of eight new videos. It’s part of their latest media campaign, #LetsClearTheAir. Funded by the WIDE Trust, the NZ campaign this time will be sharing positive stories about trees and forests along with the many faces behind the forestry and wood processing industries. Like the earlier videos produced a year ago that attracted over 140,000 unique hits (largely from the younger 16-34-year old’s), this latest series using social media as the principal vehicle to get the videos out there, is also going to appeal to a younger audience. Filming is complete and the intention now is to release a new video every month going forward.

And finally, registrations to this region’s annual remote sensing, data capture and forest inventory event, ForestTECH 2019 continue to flow in for both the two-day conferences, exhibitions and four workshops that have been set up this year. The first event of the series is running in Melbourne, Australia on 13-14 November. This year, in addition to forest inventory specialists from throughout Australia and New Zealand, forestry companies from the USA, Germany, South Africa, Chile, Spain, Indonesia and Latvia will be involved. The New Zealand event follows the week after. If interested, late registrations can still be made here. That’s it for this week. Enjoy this week’s issue.

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Funding for Otago forestry training

New Zealand's Provincial Growth Fund (PGF)’s skills and employment programme will help young Otago people into long-term forestry careers, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones announced on Wednesday. Te Ara Mahi will invest $63,000 in the 2020 school year to support eight 17 and 18 year olds to enter careers in forestry.

“Forestry is currently enjoying a renewed lease on life thanks to the One Billion Trees programme and the Government’s emphasis on the sector for both regional development and environmental outcomes,” Shane Jones said.

The funding will see these young people trained, upskilled and supported into local full time employment. They will gain first-hand experience in the forestry industry, from establishment to production, while gaining industry-related qualifications,” Shane Jones said. “Forestry is a major industry in the Otago region but forestry companies are short of workers. Additionally, there’s an ageing workforce so it’s important that we encourage more young people into sustainable and exciting forestry careers,” Shane Jones said.

“And there are wider public benefits – the forestry industry offers opportunities to optimise land use, help mitigate the effects of climate change, protect the environment, and ensure sustainable fibre has a key role in the future low carbon economy,” Shane Jones said.

Participants for the programme will be recommended by their schools and will be interviewed for suitability before being accepted. The PGF funding will pay for a qualified industry tutor, support the transport of trainees to the course and to work experience, and cover the administration costs required to run the course.

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Cutting edge production techniques adopted

The strong scent of pine you get as you pass by logging depots at our major ports is one of the more obvious signs of our booming export industry for radiata pine logs from New Zealand.

Around seven per cent of our land area is covered in forest logging plantations, which produced exports in the form of raw logs and milled timber worth NZ$6.4 billion last year. Nearly half of it went to China.

Our top-quality pine is highly valued, but it represents only a fraction of exports. The rest is considered second-rate and sent as logs for use in packaging or reduced to woodchip or paper. What if you could find a way to turn that exported deadwood into valuable building materials for the domestic market?

That’s exactly the goal of Auckland and Gisborne-based Wood Engineering Technology (WET) which, after 15 years of R&D, has mastered how to do it using a data-driven end-to-end automation process. WET has a patented method of creating glue-laminated timber.

The approach and technology underpinning WET’s innovation fit under the broad umbrella of “Industry 4.0”, which uses interconnected sensors, artificial intelligence and robotics to digitise manufacturing for greater productivity and better products.

WET’s industrial process exploits the variability within each log as well as the grade, or quality of the log, which is broken down and then reengineered as lumber. It is the optimisation of the disassembly and reassembly process that gives WET its innovation edge.


Source & Photo: Callaghan Innovation

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LetsClearTheAir campaign launched this week

New Zealand's Future Foresters have been busy working on their latest media campaign #LetsClearTheAir. This campaign will focus on sharing positive stories about trees and forests, and the (young and not so young) faces behind the many facets of the forestry sector.

The first video was released on Wednesday.

This video kicks the series off by showing all the different ways trees impact on people and what they mean to them. It sets the scene for the campaign by being people-focused and being designed to connect with people from any background.

Following videos will be released over the coming months, so keep an eye out! You can see them by following Futures Foresters NZ on Facebook or Instagram.

Source: Future Foresters

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Call for Presenters – WoodTECH 2020

The very successful WoodTECH 2019 series has just been completed. With the focus on green-mill or sawmilling operations, around 350 delegates from local mills and technology providers from around the globe, were involved in the technology series that wound up in Melbourne, Australia on 18 September. Details from the event can be found on

From discussions with mills and tech providers at this latest series, discussions are already underway to start planning for the 2020 WoodTECH series. Like 2018, the focus next year is again on new technologies, new processing systems and case studies to showcase “smart operating practices” in dry-mill, wood treatment and timber manufacturing operations.

What’s being considered for 2020?

At this stage, based on requests and suggestions from industry at previous events, coverage may include;

- Industry 4.0 and application to manufacturing
- Opportunities with VR and AR in a wood manufacturing environment
- Robotics and automation
- Advances in wood scanning and board optimisation
- Wood treatment and wood modification technologies
- Use of machine production data to drive the business
- Mill maintenance planning
- Sensors, bar coding and timber tracking
- Wood plastic composite advancements
- Technology and process improvements in;
- Finger-jointing, ripping and cross cutting
- Timber gluing and laminating
- Timber machining
- Kiln drying
- Surface finishing
- Material handling operations
- Wrapping & strapping
- Heat plant options and energy savings initiatives
- H&S, training and skills development
- Waste management and disposal
- Q.C. systems
- Timber standards changes

Early details on the 2020 mid-year event being run in both New Zealand and Australia can be found on the event website, Interest following the recent sawmilling series in the event is already keen.

If interested in presenting (as a wood producer or tech supplier) as part of the WoodTECH 2020 series in August 2020, please contact BEFORE Friday 8 November 2019. Remember, if possible, case studies or more generic presentations on the technology and how implemented into wood manufacturing operations to improve the company’s operational and financial performance are preferable to product updates.

Note: Information on opportunities for exhibiting will be advertised and sent out in the next couple of months. Early expressions of interest can be made directly with

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AKD goes PINK for October

To honour family, friends and colleagues this Breast Cancer Awareness month, AKD Softwoods has turned pink this October to raise money and awareness. Cancer doesn’t discriminate; it affects everyone, either personally, or our family, colleagues and loved ones; one in two Australians will have been diagnosed with a form of cancer by the time they turn 85.

Breast cancer is the most-commonly diagnosed cancer in females; in 2019 alone an estimated 19,535 new cases will be diagnosed. Breast cancer is not just a women’s disease, with the number of men diagnosed on the rise. The McGrath Foundation, founded by legendary Australian cricketer Glenn McGrath, funds breast care nurses who support individuals and their families experiencing the disease which affects so many.

AKD has partnered with the McGrath Foundation this Breast Cancer Awareness month by jumping on board its Pink Up Your Town initiative. To raise funds for the McGrath Foundation, AKD employees are wearing pink shirts and shoelaces across all their Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland sites, with the proceeds used to fund breast care nurses for wherever they’re needed most.

And, when AKD shared this initiative with their customers, they couldn’t wait to support and well. AKD is humbled by the level of employee and customer support for this important cause that affects so many of our family, friends and colleagues.

Source: AKD

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Rewarding times for forestry ‘family’

A major focus for Lloyd Logging since it started in 2017 has been to invest in staff and training. It’s no surprise then that company staff member Channing Green took out the emerging talent award at last year’s Northland Forestry Awards and was up for the trainee of the year in 2019.

“Channing has only been in the industry for four years but his credits, units and productivity are more like he has been working here for ten years,” says Lloyd Logging owner Isaac Lloyd. “He’s my foreman now and has come a long way in a short time. He’s earning more money than he was before entering the forestry industry and he and his wife have just been able to build a house so they are in a really good position now.”

Isaac, who has nearly 20 years industry experience, owns the company with wife Sheree Beehre. They employ eight staff and Isaac has four siblings working in the business making Lloyd Logging a real family-oriented company. “This makes for a good company culture. Communication is good and we all look out for each other,” Isaac says.

The firm’s culture and success were recognised at this year’s Northland Forestry awards where it won the Northern Forest Products Ltd Forestry Family of the Year. The company was originally called Combined Logging and had been in existence for around 20 years before Isaac and Sheree purchased it. Lloyd Logging contracts to Summit Forests, which manages forests in the region.

Iwi and Summit Forests were also a big help to Isaac in starting his business. Lloyd Logging is a cable logging crew working on steeper and more challenging terrain to remove logs safely and with minimal impact to the environment. The couple have been focusing on investing in equipment, purchasing a new Komatsu excavator, processing head and vehicles as well as getting maintenance on other equipment up to date.

They have hired new employees and got involved with forestry training group Competenz. Summit Forests also completes some staff training. Lloyd Logging has also got involved with local schools hosting students on their site so young people can see the many career opportunities available in the logging industry.

Health and safety are another important focus and Lloyd Logging is involved with Top Spot, a nationwide auditing tool for individuals and crews. Isaac says this helps drive high standards in Lloyd Logging and also helps benchmark the company against competitors. Lloyd Logging also has Safetree Contractor Certification, which provides forestry with an industry standardised assessment of a contractor’s suitability to work.

Since it started Lloyd Logging has been working at Kohumaru forest and will be there another one and a half years before moving onto another site for Summit Forestry. Isaac says he is lucky to have such a good client, particularly as product is destined for the New Zealand market so has not been hit by international price drops recently.

“Summit Forestry is a great forest management company in terms of culture, values and health and safety. We look forward to assisting them for many years to come.”

Photo: Winners are grinners: Lloyd Logging won the Forestry Northern Forest Products Ltd Forestry Family of the Year at this year’s Northland Forestry Awards.

Source & Photo: Business North newspaper, Issue 4, 2019 - Published by Waterford Press

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Scion celebrates success at annual awards

Honouring the success of our people was the cause of much celebration at Scion’s annual employee recognition awards last week. The awards were held on site on Wednesday 23 October and recognised some of Scion’s best and brightest. A number of awards were presented including the distinguished Roger Newman Award for Science or Engineering excellence.

This year the Roger Newman Award was presented to Dr Tara Strand, Research Leader Forest Protection (Christchurch). Tara has played integral leadership roles in three of Scion’s key research programmes including a national award-winning urban biosecurity programme, leading New Zealand’s only rural fire research programme, and was appointed to the BioHeritage National Science Challenge Science Leadership Group. She has shown outstanding leadership in all three programmes and has provided tremendous contributions in science excellence and delivery to each science team.

Chief Executive Officer, Dr Julian Elder says, “Across Scion our teams have worked tirelessly to achieve high quality science, that helps bring our vision to life. The dedication that our awardees have shown to their science, their clients and their colleagues is outstanding and deserves wide acknowledgement.”

Other notable awardees include microbial ecologist Dr Steve A Wakelin (Christchurch), who was recognised for his impressive publication record, including 107 papers and a high citation rate, showing him to be a leader in his field. The excellent customer engagement skills of Nursery Researcher Craig Ford, and Nursery Operations Manager Paul Keech were also recognised, as was the smooth delivery of internal support from the Information Technology team.

The award recognising funding success was presented to the ‘Bark Biorefinery’ team, led by Dr Warren Grigsby with the support of Dr Dawn Smith, Dr Stefan Hill, Dr Laura Raymond, Peter Hall and Rob Lei. Three awardees from the event will now also be featured as finalists in the annual Science New Zealand Awards, which bring together the best and brightest from each of New Zealand’s seven Crown Research Institutes. The Science New Zealand awards night will be held at Parliament in Wellington on 11 November.

Photo: Recognition for Funding Success Award - Bark Biorefinery team (form left) Dr Warren Grigsby, Dr Stefan Hill, Dr Dawn Smith and Rob Lei

Source: Scion

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Nannup timber mill loses contract

Western Australia's second largest timber mill has been stripped of a major native timber supply contract after it was exposed by a whistle-blower of-selling more than 100 tonnes of marri logs overseas.

Under its contract with the Forest Products Commission (FPC), Nannup Timber Processing is required to process all logs from state-owned native forests in WA. However, an FPC investigation triggered by a whistle-blower has found that in the first six months of this year, the Nannup mill on-sold at least 165 tonnes of state-sourced marri logs for export.

WA Forestry Minister Dave Kelly described it as a serious breach of contract. The contractual requirement to locally process timber from state-owned native forests is aimed at protecting WA timber industry jobs and ensuring logs are processed into value-added products like furniture and flooring.

More >>

Source: ABC

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Scoping study to look at FCNSW options

In Australia the NSW Treasury has mandated law firm Minter Ellison and KPMG to help with a scoping study for the state's commercial softwood plantations. The two firms join investment bank UBS in helping the state consider options for the assets, including a potential sale.

The commercial softwood plantations are housed inside NSW's Forestry Corporation. When NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet announced the scoping study in August, he said it would seek to determine whether the commercial softwood business was best managed by the government or a private operator.

The scoping study is expected to include talks with potential buyers, including specialty forestry funds and domestic and offshore pension funds which already have significant investments in the sector.

It will focus on Forestry Corporation's profitable softwood division, which consists of about 230,000 hectares of radiata pine forests, primarily producing timber for use in house construction. The plantations - which are located in the central west, south and north of the state - employ about 190 staff.

Source: Financial Review

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Stora Enso sets up new Forest Division

Stora Enso recently hosted its Forest and Wood Products Day for investors in Stockholm. The focus was on recently acquired Swedish forest assets and the establishment of a new Forest division.

To increase transparency, Stora Enso is establishing a Forest division and will start reporting on it separately at the beginning of 2020. The new Forest division will include Stora Enso’s Swedish forest assets (including the recently-acquired Bergvik Skog Väst AB) and its 41% share of Tornator with the majority of its forest assets located in Finland. The Forest division will also include wood supply operations in Finland, Sweden, Russia and Baltic countries.

Stora Enso’s CEO, Karl-Henrik Sundström, says: “As a major player in the bioeconomy, access to wood is critical for us. Taking forest assets under direct ownership gives us more flexibility to optimise our wood supply and operations. Furthermore, as wood is the single most important raw material and the biggest share of our costs, as well as a large part of the balance sheet, it will make sense to increase the transparency of reporting now, when we have successfully finalised the acquisition of Swedish forest holdings.”

Stora Enso has forest assets valued at more than EUR 4.1 billion (land and biological assets) in its balance sheet, the highest value being of biological assets of EUR 3.6 billion among Nordic companies. In Sweden, Stora Enso owns 1.4 million hectares of forest, of which 1.14 million hectares are productive forest land with standing stock of 143 million m³.


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World’s largest 3D printed boat

Buoyed by composites technology and the world’s largest 3-D printer, the University of Maine (Orono, ME) launched itself into the record books as it unveiled the largest solid object ever produced by a 3-D printer on 10 October.

The printer produced a 25-foot, 2 ½-ton boat using material that’s a blend of plastic and wood cellulose. A Guinness World Records adjudicator was on hand to certify three records: the world’s largest polymer 3-D printer, largest 3-D printed boat, and largest solid 3-D printed item. The previous record-holder for largest boat created by a 3-D printer was a 4-foot rowboat.

The 3-D boat printed at the University of Maine was created over three days in mid-September. The printer cost US$2.5 million, but the machinery, along with funds for installation, research and development and other costs were covered by the U.S. Army and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Habib Dagher, the Composites Centre Director and a Professor of Structural Engineering said the State is positioning itself as a leader in developing composites and manufacturing, and using material that takes advantage of the state’s wood products industry makes it even more attractive. As manufacturers look for ways to produce items without plastics and other petroleum-based materials, he said, blends that use renewable resources will be more attractive.


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Buy and Sell

... and one to end the week on ... the farmer and his daughters

There once was a farmer whose wife had died and left him with three beautiful teenage daughters. Every weekend, when they went out on dates, the farmer would stand at the door with his shotgun, making it clear to their dates he wanted no trouble from them.

Another Saturday night came around. At about 7 pm., there was a knock on the door. He answered and the young man said, "Hi, my name's Joe. I'm here for Flo. I'm taking her to the show. Is she ready to go?" The farmer thought he was a clever boy and wished them a good time.

A few minutes later, another knock was heard. A second boy appeared and said, "Hi, I'm Eddie. I'm here for Betty. I'm taking her for spaghetti. I hope she's ready." He thought that he must know Joe, but bade them off as well with his best wishes.

A few minutes after that, a third knock was heard. "Hi, I'm Chuck..." The farmer slammed the door in his face ….

One more for you. One day, the Captain of the 40-oared royal barge goes down to speak to the slaves in the hold of his ship.

"Men, I have some good news and some bad news.

The good news is, the Queen will be joining us today for a trip up the Nile." The men cheered and rattled their chains.

"The bad news is, she wants to go water skiing."

And on that note, enjoy your weekend. Cheers.

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

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

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