WoodTECH Update – Issue 24

In WoodTECH, WT Issue Summary by FIEA1 Comment

Welcome to the latest issue of WoodTECH.News.

So, what a difference a month makes. When the last monthly issue came out there were rumblings about our country’s borders potentially being closed. Incoming passengers were increasingly being tested for COVID-19. There were also, of course, the very real issues in getting our logs into China’s congested ports so harvesting crews and those involved in transporting wood were at the time being put back onto reduced hours. And, we at the time thought that was tough.

Roll on four weeks. For the kiwis, as we go to print, the forestry and wood products industries, despite some concerted efforts to get the Government to budge, are currently considered to be non-essential – the only primary sector industry labelled with this particular tag. So, wood harvesting, log transport, wood processing and manufacturing businesses and export operations remain idle. We’re all sitting at home until the “go back to work” button (provided the business, of course, is still afloat) is pushed. In Australia though, like the US and Canada, although self-isolation and travel restrictions have been put in place, forestry, wood processing and construction activities are at this time considered as “essential services” and are still in full swing. Production though is reduced in some industries because of uncertainties in the market.

For this newsletter, we plan on still producing and sending it out to our ever-growing number of readers. In times like these, particularly when in shut-down mode and with the uncertainties surrounding wages, jobs and the future – once we get moving again – it’s critical that we keep the communication channels open. If you have work colleagues you think would benefit from subscribing to this newsletter (it’s free), they can register directly on www.woodtech.news.

For the large WoodTECH 2020 – Wood Manufacturing event we were planning with many of you for mid to late August, the programmes for both Australia and New Zealand had been set up and can be viewed on the website, www.woodtech.events/wt20. The plan is to still proceed. It is unlikely though to run in August. The dates won’t be confirmed until the current situation becomes clearer and we’ll certainly keep you updated.

Now for a bit of news for you. This month we cover Hyne’s Tumbarumba sawmill upgrade, which has now integrated the world’s first robotic graded timber stacker (I recommend you watch the video too). We also have stories on an adhesive-free timber building, a new SawSense temperature sensor technology (discussed at last year’s WoodTECH series), the commissioning of a new AU$3 million timber manufacturing plant for Heyfield Australian Sustainable Hardwoods and others.  

That’s it for this month. Remember to send through any contributions, stories or links that we can pass onto the wider wood harvesting and transport community. Stay safe and we look forward to perhaps better news this time in one month’s time.

Check out all the articles below and enjoy this month’s issue.

Stories this issue:

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How can the NZ govt justify closing down its forestry and timber industries?

As you know, it’s considered an essential industry in Australia.
Silviculture and timber harvesting can continue, as can log transport and
milling operations. The biggest risk is in a mill with several staff under
the same roof, but the physical distances between staff in a sawmill are
far greater than those in a fruit packing shed, for example.

We can’t understand your govt’s thinking in this regard.