Engineered wood talks uncovered exciting new product technologies

More than 20 wood processors and suppliers gathered in Brisbane last week for a product forum that saw new and innovative technologies shine through the gloom of tough industry conditions.

"It was great to see such a large contingent of suppliers who were able to address the cream of engineered wood processors from New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and from across Australia - all in one room," said Simon Dorries, general manager of the Engineered Wood Products Association of Australasia, which organised the forum for EWPAA members and service companies. "It was encouraging also that these suppliers are prepared to invest in new technology in these tough times so the industry is able to do what it does better, more efficiently and smarter," Mr Dorries said.

The forum preceded a meeting of the EWPAA board attended by Brendan Smith, Juken New Zealand (president), Jim Bindon (Big River Group), Stuart Toakley (Borg Panels), Gay Byrom (Momentive NZ), Ian Brimblecombe (Alpine MDF Industries), Stuart Matthews (Austral Plywoods), Ahsan Qureshi (Wesbeam), David Chapman (PNG Forest Products), Richard Barry (Nelson Pine), and Michael Murphy and Ian Potter (Carter Holt Harvey Woodproducts Australia).

Loggo, an engineered wood building system that uses small diameter true round plantation logs captured the imagination of forum participants, particularly its application for low-cost housing in countries such Papua New Guinea and in Asia. The logs - pine generally but they can be any other suitable species - are laminating along their longitudinal axis into I-Logs (I-beams) and Lamilog Beams (laminated beams) which are Loggo's two patent pending products. These beams can then be combined together using Loggo's Join-T-Lock joining system of internal dowel pinning along and into the axis of the logs to form a versatile portal building system.

All joining dowels are internally set, corrosion resistant and epoxy embedded using a purposefully designed glue injection system. This internal 'encapsulation' provides a joint of remarkably enhanced longevity against other timber systems that often result in clumsy, non-fire rated connections.

The Loggo system can be used cost-effectively to build all types of modern houses and small commercial and government buildings with trusses up to 8 m wide with standard portal bays of 2.4 m, flooring joist spans up to 80 0mm and piers/pylons at 3.6 m. Loggo is the world's newest, greenest, flooring and portal frame building system.

It has been designed with all the key attributes of cost-effectiveness, durability, versatility, life expectancy and fire resistance.

The system employs renewable timber resources in a very low cost, minimal impact engineered timber solution. The end result is a product with comparable structural properties to more high-tech conventional glue laminated timbers without the associated environmental impacts and technical costs.

Interested parties are invited to take part in this low-cost housing system that will return a top return on investment. Joint ventures offered for Papua New Guinea industry include investing, partnering, licensing or buying outright some of the vast array of intellectual property rights.

Inquiries can be directed to Pat on 61 2 4256 4767 or email pat@loggo.com.au or visit www.loggo.com.au

RH staff
Caption: Simon Dorries, general manager, EWPAA, welcomes David Lai, David Ting and Muk Kai Boh (general manager, marketing and shipping) of Rimbunan Hijau (PNG) Group (RH), Port Moresby.

RH's Panakawa timber processing facility in the western province, established in 1996 as a veneer processing mill, expanded to plywood processing in 2007 and now employs about 570 people.

RH has established four sawmills in Papua New Guinea. The veneer and plywood division exports high quality, rotary cut veneer and tropical plywood products to markets in the Asia-Pacific region.

The sawn timber division produces premium quality sawn timber and moulding products such as S4S, E4E and decking with primary export markets Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Korea and Taiwan.

RH was a winner of the Exporter of the Year Award, presented by the Manufacturers Council of Papua New Guinea.

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