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Ponsse manufactures its 18,000th forest machine

International Forest Industries - Wed, 18/05/2022 - 12:28

The 18,000th PONSSE forest machine was completed at Ponsse’s factory in Vieremä. After its handover, the PONSSE Elk will be operated by VMC Bois in France.

“The highly demanding harvesting industry calls for solid professional skills, determination and close cooperation. These are also the characteristics of our partnership with VMC Bois. It feels really good to deliver this machine to VMC Bois, and I would like to thank them for our excellent cooperation,” says Marko Mattila, Sales Marketing and Service Director.

“We started our cooperation with Ponsse after we purchased a used PONSSE Ergo a few years ago. We continued our partnership by buying a few new machines, and today we received the 18,000th PONSSE machine here in Vieremä. Our cooperation has been productive, and we are very satisfied with our partnership,” says Alexandre Collomb, one of the three owners of VMC Bois.

VMC Bois owns four PONSSE machines, and it mainly operates in eastern parts of Central France. Established in 2009, the company currently has 27 employees. VMC Bois is also engaged in sawmill operations, generating energy from chips.

PONSSE Elk – a versatile and agile forwarder

PONSSE Elk is a highly versatile and agile forwarder in the smaller midsize class. Elk offers an unprecedented load-carrying capacity in its size class, and its fuel-efficient engine and large fuel tank extend the refuelling interval. It is safe to say that Elk is an excellent machine for thinning sites where the machine needs to cover long distances. Elk’s responsive engine, impressive torque and sturdy loader make working comfortable, especially when the operator can enjoy the most spacious cabin on the market, including ergonomic controls.

Entered in serial production in 2005, more than 1,000 PONSSE Elk forwarders have been completed, delivered to over 20 countries and tested in real-life conditions across the globe.

Starting as the dream of Einari Vidgrén, Ponsse is a family-owned business that now operates in the harvesting markets of over 40 countries. Environmentally friendly harvesting and customer-driven R&D are strongly emphasised in Ponsse’s business. All PONSSE forest machines are still manufactured in the company’s birthplace in Vieremä in Northern Savonia, Finland.

Further information:

Marko Mattila, Sales, Marketing and Service Director, Ponsse Plc, +358 400 596 297, marko.mattila@ponsse.com

See other PONSSE related posts here.

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The post Ponsse manufactures its 18,000th forest machine appeared first on International Forest Industries.

NZ – Forest360 Log export market update

International Forest Industries - Wed, 18/05/2022 - 11:49

Stability and consistency have never really been ideals that our industry has conformed to, and this year is no different. Although the May at wharf gate (AWG) export prices are very similar to those offered in April (mid to high $120’s/m3 for A grade), the underlying variables that make up those prices are vastly different. The variable that has had the biggest influence on the AWG price in the last 12 months has been shipping with freight costs ranging from $US40/m3 to $US85/m3. It would be easy to point the finger squarely at fuel cost and while it’s a massive factor, it’s not the whole picture. To put some figures around the cost of fuel and it’s affect on log prices, a log vessel will generally take 17 days to steam to China with a fuel burn of around 25 tonnes of Bunker oil per day, enough to give Greta Thunberg a hernia. This is a total trip usage of 425 tonnes of fuel and at current fuel costs of $US933 per tonne that’s around $NZ620,000 for the one-way trip. Average payload is around 33,000 tonnes of logs so quick calculations are a fuel cost of $NZ18.80/m3 for fuel alone.

As vessels are generally paid for on a time basis, any non-productive wait times outside of loading or unloading increases the m3 unit cost. As NZ ports grapple with covid absenteeism and a general lack of staff anyway, the ability to unload and load vessels has been impacted creating wait times around the country. In addition, the EPA has effectively ruled out the use of methyl bromide, the only fumigant accepted by China for the top deck cargo (around 1/3 of the vessels cargo) which has resulted in the industry moving to debarking of all deck stowed logs as a substitution. While debarking sounds like a better option, in reality you can’t build one overnight and therefore exporters are scrambling to secure top deck cargos where they can. As the Port of Tauranga has the most available debarked volume, vessels are waiting up to 2 weeks at Tauranga waiting for a load due to congestion – at $US35,000/day or $NZ1.65/m3/day.

Thankfully, the NZ dollar has been playing ball with a drop not seen since the first round of covid lockdowns which has helped offset some of the freight cost increases. This will be cold comfort to Grant Robertson as the direct impact of the depreciated dollar will keep the foot firmly on the inflation throttle.

The China covid elimination strategy hasn’t gone so well in recent weeks with some very hard lockdowns in some of the busiest cities in China. This has flowed through to weak demand as its pretty hard to convert logs to lumber from your 30m2 apartment in Beijing. We are expecting to see reasonably sharp increases in inventory if the lockdowns continue through May, which is likely as the Chinese govt don’t like to admit defeat, even if the general population is starting to lose its sense of humor with being locked down. Supply from NZ is down on previous months due to port constraints, subdued returns and a general level of unease by forest owners regarding global stability. Global supply is also lackluster is not expected to increase from current levels for the remainder of the year which bodes well for NZ and the potential for price increases through Q3.

Increased fuel costs also are starting to bite harvesting and cartage contractors, and many are passing on this cost in the form of fuel adjustment factors (FAF). Your average harvesting crew will chew through around 4 litres of diesel per tonne of log and, with around $0.82/litre increase in the last 12 months, you’re looking at harvest cost increases in the order of $3.28/tonne. Greta also hates trucks as they generally only get around 1.6km per litre on average which equates to 1.9 litres of fuel per tonne per 100km. Using the same increase in fuel cost and an average cartage distance of 150km from forest to mill or port, the actual increase in cartage cost is $2.33/tonne. Add these together and over the last 12 months you’re contributing and additional $5.60 per tonne or around $3,000/ha to the fuel producers’ bottom line. How long the increased fuel costs last is anyone’s guess but so long as the wee man in Russia keeps lobbing bombs at his neighbours we’re more than likely stuck with it. Any reductions that were provided through govt concessions in excise tax and road user charges have been countered by the exchange rate which has increases the cost of all imports.

Domestic log demand remains buoyant for both pruned and unpruned sawlogs. Many mills have mirrored other parts of the supply chain with large staff absenteeism due to covid which has impacted production. The building industry will likely blame log exports for timber supply issues again, however, thankfully, the Gib suppliers have taken the heat away from us which is much appreciated.

Source: Forest360

See previous Log Export posts here.

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The post NZ – Forest360 Log export market update appeared first on International Forest Industries.

John Deere suspends shipments to Russia

International Forest Industries - Wed, 18/05/2022 - 11:19

Recent Statement John Deere suspends shipments to Russia – John Deere is deeply saddened by the significant escalation of events in Ukraine. The safety, welfare, and well-being of our employees in the region remains our top priority, and we continue to support and maintain close communication with our affected teams, providing necessary resources when possible.

Our thoughts are with our employees, their families as well as our dealers, customers and all those impacted by this crisis. Two weeks ago, we suspended shipments of machines to Russia and then subsequently, Belarus.

We continue to monitor the situation closely while we fully abide by U.S. and international sanctions. The John Deere Foundation has additionally been working directly with a number of organizations, including multiple UN agencies, to mobilize resources to support Ukrainians impacted by the crisis. Our mission is, and always has been, to help our customers feed the world.

For all other Russia related posts click here.

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Setra Group invests in TC kilns from Valutec to two Swedish sawmills

International Forest Industries - Wed, 18/05/2022 - 10:42

Just under two years ago, Setra Hasselfors became the first sawmill within the Setra Group to invest in Valutec TC drying technology. Now they are investing in new TC wood drying kilns for both Hasselfors and the sawmill in Heby, both located in Sweden.

“The properties of the TC continuous kiln fit well into the Setra Greenness philosophy. They offer the precision of the batch kiln in combination with high capacity and efficient heat recovery. Another bonus with it is that we don’t get tied to one batch size if we’d like to switch to larger ones in the future to reduce handling and further increase drying capacity,” says Jonas Fintling, Site Manager at Setra Hasselfors.

Setra Hasselfors in Sweden is a respected spruce sawmill established in 1908. In 2021, it produced approximately 345,000 m3 and the products are delivered to customers in Europe, the USA and Australia. The investment will increase the sawmill’s drying capacity by approximately 150,000 m3, which enables a planned production increase to approximately 500,000 m3. It will also be the first sawmill in Scandinavia with two TC kilns in one and the same sawmill.

The swedish sawmill Setra Heby was established in 1915 and 260,000 m3 was sawn in 2020. A large part of the production goes to Setra’s CLT and glulam factory in Långshyttan but the sawmill also exports dried-down goods mainly to France and Germany. The investment in a TC continuous kiln with a capacity of approximately 145,000 m3 is being made partly to replace older kilns and partly to increase drying capacity. With the new dryer in place, Setra Heby will have a drying capacity of approximately 320,000 m3.

“We looked at different types of kilns and the TC kiln was best suited for the flow we have in Heby. It’s also good from a sustainability perspective, as with the same energy consumption, we will increase our drying capacity”, says Jan-Erik Johansson Vik, Site Manager at Setra Heby. He adds:

“The price is important when making an investment but you mustn’t fixate on it. With Valutec, we are getting a secure and developing partner who offers good service and delivery security.”

The kiln in Heby will begin assembly during the summer and in Hasselfors, assembly will begin in February next year. Jon Lindberg, Sales Manager at Valutec is looking forward to delivery:

“We already cooperate well with Setra and I look forward to us continuing to develop their drying capacity together.”

The TC kilns are delivered with Valutec Valmatics 4.0 control system, which enables the TC kiln functions to be utilised fully. Valmatics 4.0 is the only control system that combines simulator technology with adaptive control and which enables optimisation of capacity, quality and energy consumption simultaneously.

With these investments, Setra Group is following a clear trend in the world of sawmills. The new generation of Valutec TC kilns has been sold worldwide in recent years, opening up new markets for the company.

“What lies behind this technological leap is thousands of hours of development where we studied, evaluated, tested and invented new things in all parts of a sort of lumber kiln that, in its first form, was used as early as 1927”, says Robert Larsson, CEO of Valutec.

The big improvement is in the way to control temperature and airspeed individually in different zones using integrated simulator technology. Thanks to its development, the sawmill can choose with a high degree of freedom the dimensions of the lumber to be dried, something that has not previously been possible in a continuous kiln.

TC is the abbreviation of the Swedish for “cross circulation”. The principle is based on the lumber package being fed lengthways through zones in which the air circulates laterally across the drying channel. This enables the separate regulation of the climate in different zones according to a schedule that comes very close to the ideal schedule of a batch kiln.

For additional information, please contact:
Jon Lindberg, Sales Manager
Valutec
+46 910-879 50
jon.lindberg@valutec.se

Robert Larsson, CEO
Valutec
+46 910-879 50
robert.larsson@valutec.se

Jan-Erik Johansson Vik, Site Manager
Setra Heby
+46 224-368 00
jan-erik.johanssonvik@setragroup.com

Jonas Fintling, Site Manager
Setra Hasselfors
+46 585-485 00
jonas.fintling@setragroup.com

Read other Setra Group related posts here.

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The post Setra Group invests in TC kilns from Valutec to two Swedish sawmills appeared first on International Forest Industries.

Optical glass from forest residues

Australian timber industry news - Wed, 18/05/2022 - 03:20
A digital, urbanised world consumes huge amounts of raw materials that could hardly be called environmentally friendly. One promising solution may be found in renewable raw materials, according to research published in Advanced Materials. Source: Timberbiz In their paper, the international research group has taken a close look at how lignocellulose — or plant biomass — can be used for optical applications, potentially replacing commonly used materials like sand and plastics. “We wanted to map out as comprehensively as possible how lignocellulose could replace the unrenewable resources found in widely used technology, like smart devices or solar cells,’ says Jaana Vapaavuori, assistant professor of functional materials at Aalto University, who carried out the analysis with colleagues at the University of Turku, RISE – Research Institute of Sweden, and University of British Columbia. Lignocellulose, the term that encompasses cellulose, hemicellulose and lignin, is found in nearly every plant on Earth. When scientists break it down into very small parts and put it back together, they can create totally new, usable materials. In their extensive review of the field, the researchers assessed the various manufacturing processes and characteristics needed for optical applications, for example, transparency, reflectiveness, UV-light filtering, as well as structural colours. “Through combining properties of lignocellulose, we could create light-reactive surfaces for windows or materials that react to certain chemicals or steam. We could even make UV protectors that soak up radiation, acting like a sunblock on surfaces,” explains Vapaavuori. “We can actually add functionalities to lignocellulose and customise it more easily than glass. For instance, if we could replace the glass in solar cells with lignocellulose, we could improve light absorption and achieve better operating efficiency,” says Kati Miettunen, professor of materials engineering at the University of Turku. Because forest biomass is already in high demand and vast carbon sinks are crucial to the health of the planet, as a source of lignocellulose the researchers point to what’s not being used: more than a billion tons of biomass waste created by industry and agriculture each year. “There is massive untapped potential in the leftovers of lignocellulose from other industries,” Vapaavuori emphasises. For now, researchers are still studying bio-based materials and creating prototypes. At Aalto University, for example, scientists have developed light fibres and light-reactive fabrics. Vapaavuori says that the leap to scaling-up and commercialisation could be achieved in two ways. “Either we create new uses for bio-based waste through government regulations or research brings about such cool demos and breakthroughs that it drives demand for renewable alternatives for optical applications. We believe that we need both political direction and solid research.” A major obstacle in the development and commercialisation of lignocellulose-based innovations has been its manufacturing cost. Eyes were on nanocellulose already at the beginning of the 2000s but it’s only now that the energy consumption and cost of production have dropped enough to make industrial use possible. Another ongoing challenge lies in a simple but fundamental ingredient of processing: water. “Cellulose loves water. To use it in optical applications, we need to find a way make it stable in humid conditions,” says Vapaavuori.

Ponsse produces its 18,000th machine

Australian timber industry news - Wed, 18/05/2022 - 03:18
The 18,000th Ponsse forest machine was completed at Ponsse’s factory in Vieremä, Finland. After its handover, the Ponsse Elk will be operated by VMC Bois in France. Source: Timberbiz VMC Bois owns four Ponsse machines, and it mainly operates in eastern parts of Central France. Established in 2009, the company currently has 27 employees. VMC Bois is also engaged in sawmill operations, generating energy from chips. The Ponsse Elk is a highly versatile and agile forwarder in the smaller midsize class. Elk offers excellent load-carrying capacity in its size class, and its fuel-efficient engine and large fuel tank extend the refuelling interval. Elk is an excellent machine for thinning sites where the machine needs to cover long distances. Elk’s responsive engine, impressive torque and sturdy loader make working comfortable, especially when the operator can enjoy a very spacious cabin, including ergonomic controls. The Elk entered production in 2005, now more than 1000 have been completed and delivered to more than 20 countries across the globe.

Stora Enso divests its three packaging plants in Russia

Australian timber industry news - Wed, 18/05/2022 - 03:17
Stora Enso has divested its three corrugated packaging plants in Russia. The company’s Lukhovitsy, Arzamas and Balabanovo packaging plants have been divested to local management. Source: Timberbiz Stora Enso’s assessment is that due to the uncertainties in the Russian market, local ownership and operation will provide a more sustainable long-term solution for these businesses and their respective employees. The divested sites are located in Lukhovitsy, Arzamas and Balabanovo employing approximately 620 people and have a total annual capacity of 395 million m² of corrugated packaging. The sites primarily produce corrugated packaging for grocery, home improvement, confectionery and pet food segments in the domestic Russian market. Stora Enso announced on 2 March 2022 that it would stop all production and sales in Russia until further notice. On 25 April, Stora Enso announced the divestment of its two sawmills and forest operations in Russia to local management.

Australian and NZ softwood log prices lift despite price drops

Australian timber industry news - Wed, 18/05/2022 - 03:16
The Australian and New Zealand regional Softwood Log Price Index lifted 14.4% in March, despite deteriorating prices for Australian exports. Source: IndustryEdge The combined weighted index, based in US dollars, rose entirely due to a 16.1% lift in New Zealand’s export price according to IndustryEdge’s Softwood Log Export Price Index. The index – part of the Wood Market Edge online service – shows Australian weighted average export prices fell 11.8% in March, but on much lighter volumes than exported from New Zealand. As the chart from Wood Market Edge online shows, the weighted average price is headed back toward record territory, amidst supply chain disruptions and shortly after having come off its all-time highs in mid 2021. More than 90% of softwood log exports from the Australian and New Zealand cohort are from New Zealand. The vast majority of that supply is shipped to mainland China, the main driver of softwood log prices. Subscribers can download the detailed log export data, available at a port-to-port level, to gain deeper insights into the nature of the trades. Since late 2020 when China banned imports of Australian logs, the weighted average price of Australian supply headed lower and has subsequently plunged. However, as the chart below shows, the decline in price for Australian supply was already in evidence and was behaving erratically, at least by comparison to the New Zealand supply. The question posed by one Australian exporter in discussions was whether the pre-ban volatility was a ‘market stress’ test by Chinese authorities as they prepared for the bans. We will probably never know, but analysis of the data at a ‘port-to-port’ level indicates there were some large movements in key receiving ports from one month to the next. IndustryEdge’s Australian & New Zealand Softwood Log Export Price Index is updated every month, supporting business-level analysis and providing insights into trade opportunities and challenges. For more information visit: www.industryedge.com.au

New carpentry trade facility for Melbourne’s north

Australian timber industry news - Wed, 18/05/2022 - 03:14
Victoria’s State Government has delivered a new carpentry trade facility at Kangan TAFE – the final piece in the TAFE’s multi-million-dollar Trades and Skills Centre for Broadmeadows jobseekers. Source: Timberbiz Minister for Training and Skills Gayle Tierney launched the $1.2 million investment for the carpentry facility as part of the $6.8 million Trades and Skills Centre at the Broadmeadows campus – addressing skills demands in Melbourne’s growing north. The new facility is within a repurposed building, with equipment and training areas for up to 400 apprentices as well as an indoor simulated work site where trades teachers can assess students from a mezzanine level. Importantly, it brings all trades training under one roof at Broadmeadows, increasing collaboration between students and providing a real-world environment where apprentices from different trades work on large projects. The Trades and Skills Centre was opened in December and accommodates 3500 students each year. There are also refurbished learning spaces, new workshop spaces and classrooms, pneumatics and hydraulics facilities and specialist gas equipment fitting training room.

NZ natives are nice, but they grow too slowly for climate mitigation

Australian timber industry news - Wed, 18/05/2022 - 03:14
New Zealand’s Forest Owners Association says the just released Emissions Reduction Plan is a welcome and unprecedented blueprint for reducing New Zealand’s gross emissions. Source: Timberbiz But the Association is warning that a huge emphasis in the ERP on planting native trees ignores how urgent it is to deal with the climate change crisis. Forest Owners Association President Grant Dodson says he, and just about every other New Zealander, are fans of native trees and would like to see more of them planted. “They are our original land cover. Indigenous trees are deeply imbedded in our culture.  Species, such as rimu, kauri and pūriri are fantastic trees and produce great timber and wood. “But native trees are not capable of reducing our net emissions in any substantial degree this side of next century. They grow too slowly. “In many cases, expectations of carbon sequestration from natives are overstated in the current official data tables.  That makes the problem worse. “It’s a fact of life that exotics, such as pines or eucalypts, do a much faster job of locking up atmospheric carbon.  That’s why the Climate Change Commission last year budgeted another 380,000 hectares of additional exotic planting by 2035. “Native trees are a decoration in climate change efficiency terms.  A great decoration to be true.  But a decoration, nonetheless. In fighting climate change, we need tools – not decorations,” Mr Dodson said. “We could plant enough huge areas to get some carbon volumes from native trees earlier than the year 2100. But I’m sure farmers wouldn’t like millions of hectares of farmland going into kowhai or tutu. “It’s also hugely expensive and difficult to establish forests of mixed native trees. Browsers, such as possums eat them. Weeds, such as old man’s beard, grow all over them.” Mr Dodson said that future planting was always going to be a mix of both native and exotic. He said native trees had their place. But there was a huge income opportunity for farmers from fast growing exotic trees. “There are very compelling economic benefits to New Zealand if we diversify farm revenues this way,” Mr Dodson said. “We especially welcome the government’s plan to expand forestry extension services and invest in bioenergy.  But we seriously caution the focus on native plantings as a way to help solve the climate emergency.”

Five new research projects for Queensland forestry hub

Australian timber industry news - Wed, 18/05/2022 - 03:13
The South & Central Queensland Regional Forestry Hub has engaged forestry and technical experts to deliver five new research projects to assist in increasing the productivity and sustainability of the region’s forest and timber industry. Source: Timberbiz Hub Manager, Kerry Fullarton said industry stakeholders have put considerable thought and planning into identifying projects the hub should support to build a stronger industry. “It has been a pivotal year for the hub as we formalised our steering committee, identified priority themes and delivered a strategic review workshop to determine the opportunities and barriers for the forestry and wood products sector in our region,” said Mrs Fullarton. “We also made significant progress facilitating working groups to develop expressions of interest for projects to be funded by the hub,” she said. The key themes being addressed in the suite of new projects include Native Forest Management, Manufacturing Competitiveness and Bioenergy & Carbon. The five projects and research providers are: a cost-benefit methodology and best practice approach to assessing the net benefits from multiple-use native forests – Indufor Asia Pacific (Australia) and Natural Capital Economics; adhesive research for softwood and hardwood engineered wood products – Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries; an evaluation and feasibility of new technologies and processes in the timber and wood products industry to deliver a range of cost-competitive products – Foresion; an evaluation and feasibility of using new harvesting technologies and processes in Queensland’s forestry operations – the University of Sunshine Coast; and an assessment of the volumes of wood biomass residues and their potential uses and markets – the University of Sunshine Coast. “These projects will enable the forestry and timber sector to grow and to create the most value for our stakeholders. The successful proponents will reach out to stakeholders in the coming weeks for information and to seek valuable feedback on these projects,” said Mrs Fullarton.

Cadet Forester program for Tasmanian high school students

Australian timber industry news - Wed, 18/05/2022 - 03:12
Applications are now open for the 2023 Cadet Forester Program and will close on 11 November 2022. There are currently five Cadet Forester Program Australian School based Apprenticeships (ASbA) available in Tasmania in 2023 for students who are currently in Year 10 or 11 (Year 11 or 12 in 2023). Source: Timberbiz To apply for one of these positions use the application form online at www.arbre.net.au or to receive an application form or job description via email and for further details contact hub@arbre.net.au The Cadet Forester Program has been developed to overcome the shortfall of professional foresters currently needed to work in Tasmania’s forest industry. Trainees commence on an Australian School based Apprenticeship for Year 11 & 12 students. Trainees will be directly employed by individual companies, or by a group training organisation for shared work placements. Australian School based Apprenticeship: Commence Certificate II in Forest Operations Available for students commencing Year 11 & 12 in 2023 Must have current Australian driver’s licence or reliable means of transport to the employer’s office Trainees will work towards achieving a Certificate IV in Forest Operations within four years of employment – subject to annual performance-based reviews by respective employers and training providers. View the informative video on the Cadet Forester Program at https://youtu.be/VAnwa6DagxM

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by Dr. Radut