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Australian-first hardwood CLT plant to be built in regional Tasmania

A new, purpose-built hardwood CLT plant is to be constructed in Tasmania, Australia.

Australian company, Stirling Machinery was selected by CLTP Tasmania to supply state-of-the-art machines for stage 1 of the project, in the state’s north-west industrial centre of Wynyard, which is due to be completed before the end of 2019.

Both a domestic and international game changer, the new partnership will help deliver the first commercially available hardwood cross laminated timber panels.

Several significant innovations were established as a result of the project including:

  • ‘Whole of log’ sawing to deliver the entire spectrum of structural characteristics from all parts of the tree, not only low grade, delivering a superior engineered outcome over softwood panels.
  • Creation of a new structural product from a plantation species that is otherwise only processed as high-quality chips for the pulp and paper industry.
  • A ‘plantation to project’ approach by utilising 15 to 20-year-old sustainably grown Tasmanian plantation hardwood Eucalyptus nitens (shining gum).

With Australia currently running an annual wood and wood products trade deficit of nearly $2billion; replacing presently imported wood products with Australian grown and processed plantation hardwood timber will support a sustainable timber industry and assist in Australia becoming internationally competitive.

Stirling has been compiling the comprehensive portfolio of machines required including cross-lamination timber building systems, CNC to specification cutting and glue lamination and finger jointing lines.

“We are obviously delighted to be on board with this project,” said the company’s MD Craig Honeyman. “It’s going to bring huge benefits to this regional community, and it will reinvigorate the manufacturing industry. Our partnership with CLTP Tasmania is important not just to us but to investment in Australian business as well.”

The Wynyard plant will involve a considerable capital investment in laminating machinery at the outset and with a strong focus on technology and automation, employee costs will be significantly reduced.

The new CLTP Tasmania operation will deliver hardwood manufactured products into new markets.

The waste material generated from the new plant will be converted into direct injection biofuel which will feed back into the grid as dispatchable, on-demand electricity.

CLTP Tasmania’s CEO, Chris Skeels-Piggins said: “There’s no doubting this will be a momentous development in the wood processing industry.

“It’s going to pay dividends for the community, for the utilisation of species that were previously unusable for structural products and we’re going to make a real dent in the import of overseas structural timber.”

 

Australia is positioning itself as an emerging leader in engineered wood manufacturing with recent purpose-built CLT and glulam plants opening in the past 18 months, and more in the pipeline in 2020/2021.

Fresh off the back of the recent Hyne Timber’s $20m glulam plant expansion, Stirling’s reputation is going from strength to strength as Australia’s leading supplier of engineered timber machinery.

Plans for North America and Europe expansion are already underway.

CAPTION – Stirling Machinery managing director, Craig Honeyman; CLTP Tasmania CEO, Chris Skeels-Piggins.

 

 

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