A BIANNUAL study jointly prepared by International Wood Markets Group out of Canada with input from PricewaterhouseCoopers and the Beck Group, has just released the Global Lumber/Sawn Wood Cost Benchmarking Report. From sawmilling cost data collected from mills in more than 29 countries or regions on six continents the latest report benchmarks global timber and sawmilling costs. So, just how do we fare? One of the major findings from the report was that the highest sawmill costs for 2008 and the first quarter of this year were recorded in Australia, South Africa, New Zealand, Russia, and Eastern Canada.
For those working ‘Down Under’ and selling into international wood markets, the news is grim reading – but hardly surprising. To remain internationally competitive, local sawmills increasingly are looking at tools and technologies that can be used to increase lumber yields, improve grade recoveries, get higher production speeds from their saw-lines, lower the service or maintenance requirements of equipment, longer tool change intervals and reducing sawing costs for their operation.
Sawmillers right now are working much more closely with their technology providers. The good news out there at the moment is that the lean market and trading conditions over the last two years has seen the development of some of the most sophisticated sawing technologies and saw designs seen in recent times.
To showcase these developments for local sawmillers, SawTech 2009 has been set up to run for local wood producers in mid-September. This year it’s being held in New Zealand on 9-11 September and then again for Australian sawmillers on 14-15 September 2009.
“In the current economic times we’re delighted to see such keen interest being shown in the sawmilling industry in this part of the world,” said FIEA director Brent Apthorp. Leading technology providers from Sweden, Finland, France, Austria, Germany, Canada, the USA, Australia and New Zealand will all be involved in the two-yearly SawTech series. “It’s the best line-up of sawing expertise seen in this part of the world and is a reflection on both the current economic climate and reputation that the Australasian SawTech series now has in Europe and in North America.”
In primary log breakdown, secondary processing, saw machine centre improvement and lumber trimming, sorting and stacking technologies, major technology providers; Comact, Canada, Soderhamn Eriksson, Sweden, Veisto Oy/HewSaw, Finland, SPRINGER, Austria, EWD, Germany, USNR, USA, Optimil, Canada, USNR Newnes McGehee, Canada and Ciris Engineering, France will be involved – detailing both the latest advancements suited to local sawmills and to the local wood resource and providing case studies demonstrating how the technologies are being employed and are improving sawmilling efficiencies.
In circular and bandsaw saw design, selection, maintenance and operation, expertise including Ralph Wijesinghe, Canada, author of the well-used industry reference The Bandmill Book, VOLLMER, Germany, California Saw & Knife Works, USA, Focus 21, New Zealand, CSIRO & TAFE, Australia and Pacific Timber Engineering from New Zealand will also be involved in the SawTech 2009 series.
“For sawmills looking to thrive in these difficult times or to possibly stay afloat, SawTech 2009 will be providing a cost-effective snapshot of leading technologies from throughout the world right on your doorstep. To optimise the value to sawmill production and saw-shop employees, both the New Zealand and Australian Sawdoctors Educational Associations will be linking into SawTech 2009 to update their members,” Apthorp said.
Full details on the SawTech 2009 program can be found on www.sawtechevents.com