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Wood Processors Look to New Innovations at Upcoming Summit

Wood Processors Look to New Innovations at Upcoming Summit 

World leaders of wood processing, manufacturing and new product technologies are converging on Australasia in September. The major draw card is this region’s first “business to business” wood industry show, WoodEXPO 2013.  Rotorua will host the three day WoodEXPO event on 11-13 September 2013.  It will be Rotorua is the second event in the series, with a similar programme being run for the Australian wood products industry a week earlier for the Australian wood products industry. 

“The objective of the new EXPO is to provide local companies - management as well as production staff - with exposure to new technologies that can improve their own efficiencies and productive capability”, says FIEA director, Brent Apthorp.  “By running the two EXPOs over a short two week period, leading technology providers from Europe, North America and Asia can join in with each of the main equipment and product suppliers from New Zealand and Australia.  It ensures local companies are accessing the very latest developments and the international technology providers participating in the event can maximise their time whilst in this part of the world”.

It’s no secret that the Australasian wood products industry has seen better days.  The industry has been hammered by commodity pricing, exchange rate fluctuations, supply problems and competetition in key markets from other major wood producing nations.  One of the industry’s mainkey challenges is to transform its value chains and improve its market position and returns through quality, diversification and the application of innovation. Clearly, current thinking needs to change.

True innovation though is doing more than just R&D.  It’s about exploring innovative approaches to new product development; from how the technology is being commercialised and transferred to industry, to how we’re producing and marketing our wood.

As part of WoodEXPO 2013, a one-day Wood Processing Summit is being run.  It’s designed to encourage senior managers to “think outside the square” - to look at global technologies that have the potential to provide a “step change” to what we’re producing and how we’re processing our wood resource.

The Wood Processing Summit will be exploring strategies for future growth and, rather than small incremental steps for improving processing efficiencies, it will be exploring the true “game-breakers” that could make a significant difference to our local companies future profitability.

Examples of technologies that have the potential to change the shape and operation of the industry include; 3D printing, automation and robotics in manufacturing, CT scanning for log and lumber optimisation, innovative new building and construction systems and a new super wood-based material, Nanocrystalline Cellulose ( projected to become a US$600-billion industry within the next eight years).

3D printing (also known as additive manufacturing), is the process of making three dimensional solid objects from digital models and is currently a hot topic in manufacturing.  In U.S. President Barack Obama’s recent State of the Union address, he referred to 3D-printing as “having the potential to revolutionise the way we make almost everything”.  Advances in computer programming, 3D printing and robotics have opened the door to exciting new architectural forms made from lightweight composite materials such as carbon fibre, fibreglass and Kevlar. The race is currently on to build the first 3D printed house within the year and it provides real opportunities to local companies to diversify their current manufacturing operations.

The Wood Processing Summit in September will provide a special gathering for a very special three day event, WoodEXPO 2013.  Full details on the Expo, Summit and Technology Workshops can now be found on the event website,


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