Stirling Machinery has entered into partnership with CLTP Tasmania for Australia’s first plantation hardwood CLT (cross laminated timber) plant. The plantation will be constructed in Tasmania’s north-west industrial centre of Wynyard by the end of 2019.

This partnership is exciting for all involved, especially Stirling Machinery, who are a timber machinery company located in Queensland. The business was selected by CLTP Tasmania to supply machinery for stage 1 of the project. Since the partnership signed, Stirling Machinery has collated the machines required including, cross-lamination timber building systems, CNC to specification cutting and glue lamination, and finger jointing lines.

Stirling Machinery MD Craig Honeyman is delighted to be on-board the project and says, “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.”

A Game Changer In Commercial Hardwood 

The project is a game changer on a domestic and international scale as it will help deliver commercially available hardwood cross laminated timber panels for the first time. This is a much needed change for the industry as Australia currently deals with an annual wood product trade deficit of nearly $2 billion.

The introduction of this plant means Australia can work to replace imported wood products with Australian grown and processed plantation hardwood timber. This would result in a more sustainable timber industry and assist Australia in becoming an internationally competitive market.

Innovations within the Sustainable Timber Industry

Not only is this project leading the way for a sustainable timber industry, but it has also been the catalyst for several innovations, including:

  • Whole of log sawing—this process delivers structural characteristics from all parts of the tree to provide a superior engineered outcome over softwood panels.
  • New structural product—this allows manufacturing of structural products from a plantation species that is usually only processed as high-quality chips for the paper industry.
  • Plantation to project—this innovation utilises 15 to 20-year-old sustainably grown plantation hardwood, Eucalyptus Nitens (otherwise known as shining gum).

CLTP Tasmania hopes the operation will deliver hardwood manufactured products to new markets. With the rise in off-site built modular construction there is huge opportunity for cross laminated structural timber.

The Benefits of Cross-Laminated Timber

Cross laminated timber has proven strength and durability from rigorous testing. It also has the capacity to use lower quality sourced logs for production, meaning reduced cost in manufacturing.

The project owners are also conscious of their environmental impact with the waste material generated converted into direct injection biofuel. This biofuel will feed back into the grid as dispatchable, on-demand electricity.

Chris Skeels-Piggins, CEO of CLTP Tasmania, is eager to get the plant up and running. He says, “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.”

This partnership is set to make waves in the wood manufacturing industry. It also cements Stirling Machinery and CLTP Tasmania as major players in the market.

What do you think about about Australia moving towards a more sustainable timber market? Let us know in the comments below. You can read the original press release, here.

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