New Zealand's Tunnicliffe Timber highlights growing interest in thermally modified wood in Australasia; company acquired Thermowood kiln in 2008 to trial technology, solve radiata pine instability issues

DUNEDIN, New Zealand , May 18, 2012 () – Tunnicliffe Timber Company Ltd presented this week at the Wood Preservation 2102 event in Rotorua. Around 100 delegates involved in timber treatment in New Zealand were given a practical insight into the increased interest in thermal rather than chemical treatment of wood and the opportunities that exist with this sort of technology in this part of the world.

The company is a long established small business that’s been operating in the Eastern Bay of Plenty in New Zealand since 1929. Their core business is in remanufacturing of RS kiln dried lumber for niche markets such as timber joiners and door manufacturers.

Commercialisation of thermal modification technologies (TMT) started in Europe (Finland, France and the Netherlands) in the 1990’s. Internationally, production of TMT is still relatively small with an estimated 300-330,000m3 (65% of which was using Thermowood technology) produced last year. The main products being produced are cladding and decking with production concentrated so far in North America and Europe.

Tunnicliffe picked up a Thermowood kiln in 2008 as a means of trialling a new technology, diversifying their production process and markets, providing them with a competitive advantage and solving a few issues around problems that they were having with the instability of Radiata pine with some joinery products. It was also was ideal for a product line they had, providing chemical free timber for beehive boxes.

A range of new products including timber joinery have been developed capitalising on the benefits of treatment uniformity, improved machinability, improved wood finish through resin removal and improved durability. Details of the process are contained in the presentation. The TMT wood has been well accepted by local customers, it’s certainly got a place in the local market and provides a new opportunity for traditional wood treatment operations to diversify their operations. Daan Olthuis, MD of Tunnicliffe will also be giving a similar presentation to Australian wood treaters in Melbourne next week.

Wood modification technologies and an array of exciting and innovative new solid wood and panel products are also going to be profiled from around the world in a new technology series planned for mid-October for New Zealand and Australian companies. Details on the Wood Innovations 2012 series can be found on the website, along now with full programme details for both venues.

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