​Can Kiwi tech be a big boost to lucrative forestry industry?

A Christchurch company believes it can add tens of millions of dollars to the multi-billion forest industry.

A Christchurch company believes it can add tens of millions of dollars to the multi-billion forest industry by hi-tech testing to find out which trees are suitable for the booming housing and building construction markets.

Fibre-gen has produced a harvester head mounted sonic tool, the Hitman PH330, which measures the strength of trees to see if they are suitable or not for high-end building construction - there are no known direct competitors in the global market as yet.

Operating in the forest wood segregation sonic technology space, Fibre-gen was a finalist at the 2015 New Zealand Hi-Tech Awards.

Fibre-gen director Nigel Sharplin says their timber-measuring tool is the new standard for wood stiffness measurement bringing substantial financial benefits and reducing risk to life in the forestry industry.

For Sharplin, the timing is perfect as the Auckland housing market is booming and the Christchurch rebuild is ramping up with earthquake-safe timber construction.

“We are committed to maximising wood quality yields from forests, enabling our clients to significantly improve their business returns through the ongoing development, support and application of advanced sonic technology for measuring wood quality,” he says.

“The best time to measure log quality is before log cutting. The biggest destruction of value after 30 years of forest nurture is when decisions are made about the grade of the wood without measuring the wood quality.

“Until now there has been huge waste in buying, freighting and processing logs into structural lumber or engineered wood products, only to find the end products fail to meet strength criteria.

“We identified a market opportunity in the pre-harvest sector which addresses industry concerns by developing an innovative automated tool which would bring the benefits to the industry.

“Once we have demonstrated reliability and performance in New Zealand forests our plans are to implement the technology into the United States and Canada.”

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