Stirling Machinery and CLTP Tasmania have joined forces for an Australian-first plantation hardwood CLT plant.

In more good news for Tasmania, a brand new, purpose-built hardwood CLT plant will be constructed in the state’s north-west industrial centre of Wynyard. Stirling Machinery has been selected by CLTP Tasmania to supply state-of-the-art machines for stage 1 of the project, due to be completed before the end of 2019.

The partnership aims to deliver the first commercially available hardwood cross laminated timber panels, with several significant innovations, including:

  • ‘Whole of log’ sawing to deliver the entire spectrum of structural characteristics from all parts of the tree, not only low grade, delivering a superior engineered outcome over softwood panels.
  • Creation of a new structural product from a plantation species that is otherwise only processed as high-quality chips for the pulp and paper industry.
  • A ‘plantation to project’ approach by utilising 15- to 20-year-old sustainably grown Tasmanian plantation hardwood Eucalyptus nitens (shining gum).

The Australian annual wood and wood products trade deficit is nearly $2 billion at the moment and the majority of CLT – a material with booming sales– is imported. This facility will help improve that figure and support a sustainable domestic timber industry, as well as potential future exports.

The project will require cross-lamination timber building systems, CNC to specification cutting and glue lamination and finger jointing lines. “We are obviously delighted to be on board with this project,” Stirling Machinery MD Craig Honeyman 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.”

The new CLTP Tasmania operation will deliver hardwood manufactured products into new markets. Innovations in construction systems and the rise in off-site built modular construction have brought about an enormous opportunity for CLT. Its strength and integrity as a building product have been proven through rigorous testing, plus its other main selling point is its capacity to use large quantities of younger and lower quality plantation-sourced logs.

CLTP Tasmania’s CEO, Chris Skeels-Piggins looks forward to the plant’s first production day with eager anticipation. “It’s going to pay dividends for the community and 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,” he says.

Image: Stirling Machinery Managing Director, Craig Honeyman and CLTP Tasmania CEO, Chris Skeels-Piggins at the announcement.