The theme for Australasia’s first Wood Innovations event was improving international cost competitiveness through smart science, research and technology.
New Zealand and Australian forest products companies continue to face increasing competition from low cost producers, and from lower cost, better performing non-wood products. Low costs and high fibre recovery, achieved through process innovation, are prerequisites to competing in today’s global forest product markets.
Traditionally local companies have been very good at process innovation. Even though distant from many of the major technology providers, process technologies have either been designed, produced and adopted locally or modified from technologies developed outside Australasia. The focus has been on improving product recovery from fibre inputs in order to lower operational costs, reduce delivery time or increase flexibility.
To achieve competitive advantage against competing non-wood products, the industry needs to look closely at both its business systems and product innovations. Science, research and technology are central to this. However, there needs to be better collaboration and flow of ideas between businesses and research organisations.
Because of our location and size, international partnerships are essential to augment our science capabilities. In some instances, it may actually be more cost effective to import relevant technologies and adapt them to local conditions rather than undertake R&D in Australasia.
With changes in the global market for forest products, now more than ever it’s critical that forest products companies also evaluate their business models. Can commodity driven wood products operations be tweaked to react quickly to produce higher value and higher demand products? Are local forest products company’s business models up-to-date?
This was the background to the new Wood Innovations 2012 event held in October 2012 in both Australia and New Zealand. The series provided local forest products, wood processing and manufacturing companies with a unique opportunity to;
Wood Innovations 2012 included;
- evaluate what products will deliver the greatest benefit to their operations in the current economic climate
- assess what new high performance products and new markets can be developed and adopted to augment their existing manufacturing processes
- discuss with key researchers and companies the opportunities to diversify their current operations
- hear first-hand how new technology has successfully been picked up, commercialised and taken to market
- innovation drivers; case studies of successful linkages between research, technology development, commercialisation and adoption
- international R&D Technology Showcase: Leading global research providers profiled new product developments with application to local companies
- R&D innovations that can be adopted by local companies in solid wood, panel products, bio-materials, wood finishing, wood modification and building materials and construction systems.
The focus for Wood Innovations 2012 was on new products that have been commercialised and can be adopted by forestry and wood products companies in Australasia. Some of the most innovative products out in the marketplace at the moment were outlined by major technology providers and R&D specialists from Australia, New Zealand, the UK, Germany, Finland, Austria, the USA and Canada to over 120 key industry people at Wood Innovations 2012.