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Managing timber’s moisture content in the supply chain

4 May 2021

Industry is being encouraged to share their experience in managing timber’s moisture content (MC) in the supply chain. Unexpected MC changes in timber and wood products can be a cause of concern, and University of Tasmania researchers want to hear industry’s first-hand experience with these changes and the problems that they can generate.

“Timber’s MC can change significantly as it moves through the supply chain from the mill to its in-service location” said Michael Lee, timber industry expert, previously from the UTAS Centre for Sustainable Architecture with Wood (CSAW), “and if these changes are not well managed, unexpected problems can occur. Both appearance and structural products are affected”.

“We are developing industry best practice guidance in this area” Michael said, “and a part of this is uncovering industry’s experience with MC change through an online survey, interviewing people and inspecting affected product.”

This work is part of an industry-lead National Institute for Forest Products Innovation (NIFPI) funded project. UTAS is leading the project with nine industry collaborators who operate across the hardwood and softwood sectors nationally. The project aims to pair industry expertise on regular MC issues with the results of detailed monitoring of MC changes in timber nationally over 12 months. Both sets of results will then inform best-practice advice for industry.

“Seasonal variations in temperature and humidity can regularly affect timber and wood products with impacts occurring along the supply chain.” project leader Professor Gregory Nolan said. “So, we are currently collecting MC data from sensors and timber samples in mills, distribution centres, fabricator workshops, building sites and in service, and from material in transit on trucks and trains.”

“The results of this work can really reduce problems for industry and improve customer satisfaction in the supply of timber and wood products throughout Australia,” Michael Lee said.

UTAS is currently inviting industry participation in an online survey of timber and wood products workers. All timber milling, fabrication, joiners, builders are retailers are encouraged to share their experiences with timber’s MC. Follow this link for the project information sheet.

Online survey link.

Source: The National Institute for Forest Products Innovation (NIFPI)

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