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forest talk

‘Indestructible’ felling wedge launched A KIWI START-UP IS RE-INVENTING THE felling wedge to improve safety for manual fallers cutting down trees in New Zealand forests. Specialising in high-tech resins and industrial design, Forest-tek has released a new range of wedges that are designed to improve safety and prevent injuries associated with product failure of standard wedges, which are made with commodity resins. “The forestry industry currently uses wedges that are made with the same grade of [ABS] plastic used in kids’ toys, so it’s not surprising to see wedges break under the repeated high impacts of logging,” says Graeme Rundle, Managing Director of Forest-tek. The standard wedges currently used in the forest inevitably crack under repeated impact, he says, which often results in debris that can cause serious facial and eye injuries. In contrast, the new Wedgetek felling wedges are manufactured with a high-molecular-weight engineered resin, resulting in an extremely impact-resistant wedge. Mr Rundle says: “I would challenge the logging industry to try and break one of these wedges – they are indestructible. “They will handle repeated heavy impact for

at least twelve months without a build-up of internal stress. It is the build-up of internal stress which leads to product failure – and resulting injuries.” And he would know. Mr Rundle has more than 35 years’ experience working in mechanical engineering and design, specialising in plastics. After talking with forestry industry Health & Safety representatives and logging companies, Mr Rundle says it became clear to him that current wedge manufacturers “use sub-par materials and resins” that are unsuitable for the demands of logging. Mr Rundle’s start-up, Forest-tek is now offering a range of extremely impact-resistant products designed to improve safety in the forest, including Wedgetek felling wedges and high-impact, ballistic-grade harvester and heavy machinery screens. He goes on to say that cheap materials in popular wedges end up being more expensive, as a result of their short life span. “Broken harvester saw chains have taken lives in the past, or left operators horrifically injured. High-impact, laminated resins and smart application of these technologies can prevent a

Pollution crackdown unsettles China wood market

rogue chain from breaching the cab. Choosing the right materials can literally save lives.” Wedgetek felling wedges come in 8-inch and 10-inch sizes and feature a barbed face to prevent fly-back, as well as a flat face for easy stacking. Wedgetek prices start at $16.50 per wedge and Mr Rundle says the higher quality and technically superior materials will lead to an extended lifespan, making the wedges very cost-effective. NZL

FANTASTIC EMPLOYMENT & BUSINESS OPPORTUNITY Logging Contracting

Our client is looking to put in place structures in order to employ and bring a key staff member through to potentially an ownership position in the future. With this in mind, we are seeking to employ a logging industry person with aspirations to ultimately own all or part of a professional logging company. You will require excellent communication and management skills with the ability to relate to people working in all parts of the industry. You must also have the desire to learn the business from the ground. You should be prepared to live within the region in which the business is based (Central North Island). Core skills should include: • Comprehensive grapple yarding knowledge • Understanding of modern logging techniques • Leadership ability • Mechanical aptitude The initial role is to manage a hauler crew and then progress to managing a larger operation. This is a fantastic opportunity for someone who enjoys the logging industry and has the drive and skills to manage a professional logging business with the scope to grow into an ownership position.

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THE WOOD MARKET IN CHINA IS NERVOUS FOLLOWING a recent crackdown on pollution in one of the major timber processing centres, which comes on top of continued trade tensions with the US and the aftermath of New Year celebrations. These factors are being further exacerbated by declining consumer demand within China, fanned by a cooling economy. Together, these headwinds have impacted trade and prices at the Zhangjiagang timber market, one of the largest in China. Zhangjiagang city also happens to be the country’s largest distribution centre for imported timber, with 28 timber markets around the Zhangjiagang Port covering an area of more than 1 million square metres, housing some 2000 timber traders and hundreds of timber processing mills. Its importance is highlighted by the fact that Zhangjiagang accounts for about 25% of all timber imports. It’s this concentration of the industry that has led to an environmental crackdown in the city, as wood processing plants become the focus of attention because of their poor pollution abatement technologies. Most of the timber enterprises around the Zhangjiagang Port are family workshops, which have no effective measures to deal with pollution and led to an investigation of the city’s industries in 2018. As a result, 60% of wood processing enterprises around Zhangjiagang Port have been forced to close due to environment control problems since the beginning of 2018. Coupled with the cooling domestic economy, this has forced many small enterprises to close. NZL

Graeme Rundle and his ‘indestructible’ Wedgetek falling wedges.

Please email your application along with a CV to: Garth Beker – garthb@bfa.co.nz or via post to Beker Findlay Allan PO Box 1091 Taupo 3351

April 2019 | NZ LOGGER 11

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