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Eucalyptus nitens Optimised Engineered Lumber (OELTM) Trial

By Doug Gaunt, September 2016.

Download SWP-T014 (pdf)

Executive summary

The OELTM (Optimised Engineered Lumber) technology produces structural products with known, uniform and reliable properties. There is financial advantage derived from the fact that all the merchantable OELTM production output is certified structural grade (no downfall products), this compares with the output from traditional sawmilling where not all production achieves certification as structural grade product.

Wood Engineering Technology Ltd (WET) hold patents of the OELTM process and are currently in the process of commercialising the OELTM product. WET was sub-contracted by Scion to undertake this Eucalyptus nitens trial for the Special Wood Product Partnership.

The intention of this project was to complete a scoping only study that took Eucalyptus nitens material through the OELTM process followed by an assessment of the mechanical properties with the high level OELTM economics developed.

Southward Exports supplied 3m3 of Eucalyptus nitens logs from 19-24 year old trees that had small end diameters under bark ranging from 21.6 – 27.8cm and large end diameters under bark ranging from 25.0 – 34.8cm, with an average Hitman value of 3.8km/sec.

Wood Engineering Technology Ltd (WET) processed these into less than expected 40 pieces of 90x45x2930mm OELTM due to:

  • A significant number of sticks being rejected to dimensional and straightness issues.
  • The Pinus radiata finger-jointing and lamination process struggled with the high density Eucalyptus nitens.

The results of the mechanical testing showed that the Eucalyptus nitens OELTM achieved the strength and stiffness properties of the New Zealand structural grade SG12.

The economic comparisons indicated the superior results of using OELTM technology in converting19-24 year old age Eucalyptus nitens logs into SG12 structural lumber (glulam), when compared with a saw log from full thirty-year rotation radiata pine.

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