Gisborne, a city located on the east coast of New Zealand’s North Island, is the center of a potential $200 million (NZD) “revolution” in wood processing and New Zealand home building. The official opening of Wood Engineering Technology’s (WET) plant, the only one of its type in the world, is producing a breakthrough product OEL. OEL is made from thin strips of wood that are finger-jointed and laminated together. By laminating wood, the stiffness and strength are improved and allows the use of low quality and small diameter logs for a high-quality structural product. OEL is one of only seven engineered lumber products ever commercialized.
In remarks prepared for the plant’s opening, WET’s director and founder Tony Johnston said the structural lumber produced would be solely for the domestic market. “Today was a celebration that we have got this one to a fully-operational level. It’s servicing customers and it’s doing what we wanted it to do. Probably what’s more significant is what we’ve learned from this plant… and now we have the funds available and made a number of decisions on how to significantly enhance the process. We are ready now to start implementing that second phase. This second line will be just over two times the capacity. It will be about 50 meters longer, but it will do all the same things — just in a more efficient way.” To that end, the company raised $30 million through a combination of the Provincial Growth Fund and private investors to build the new line.
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