Timber 2019 - Another Excellent Conference
Delegates to Timber 2019 gathered in ‘The Mine’ at 297 Euston Road for two days of wide-ranging and thought provoking talks on all aspects of wood science, wood technology and timber structures. The event was sponsored by Canada Wood, Lignia Wood Company and TFT Wood Experts. A delicious conference dinner in the Bessemer Suite was preceded by a drinks reception on the roof terrace, enjoying the warmth of the summer evening and relaxed networking high above the London traffic.
The Wood Technology Society had lined up a full programme, aiming to cover many aspects of wood science and technology – from the nanometre scale up to the largest structures. A keynote speech by Dr Martin Ansell (University of Bath) delivered both ends of this spectrum, on a whistle-stop tour of emerging work from research groups around the globe, including artificial intelligence, robotics and shape morphing composites.
Expert speakers from the UK, North America and South Africa were present, bringing many years of experience in testing and developing innovative products. These ranged from pole sleeves for electricity poles and fences to 3D profiled OSB cores for lightweight structural panels. Innovation in modified wood and timber treatments were also presented, including a presentation on the newly launched Lignia resin modified wood product.
The programme, importantly, also included plenty of space for discussions and questions to the presenters, and many talks clearly hit on hot topics being faced by the industry today. One of these was education and apprenticeships; another was fire performance and current revisions in building standards, a third was the circular economy and quantifying embodied carbon and the benefits of sequestration.
One delegate said “The conference has been very stimulating with plenty of discussion and a good atmosphere”.
The programme was made all the more interesting because of the varied make up of the audience, including joiners, architects and timber merchants, who provided some very insightful comments into how these research areas can map onto the current industry trends, such as homogenisation and streamlining of product mix by major brands. Never has there been a more relevant time for the industry and the trade to keep in close communication with research activity, to ensure that we make the most of our product – WOOD!