NEW INNOVATIVE MICROWAVE TECHNOLOGY FOR PROCESSING TIMBER
A new innovative timber processing technology has been developed involving the application of microwave irradiation technology. The technology has been proven
via operation of a Pilot Plant over a number of years and has the potential to change current timber processing practices globally.
The technology is based on completed R&D programs (including completion of
the 3-year SPIRT Program in Partnership with a leading Australian University and supported by an Australian Federal Government grant). All aspects of the new processing technology have been validated through extensive batch processing
trials and the technology is now ready for global commercialisation.
Our objective is to introduce this new unique processing technology through the construction of the world’s first commercial fully automated microwave on-line processing facility in Victoria. The company is currently seeking financial partners
to achieve this objective.
1. TECHNOLOGY BASIC CONCEPT
The following summary provides a brief overview of the new innovative timber processing technology using the newly developed microwave irradiation process.
The base process to be employed can be depicted as follows:
2. TECHNOLOGY SUMMARY
Very intensive microwave energy is used to systematically breakdown the ultra-structure of wood, for example pit membranes between fibres, the radial tissue
and tyloses in vessels. More intensive microwave energy can achieve severing
bonds in the wood fibre wall with the formation of micro-checks.
Selective wood modification can achieve improvements in wood permeability and
stress relaxation with the potential of providing a new generation of wood processing technology with global application. Misal Technologies Pty. Ltd. in working partnership with a leading Australian University has undertaken and completed a 3 year R&D SPIRT Program to further research of the commercial application of this innovation to substantially improve the competitive position of the Australian Forest Products Industry. The resulting IP is now ready to commercialise with the ultimate objective of selling turnkey plants worldwide, encompassing the new technology process.
As described above, the timber processing involves a 3-step process to produce a preserved and/or composite wood product:
- Green cut timber sections are passed under a microwave applicator. The application of very intensive microwaves for a few seconds to green wood
results in an expansion of the wood cross-section (approximately 14%), with
the formation of a multitude of micro-voids in the radial/longitudinal direction.
The microwaves excite water molecules within the cellular structure of the wood and the escape of the resulting vapour creates radial micro-cavities in the wood. As such, the microwave treatment increases the timber’s permeability and dries the timber simultaneously. Permeability is increased by a factor in excess of 1200. The level of permeability and drying is directly controlled by the amount of microwave treatment and speed of the timber travelling through the microwave irradiation chamber.
- The microwave processed timber is then placed into a “liquid bath” consisting of
a preservative (e.g. creosote, LOSP) and/or polymer resin compound and/or other agents (e.g. anti-fungal, anti-insect, fire retardant, etc). Under capillary action, the contents of the bath are absorbed into the wood under a pre-programmed and controlled process. The level of absorption being dependent on the dwell time in the bath.
- The “impregnated” timber is then removed from the bath and air-dried. If resin is part of the mixture, then the resin will “cure” during this process.
3. TECHNOLOGY COMMERCIAL POTENTIAL
The process has the potential to produce:
- Dried timber sections when the impregnation processes are not used
- Preserved timber products when the bath includes preservatives only
- Composite timber products when the bath includes resins and preservatives
The properties of the products produced will depend upon selected optimum processing parameters, including the following considerations:
- Level and duration of microwaving
- Speed of timber travelling through the microwave irradiation chamber
- Contents of bath (chemicals mix) and dwell time therein
This provides a product designer with the flexibility to design and produce a product with properties to match a particular application. The key benefit of the process is that the microwave treatment makes the timber much more permeable or porous than it would be in its natural state. This permeability enables up to 100% dimensional or
volume penetration of the preservative/resin mixture into the timber. This provides opportunities for increasing the life of hardwood species using a preservative treatment and extending the utility of more perishable species.
The application of resin and compression back to the woods’ original dimensions can potentially lead to a significant increase in wood strength and an improvement in dimensional stability, durability, hardness and appearance. As such, the microwave
/impregnation process also has the potential to transform low-grade hardwood (such
as Blue-gum) into a composite (timber and preservative/resin product) that has all the aesthetic appeal of the base timber but with the mechanical properties of more expensive hardwood varieties.
The technology has the potential to create composite products with mechanical properties in excess of current high grade materials. These materials have the
potential to replace costly tropical hardwood timbers.
4. NEW TECHNOLOGY MAIN CAPABILITIES
The newly developed Microwave processing technology allows the modification of the structure of the wood cells, resulting in any of the following aspects:
- Substantial improvement of wood physical properties and its attributes, including increase of wood permeability and durability whilst exposed to external
- Preservative treatment of hardwoods where non-permeable timber becomes permeable. This results in a technology capability introducing preservative and
resin penetration through the whole volume of the hardwood. This feature is not available with current traditional wood processing methods and can only be
achieved through the introduction of the newly developed microwave processing technology
- Microwave pre-treatment for rapid hardwood timber drying, resulting in reducing timber drying defects, drying times and improvement of log recovery
- Stress relaxation in logs and timber in general
- Microwave treatment of hardwoods and softwoods to increase its permeability
- Undertaking a process for the preparation of modified wood products via preservative and/or resin impregnation of the microwaved timber. This also includes timbers which are presently considered non-permeable
5. TECHNOLOGY MAIN BENEFITS
The newly developed Microwave processing technology allows the modification of the structure of the wood cells, resulting in one/more of these benefits:
- The technology enables the impregnation of timber with a mixture of preservatives and/or resins to produce a composite product which can have “designer properties”
- Improved mechanical properties e.g. density, strength, hardness, when compared with the original product
- Substantially improved durability/longevity
- Improved resistance to a number of environmental considerations e.g. dampness, insects, fire
- As such, a relatively low value timber can be made to perform like a more expensive variety
- The process also removes the need for costly and lengthy drying processes
6. FUNCTIONAL VALUE PROPOSITION
In general, the hybrid timber products will have these competitive advantages:
- Improved product life – increased penetration of traditional preservatives into the selected product (posts, structural sections, etc.) will improve the working life
of the timber component. The potential for an increase in product life from approx. 22 years to an estimated 70+ years
- Weatherproofing of previously non-durable timber with or without the use of toxic
- Improved product performance through the 100% timber volume penetration of insect and fire retardant treatments e.g. creation of timber products with fire and
insect proof ratings
- Reduced maintenance – use of coloured resins to create expensive looking specialist timbers with no initial or future painting / staining requirement
Resin or Resin/Preservative Applications
- Improved mechanical properties – a significant increase of the flexural strength of the base timber e.g. 50-100%
7. NEW PRODUCT APPLICATIONS
Treated timber applications would include:
- Vineyard & other posts
- Electricity power poles
- Landscaping applications
- Railway sleepers
- Timber used in external timber structures e.g. Marine Applications – Jetties, Bridges, Pergolas, Playgrounds, Landscaping, etc.
Profiled sawn timber applications:
- Window and door frames
- Structural timber
- Shipping container floor boards
8. USER VALUE PROPOSITION
To the Sawmiller:
- Reduced timber processing and drying times from 8-24 months (pending on location) to approximately 1 month and the subsequent dramatic reduction in
working capital requirements associated with the drying of timber
- Potential for the creation of value-added sawn timber products from lower grade
/value hardwood e.g. Blue-gum, Rubber Tree, Paulownia etc.
- Increase of recovery rate as a result of the following:
1) Technological ability to use a low grade timber
2) Technological ability to use the heartwood section of logs for further processing
To the Plantation Owner:
- The ability to generate higher per unit returns (than chipping or pulping) from hardwood plantation logs or plantation thinnings e.g. treated posts and poles
To the Timber Processor:
- The ability to introduce to the market a new range of materials and timber products, with superior properties not found in the market place today
Misal Technologies P/L seeks substantial commercial partners or large independent investors interested in participating in Phase 1 of the new technology commercialisation venture (construction of first commercial processing plant in Australia).
Misal Technologies Pty. Ltd. is now able to offer, as a part of its commercialisation strategy, microwave processing plants capable of undertaking any of the above outlined capabilities. This includes Processing Plants specifically designed for Microwave pre-treatment for rapid hardwood timber drying. All of these Processing Plants will be supplied on a turnkey basis.
We would be pleased to respond to any specific queries regarding the new microwave processing technology or associated with your indicated commercial interest.
Except insofar as liability under any law cannot be excluded, none of the Beneficiaries shall have any liability to the Recipient or other person in respect of the information provided herein or related to the new technology introduced in this Document or whether arising under Contract or Agreement between parties concerned, in respect of any sort (including negligence), arising under statute or otherwise howsoever.
Each prospective Investor must make its own independent assessment and investigation on the benefits of the newly referenced technology and the information provided herein, including seeking professional advice as it deems prudent, and must base any financial decision it makes and any determination on participating in the above referenced Project upon such independent due diligence assessment, investigation and advice.