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Higher machine settings for UK grown Scots Pine

Case study: Forestry Commission:  Scot Pine shows great potential for penetrating higher values markets.

In a recent study by BRE for the Forestry Commission (The quality of Scots pine from the Grampianand Cairngorm regions of Scotland), it was identified that the inherent qualities of the material being processed shows great potential for penetrating higher values markets.

At the present time, the highest machine strength grading settings for UK Scots pine is C24. To enable Scots pine to penetrate a higher values structural market, it is recommended that a series of new machine settings are produced (C27 to C30 including TR26). This Would allow a proportion of the existing material produced to enter either glulam production or possibly trussed rafter production. This would maintain market position against the European supply and also allow greater completion for higher values markets. The main objective of the project is to demonstrate the potential for the higher strength classes and demonstrate that the UK resource has the ability to meet these higher strength classes.

Currently both BS 5268: Part 2 and EN338 machine grading settings only exist for UK grown Scots pine to the strength class C24. However, the European redwood (ER) / white wood (EW)(redwood is Scots pine) species combination can be graded up to the C40 strength class. This therefore suggests that the best value is not being made of the UK resource and it should be possible to drive settings for the higher strength classes for UK material. This would improve the market potential of Scots pine derived from Scotland and England.

Within the UK C24 is considered a high strength class, but the reality within Europe is that C24 is the basic grade. In fact the Baltic States can prove that the innate strength of their ER/EW species combination is of the order of C24. Therefore machine settings below this innate strength do not make best use of the material.This will lead to more ER/EW being available to the European Market and current information suggests that it will retail for around the same price as UK grown C16 Sitka spruce. In addition C24 is considered to be the basic strength class for glulam manufacture,a potential value added market for the higher strength classes.Therefore from the perspective of the Cairngorm resource and the UK supply in general the higher strength classes are needed not only to allow entry into higher value markets, but also to remain competitive with current market trends.

This project investigates the potential to grade Scots pine to higher strength classes, based on the UK supply as a whole, and demonstrate how the North Scotland supply would compare to the national supply. BRE has produced higher settings for several species before but these were experimental EN338 settings that were never adopted and since that time changes have resulted relating to European standards and the model used to derive EN338 settings has changed. Therefore, to maintain compatibility with current EN338 settings in BS EN 14081: Part 4 a fresh look at the data will be required.