Revolutionary process: infrared technology to test AKD Terminator Timber a ‘first’

This new method in real-time ensures AKD product supply is not delayed to the market.

Tue 14 Feb 23


AKD has announced the use of innovative new technology that provides real time quality assurance for H2F timber treatment efficacy at its Tumut and Oberon processing facilities.

This will provide increased market confidence and is the first certification of its kind.

The new testing approach uses a state-of-the-art Fourier Transform Infrared Radiation (FTIR) spectroscopy unit to demonstrate equivalence of a non-standard method of timber chemical retention verification under the recently updated timber treatment standard (AS/NZS 1604). The innovative process has been third-party certified by the Engineered Wood Products Association of Australasia. AKD is the first producer to achieve this certification.

Fourier Transform Infrared Radiation applies thermal radiation to the test sample which is invisible to the human eye and interacts with matter by triggering molecular vibrations. The usefulness of FTIR comes with the easy testing and immediate results.

The unit is already deployed in many other industries including pharmaceutical, automotive, electronic, food and feed and construction. This innovation replaces the old method, which is common across the industry, involving treated timber products being quarantined on site and samples sent off site for external laboratory testing before product treatment can be assured and the product released for sale. This new method in real-time ensures AKD product supply is not delayed to the market.

AKD plans to roll out the new technology to other sites around Australia. As with most innovations, this new approach was only possible with collaboration between various parties, including one of AKD’s preservative suppliers Koppers Performance Chemicals (KPC) who understood that the past method of verification was slow and could be significantly improved. KPC CEO Elias Akle said it was clear that AKD needed a solution for their ongoing QC of H2F treated framing.

“In our visits to all the AKD sites, the need to quarantine treated framing until external QC results are confirmed, was always raised with us as a less than ideal practice,” Mr Akle said.

KPC’s own chemist, Luke McGregor bought the idea of FTIR spectroscopy to the problem as a possible solution. Working with AKD’s own wood technologist, Marina Milic, the process of data collection, analysis and calibration of the unit took place over several years, notwithstanding that the pandemic slowed down the process.

Timber ED provided support in statistical analysis. This process provided the comfort to commit to the technology by ordering the first instrument for the Oberon site and, following its successful commissioning, ordering another unit for AKD’s Tumut site.

“EWPAA is proud to have worked with AKD to achieve the first certification to our newly developed and JAS-ANZ accredited preservative treated certification scheme,” CEO Gavin Matthew said.

The certification recognises AKD’s innovative process of treating and verifying H2F structural timber to the recently updated AS/NZS1604 standard.

“We look forward to delivering more certifications and increasing market confidence in the manufacturing and treatment of renewable timber products,” said Marina Milic, AKD’s national wood technologist, who leads the company on treatment innovations.

“FTIR spectroscopy is a fast and easy analytical technique that provides answers within seconds,” she said.

“It is resource-friendly, requiring only a small sample and little preparation. Achieving this new certification shows AKD is always looking for continual improvement. I’m proud of our collaboration both within the AKD business and across our tech team with special mention to Kim Harris, AKD national compliance manager, site QC personnel, and industry partners EWPAA, KPC, and TimberED) during this ground-breaking project.”


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