An innovative machine that incises round timber and coating application technology that helps protect timber were the deserved winners of last year’s TTJ Timber Innovation Award.

Final entries are now being sought for the 2016 TTJ Timber Innovation Award, part of the annual TTJ Awards which this year celebrates its 20th anniversary with a special event at a new location.

TRADA and Timber Expo are again joint sponsors of the award which, for 2016, is split into two categories – Innovative Product Development and a new category, Innovative University Timber Research.

The Innovative Timber University Research category has been added to acknowledge the work that university students carry out, at both undergraduate and postgraduate level, pushing forward our understanding of ever-expanding applications for timber.

As Tim Belden, TRADA’s university engagement programme manager, explained: “With this greater academic knowledge, it is hoped that as yet unexplored commercial avenues will be opened up for the industry.

“By feeding this research directly back to industry, it should help strengthen the link between academia and industry for the benefit of all engaged with timber as a sustainable, environmentally friendly product.”

Rupert Scott, TRADA’s membership and marketing manager, agrees. “While there are few focused centres of timber research, we feel sure that there must be plenty of good work going on in universities around the country. Running a competition like this is a good way to find out about and promote such work.”

It’s an interesting move and one that adds a different dimension to the Timber Innovation Award. Competition in the awards for 2015 was fierce and the judges were impressed with the high standard of entries, making the achievements of Tweddle Engineering with its Excalibur R incising technology (winner of the Product Development category) even more commendable.

Tweddle Engineering’s development of its Excalibur R incising technology was the direct result of a need to solve an industry wide problem, namely how to restore confidence in home-grown softwood timbers destined for ground contact. It was an issue that preservatives and treatments specialist Arch Timber Protection had identified and approached Tweddle to work in partnership to develop this new requirement.

What was the result? The new Excalibur R machine can incise machine round, bowed, irregular, tapered and peeled posts of any diameter from 63mm to 200mm in a single pass. Having nine incising heads, comprising of three sets of three, and using a constantly pressurised hydraulic system the Excalibur R can deliver effective, aesthetic and consistent incising patterns on any type of round timber regardless of how misshapen it is. It was a truly innovative solution to a difficult problem and an example of excellent collaboration in the timber industry – and hence being judged the winner!

This year’s winners of the Timber Innovation Award will benefit from an array of marketing benefits and the kudos of being the winner of an award that really pushes the boundaries in timber development. Winners will be unveiled at the prestigious TTJ Awards lunch on September 30, attended by all the major players in the industry.

Commenting on this year’s TIA, Rupert Scott said: “The Timber Innovation Award provides an excellent platform to demonstrate the high levels of innovation within the timber industry today.

“TRADA believes passionately in innovation and we are really excited to be able to acknowledge and award people in two legitimate areas of innovation.”