The Fourier Transform Infrared Radiation (FTIR) spectroscopy unit requires only a small test sample and delivers immediate results.

AKD has introduced innovative new technology that provides real-time quality assurance for H2F timber treatment efficacy at its Tumut and Oberon processing facilities. The first certification of its kind in the Australian timber market, it will provide increased market confidence.

This 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 process has been third-party certified by the Engineered Wood Products Association of Australasia (EWPAA).

FTIR applies thermal radiation to the sample, which reacts by triggering molecular vibrations that can be analysed to show the specific molecular groups in the sample. The testing is easy and results are immediate. The method is used in many other industries including pharmaceutical, automotive, electronic, food and feed and construction.

Previously, testing involving treated timber products being quarantined on site and samples sent off for external laboratory testing before product treatment can be assured and the product released for sale. This new method is real-time, ensuring that AKD product supply is not delayed to the market. AKD plans to roll out this 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).

Elias Akle, KPC’s CEO, says, “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.”

KPC’s chemist, Luke McGregor, brought up the idea of FTIR spectroscopy as a possible solution. Working with AKD’s national wood technologist, Marina Milic, the process of data collection, analysis and calibration of the unit took place over several years, slowed somewhat by Covid. TimberED provided support in statistical analysis.

Gavin Matthew, CEO of EWPAA, stated, “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. We look forward to delivering more certifications and increasing market confidence in the manufacturing and treatment of renewable timber products.”

Milic, who leads AKD on treatment innovations, adds, “FTIR spectroscopy is a fast and easy analytical technique that provides answers within seconds. It is resource friendly, requiring only a small sample and little preparation.”


MAIN PIC: (L-R) Marina Milic (AKD national wood technologist), Mark Johns (AKD Tumut Drymill quality and compliance) and Troy Edwards (EWPAA) were all instrumental in introducing the new testing.