Niagara’s sawmill in Invercargill, New Zealand spans more than 27 hectares, the site employs over 100 staff at the sawmill, office, kilns, treatment and finger jointing plants.
Originally established in the small Southland country settlement of Niagara, the company, which has been wholly owned by the Richardson family since 1954, has graduated from three sawmills to its present site at Kennington on the outskirts of Invercargill.
Providing quality timber is their lifeblood and they have expertise, experience and a belief that their product, like the tall forest, will stand the test of time.
Ensuring they utilise each tree to maximum capacity means they provide a full spectrum of products, from milled timber through to precision building products and everything in between, including bark, chip, sawdust, firewood and briquettes.
Niagara concentrates solely on radiata pine, which flourishes in the southern climate. All material is sourced from plantations in Southland and areas of neighbouring Otago. The white timber of radiata pine has a multitude of uses and is highly sought after on the global market.
The Southland region of New Zealand lends itself perfectly to the growth of quality radiata pine with an abundance of suitable plantation sites. Consistent rainfall, cool climatic conditions and ample sunlight, particularly during spring and summer, result in an ideal growing environment.
Niagara sources its material from a variety of locations and while it owns some of its own plantations, the company also purchases logs from privately owned blocks and through the tender system.
Niagara was among the first sawmills in New Zealand to be certified as a supplier of FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) timber products. This is available to customers on request.
It is well known that trees absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen as they grow.
This reduces the harmful CO2 emissions that contribute to global warming.
Importantly, when the trees are harvested and processed the carbon is sequestered in the wood.
This means the more wood you use the more you are helping to produce a healthier, more energy-efficient, carbon neutral environment.
A great deal of effort and experience goes into producing a quality product and with over 75 years entrenched in the sawmilling business Niagara is at the forefront, a world-class leader in its field.
Producing approximately 120,000/m3 of sawn timber from its Kennington sawmill each year Niagara understands the importance of quality and accuracy to its worldwide customer base.
This is why during sawmilling each piece is individually cared for using a wide range of modern technologies allowing Niagara to produce each piece of timber to its customers’ specific requirements.
From the start of the sawmilling process cutting edge technology scans each log for maximum sawn timber recovery. This precision scanning also ensures accuracy, which is vital as each piece continues its journey throughout the sawmill.
Niagara’s horizontal saw takes care of the next stage of production, followed by a six saw automated edger system, which scans each piece to ensure the optimum width recovery is achieved.
Niagara knows its customers demand accuracy from its products, which is why Niagara has recently installed an inline trimmer to ensure that each and every piece leaving the sawmill is end docked to ensure an accurate length, as well as being scanned for width and thickness.
After the trimmer each board is then separated based on size and grade into Niagara’s binsorter, which allocates just the right amount of pieces per bin to ensure the finished packs are the perfect size for effective and consistent kiln drying.
Once each bin is full an automatic stacker stacks each pack, precisely placing fillets on every layer to ensure each pack is optimised for the important kiln drying process that follows.
All Niagara staff are highly trained and continuous upskilling of all staff is a vital ingredient to Niagara’s continuous push for excellence and dedication to the timber industry.
Niagara understands the importance of accurate moisture content and kiln drying to its worldwide customer base, which is why Niagara’s state-of-the-art kiln complex is fully computerised using the latest technology.
Niagara’s kiln complex includes seven medium temperature kilns - three Windsor Batch Kilns and four Mahild Continuous Kilns (CFK). With a drying capacity of over 120,000m3 per annum Niagara can ensure all its customers’ requirements are fulfilled on time and to the highest quality.
By using the most modern kiln drying computer-based technology Niagara can ensure that each and every piece is individually cared for and monitored throughout the drying process.
Niagara’s kiln staff are trained in the best drying practices and each step is precisely carried out. Careful building of each kiln charge allows optimum air flow right through. A real time system shows the exact stage of each charge and how it is progressing allowing the operators to make decisions based on each kiln individually at any time of the drying process.
Because Niagara’s complex is manned around the clock each charge is only left in the kilns for the precise amount of time. Hot checks are completed on each charge before releasing timber to the next production stage.
Recycled sawdust fuels the boiler
generating heat for the kilns.
Niagara’s responsibility to quality doesn’t just stop after the drying process, it continues into the sling sorter/quality control department where each and every board is tested for moisture along the entire length.
Niagara’s sling sorter has the capacity to process over 600m3 of kiln dried sawn timber per shift in order to meet customer demand in the most efficient way and ensuring accurate scheduling and on time delivery.Each pack from the kilns is de-filleted and run across an inline moisture meter to check for any defects in drying before reaching the grading station.
Each piece is then individually graded depending on customer requirements and automatically allocated to one of 30 slings along the line. Each sling is automatically tallied for length and number of pieces to ensure the customer gets the right volume for every pack they order.
Packs are then automatically stacked and either wrapped for the export market or allocated to Niagara’s remanufacturing plant for further processing.
Because Niagara individually checks each piece for both moisture and grade specification customers are rest assured that product requirements will always be met.
The Niagara remanufacturing plant uses FSC certified radiata pine sourced from their sawmill to produce finger jointed blanks. These are further processed into engineered timber products of superior quality and appearance for local and overseas customers.
Rough sawn kiln dried timber coming into the remanufacturing plant is machined through a Stetson-Ross planer to give a smooth uniform finish ready for defecting and finger jointing. The timber is constantly checked to ensure that only the product that meets strict quality specifications is used.
An inline moisture meter is one of these quality checks, ensuring that timber outside the required moisture range is identified and removed before further processing occurs.
Using modern technology the timber is then scanned through a Woodeye at up to 220 metres per minute. The Woodeye takes a snapshot of the entire length of each board, identifying the different grades of timber contained within the piece and selecting only the best material for finger jointing.
This information is then communicated to two Dimpter Opticut 450 saws that cut each piece of timber at the right places to yield finger jointing blocks in grades to meet our customers needs. Blocks range from 180mm to 500mm in length.
The company has both vertical and horizontal finger jointers, giving the flexibility to offer either a face-to-face or edge-to-edge joint in lengths ranging from 1.8 to 7.2m. Depending on customer requirements, Niagara has a choice of adhesives that are used in the jointing process, all of which are approved under international standards.
Throughout the manufacturing processes there are documented quality assurance systems that guarantee customers only receive product that meets their specification. Niagara’s finger jointing operation is also certified and independently audited to AS/NZS 1491 and AS 5068, and this is just another way Niagara guarantee customers’ expectations will always be met.
After finger jointing, all the finger jointed blanks are dispatched to the Ashburton finishing and distribution operation.
Niagara’s remanufacturing plant uses the latest technology. Timber is scanned through a Woodeye at up to 220 metres per minute taking a snapshot of the entire length of each board and identifying the different grades within the piece.
In 2005 Niagara purchased the Ashburton-based remanufacturing operation of Pacific Timber (NZ) Ltd - Pactim. Established in 1992 Pactim spent its first 15 years located in Dobson Street, Ashburton and has continued to expand on the new Alford Forest Road site, employing 50 staff.
The Niagara Ashburton site further processes finger jointed blanks from Invercargill; moulding, laminating, trimming, treating and priming the blanks to produce a range of quality engineered timber products for domestic and international markets.
Like the operations in Invercargill, Ashburton uses the latest equipment and best industry practices to deliver what their customers require.
Niagara has two moulders, a Wienig and an SCM that produce a wide range of both standard and custom profiles some of which have also been laminated using static or rotary laminating presses.
The range of products produced at Niagara Ashburton is large and varied and includes door jambs, window reveals (liners), mouldings, laminated posts and beams, fascia, trim boards and edge glued wide boards.
Niagara’s Envira Timber Cladding brand offers a complete timber weatherboard system, including box corners, scribers, sills and facing boards, fully supported with technical installation drawings and instructions.
The Ashburton site has a timber preservation process that provides added durability to products that are intended for use in any application, especially where they are exposed to the elements.
Before leaving the factory, products are finished with a coating of a superior quality primer ready for installation. Products destined for export markets are shipped through two local ports, Timaru or Lyttleton.
At Niagara we proudly cut 100 percent New Zealand plantation grown radiata pine. We primarily produce two grades of timber – these being kiln dried ACOL and Industrial. Both grades are available in 25mm, 32mm, 38mm and 50mm. Available widths include 75mm, 100mm, 150mm and 200mm.
Timber can be supplied with FSC certification, if required.
Niagara ACOL is a combination of #3 Cuttings, #2 Cuttings and better. Each piece shall yield 55% or better recovery of 300mm or longer clear cuttings. This grade is pith-free.
Width - 75/100/150/200
Thickness - 25/32/38/50
Length - 1.8-6.0m (30cm increments)
Lengths per pack - Two
Niagara Industrial is a grade permitting any number and combination of defects, provided each piece holds together under normal handling. Pith is permitted.
Width - 75/100/150/200
Thickness - 25/32/38/50
Length - 1.8-6.0m (30cm increments)
Lengths per pack - Two
DESCRIPTION: Each piece shall yield 50% or better recovery of 300mm or longer clear cuttings. This grade is pith-free.
LENGTH: 1.8 - 6.0m (30cm increments) 2 lengths per pack
Timber is a renewable, low energy resource of which there is a plentiful supply in New Zealand. Forestry plantations mostly utilise waste land and are soon replanted after felling.
Niagara has a strong focus on whole tree utilisation meaning there is no waste. Everything from the bark on the outside of the tree to the sawdust from the centre of the log is processed into a range of value-added products.
BARK - graded and processed for landscaping and gardening products
SAWDUST - used as fuel for drying kilns
SHAVINGS - have a range of uses from animal bedding to compressed briquettes
CHIP - used in the manufacture of medium density fibreboard
OFFCUTS - are used as premium-quality firewood or chipped and sold as boiler fuel
Having a total waste utilisation policy is further
proof that Niagara understands the importance
of protecting the environment.
With over 35 years’ experience in the Truss and Frame Industry, you can trust Niagara Truss and Frame to deliver with your next building project.
From independent builders through to major building merchants, Niagara has the flexibility and expertise to make your next project a success.We produce quality
pre-cut and pre-nailed wall frames and roof trusses from Douglas Fir and LVL timber framing, to the exact measurements required.
With KGR architects based on site at our North Road factory you can get both qualified architectural as well as Truss and Frame advice in one handy location.
All products are built at the factory base in Invercargill to exact specifications received from builders and architects, then trucked to building sites throughout the lower South Island.
Any species can be requested. Current trends favour Douglas Fir (NZ Oregon).