Development of Environmentally-friendly Lumber Treatment System
Forest Research Institute Malaysia

A. Problem Analysis

 1. What was the problem before the implementation of the initiative?
EU DIRECTIVE ON BORATES USE FOR RUBBERWOOD PROCESSING The application of high temperature treatment on rubberwood lumber as a non-toxic physical treatment means is to replace the use of borates as a main preservative for rubberwood treatment. The studies was initiated in direct response to calls by the European Union (EU) Directive, for certain wood treatment chemicals, particularly borates, to be assigned to the "Repro-toxic Category" under the Dangerous Substance Directive 67/548/EEC. FRIM was directed by the Malaysian Cabinet to find solutions as alternative to the use of this chemical substance in treatment of rubberwood. SOCIAL GROUPS AFFECTED BY THE EU DIRECTIVES i)Rubber smallholders Ii)Saw miller/ kiln dry operator & preservative treatment plant operator/ furniture manufacturer/ workers employed under these sectors Rubberwood is a major renewable plantation timber in Malaysia. To date more than 80% of the wooden furniture exported is derived from this important and yet sustainable resource material. Rubber Industry Smallholders Development Authority (RISDA) was established under the Ministry of Rural and Regional Development, with the main objective to assist the smallholders to earn at least RM2,500 (USD 750) per month/ family by the end of 2015. Out of 180,149 rubber and oil palm smallholders (RISDA 2002), 54.33% of 98,267 sole rubber smallholders are earning only about RM510 (USD155) per month. Incentives for replanting of rubber trees after a rotation period are provided under the RISDA replanting programme. When the latex production is no longer economical, old rubber trees will be harvested in order to make way for replanting purposes and thus, selling of the felled logs to the rubberwood processor becomes an additional source of income to these smallholders. The market change and development of rubberwood-based industries have a profound effect on the rubber smallholders. The price of rubber logs, like latex price is vulnerable with market demand. When there are excess of rubberwood supply in the market, the replanting activities are likely to be on hold until the demand return to normal, thus leaving the smallholders struggling with less productive old rubber tress to make ends meet. Currently, there are more than 2,000 Malaysian furniture companies in operation, mainly located in Peninsular Malaysia. Approximately 86,000 workers involved in the furniture related industry, about 20% are female workers (Forest Department 2013). In 2013, rubberwood made furniture accounts for approximately RM6 billion of the total furniture export revenue generated by the wood-based sectors. Any international environmental or safety regulations imposed will adversely affect the rubberwood industries and the livelihood of the rubber plantation smallholders. Therefore, it is important for FRIM to be proactive in moving the industries forward and it is envisaged that HTD® technology will be able to propel Malaysia into a leading global green wooden furniture exporter.

B. Strategic Approach

 2. What was the solution?
MALAYSIAN CABINET DECISION ON EU DIRECTIVE AND FRIM PROACTIVE ACTION TO ADDRESS THE CONCERNS OF THE GROUPS AFFECTED VIA INNOVATIVE TECHNOLOGY SOLUTIONS High Temperature Drying (HTD) project is a success model of FRIM’s strategic management in implementing programme of national interest. It addressed the current socio-economic issues involving the country’s timber based sector pertinent to international trade barrier matters with relation to consumer products of public concern. The studies was initiated in direct response to calls by the European Union (EU) Directive, for certain wood treatment chemicals, particularly borates, to be assigned to the "Repro-toxic Category 3" under the Dangerous Substance Directive 67/548/EEC in 2002. Boric acid is the primary preservative used in the processing of rubberwood. Thereafter the proposal of the EU directive, FRIM was directed by the Malaysian Cabinet to find solutions as alternative to the use of this chemical substance in treatment of rubberwood. EU has since June 2009, included borates to “Repro-toxic Category 2” under this directive. This HTD® system developed at FRIM offers a unique solution to counter concerns particularly of the rubberwood furniture industry and also the rubber smallholders who has been playing an integral part as an important production sector in the national economy. FRIM HTD® TECHNOLOGY - Solutions to problem faced by current technology, an enhanced green technology for improved production and product quality for industry competitiveness. This technology eliminated the use of chemical preservative treatment. It is time and energy saving with its current processing cycle time reduced by more than 80% of existing process, i.e. from 12 days down to 2 days. The quality of HTD® treated timber is overall enhanced and has better dimensional stability compared to lumber produced by conventional methods. A shorter kiln resident time implies faster turn around enabling just-in-time (JIT) concept to be incorporated in HTD® operations that leads to lower stock holding cost. In general, drying consumes up to 70% of the total energy in manufacturing most wood products, savings in energy would have a significant impact on the total energy costs. Lower energy consumption leads to more efficient and cost-saving operation, which will directly enhance the competitiveness of the industries involved. - Environmentally-friendly patented technology: Trademark, branding and process certification for quality assurance of HTD® product The FRIM HTD® Trademark was launched in Jan 2014. It represents the brand for quality and environmentally-friendly high temperature treated timber. The trademark was filed in Malaysia and Thailand, and will be followed by filing in China, Singapore, South Korea, Indonesia and other countries. - International Market Acceptance and establishment of HTD® plants in other countries FRIM has given an exclusive technology licensing rights to Advanced Low Pressure System (ALPS) to commercialize the HTD® Technology to both the local and international markets. ALPS and its counterpart have successfully marketed HTD® products with trial consignments sent to Thailand, China, Australia, Singapore and South Korea. Besides, IKEA (Thailand) has specified HTD® lumber in their purchasing programme. The company is currently in the midst of expanding its production capacity with setting up of new HTD® factory plant by end of 2014 to cater for other potential market especially in Japan and US. Apart from rubberwood, the application of HTD® to other low to medium tropical timbers including other plantation species is currently being explored by FRIM and ALPS. Enquiries for the HTD® technology received thus far, were from major rubber producer countries such as Thailand and Indonesia, and other countries like China, Japan, South Korea, Bangladesh and Liberia.

 3. How did the initiative solve the problem and improve people’s lives?
MODIFICATION OF EXISTING TECHNOLOGY FOR EASE OF ADAPTATION BY INDUSTRY: - TECHNICAL CHARACTERISTICS OF HTD® PROCESS Using to our advantage the existing technique temperature and steam to speed up the drying process from 12 days down to 2 days (enabling JIT implementation leading to substantial savings in stock holding cost), at the same time acting as a sterilization treatment. The innovative process involved is as follows: Application of high temperature above 100°C. Using saturated steam as a sterilization medium for phytosanitary control against wood borers and insect pest. This sterilization phase also assisted in shortening the overall drying time. Using weight restraint on the timber stacks, significantly reduces the occurrence of warpings in rubberwood, thus improving recovery rates. The overall treatment enhances the finished product, in terms of product stability and aesthetic value.

C. Execution and Implementation

 4. In which ways is the initiative creative and innovative?
FRIM STRATEGIC MANAGEMENT AND POLICY IN IMPLEMENTING RESEARCH, DEVELOPMENT AND COMMERCIALISATION ACTIVITIES FRIM’s management recognized the importance of an efficient and strategic management of R&D projects and intellectual property policy as keys in achieving excellence in research and development and commercializing these R&D findings through technology transfer to all interested parties, including creating strategic cooperation with local and international agencies. Management strategies in eight different areas were formed under FRIM’S Strategic Plan (2003-2010; 2011-2020), with the implementing strategies for research, development and commercialization fall under Strategy 2 and 3. Strategy 2 R&D Strategies (selected areas)- Forest plantation for sustainable development of forest industries- Development and adoption of green technology in the timber industry- Development of high value-added downstream products Strategy 3 Commercialization of R&D Outputs - R&D findings for potential commercialization- Competitive technology intelligence (CTI) capability- Strategic business unit focusing on emerging industries and establish linkages to other areas and activities- Licensing program as an integral part of the intellectual property rights (IPR) initiatives- Spin-off, start-up and joint venture Initiatives Below are the key developments and steps, main activities conducted in implementing the strategies abovementioned: - R&D SOURCING AND FUNDING AGENCY, IMPLEMENTATION OF R&D ACTIVITIES (2003-08) The HTD® research team secured funding from Ministry of Plantation Industries and Commodities (2004-2010); Science Fund under Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (2006-2009); and Commercialization of R&D Fund (CRDF-1) under Malaysian Technology Development Corporation (MTDC) (2008). Comprehensive R&D studies on development of HTD® were conducted starting from conceptualization of idea, proof of concept, development of prototype, feasibility study/ market validation, and product testing carried out by both local and international accredited testing bodies. - MARKET FEASIBILITY STUDY (2008) Export market competitiveness and potential This Market Survey-cum-Feasibility Study on HTD® System for Accelerated Kiln Throughput of Rubberwood Dimension Stock was commissioned by Malaysian Technology Development Corporation (MTDC) [http://www.mtdc.com.my/crdf-approved-companies] A report “Market Survey-cum-Feasibility Study on HTD® System for Accelerated Kiln Throughput of Rubberwood Dimension Stock” commissioned by Malaysian Technology Development Corporation (MTDC) in late 2008 under CRDF-1 scheme has confirmed that the technology is ready for full commercialization roll-out with the following list of proposed action plan for the technology, Execute Commercialization in Commercial Scale with a private sector player to establish the working commercial plant. Use the Showcase Plant to Promote to Others. Conceal HTD® Protocol in the form of PLC built-in. Consider Branding Programme for Malaysia’s HTD® Rubberwood. - IDENTIFYING INDUSTRIAL PARTNER FOR COMMERCIALIZATION OF TECHNOLOGY (2008-09) FRIM’s intellectual property (IP) policy includes the steps from creating IP towards the IP expansion. The system starts from the creation of an IP through the R&D by the researchers. FRIM integrates patent search (prior art search) in each and every level of R&D assessments. The policy outlines the important stages of monitoring and assessment starting from the project proposal preparation until the project is completed. This policy is to ensure the novelty of the research study and new invention or innovative ideas created from R&D activities. It also states the criteria(s) for making decision on the IP rights protection for selected innovations with potential for commercialization. - STRATEGY FOR MARKET PENETRATION AND ACCEPTANCE (2010- ) FRIM has given an exclusive technology licensing rights to Advance Low Pressure System (ALPS) to commercialize the HTD® Technology to both the local and international markets. Some of the steps taken were by sending HTD® treated lumber directly to the international household suppliers such as IKEA (Thailand) to be tested according to their standard and specification. The feedback from IKEA has been very encouraging as they have specified HTD® lumber in their purchasing programme. The flooring panel made from HTD® treated lumber was also sent to Singapore and Korea for testing and the products were approved by the Singapore Housing Development Board and passed all tests carried out by the accredited Korea Conformity Laboratories (KCL). ALPS’s international counterparts in Singapore and Korea have been actively promoting the HTD® products. They have also set up offices in the United States and China to promote and penetrate the potentially vast markets. - BRANDING AND CERTIFICATION OF HTD® PROCESS FOR QUALITY ASSURANCE (2011- ) The system needs to adhere to a strict Code of Practice (COP), whereby the licensed operator of the HTD® technology will be audited based on the clauses stipulated in the COP. The COP is a prerequisite for quality assurance in ensuring high quality products. Furthermore, the COP also ensures that the products remain "green" throughout the manufacturing process. - BUSINESS EXPANSION, JOB CREATION AND HUMAN CAPITAL DEVELOPMENT To move forward the wood-based industry, FRIM and its industry partner has strategized and adopt pragmatic approaches in the implementation process of realizing the full potential of the HTD® technology. Marketing Strategy of HTD® Phase I: Technology Introduction (Year 1 & 2) - First commercial plant established Phase II: Business Expansion (Year 3 - 5) - Two commercial plants in Peninsular Malaysia - First commercial plant in Thailand Phase III: Strategic Management (Year 5 - ) - Expansion through joint venture (JV) - Re-engineering of HTD® through R&D with FRIM - Expansion through internal generated fund - Product branding through FRIM HTD® - HTD® product certification for quality assurance - HTD® certified supervisor trained by FRIM. Steps to be taken: - Continuous improvement on HTD® system design and manufacturing process - Continuous R&D effort and human capital development to enhance product quality - Increase production capacity, skilled work force via business expansion - Increase HTD® market via continuous R&D on other timber species - Commercialization effort of FRIM’s through product certification and training

 5. Who implemented the initiative and what is the size of the population affected by this initiative?
The following stakeholders were involved: Forest Research Institute Malaysia (FRIM) - Involved in the conceptualization, R&D works, prototype development. Advance Low Pressure System Sdn. Bhd. (ALPS) - Contributed towards the up-scaling of the HTD® prototype to commercial plant - Design of the HTD® system and auxiliary equipment - Introduce the use of low cost biomass thermo oil boiler Ministry of Plantation, Industry and Commodities (MPIC) - R&D funding of HTD®project Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MOSTI) - R&D funding of HTD® project Malaysian Technology Development Corporation (MTDC) - Funded the market feasibility evaluation study Stake holder consulted: - Malaysian Timber Industry Board (MTIB) - Malaysian Timber Council (MTC) - Malaysian Furniture Industry Council (MFIC) - Malaysian Wood Industry Association (MWIA) - Muar Furniture Association (MFA) - The Bumiputra Furniture Association (PEKA) - Rubber Industry Smallholder Development Authority (RISDA) - Association of Malaysian Rubberwood Trade and Industries HTD® Team Members: • Dato’ Dr. Abd Latif Mohmoh (Project Leader) • Dr. Sik Huei Shing • Choo Kheng Ten • Dr. Woon Weng Chuen Supported by: • Ramzul Iklas Ab Lah • Syed Othman Syed Omar
 6. How was the strategy implemented and what resources were mobilized?
FINANCIAL COST OF PROJECT IMPLEMENTATION Funding Agency: Ministry of Plantation Industries and Commodities (RM1,260,000- USD 420,000); Science fund under Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (RM270,000 – USD 90,000); Commercialization of R&D Fund (CRDF-1) under Malaysian Technology Development Corporation (MTDC) (RM100,000- USD33,000) The financial support totaled over USD 543,000. for conducting activities over the course of project implementation from conceptualization of idea, proof of concept, development of prototype, feasibility study/ market validation and up to the current stage of commercial uptake by the industry (investment by the industry partner for establishment of commercial HTD® plants). Human and technical resources’ cost: 2 scientist x 48 man-month x USD 3000/month = USD 288,000 Grand total: USD 831,000

 7. Who were the stakeholders involved in the design of the initiative and in its implementation?
i) HTD®- GREEN TECHNOLOGY Reduced negative impact on the environment (Eco-friendly) and compliance to EU Directive The method of this innovation eliminates the need to use chemical preservatives in the treatment of rubberwood, currently the major renewable plantation timber for manufacturing of high-class joinery and furniture for export markets in Malaysia. Rubberwood is sustainably produced from managed plantations and is a proven substitute for the depleting wood supply from natural forests. The method of this innovation also offers an alternative solution on countering the threat of the EU ban on borates, the main chemical preservative commonly used in rubberwood processing. Essentially, in the method of this innovation, high-heat exposure is used to fumigate the lumber against insect attacks. Energy-efficient System (Time- and cost-saving) The sustained high-temperature feature of the treatment method and kiln of this invention, provided by an energy-efficient system, enables a high-throughput of dried lumber e.g. 30 mm x 105 mm dimension stocks suitable for wood based furniture industry. The treatment time for 30 mm-thick sawn dimension stocks is reduced to about 2 days in comparison to a total period of 10 to 12 days required by conventional drying methods. In addition, the HTD® plant uses biomass, i.e. wood waste produced from its integrated sawmilling activities, for heat generation, thus maintaining its cost of production despite using higher temperature in the HTD® process. Environmental- and Consumer-friendly Product (Green Living) Being a plantation timber, rubberwood is derived from sustainable resources. The non-borates treatment means employed in HTD®, are friendly to both the environment and consumer. - Less warping in HTD® timber - Better recovery compared to conventionally produced lumber - Dimensionally more stable - Enhanced grain feature ii) QUALITY ASSURANCE THROUGH IMPLEMENTATION OF NEW ICT METHODS - PROGRAMMABLE LOGIC CONTROL (PLC) FOR HTD® PROCESS MONITORING The HTD® system needs to adhere to FRIM’s Code of Practice (COP) for effective HTD®process. Monitoring and recording of the HTD® process, especially during the plasticization phase and accelerated drying-cum-high temperature treatment phase is crucial to achieve the desired outputs in terms of overall operational performance and maintaining the quality of processed material. Using programmable logic control (PLC) instrumentation, the HTD® protocol could be input for HTD® process control, monitoring and recording for each production batches. All HTD® records will be kept for annual audit check by auditors. FRIM’s COP also depicts the procedures for in-house quality check (QC) and phytosanitary measures in handling of both raw and processed materials for effective factory hygiene control. iii) SUCCESSFUL COMMERCIALIZATION OF HTD® TECHNOLOGY FRIM has entered into a Technology Licensing Agreement (TLA) with Advance Low Pressure System Sdn. Bhd. (ALPS) for commercializing HTD® technology in Malaysia and Thailand. Two units of HTD®systems were successfully set up in Telok Gong, Selangor in 2012. ALPS has started to relocate their plant to Senawang, Negeri Sembilan early this year as part of their expansion plan. A full HTD® commercial plant will be established by 2015. iv) INTERNATIONAL MARKET ACCEPTANCE - Singapore Housing Development Board: 2 star rating for green product label - Korea Conformity Laboratories (KCL): passed all “wooden flooring product” standards. Marketing brochures were also produced by ALPS's counterparts in Singapore (Forest Lumber PTE) and TPS of Korea to promote the environmentally-friendly HTD®processed flooring panel products in respective markets. v) PATENT, NATIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL AWARDS & RECOGNITIONS Patents were granted for HTD® technology from the United States in March and Malaysia in October 2013 (Patent No. US8397400B2 and MY149935), and most recently the patent was granted in Singapore (August 2014; Patent No. SG180413) Patents were also filed in five other countries of interest, namely Thailand, Indonesia, China, Vietnam and India. The HTD® project was awarded the Public Service Award in 2005, by Malaysian Administrative Modernization and Management Planning Unit (MAMPU), Prime Minister's Department, for establishing the country’s first prototype HTD® system. In 2013, the HTD® research team won the prestigious National Innovation Award for successful commercialization of the Malaysia-, US- and Singapore-patented HTD® technology. In October 2014, the HTD® research team has won top prize of the National Intellectual Property Award, and was the finalist of the Commonwealth Public Administration and Management Award under the Innovations in Government Services and Programme. In addition, a member of the research team was awarded the outstanding doctoral research award by International Union of Forest Research Organization (IUFRO) at the XXV IUFRO Congress (5-11 October 2014) held in Salt lake City, Utah, United States of America. Media Coverage The HTD® technology has generated a lot of media interest since 2013, gaining wide coverage from leading newspapers such as Utusan Malaysia, Berita Harian, The Star, Sin Chew Daily and etc; prime time news aired on TV3, TV8 and TV9; and television interview on RTM 1_ Biz Malaysia, feature interview on Astro Awani_Inno Mag, and most recently a radio interview on BFM 89.9. All in all, the Advertorial Value of the media coverage was nearly about RM3 million.

 8. What were the most successful outputs and why was the initiative effective?
Monitoring and evaluation of the progress of the HTD® was conducted throughout the implementation of the project by several mechanisms, i) FRIM’s internal evaluation panel managed by Research Management Division and Innovation & Commercialization Division. FRIM’s Research Management Division screen and evaluate potential proposals before reverting them to the researchers for corrections or further improvements. The corrected proposals will be submitted to various funding agencies for technical evaluation and subsequently to the approval committee if recommended by the technical committee. Upon project approval, FRIM's Research Management Division will facilitate in liaising with the funding agency for disbursement of project fund, as well as monitoring of project activities until completion. ii) Monitoring by respective funding agencies at ministry level. Under the science-fund project funded by Ministry of Science, Innovation and Technology (MOSTI), a quarterly report on the physical and financial progress is required by the secretariat for monitoring of milestone activities. The project team is required to present the progress of the project during mid term and at the completion of project to a panel of experts appointed by MOSTI. A site inspection will also be conducted by the evaluation panels upon completion of the project. iii) Project Steering Committee represented by timber board, timber council and wood- based associations. Project Steering Committee (PSC) was set up to monitor the implementation of the project funded under Levy Fund by Ministry of Plantation Industries and Commodities. The PSC members were comprised of FRIM’s researchers, senior officers from Malaysian Timber Industry Board (MTIB), Malaysian Timber Council (MTC), Malaysian Furniture Industry Council (MFIC), and industry players who are members of the Malaysian Wood Industry Association (MWIA). PSC meetings were held quarterly to monitor the physical and financial progress of the project. A technical working group (TWG) was formed under the PSC to discuss on matters related specifically to the technical aspect of the project.    iv) Market feasibility evaluation carried out by an independent evaluator, commissioned by Malaysian Technology Development Corporation (MTDC). This Market Survey-cum-Feasibility Study on HTD® System for Accelerated Kiln throughput of Rubberwood Dimension Stock was commissioned by MTDC under the Commercialization of Research and Development Fund (CRDF-1) for selected projects potential to be commercialized. v) Technology licensing agreement (TLA) monitored by Project Management Committee (PMC), facilitated by Innovation and Commercialization Division. The technology licensing agreement (TLA) for commercialization of HTD® technology was signed between FRIM, represented by Malaysian Forestry Research and Development Board (MFRDB) and advance Low Pressure System Sdn. Bhd. (ALPS). Project management committee (PMC) held bimonthly meeting to discuss all matters related to the commercialization activities, licensing fee and royalty payment as stipulated in the TLA. vi) Monitoring of commercial production activities using programmable logic control (PLC) instrumentation FRIM is responsible to conduct annual auditing to all HTD® plants operated by FRIM’s licensee, ALPS and other sub-licensees, to ensure that the operation of HTD® systems are adhered to HTD® Process Code of Practice (COP) at all time. For a simple and effective monitoring mechanism, all HTD® systems are equipped with a programmable logic control (PLC) instrumentation with input of HTD® protocol for efficient process control, monitoring and recording of each production batches. All HTD® records shall be kept for annual audit check by auditors.

 9. What were the main obstacles encountered and how were they overcome?
OBSTACLE (1): SEARCHING FOR THE RIGHT COLLABORATOR WITH TECHNICAL SKILLS The HTD® research team encountered an unsuccessful collaboration with our first commercial partner, Techwood Industries Sdn. Bhd., despite successfully obtaining the Commercialization of R&D Fund from the Malaysian Technology Development Corporation (MTDC) to establish the first commercial HTD® plant in Malaysia. The withdrawal of the approved funding was made based on TWI’s management decision for not being able to commit to additional investment for the establishment. Nonetheless, our second commercial partner, Advanced Low Pressure System (ALPS), is working closely with TWI on the HTD® products development and marketing in overseas. STRATEGY & REMEDY ACTION (1): Working with the right commercial partner Successful commercialization of the HTD® technology is attributed to engaging a right industry partner with sound technical background to upscale and reengineer FRIM’s base technology into a commercial production unit. FRIM has licensed the rights to Advanced Low Pressure System (ALPS), a local wood-based company, to commercialize the HTD® Technology in Malaysia and Thailand. Besides, ALPS also has a few expansion projects in the pipeline, to establish HTD® plants in Sabah, East Malaysia and other ASEAN countries besides Thailand. OBSTACLE (2): INITIAL POOR MARKET ACCEPTANCE Generally, local wood-based industries are adopting ‘wait-and-see’ approach. In spite of that, the HTD® research team has been receiving some serious enquiries from abroad from as far as Liberia, Bangladesh and India, and also other ASEAN countries such as Thailand and Indonesia, both are world leading rubber producer countries, and Vietnam. STRATEGY & REMEDY ACTION (2): i) Going to the market leader - IKEA(Thailand) FRIM has given an exclusive technology licensing rights to Advanced Low Pressure System (ALPS) to commercialize the HTD® Technology to both the local and international markets. Some of the steps taken were by sending HTD®treated lumber directly to the international household suppliers such as IKEA (Thailand) to be tested according to their standard and specification. The feedback from IKEA has been very encouraging as they have specified HTD® lumber in their purchasing programme. ii) Send samples for evaluation by international accredited body Flooring panel made from HTD® treated lumber was sent to Singapore and Korea for testing. The panel products were approved by the Singapore Housing Development Board (2 star rating for green product label) and passed all tests carried out by the accredited Korea Conformity Laboratories (KCL). Marketing brochures were also produced by ALPS's counterparts in Singapore and Korea to promote the environmentally-friendly HTD®processed flooring panel products in respective markets. iii) HTD® Technology Transfer Forum and Launching of HTD® Trademark FRIM has successfully organized a special forum in January 2013 to introduce its award-winning High Temperature Drying (HTD®) system for wood treatment to local wood suppliers, wood-based product manufacturers, kiln drying operators and interested parties. The forum was attended by about 150 participants from wood-based industries in the country and also attended by international participants from Thailand, Taiwan, Singapore and Japan. Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Environment (NRE), Dato’ Sri Dr James Dawos Mamit, officiated the opening of the forum and launching of the FRIM HTD® Trademark. HTD® trademark represent the brand for quality and environmentally-friendly high temperature treated timber. The trademark was filed in Malaysia and Thailand, and will be followed by filing in China, Singapore, South Korea, Indonesia and etc. iv) Dialogue with the relevant associations to discuss and disseminate HTD® technology The HTD® research team held discussions with members of wood-based associations such as Malaysian Wood Industry Association (MWIA) and Muar Furniture Association (MFA) to introduce the HTD® technology to the industry players. The team also gathered feedbacks from the industry on ways to collaborate and adopt this technology with respect to their current practice and market demand. Some have expressed their interest to visit the HTD®plant and looking forward to enhance their current operation with the improved features offered by the HTD® technology. v) Promotional activities through international trade fair Malaysian International Furniture Fair(MIFF 2014), 4-8 March, Putra World Trade Center (PWTC), Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia Vietnam International Furniture and Home accessories Fair (VIFA 2014), 11-14 Mac, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

D. Impact and Sustainability

 10. What were the key benefits resulting from this initiative?
i) Addressed issue of EU Directive on use of borates This HTD® system developed at FRIM offers a unique solution to counter concerns particularly of the rubberwood furniture industry and also the rubber smallholders who has been playing an integral part as an important production sector in the national economy. ii) Green initiative with an environmentally-friendly product Over 90% of the drying mills in this region use the conventional steam-heated system at temperature below 80°C, and the wood has to be treated with preservatives such as borates to prevent fungi and pest attacks. Rubberwood furniture accounts for over 80% of Malaysia’s furniture export and rubberwood constitutes nearly half of all lumber used in the manufacturing of furniture in Asia. Two key impacts are to be made via the introduction of this new technology:- The HTD® technology addresses the increasingly stringent requirements for environmentally-friendly products imposed by various developed countries. Reduce production time leading to significantly lower inventory cost. Our competitive advantages over the conventional methods are summarized as follows: - Eliminated the use of chemical treatment with a single stage procedure. - Environmental- and consumer-friendly product. Non-toxic physical means is applied in HTD®. - High temperature-cum-saturated steam condition for effective treatment against fungal and insect infestations. - Processing time in 2 days compared to 12 days. - Dimensionally more stable lumber. - Stock inventory kept to minimum – 20% of existing stocks. - Just-In-Time manufacturing planning possible from logging to final product. - Less energy required in treatment process. - Compliance of products to EU Directives. - Value generated from HTD® is estimated at RM 880 million (USD 290 million) iii) Branding and certification for quality assurance The system needs to adhere to a strict Code of Practice (COP), whereby the licensed operator of the HTD® technology will be audited based on the clauses stipulated in the COP. The COP is a prerequisite for quality assurance in ensuring high quality products. Furthermore, the COP also ensures that the products remain "green" throughout the manufacturing process. iv) Establishment of full commercial HTD® plant Successful commercialization of the HTD® technology is attributed to engaging a right industry partner with sound technical background to upscale and reengineer FRIM’s base technology into a commercial production unit. FRIM has licensed the rights to Advanced Low Pressure System (ALPS), a local wood-based company, to commercialize the HTD®Technology in Malaysia and Thailand. Besides, ALPS also has a few expansion projects in the pipeline, to establish HTD® plants in Sabah, East Malaysia and other ASEAN countries. v) Meeting National Timber Industry Policy (NATIP) Initiative The country as the pioneering rubberwood producer needs injection into its product competitiveness with features that differentiate from the competitions (Thailand, China, and etc.) in the rubberwood based furniture market. HTD® technology will be able to play a major part in assisting the country to achieve National Timber Industries Policy (NATIP) for timber sector target of RM 53 billion per annum by 2020. vi) Projected income generation to FRIM in the form of royalty payment Projection of RM 1.05 million based on RM3.50 per ton x 300,000 ton per year for Malaysia Projection of RM 3.5 million based on RM3.50 per ton x 1 million ton per year for Asia Pacific region vii) International promotional activities - In March this year, HTD® technology was showcased in two international furniture fair, i.e. Malaysian International Furniture Fair(MIFF 2014), 4-8 March_center stage display of HTD® furniture and public seminar on HTD® technology, Putra World Trade Center (PWTC), Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; and Vietnam International Furniture and Home accessories Fair (VIFA 2014), 11-14 Mac, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. - ALPS’s international counterparts in Singapore and Korea have been actively promoting the HTD® products. They have also set up offices in the United States and China to promote and penetrate the potentially vast markets. viii) Spin off to developing phytosanitary certification procedure initiated by Department of Agriculture In late 2012, the Plant Biosecurity Division, Department of Agriculture (DOA) engaged the HTD® research team to assist them in establishing a phytosanitary certification (PC) Procedure for the export of rubberwood sawn timber. There were cases of export consignments from Malaysia that were not in compliance with China’s import requirements. The HTD® research team has been working closely with DOA and other relevant agencies to establish the PC procedure which include the incorporation of a sterilization stage to the conventional rubberwood drying schedule.

 11. Did the initiative improve integrity and/or accountability in public service? (If applicable)
-HTD® Technology - Sustainable green initiative This green initiative is sustainable as HTD® technology promotes the use of rubberwood and other plantation species such as Acacia species, which are the two major plantation species in ASEAN region; or even the pioneer species like Macaranga and Leucanea . FRIM is always proactive in moving the industries forward and it is envisaged that HTD® technology will be able to propel Malaysia into a leading global green wooden furniture exporter. Rubberwood furniture account for more than 80% of Malaysia’s furniture export and continuity of such performance is important. Elimination of borates treatment creates significant social contribution by the technology. -Utilizing biomass as source of energy – ease of technology transfer to less developed countries The HTD® plant uses biomass, i.e. wood waste produced from its integrated sawmilling activities, for steam/ heat generation, thus maintaining its cost of production despite using higher temperature in the HTD® process. The utilization of biomass and source of energy for steam/ heat generation enable the ease of technology adoption by less developed countries, for example Indian Subcontinent, Africa, ASEAN countries, China and etc. The HTD® research team is keen to work closely with the international counterparts as soon as the completion of the two planned HTD® plants in Malaysia, followed by Thailand later next year - Basic, effective and cost saving technology The development of the HTD® was based on modification of existing technology using local innovation. The technology is simple and effective in countering problems faced by wood-based industry, as well as the rubber smallholders, who are also facing hardship dealing with feasibility issues of harvesting and replanting of rubber tress, which is affected by the uncertainties of the chain and supply of rubberwood logs. In these time of uncertainties, HTD® treated wood with an added enhancement of better stability and improved resistance to wood borers and fungal infestation, could be stored longer with proper implementation of phytosanitary measures at the factory. This user-friendly technology is suitable and could be easily adopted by developing country. The HTD® system is equipped with programmable logic control (PLC) instrumentation with preset parameters based on HTD® protocol developed by FRIM. FRIM will also train and certify HTD® operators competent to operate the system with minimal supervision. - Put in-place certification scheme to ensure product quality FRIM HTD® trademark and certification scheme emphasizes overall qualities from manpower training, i.e. HTD® operator trained and certified by FRIM, to effective production process monitoring. Under the certification scheme, the licensee or sub-licensee has to demonstrate that their production run is in compliance with the HTD® process as stipulated in the FRIM HTD® Code of Practice (COP). As aforementioned, for a simple and effective monitoring mechanism, all HTD® systems are equipped with a programmable logic control (PLC) instrumentation with input of HTD® protocol for efficient process control, monitoring and recording of each production batches. All HTD®records shall be kept for annual audit check by auditors. - Dissemination of technology info to international audience i) Publication of article in technical journal ( Drying Technology and Equipment, China) ii) Organizing of technology transfer forum on 7 Jan 2014, FRIM. The forum was attended by about 150 participants from wood-based industries in the country and also attended by international participants from Thailand, Taiwan, Singapore and Japan. iii) Participation in international trade fair (Malaysian International Furniture Fair (MIFF 2014), 4-8 March_center stage display of HTD® furniture and public seminar on HTD® technology, Putra World Trade Center (PWTC), Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; and Vietnam International Furniture and Home accessories Fair (VIFA 2014), 11-14 Mac, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. iv) ALPS, FRIM’s commercial partner, has received industry players from abroad, i.e. Japan, Taiwan, Thailand, Singapore, Korea, China to their plant, for further discussion on collaboration. v) In negotiation with counterparts in Thailand to establish HTD® Plant in southern Thailand later next year.

 12. Were special measures put in place to ensure that the initiative benefits women and girls and improves the situation of the poorest and most vulnerable? (If applicable)
- PROVIDE R&D THAT MEET INDUSTRY NEEDS Providing technical supports and carrying out R&D activities with close collaboration with our stake holders especially the wood-based industries, plantation owners including the rubber small holders have always been FRIM’s mission to serve the public and country. Working hand-in-hand with our commercial partner, with the opportunity to carry FRIM’s R&D outputs to a commercial level is an invaluable technology transfer experience, learning how the market changes along the way and the adaptability of the industry players with respect to technological advancement and market regulations. - RESOLVE INDUSTRY PROBLEMS WITH SIMPLE & EFFECTIVE SOLUTIONS HTD® technology offers simple and effective solutions to the problem currently faced by the industry. This green technology utilizes high temperature in a saturated conditions for effective treatment against borers' and insects' attacks, as a more environmentally-friendly alternative to the use of borates as a preservative treatment. In addition, this technology enhances the overall performance of the plant operation with just-in-time production, which lower the stock holding cost and significantly faster turnover with reduction of up to 80% in processing time compared to the conventional method. HTD® process also enhances the properties of high-temperature treated rubberwood, value adding the HTD® lumber for wider application such as solid flooring panel. - COMMERCIAL PARTNER WITH TECHNICAL SKILLS AND MARKETING ABILITY Our commercial partner, Advance Low Pressure System Sdn. Bhd (ALPS) has a team of technical personnel with strong engineering background, necessary for up-scaling of R&D output to industrial scale. They also have strong marketing ability with local and overseas counterparts working closely to promote the HTD® technology and furniture products in Singapore, Thailand, Korea, United States, China and Vietnam. RECOMMENDATION This relatively low cost technology can be transferred to other developing countries as it uses biomass, which is readily available in those countries. It could also be used for drying other plantation species. Means of technology transfer could be effected under the various UN supported agencies. Declaration I hereby certify that: - I followed and will follow all provisions as stipulated in the submission rules. - I have duly completed all fields and that all information presented is accurate to the best of my knowledge. - I stand in no conflict of interest in relation to this nomination. - I am a third party and that I have no direct hierarchical relationships with the nominate institution. - I understand the rules for ethical behaviour and I will not put any undue pressure on any person involved in the evaluation process - I understand that an Award can be revoked in the event that any of the rules of the submission guidelines are violated.

Contact Information

Institution Name:   Forest Research Institute Malaysia
Institution Type:   Government Agency  
Contact Person:   Abd Latif Mohmod
Title:   Head of Agency  
Telephone/ Fax:   +603-6279 7008/7009
Institution's / Project's Website:  
E-mail:   latif@frim.gov.my  
Address:   Forest Research Institute Malaysia
Postal Code:   52109
City:   Kepong
State/Province:   Selangor
Country:  

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