Wooden skyscrapers built with South Australian grown and manufactured timber could be coming soon to Adelaide after a new processing facility opened this week.

Timberlink’s new NeXTimber facility in Tarpeena will be manufacturing cross-laminated timber and glue-laminated timber from radiata pine grown in the Green Triangle on the border of South Australia and Victoria.

The town was chosen over Melbourne for $70 million facility.

Glue-laminated timber can be used to replace steel beams and columns, with cross-laminated timber having similar uses to concrete.

The facility is expected to be able to manufacturer the timber supplies needed for wooden high-rise buildings.

David Oliver says the facility is the only one of its kind in South Australia. (ABC South East SA: Elsie Adamo)

Timberlink chief sales, marketing and corporate affairs officer, David Oliver, said the facility would help modernise the local industry.

He said each product would be custom made to digitally created designs.

“We actually take those designs and actually output them to a really big router in the factory that can route the panels,” Mr Oliver said.

“We can manufacture for cross laminated timber up to 16 metres long, 3.5 metres wide and 450 millimetres thick.”

He said the facility had only been working in recent months and would take some time to be working to capacity.

“We think it will take two to three years to actually ramp to capacity,” Mr Oliver said.

“There’s 27 new employees … we expect that to grow over time to 50 as we scale up the facility.”

Orders roll in

While tight-lipped on current projects, Mr Oliver said it might not be long before the company’s products were seen in major cities.

Peter Malinauskas, Clare Scriven, Paul O’Keefe, Tammy Auld, Troy Bell, David Oliver and Nathan Paine inspect the NeXTimber facility.(ABC South East SA: Elsie Adamo)

He said there was already interest in the products from further abroad.

“We have a gentleman coming from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in the next couple of weeks to come and view the facility with the intent of collaborating on projects in that country,” Mr Oliver said.

Owner of Melbourne-based Triple A Advanced Trusses and Windows, Colin Clemments, said he was one of Timberlink’s major customers.

Mr Clemments said he would be putting in monthly orders for cross-laminated timber products as soon as there was capacity.

“It’s the next generation of commercial building,” he said.

South Australian Premier Peter Malinauskas commended the project.

He stopped short of committing to use of the new material in public building projects.

“It may have been a discussion we have had throughout the course of the day here,” Mr Malinauskas said.

“I think government has a responsibility to show leadership in the market where we believe there are products being produced locally that deliver an outcome for our economy.

“We make structural steel in Australia, we want to use that too, but a lot of it is imported so we do see an opportunity there and that is something we want to work on.”

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