Summary: Over the last year, forward-looking customers have analyzed mat requirements by using strength characteristics rather than dimension. These customers have discovered they can get the same quality mat but at lower cost by using a Eucalyptus timber mat with greater shear and bending strength, generating significant operational savings.
This three-part article investigates through an Introduction, Specific Solutions, and Backup Engineering and Finance Data.
Introduction: COVID, trade wars, a presidential election, a volatile stock market, decarbonization – life is anything but normal. Customers want to be prudent and make sure their cash reserves are strong; they have started asking for the same quality mat at lower prices. They’re also asking for a more sustainable mat.
Mat prices can drop but log prices are “inelastic”. Because log cost is the majority of total mat cost, price reductions can happen but usually at the expense of quality. That could mean softer species (Cottonwood, Hackberry, Sweetgum, Sycamore, Yellow Poplar), poorer wood quality (smaller, rounded timbers, more wane, more bark, more air), or acquiring used mats.
There’s no free lunch. Or is there?
Yes, there is. The free lunch comes from utilizing Eucalyptus species, which has superior strength characteristics to mixed hardwoods. Eucalyptus is both stronger and lighter than our American oaks and hickories. The combination of greater strength and a standardized mat also means longer life.
Consequently, Eucalyptus timber mats are one a good solution for customers looking to decrease cost and maintain quality. For example, Eucalyptus cost per unit of bending strength is $0.25/psi vs. mixed hardwoods at $0.36/psi. (See Backup Data for more detail.) Cost per unit shear strength – possibly more important to customers – is $1.89/psi vs. $2.50/psi.
Conclusion: Cost per unit strength can be a useful measure to compare timber mat alternatives and Eucalyptus timber mats are a superior cost choice.
Read Specific Solutions here.
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