September 13 was a holiday for SWISS KRONO AG in a double sense: In the presence of her mother, whose birthday is on that day, Chairwoman of the Board of Directors Ines Kaindl-Benes and her guests celebrated the production of the first board at the new particleboard plant at the SWISS KRONOsitein Menznau.

 

Dieffenbacher supplied all the essential machines, from gluing through raw board handling, for the replacement project. Dieffenbacher project manager Jens Hauffe; Bernd Bielfeldt, head of the Wood business unit; and Christian Dieffenbacher, as a member of the management board, were on site and shared SWISS KRONO’s excitement about the on-time and smooth start-up of the plant.

 

A highlight of the new plant is the EVOjet P gluing system. It ensures optimum gluing and significant glue savings compared to conventional systems and requires minimum care and maintenance. With its order of a CPS+ in late 2015, SWISS KRONO was among the first companies to acquire the new gold standard for efficient continuous press systems. The cutting-edge press offers optimum board quality, reduced material consumption, highest productivity and lowest lifecycle costs. The new production line in Menznau is already the fourth plant with CPS+ in operation worldwide.

 

Image: Celebration of the first board. From left: Mauro Capozzo (CEO, SWISS KRONO AG, Menznau)and Christian Dieffenbacher (member of the Management Board, Dieffenbacher).

 

Dirk Eisenmann

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Brazilian exports of wood and wood products to Arab countries totaled a little over USD 18 million in Q2, up 10.16% over the same period of last year, according to data from the Ministry of Industry, Foreign Trade and Services (MDIC). Saudi Arabia was the leading market in the region from April to June.

 

Sales of wood panels from Brazil to the region yielded USD 3.75 million in Q2, up 21.2% in comparison to the same period of 2016. Saudi Arabia again was the leading destination in this case.

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Yokohama, Japan: Canadian imports of tropical sawnwood were worth USUS$1.65 million in June, down 24 percent from May. Yearto-date imports were still 5 percent higher than in June 2016 because May imports had been exceptionally high, reports from ITTO. 

Imports of all major species declined in June. Only meranti imports were up (USUS$3,780) and imports of “other tropical” (USUS$497,292). In fact the strongest growth was in imports of tropical sawnwood not specified in the trade classification system.

Several countries grew sawnwood exports to Canada in June despite the overall decline. Imports from Brazil increased to USUS$147,781 in June. Sawnwood imports from Congo (formerly Brazzaville), Indonesia, Malaysia and the US were also up in June. Mahogany imports from Congo/Brazzaville increased as did sapelli imports from the US.

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Yokohama, Japan: Although overall economic conditions are improving in Europe, growth in key countries and sectors for the tropical hardwood sector is subdued and weakening in some cases, according to ITTO.

The European Commission currently forecasts GDP growth in the EU to remain level at 1.9 percent in both 2017 and 2018. However, private consumption, the main growth driver in recent years which expanded at its fastest pace in 10 years in 2016, is set to moderate this year as inflation partly erodes gains in the purchasing power of households.

Investment is expected to expand fairly steadily in the EU but remains hampered by the modest growth outlook. Unemployment continues its downward trend, but it remains high in many European countries. In the euro area, it is expected to fall to 9.4 percent in 2017 and 8.9 percent in 2018.

Meanwhile the European market for tropical wood which, after a long period of decline, stabilised at a low level between 2014 and 2016, has generally slowed again this year.

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Industry 4.0  is a name for the current trend of automation and data exchange in manufacturing technologies which motivates enterprise in the woodworking industry to move forward. INNERGY, the company who specialized in sustainable installations with generating energy from biomass, shares their view on Industry 4.0 with us. 

In the current market, the phrase Advanced Industry or Industry 4.0 can be heard everywhere. Manufacturers of machinery, components, integrators, consultants, continue adding this phrase to all their catalogues, websites and presentations.

But the question is what it is really. Where did this concept come from? How does it become tangible? And perhaps most importantly, how does it become an opportunity and a competitive advantage?

The term Industry 4.0 was coined by the German government to describe the intelligent factory, a vision of computerized manufacturing with all processes interconnected by Internet of Things (IOT). It is what we know as the Industrial Internet of Things, I2OT.

Why 4.0? The 4 refers to the fourth industrial revolution and it is expected to come with the interconnection of all elements.

In the end, Industry 4.0, advanced industry and digital factory are all completely the same.

Value creation in the industry is increasingly focused on pre-production (design and R & D) and post-production (sales and marketing). It is for all this that we must be able to generate and manage the necessary information that allows us to create that value. There is a worldwide trend towards total customization of products, which forces us to be flexible and agile, both in decision making and manufacturing execution.

The advanced industry must allow the company to be able to change the business model to make 1000 units of one thing, or to make 1 unit of a thousand things.

Therefore, we must ask the question: How is this done?

Usually the company can group 6 technologies that bring them closer to that future:

1.Internet of Things

2.Additive Manufacturing, 3D Printing

3.Big Data

4.Artificial Intelligence

5.Collaborative Robotics

6.Virtual or Augmented Reality

It is almost an obligation to understand them and apply them with criteria and incorporate them into our day to day. We must have a clear vision and a plan of action.

IOT: (Internet of Things) The company can provide connectivity to the control panels, boilers and elements installed in plant, in order to gather as much information as possible, and that, remotely or locally, together with the analysis software, which allows them to interact, improve efficiency, plan better, and ultimately provide flexibility in the processes of our customers.

Big Data: The servers and services allow workers to process large amounts of data. The company can be specialized in integrations with ERP's and ultimately in data storage both in the cloud as well as locally and its subsequent exploitation.

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Dieffenbacher's first greenfield project on African soil provides an outstanding example of the extremely versatile applications of the CPS+: The Algerian family-owned company Panneauxd‘Algériehas commissioned Dieffenbacher SWPM to deliver a complete system for producing MDF panels at its site in El Tarf in the far northeast of the country.

The plant concept is designed specifically for smaller capacities. Here, the CPS+ proves that it can also be the ideal entry-level system for newcomers to the wood-based panel market and an economic alternative for easily replacing older single- or multi-opening presses in existing small-capacity plants.

Panneauxd‘Algérie is just such a newcomer. Although the parent company BIGSTAR has been active in the wood-based panel trade for many years, it has never produced its own materials. That is now set to change. “There is a rising demand for MDF boards in Algeria, and imports from other countries are becoming increasingly costly. We have been considering producing our own materials for a long time for this reason, and Dieffenbacher SWPM has given us the perfect concept to do so," explained Guelai Mohamed Chiheb, BIGSTAR CEO. BIGSTAR President Guelai Belkacimar added: "We've remained in contact since we first started thinking about having our own production line four years ago. We feel as if we've always received excellent advice. We've twice been able to visit the Dieffenbacher headquarters in Eppingen and get a first-hand experience of the outstanding work done there. We have great confidence in Dieffenbacher and Dieffenbacher SWPM, and we’re very pleased to have a working relationship with this long-standing family business."

The 6 ft wide, 14.5 m long CPS+ for BIGSTAR will be supplied from Eppingen. Dieffenbacher SWPM is responsible for the remainder of the scope of supply and for project management. The complete order includes the entire material preparation process, the refiner, the dryer, the forming station and the forming line. The complete raw board handling, including the diagonal saw, the star cooler and billet stacking right through to the short-cycle laminating line, is also part of the delivery scope.

The plant is designed to offer a production capacity of 250 m³ per day. Assembly will begin in the second quarter of 2018. The first board will be produced in Decemberof the same year.

 

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Another issue touched on in the FEP report is the challenge for real wood flooring from laminates and nonwood substitutes. The sheer scale of this challenge was made clear from data published in May 2017 for the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Federation for European Producers of Laminate Flooring (EPLF).

Laminate flooring composed of HDF with a high resolution printed image and embossed to provide texture has been substituting for hardwood flooring now for well over a decade.

However, the surface finishes continue to improve and have become so convincing that, as the FEP comments; “it is becoming increasingly difficult for consumers to differentiate parquet from competitive flooring alternatives with a wood look surface.”

In contrast to the generally static market for real wood flooring, EPLF members reported a 5.5% increase in sales in 2017. Sales by European laminate manufacturers, at 477 million sq.m last year, now dwarf those of the real wood flooring sector.

While EPLF members sales in Western Europe increased by only 0.5% in 2016, to 223 million m2, they increased 14% to 126 million m2 in Eastern Europe, with strong growth in Poland (+11%), Russia (+17%), Ukraine (+20%) and Romania (+27%),reports from ITTO.

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Yokohama, Japan: According to ITTO, the latest financial report of Accsys Technologies plc suggests that acetylated wood, often cited as a competitor to tropical wood in high exposure applications, is making slow headway in the European market. The Dutch-based modified wood producer recorded an 18 percent sales volume increase in the year ended March 31, 2017, but also a loss before tax of €4.4m (2016: €0.5m loss).

The 18 percent sales growth of Accoya acetylated wood saw volumes increased to 39,790 m3 in the year, with a 31 percent rise in the second half of the period. Sales by Medite of Tricoya panels have increased by 32 percent to 5,806 m3 last year.

Given the level of ambition for the accoya and tricoya products, these volumes are still quite restricted. Accsys claims that the potential market for Accoya and Tricoya exceeds 2.6 million m3 annually – a very large figure which implies the company has ambitions to capture a large share of the existing European market for timber in external applications and to expand into other regions.

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Yokohama, Japan: According to ITTO, after making gains last year, EU imports of tropical veneer have continued to rise in 2017, hitting 40,000 metric tonnes (MT) in the first quarter, a 15 percent increase compared to the same period in 2016. As in 2016, most gains were in imports from Gabon, which increased 28 percent to 21,700 MT in the first quarter of 2017.

EU veneer imports also increased from several smaller supplying countries including Congo (+18 percent to 2,900 MT), DRC (+187 percent to 1,400 MT) and Equatorial Guinea (+45 percent to 1,400 MT). However, imports declined from Côted'Ivoire (-19 percent to 6,600 MT), Cameroon (-1 percent to 3,000 MT), and Ghana (-12 percent to 1,500 MT).

EU imports of veneer from Gabon consist mainly of rotary okoumé veneer destined for plywood manufacturers in France. The EU market for decorative tropical hardwood veneers is benefitting to some extent from the slow recovery in EU furniture and joinery manufacturing activity.

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Biesse has a strong presence at the 2017 edition of the Ligna trade show in Hanover from May 22-26 with a stand covering more than 5000 square meters.     

It has attracted numerous visitors, customer delegations and journalists from all over the world at the event to let them participate in a virtual tour of the manufacturing facility and experience Biesse’s outstanding technological innovation. During the 5-day exhibition, the company has generated 45 million euros worth of incoming orders and the figures hit a record high.

“The layout of our stand was entirely based on the 4.0 concept" started Federico Broccoli, Division Director Wood/Sales & Branch Division Director. The concept of industry 4.0 is the current trend of automation and data exchange in manufacturing technologies and it's also the new industry frontier, based on advanced digital technologies and machines which speak to companies. Biesse devotes itself to transforming customers' working place into digital and real-time factories which can enable every customer benefit from the digital manufacturing opportunities. As Luca Amadei, the regional sales manager systems from Biesse mentioned:“We decided to make the best technology going with the concept of industry 4.0, and we are also trying to make the automatic factory affordable and simple, not luxury. We believe Biesse is the company for everybody, and every customer can get the solution from us.”

At the presence of the show, there are more than 40 fully-functioning technologies have been displayed for all sizes of companies that engaged in wood and other materials field. More than 300 experts at the Biesse stand who aims to help customers generate value from machines, get solutions to obtain high quality and customized products and discover the methods to develop a product which is both liked and appreciated through combining technology with humanistic wisdom.

This event has strengthened customers’ trust placed in the professionalism and reliability that the Biesse brand represents.  A great number of visitors from all sizes of manufacturing companies acquired the technologies contents on changing the ways to design and produce objects by using easier solutions which helps them improve productivity at lower costs effectively. 

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