On February 7, 2018, Chinese wood-based panel manufacturer Anhui Huaining County Kelin Wood Industry Co. Ltd. produced the first board on its new Dieffenbacher particleboard plant. Acceptance of the plant took place on May 4, two months prior to the contractually agreed date.

 

"The smooth installation and commissioning by Dieffenbacher enabled us to start full-load production significantly earlier than planned,” said Anhui Kelin chairman Zhu Jiake. "This early acceptance is a prime example of the good cooperation between Anhui Kelin and Dieffenbacher," added Dieffenbacher project manager Stefan Hellmich.

 

The new plant in Anqing, in the Chinese province of Anhui, is designed to produce almost 1,000 m³ of particleboard per day. It produces boards with a width of 2,100 to 2,480 mm and a thickness of 6 to 38 mm.

 

   

Image: Anhui Kelin's new particleboard plant in Anqing, China.

 

Markus Trame 

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According to Laver, the world’s lightest plywood is now available in the UK for the first time and is immediately proving popular with a vast range of users, from luxury yacht and motorhome builders through to packaging manufacturers and furniture producers.

The product, known as Banova Plus, is being sold exclusively by Arnold Laver.  It features an innovative design that combines a balsa core with lightweight hardwood surfaces, to create a product that typically weighs half as much as conventional plywood, whilst being just a strong and robust.

In addition, Banova Superflex is an extremely flexible variation of the product that features a textile layer that can be easily formed to create curved shapes.

Banova is manufactured by German company 3A Composites GmbH, using FSC certified wood from responsible sources, and features low emission values.  Both the Plus and Superflex products are available in a variety of thicknesses from 9mm to 50mm and formats that range from 1220mm x 2440mm up to 1220mm x 3050mm.

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After five years of continuous growth between 2009 and 2014, EU wood flooring exports declined slightly in 2015, by 1.7 percent to 21.1 million sq.m. However, growth resumed in the first six months of 2016 and exports rose by 9 percent to 11.2 million sq.m, reports from ITTO. 

The downward trend in exports to Switzerland and Norway in 2015 was reversed in the first six months of 2016.

After making significant gains in 2015, EU wood flooring exports continued to increase rapidly to the USA (+23 percent) and China (+154 percent) in the first six months of 2016. However, some of the gains made by EU wood flooring products in the Turkish and Canadian markets in 2015 were lost during the first half of 2016. Exports also declined to Russia during the same period.

In summarising their latest market statement, published in June 2016, FEP were reasonably positive about future prospects for Europe’s wood flooring sector. They noted that “after several years of hardship for the European Parquet Producers and the overall negative developments in both consumption and production, the sky has cleared somewhat.

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According to FEDNAV, Australia’s forestry sector continues to go from strength to strength, based on a report released on 24 May by the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES).

ABARES Executive Director, Steve Hatfield-Dodds said that the Australian forest and wood products statistics – September and December quarters 2017 – shows the volume of logs harvested reached record levels in 2016 - 2017 exceeds 33 million m3, up 10 percent on the year.

“In 2016 - 2017, the value of total logs harvested was up 13 per cent to $2.6 billion, driven by a record hardwood and softwood commercial plantation harvest of 29 million m3,” Dr Hatfield-Dodds said.

“Commercial plantation logs now comprise 87 percent of Australia’s total log harvest, up 19 percent over the decade.

“The volume of logs harvested from the hardwood plantation estate more than doubled since 2012 - 2013, increasing to 11 million m3 in 2016 - 2017 from 5 million m3 in 2012 - 2013.

“Hardwood commercial plantations are grown predominantly for pulpwood to meet growing export demand for woodchip, which remain Australia’s largest wood product export by value.

“In 2016 - 2017 exports were also at record highs, up 11 percent on the back of strong volume growth in woodchip. Roundwood is up 17 percent and paper paperboard up 10 percent, with exports of both growing strongly since 2012 - 2013.

“The record 2016 - 2017 log harvest was also supported by Australia’s wood processing industries. Softwood sawnwood output increased by three percent, while production of wood-based panels and paper and paperboard grew more modestly.”

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"Bringing innovation to the customer care system - This is the ambitious goal with which Biesse faces today's market. The company's desire is to go beyond the customary, to do more than simply sell a machine or a system, but rather to facilitate a complete experience that generates value for our customers," says Stefano Porcellini, CEO of the Group.

 

The vision remains the same, but day after day, it becomes increasingly concrete and tangible: Think Forward, creating innovation through integrated solutions that are sophisticated but easy to use, allowing you to produce more, better, and at a lower cost. A philosophy that fits perfectly into the revolution that characterises the modern era, driving forward towards the creation of Industry 4.0, the growing trend for industrial automation that integrates new production technologies in order to improve working conditions and increase plant productivity.

 

And within this vision comes SOPHIA, the IoT platform by Biesse, developed in collaboration with ACCENTURE, which enables its customers to access a wide range of services to streamline and rationalise their work management processes.

 

Over the past five months, IoT-connected machines have registered a 60% growth in productivity and the platform has highlighted that Biesse has handled more than 2,000,000 events of various types.

 

"The results registered over these first few months demonstrate how the services we offer our customers help increase the operating time of a machine and promote a proactive approach by reducing diagnostic times by 80%," states Stefano Calestani, the Group's Service Innovation Director. "It may have only been on the market a short while but SOPHIA is improving the quality of relations with customers who have benefited from using the tool. It is a quick and decisive support, which minimises waiting times previously required to deal with problems, and responds with effective and immediate solutions. This is the substantial opportunity SOPHIA offers our customers" Calestani continues.

 

The key value of Sophia is its predictive nature: the ability to anticipate issues and identify solutions to resolve these, thus reducing downtime. Biesse takes proactive steps to contact the customer before a problem can manifest, reducing inefficient wasted time. SOPHIA goes far beyond this. This solution is inspired by Biesse's desire to accompany its customers through a process of growth that enables the optimisation of all major assets - technological, strategic, organisational and human.

 

Reductions in production times, lower costs, no machine downtime, optimised production process, increased productivity, superior quality of daily work (thanks to tools that facilitate and speed up all operations and interactions with Biesse): these are just some of the benefits that SOPHIA can offer, and the advantages associated with this technology are only set to grow, in view of the ambitious platform development plans that the company has for the coming years.

 

WHAT IS SOPHIA?

SOPHIA is a digital platform that provides users with access to more machine information and initiates concrete actions to optimise performance and monitor the quality of the work produced, anticipating the causes of faults and providing clear solutions to resolve any anomalies. The data gathered and analysed by artificial intelligence is transformed into useful data to help optimise customer production and product quality, providing extremely valuable opportunities for growth. This information also provides customers with tools to prevent problems that could damage production. Thanks to SOPHIA, Biesse can take proactive steps to contact customers, reducing machine stoppages and inefficient time-wasting.

 

GREATER SECURITY

The flow of data is developed solely by the machine to network, never the other way around. 

 

WORLDWIDE COVERAGE

Biesse's entire global service network is interconnected and has access to the SOPHIA web portal, ensuring customers all over the world receive quick and decisive responses and solutions. Through this tool Biesse technicians are able to constantly monitor possible problems, generating in real-time the solutions required to solve them.

 

QUICK PROGRAMME INSTALLATION

Distribution of the SOPHIA loT SOFTWARE is extremely straightforward and rapid. It takes place through a dedicated function on an app called Software Distribution Manager, which, through a protected mode, directly sends the specific software package to the machine.

 

NEW FUNCTIONS – IoT and PARTS

The platform consists of two powerful areas: IoT and Parts, integrated with each other. These are connected to two apps that provide customers with easy access to SOPHIA's capabilities.

 

The IoT - SOPHIA application provides the customer with full visibility of the production status of their machines, with performance parameters summarised historically and an overview of the machines in operation. Where a machine stoppage occurs, the corresponding ID code is displayed, with the relevant details if the assistance operations have already been taken over by the Biesse Service Team.

 

Parts – SOPHIA provides customers with the opportunity to browse through the documentation for the machines they own, enabling them to create a spare parts basket and monitor the progress of their orders via an easy, intuitive and fully customised tool.

 

This is just the beginning of a project with a host of revolutionary features, a tool that will prove indispensable in achieving maximum efficiency in working environments. Biesse strongly believes in the potential of SOPHIA, and has invested - and will continue to invest - in the creation products and services in subsidiaries and headquarters that are designed to foster the growth and evolution of new 4.0 manufacturing processes. 

 

Biesse Group Asia is hosting its open house in its permanent Kuala Lumpur tech centre on 27th to 29th June with an array of specially-selected technologies for live demonstrations. In addition, there will be a dedicated seminar and demonstration on SOPHIA. Contact Biesse’s local team in Asia at Enquiry.Asia@biesse for more information.

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According to ITTO, the EU imported 2.04 million cu.m of sawn hardwood from outside the region in 2017, 13 percent less than the previous year.

EU imports of tropical sawn hardwood were 875,000 cu.m in 2017, which is 18 percent less than the previous year. Imports of tropical sawn hardwood last year were the lowest ever recorded by the EU, below the previous low of 930,000 cu.m in 2013 during the euro-zone crises and only around a third of the level prevailing before the global financial crises.

The value of EU imports of tropical sawn timber decreased by 16 percent to €653 million in 2017. The average unit value of tropical sawn hardwood imports into the EU in 2017 was €746 per cubic meter, up from €728 per cubic meter the previous year.

In 2017, EU imports of temperate sawn hardwood fell by 8 percent to 1.16 million cu.m. The more rapid pace of decline imports from the tropics meant that the share of tropical in total EU sawn hardwood imports fell from 46 percent in 2016 to 43 percent in 2017, an acceleration in the long term downward trend.

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According to the data from China’s Customs the value of wood products trade between China and the USA fell 16 percent to US$1,90 million in March 2018. China's imports dropped 5 percent to US$840 million while exports declined 23 percent to US$1,050 million.

However, the value of wood products trade between China and the USA in the first three months of 2018 rose about 9 percent to US$6.26 billion, China’s imports increased about 6 percent to US$2.28 billion while exports value grew 10 percent to US$3.98 billion.

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A report from the General Department of Customs (GDC) showed that export turnover of all woodwork items in the first four months of the year increased significantly.

Vietnam exported $680 million worth of products in April and $2.6 billion in the first four months of 2018, an increase of 9 percent over the same period last year.

Wooden furniture manufacturers expect another prosperous year in 2018 as demand is predicted to continue to increase globally.

According to Nguyen Ton Quyen, deputy chair of the Vietnam Timber and Forest Product Association (Vifores), the target of $9 billion turnover this year is within reach. However, to obtain such high export turnover, Vietnam would need a large amount of materials.

The agriculture ministry reported that by the end of April 2018, Vietnam had imported $698 million worth of timber materials, up by 2.5 percent compared with the same period last year. 

It is estimated that for every $1 billion worth of increased export turnover, the material needed would be 3.5 million cubic meters. Meanwhile, domestic sources (planted forests) can only satisfy 10-15 percent of demand.

Every year, Vietnam collects 18-19 million cubic meters of timber, but only 2-3 million cubic meters can be used to make wooden furniture, while the rest are chips for artificial boards.

To solve the material shortage, Vifores has proposed the state restrict material exports, especially chips which can be used for other work. It has also suggested fully exploiting domestic materials such as rubber wood and fruit tree wood.

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Popular woodworking machinery from MOReTENs AB is now available through Wood- Mizer's global distribution network.

Wood-Mizer has acquired the Swedish company, MOReTENs AB, placing a full range of popular 4-sided moulders, planers, table saws, spindle moulders, planer/thicknessers and CNC routers into Wood-Mizer’s globally available product range.

Founded in 1980, MOReTENs designs and manufactures a popular range of woodworking machinery which includes four-sided moulder/planer combination models, spindle moulders, and a workshop table saw. In addition, MOReTENs also supplies high-end, CNC-controlled routers and log home building machinery.

“Throughout our history, Wood-Mizer has been committed to providing the best quality equipment to process logs into finished wood products,” said Wood-Mizer President and CEO Richard Vivers. “The affordable and versatile moulder and planer product lines from MOReTENs have been proven worldwide for decades, and are now backed by the high-quality service and support network customers expect from Wood-Mizer.”

The founder and owner of MOReTENs, Bo Mårtensson has joined Wood-Mizer as the General Director of the factory in Ostersund, Sweden. The factory in Sweden marks Wood-Mizer’s fifth manufacturing plant throughout the world including three facilities in the USA and one in Poland.

“Many years ago, I was a young engineer with carpentry experience when I started MOReTENs and began building woodworking machinery,” said Bo Mårtensson. “I’m proud to see my products in workshops worldwide, and now we are very pleased to be joining the Wood-Mizer team, which will see our existing products being available to a much wider customer base and will also accelerate our capability to introduce new products to meet our customers’ needs.”

Beginning in March 2018, Wood-Mizer will offer the new range of moulders/planers through their distribution network. The latest acquisition of MOReTENs builds on Wood-Mizer's position as a worldwide manufacturer and supplier of narrow band sawmills, now offering a full range of equipment that can seamlessly convert logs into dried lumber and finally into finished wood products - all backed by Wood-Mizer's expertise and commitment to excellent customer service.

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The booming housing economy and furniture manufacturing, and even demand for whiskey are all affecting the surge in hardwood exports to North Asia markets. One in three boards coming off the production line is destined for the People’s Republic of China. Companies nationwide are supplying a variety of hardwood species to customers in China, Korea and Japan.

One third of the U.S. is forested area accounting for 751 million acres, which is second only to Russia’s 766 million acres. In 2017, the U.S. value of industry shipments of wood was $95 billion. Asia markets are depending on a sustainable source of temperate hardwood (ash, cherry, maple, oak, walnut) and the U.S. can increase exports because of careful management of its forests. In fact, the U.S. grows more hardwood each year than it harvests for reliable supplies, according to United Kingdom based International Timber. Moreover, the American Hardwood Export Council (AHEC) confirmed to the AJOT that the U.S. surpassed Russia as the top temperate hardwood exporter to China.

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