interzum ended on 19 May 2017 with record results. A total of approximately 69,000 visitors from 152 countries attended the world’s largest trade fair for furniture production and interior construction between 16 and 19 May 2017. “It was the best interzum ever yet,” said Katharina C. Hamma, Chief Operating Officer of Koelnmesse GmbH, who is delighted with the results. “With this year’s interzum, we offered the industry a unique event. interzum has reached a new level with the rises in visitor figures, the growth in exhibitor numbers and the increase in floor space combined with measures to enhance the event’s quality,” said Ms Hamma. Some 1,732 exhibitors (2015: 1,537) from 60 countries presented their innovations at interzum 2017. Foreign exhibitors accounted for 79 per cent of the total.


More international visitors

interzum’s international reach is not only increasing amongst exhibitors. The trade fair also attracted growing numbers of international visitors. The proportion of foreign visitors rose to around 74 per cent (2015: 71 per cent). Overall, more than 51,000 visitors came from outside Germany. Within Europe, increases in visitor figures were recorded in particular from the Netherlands (up 26 per cent), Spain (up 25 per cent), Italy (up 20 per cent) and Eastern Europe (up 46 per cent). Visitor numbers from Poland and the United Kingdom also rose. Considerable increases were seen in visitors from Asia (up 53 per cent), the Middle East (up 25 per cent), Africa (up 17 per cent), Australia/Oceania (up 31 per cent), North America (up 26 per cent) and India (up 41 per cent).


Trends for tomorrow’s living spaces

This year interzum addressed some very exciting themes and ideas for trade visitors. It demonstrated that outstanding innovations in furniture production and interior construction are constantly being developed. New materials, technologies and design approaches were just some of the key areas that the trade fair focused on. The products on display ranged from fittings, surfaces and decors to textiles, glass and lighting all the way through to innovative materials. The wide-ranging special events at the trade fair examined global trends such as sustainability, digitalization and mobility. The special Mobile Spaces event area explored how a new understanding of mobility will influence vehicle interiors. With events such as this, interzum underscored its focus on groundbreaking ideas and highlighted their importance to exhibitors.

Many of the innovations presented in Cologne can be used in both stationary and mobile spaces.

interzum 2017 in numbers

Some 1,732 companies from 60 countries (2015: 1,537 companies from 58 countries) appeared at interzum 2017 on a gross exhibition space covering 187,400 m² (2015: 163,000 m²). This included 368 exhibitors from Germany (2015: 372 exhibitors) and 1,364 foreign exhibitors (2015: 1,165 exhibitors). Foreign exhibitors accounted for 79 per cent (2015: 76 per cent). Including estimates for the last day of the trade fair, 69,000 trade visitors from 152 countries (2015: 58,023 trade visitors from 143 countries) visited interzum, with foreign trade visitors accounting for approximately 74 per cent (2015: 71 per cent). *

The next interzum will take place from 21 – 24 May 2019 in Cologne, Germany.


Signing ceremony took place at Dieffenbacher’sLigna booth in Hanover


On the second day of Ligna 2017, Vietnam-based Thien Lam Dat JSC and Dieffenbacher sealed the deal for a complete MDF plant in BacGiang, about 50 km east of Hanoi.


“We began to plant fast-growing tree plantations with the objective of producing wood-based panels 11 years ago. During the years we have visited more than 30 plants in Europe to study the technology and find the right supplier for our project. This long journey consequently resulted in our partnership with Dieffenbacher, which we are very proud to announce today here at the Dieffenbacher booth,” said Mr. Dang Quoc Lich (Chairman of the Board, Thien Lam Dat JSC) during the signing ceremony. Mr. Christian Dieffenbacher (Member of the Board of Management, Dieffenbacher) added: “We are happy that all our efforts were rewarded. I am sure that it will be a very fruitful cooperation and that the new MDF plant will be a great success for Thien Lam Dat.”


According to Mr.Lich, it was very important for Thien Lam Dat that all of the equipment willbe manufactured in Europe. The core of the plant will be the CPS+ press system. The scope of supply includes the complete production line, from the wood yard throughthe strapping and packing line as well as an energy plant.


The raw material for the MDF production will come from Thien Lam Dat’s plantations and will be mostly acacia wood. Start-up of the plant is planned for mid-2018.


Image: Signing ceremony at Ligna 2017 in Hanover. From left: Christian Dieffenbacher (Member of the Board of Management, Dieffenbacher) and Dang Quoc Lich (Chairman of the Board, Thien Lam Dat JSC).


Dirk Eisenmann 

Head of Marketing and Communications

Tel. +49 (0) 72 62 65-224

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LIGNA 2017 had delivered big in terms of innovations and global appeal during May 22-26, with a significant increase in the number of exhibitors and visitors from abroad and new impetus for the wave of digitalization currently redefining the industry. It had attracted a total of 93,000 visitors, including some 42,000 attendees from outside Germany who had come to Hannover from more than 100 different countries.


Mega-theme Industry 4.0

Industry 4.0 concepts for the wood industry were the dominant theme at this year’s LIGNA, with major emphasis placed on digitalization, integration and automation.

Leader companies such as IMA, WEINIG, Wood-Mizer, Altendorf, Wemhoener, Dieffenbacher and Leuco introduced advanced new products and technologies through the fair. In line with the mega-theme of Industry 4.0, visitors were especially interested in the trend towards visualizing process and work steps.

In the HALL 11-13, the layout of Biesse’s stand was totally based on the concept of industry 4.0. With more than 40 technologies solutions and 300 experts on the spot, it help visitors to discover the advantages of digital factories and enable them benefit from the conditions offered by being Industry 4.0 ready. Customers can improve their production at lower costs. 


Innovation highlights

There have been many sparkling innovation results of woodworking industry displayed on Ligna which reflected current industry trends and delivered practical benefits for visitors. 


CERATIZIT team has shown the exciting innovation highlights on the exhibition. The cutting tools and tooling system they have offered can achieve improved surface quality in both hardwood and softwood machining. Besides, manufacturers gain a better cost-benefit ratio. Corrosion and oxidation resistance during cutting makes higher process reliability. 


In addition, as a renewable energy source, biomass has been used widely in the industry. But burning biomass releases carbon emissions even higher than burning coal. However, INNERGY-THE specialist in boilers and thermal plants in the wood sector, offers sustainable installations and smart solutions to generate energy from biomass with low emissions which is good for environment.


Using technology improve forestry

The key concepts underlying LIGNA are automation, efficiency and networked processes which are also applied to forestry. RIF, the institute for research on sustainable forest management developed the virtual forest which supports various processes that are essential for an efficient work in the forest. With the technologies and system developed for forest, date can be efficiently managed which is of benefit of collecting forest information just in time and making comprehensive forest plan.


New LIGNA layout

The new LIGNA layout was also well received by primary industry visitors, with the four thematic areas of Forestry Technology , Sawmill Technology , Wood-based Panel Production and Energy from Wood . The focus was on the production of wood as a raw material for products or energy generation, through the planning, felling and retrieval stages. The current state of the art on the use in forestry of UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles), or drones, proved a popular drawing card, along with the latest forest surveying processes.


The next LIGNA will turn on May 27-31, 2019.


According to Construction DIVE, the softwood lumber dispute, which had been fueled by speculation over the past few months, reached its first milestone of certainty in April, when the U.S. government announced an average 20% tariff on Canadian softwood lumber imports. Another set of taxes, in the form of antidumping duties, is expected by June 23.

The recent price increases driven by the looming tariffs could increase the cost of a new home by $3,600, according to the NAHB, while the U.S. Lumber Coalition puts forth a smaller figure, $400 on $6,000 in current lumber costs for a $350,000 house. Another challenge is supply: If Canadian mills look to other countries for their exports, U.S. homebuilders could face shortages unless domestic manufacturers ramp up their own production in time.   

Still, it could be as much as six months before the full impact of the new taxes is felt, since many builders negotiated deals in advance.

On the commercial side, material prices, and, subsequently, construction costs, are growing at a faster pace than what contractors are charging. Like the NAHB, the Associated General Contractors of America is requesting that legislators work to prevent international disputes that could impact material prices.


If Brazilian legislators approve the Provisional Measure MP 758/16 of December 2016 that changes the use limitations for protected areas such as the Jamanxim National Park and the Tapajós Environmental Protection Area. An area of around 1 million hectares could be at risk according to Braziian newspaper Valor Economico, reports from Valor. 

MP 758/16 aims to re-designate 862,000 hectares of forest in the Jamanxim National Park to allow railroad expansion to transport of soybeans from Mato Grosso to other states. Valor Economico reports that other proposed amendments could weaken protection of the Amazon; for example parts of the Jamanxim National Park could be redesignated as environmental protection areas (APAs). APAs are the most flexible type of conservation units in Brazil since they permit agriculture and mining in the areas. An amendment that re-designates around 170,000 hectares of the National Forest of Itaituba into an APA was recently approved.

Spokespersons from the Chico Mendes Institute for Biodiversity Conservation said they foresee an increase in deforestation in the Amazon If these decisions are implemented.


According to ITTO, for the first time ever a shipment of timber destined for China has been shipped from Jayapura, the capital of Papua. Papua is the largest and easternmost province of Indonesia and has borders with Papua New Guinea to the east and West Papua province to the west. (Papua was formerly called Irian Jaya).

Until now, shipments from Papua had go through Makassar in South Sulawesi, the nearest international port.

The central government has been urging the state-owned port operator to up-grade facilities as vessels at the port must be ‘geared’ as there are limited port cranes.

Papua Governor, Lukas Enembe, said as the port becomes better equipped and better known the Province will be able to attract investors to take advantage of the abundant natural resources in the Province.


Data released by the U.S. agencies show that American hardwood lumber global exports were up 10% in value and 11% in volume in 2016, with China the number one market accounting for over half of all shipments.  In Southeast Asia markets were steady with Vietnam importing 72% of all shipments to ASEAN countries by value.

Worldwide exports of hardwood lumber from the USA amounted to 3,916,336 M3 valued at almost $2.3 billion. Canada was the second largest market, making Vietnam the second largest outside North America.  Exports to Vietnam amounted to $157,324,361 – an increase of 2% on the previous year on a volume up 8%. Leading species was tulipwood (yellow poplar) which was up 41% in volume and 29% in value.  White and red oak, together with American black walnut, were the top four species, with a marked upward tendency in red oak. Other notable species were cherry, red alder, ash and maple. There was growth in shipments of hickory from a very small base, reflecting the increase in flooring production in Vietnam. Most specieshowever, except red oak, are not back to their peak year 2014, as shown in Table 1. 

Other markets in Southeast Asia were slightly down by 2-3% only, with Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia, Philippines and Singapore importing a further $60 million bringing the total for the ASEAN region to $217.7 million.  Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia were the 10th 11th and 12th global markets - all with white oak as their number one species accounting for 54%, 35% and 48% of U.S. hardwood lumber shipments respectively.   


American hardwood logs shipments globally were down 5% in value at $717.9 million but up 4% in volume at 2,069,422 M3.  All ASEAN markets reduced their imports of U.S. logs, except Thailand, although volumes are already significantly lower than hardwood sawn lumber from the USA as shown in table 3.


A report of the Vietnam Administration of Forestry (VAF) showed that Vietnam exported $7.3 billion worth of timber, non-timber forestry and wooden furniture products in 2016, according to Vietnamnet.

This included $5.12 billion worth of wooden furniture exports, an increase of 7.1 percent compared with the year before.

This was the first time that export turnover witnessed the one-digit growth rate. 

However, the achievement was still encouraging in the context of the decrease in Europe’s imports and China’s lower woodchip consumption (just equal to 61 percent of 2015).

According to the Handicraft and Wood Industry Association of HCMC deputy chair Huynh Van Hanh, Vietnam’s export markets may expand this year thanks to free trade agreements and higher demand from the US and Japan.

The US is an important market for Vietnam as it is both an input material supplier and consumer. Vietnam exports $2 billion worth of wooden products to the US each year. 

Exports to the US have been increasing steadily after the Vietnam-US Trade Agreement took effect under which the tariffs have been cut sharply from 50 percent to very low rates, and to zero percent on some products. 

Meanwhile, Chinese wooden exports to the US are undergoing an anti-dumping investigation. As a result, Chinese export turnover to the $30 billion market has decreased considerably, especially in interior products.


According to Hills News, people are increasingly turning to custom-made pieces to bring their interior design vision to life.

Creating personalised pieces for the home was once a luxury reserved for those with deep pockets.

But the rise of local Australian manufacturers specialising in custom-made furniture means supplier and freight costs are low. 

Rob Santalucia, General manager of Focus on Furniture, suggests the consumer trend can be attributed to the popularity of Pinterest and home renovating shows over the past decade. 

“Customers are researching styles and designs that suit their homes and they often know what they are looking for because they have so many ideas at their disposal,” he said.

There are some easy ways to get the most out of your custom-made experience. 

Working with a local manufacturer rather than interstate usually affords more creative control.

Function should always come before form when designing your piece.

Create a moodboard for your manufacturer, including fabric samples, magazine cut outs or sketches.

Consider working with a manufacturer in upcycling a vintage find rather than having one made from scratch for a custom piece for less.

Choosing to work with sustainable materials like recycled timber can leave you with more than just a clear conscience – it means you end up with a one-of-a-kind piece of furniture with a rich history behind it. 


According to ITTO, China’s log imports in 2016 totalled 48.73 million cubic metres valued at US$8.082 billion, a year-on-year increase of nine percent in volume and 0.3 percent in value. 

The average price for imported logs was US$166 per cubic metre, a year on year decline of eight percent.

Of total log imports, 2016 softwood log imports rose 13 percent to 34 million cubic metres, accounting for 70 percent of the national total. The average price for imported softwood logs was US$121 per cubic metre, down slightly on levels in 2015.

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