SOPHIA and the robotic panel handling systems will be in the spotlight at the Biesse stand at Xylexpo, the 26th biennial global trade fair for technologies for machining wood and furniture industry components, set to take place in Milan from 8 to 12 May 2018.

Today, SOPHIA, the Biesse service platform, is a real tool which provides users with an efficient working method, enabling them to tackle everyday challenges, prevent future issues and improve their standards.

The speed with which SOPHIA is being adopted in the production sector is a strong indicator of the significant benefits that customers are enjoying first hand.

The rapid evolution of the platform and the constant expansion of the functionalities it offers in a short space of time, coupled with the clear investment planned for the next few years, demonstrate Biesse's awareness of the current and future potential of SOPHIA, and its desire to offer customers a production method that can optimise both processes and economic activities in real time, reducing the consumption of all types of resources.

The platform is based on the ability to send real-time information and data on the technologies in use, optimising the performance and productivity of machines and systems. The data collected enables the production process and machine functions to be analysed in detail, detecting malfunctions, assisting customers in maintenance operations, ordering replacement parts in less time and ultimately preventing faults.

The platform consists of two powerful areas, IoT and Parts. The corresponding applications, IoT SOPHIA and Parts SOPHIA, are already available to download for both Apple and Android devices, and Biesse customers with connected machines are already benefiting from these.

Indeed, 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, meanwhile, 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.

Visitors to Xylexpo will be able to take a closer look at how SOPHIA revolutionises production and simplifies the work of companies every day. But that's not all. The Biesse stand will also provide all those present with a demonstration of the company's ability to transform production processes, courtesy of the high performance handling solutions it offers.

The established success of Biesse in the design and production of systems and solutions is confirmed by the fact that the company has achieved the revenue objectives set out in the three-year plan a year ahead of schedule, with more than 100 projects competed in a single year. But the spirit of innovation that characterises Biesse does not stop here, taking a huge leap forward in the evolution of the robotic panel handling systems. At Xylexpo, 3 different integrated processes with 4 robots will be on display, offering unrivalled levels of system customisation and flexibility, two key requirements in the world of production today.

A total of 30 functioning machines will be exhibited within the 3500 square metres occupied by the Biesse stand, where visitors to Xylexpo will also be able to take a closer look at the technologies that interest them, with the help of highly specialised technical staff.

"Biesse's ability to create digital, automated and interconnected factories has become a reality. We are attending Xylexpo with the desire to communicate the results of our investments to the entire manufacturing sector, demonstrating the concrete advantages that our customers enjoy every day", declares Raphaël Prati, Director of Marketing and Communications for Biesse Group.

"We stand by the side of our customers during every phase of their daily work, disseminating the culture of the digital and automated factory across the world of manufacturing and explaining which levers can lead to extensive margins for growth, whilst providing excellent opportunities to enhance their businesses. This is why we plan to attend several key events throughout the year, to raise awareness of the opportunities we offer our customers. The first of these is the internal 2018 Back to Business event, which will take place at the Pesaro HQ from 25 to 27 January", confirms Federico Broccoli, Biesse Wood Division Director/Sales - Subsidiaries Division Director.


Hardwood plywood imports grew strongly in October before declining again in November 2017 according to ITTO. 

Not surprisingly imports from China were significantly down because of the US antidumping and countervailing duties on plywood from China. Year-to-date plywood imports from China were 24 percent lower than in November 2016.

All other major plywood suppliers shipped more to the US year-to-date compared to the same time last year. Despite the increase in imports from Indonesia, Malaysia, Ecuador and others, the total volume of US hardwood plywood imports was five percent lower year-to-date than in November last year.


The construction product manufacturing industry in the UK is expected to slow this year, the State of Trade Survey for the fourth quarter of 2017 by the UK’s Construction Products Association (CPA) has forecast, reports from Construction Europe.

The CPA said the survey results for the £56.5 billion (€63.92 billion) sector showed activity was expected to weaken this year as inflation continued to rise, economic growth slowed, and the UK’s post-Brexit deal still remained unclear.

It said it was likely the first half of 2017 had been a peak for the industry, with the survey reporting early signs of activity slowing in the final three months of 2017. It added that construction product manufacturers were envisaging a broader softening in market conditions during 2018.


According to ITTO, the cyclical trend in bedroom furniture imports has once again been repeated in 2017. After peaking in the spring, Japan’s imports of wooden bedroom furniture traditionally drop back in the months to year end only to pick up once again.

While the trend in bedroom furniture imports is following a familiar pattern this is not the case with wooded kitchen furniture. After moving within a narrow range for the past 2-3 years in the second half of 2017 imports of wooden kitchen furniture have surged. This could be partly the result of the flood of cash into buy-to-rent properties in Japan, a tactic used to minimise inheritance taxes by the wealthy.


Visit Southeast Asia’s biggest furniture trade show as it gets even bigger and better in 2018. The Malaysian International Furniture Fair (MIFF) is a global market place renowned for high quality home and office products for every taste and budget. Discover the largest collection of Malaysia’s famous wood furniture under one roof. Come to where 20,000 furniture professionals from over 140 countries and regions procure their stocks every year from March 8-11.

Get a new sourcing experience at the 2018 show that is 25% bigger across 100,000 sqm in two venues -- the brand new Malaysia International Trade and Exhibition Centre (MITEC) and Putra World Trade Centre (PWTC).

MIFF is transitioning with a brand new concept “Design Connects People”, with more exciting new segments to give you abundant choices of new collections, selections and materials. Truly the only market place you need to grow your business. Visit for more details.


The fastest increase in major wood products (industrial roundwood, sawnwood, wood-based panels, wood pellets) occurred in Asia-Pacific, Northern America and Europe driven by positive economic growth, new manufacturing capacities in Eastern Europe, particularly for particleboard and Oriented Strand Board (OSB), as well as growing demand for bioenergy.

According to ITTO, globally production of all major products gradually recovered in 2010-2016 from the economic crisis of 2008-2009," said Mats Nordberg, FAO Senior Forestry Officer. In 2016, the growth pace in the wood sector doubled compared to the previous year, and this positive trend is likely to continue through 2017-2018 due to global economic development and higher demand for renewable energy.


Considerable growth in exports to the UK and Japan helped to boost Canada’s pellet exports by 46 percent to around 2.373mt in 2016 reported by EUWID. 

According to a recent analysis by the Canadian National Energy Board, the exports to buyers in the UK were raised by 38 percent to 1.664m t, which equates to a share of 70 percent of the total exports. A total of 272,376 t had been exported to Japan the year before. Owing to the more than threefold increase in exports against 2015, Japan took over from the USA as the second-biggest recipient of Canadian pellets. 169,930 t were exported to buyers in the neighbouring country, roughly 17 percent less than the year before.


According to ITTO, the EU has maintained a trade surplus in wood furniture since 2011 when exports to non-EU countries overtook imports from outside the EU. This surplus remained broadly flat between the start of 2015 and the first quarter of 2016 (averaging close to euro3 billion per annum), as both imports and exports were stable.

However, the trade surplus narrowed sharply in the second and third quarters of 2017 (to around euro2.6 billion per annum) as imports began to pick up. 

The narrowing of the EU trade surplus is an encouraging sign for external suppliers of wood furniture into the EU that have struggled to compete in a market where domestic suppliers account for around 85 percent of total share.


The Indiana Hardwood Cross Laminated Timber project will explore the creation of a new value-added timber product by upcycling low-value hardwood sawn logs that are extracted from Hoosier National and INDR forests lands during salvage harvests. This low-value hardwood would be used to create hardwood Cross Laminated Timber (CLT), which can then be used as a primary structural material for mid- to high-rise buildings. Through material research and a built demonstration, this project will prove that a new timber market can be created in Indiana as well as the American Mid-west region, resulting in positive growth in rural manufacturing and forestry jobs, more responsible forest management practices, and a reduction in wildfire hazards.

Hardwood timber is the largest cash crop in Indiana with an average of 80 million cubic feet extracted annually over the last 25 years. However, over 50 percent of this material goes to producing low-value industrial products. This low-value resource represents an immense material supply that can be reassessed and optimized for higher-value use in the building material market in the form of CLT. The production and material properties of CLT effectively counter every reason that relegates this resource to be low-value in the current marketplace. By redirecting harvesting, processing, and production streams of this existing resource, a new timber product market can emerge. Hardwood CLT can offer superior structural capacity compared to traditional softwood CLT. Also, with rising global temperatures, softwoods are increasingly prone to threats by insect infestation and disease. By focusing on creating mixed hardwood species assembly CLT rather than the traditional single species CLT, a larger pool of material stock can be accessed, resulting in larger product yields as well as more diverse sylvicultural practices within Indiana forestlands.

Custom CLT layups, per APA PRG320 Section 7.2.1, would have similar strength properties (gravity in range .5-.6 and E-modulus around 1.7) and glue characteristics meeting species grouping and grading rules for hardwoods per AITC 119 listing Ash, Beech, Oak and Hickory in Group A and Maple in Groups B and D, which together account for nearly 60 percent of hardwood extracted from Indiana forest lands. The proposed assembles would explore the use of higher-grade lumber in the major strength direction (parallel lamellas) and lower quality lumber in the cores or minor strength direction (perpendicular lamellas). By changing the grade and species of wood, the layup of the individual component boards, and the type and approach of adhesive technologies, the project aims to optimize CLT products so that it can be used for a wider range of applications compared to traditional CLT.

In partnership with the Indiana Hardwood Lumberman’s Association as well as with officials from the Indiana National forests, the project will utilize specific native species that are within strength properties suitable for CLT as primary structure for large-scale buildings. The material will be processed in Indiana mills and transported to our fabrication partner Smartlam, where a series of mix-species assemblies will be laminated. The assemblies will then be brought to Clemson University’s Wood Utilization + Design Institute where, with the assistance of structural engineering partner Bensonwood, the structural qualities of the various assemblies will be evaluated. This will help determine layup configurations that have potential for commercial market applications and can be utilized for the Demonstration Project.

The Demonstration Project will be constructed in the city of Columbus, Indiana, where it will be displayed in the city’s main plaza during the 2017 Columbus Design Biennial, Exhibit Columbus. During the 3 to 6 month period of the Biennial, the hardwood CLT structure will be monitored and evaluated. The design of the Demonstration Project has already been approved for construction by Exhibit Columbus officials and the city. It will be prominently featured in numerous media outlets and publications, bringing significant attention to mass timber construction to a large public audience and educating elected officials, developers, engineering firms, and business in the benefits of using wood as a structural material in large buildings. At the completion of the Demonstration Project’s testing period, additional product testing will occur with the objective of PRG320 compliance and APA product approval in 2018.

The Indiana Hardwood Cross Laminated Timber Project aims to promote the use of Indiana hardwood as a viable and robust structural building material and to increase the demand and value of wood products already harvested from national forests within the state. This could also result in the expansion of specialty wood product markets such as wood composites, grade lumber, and framing/furniture manufacturing. In addition to benefiting local, state, and regional economies in the form of jobs and saleable products, this untapped opportunity to boost demand and value for national forestland products would provide significant revenue for the US Forest Service, allowing for continued forest restoration and management, which would in turn improve forest health, reduce fuels in wildland-urban interface zones, and improve wildlife habitats.


According to ITTO, in contrast demand for American hardwoods remains are steady driven by interest in white oak, ash and walnut. High end furniture manufacturers seem to have enough work for the time being.

Over the past few weeks traders report some improved activity in the meranti market but this comes at a time when consumption had fallen very low so all that can be said is that there has been a modest recovery. A similar change has been seen in the iroko market.

As buyers look to cut costs demand for Saligna (eucalyptus) has also perked up especially as an alternative to native hardwoods.

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