Editor’s pickFor DIEFFENBACHER, diversification is key
DIEFFENBACHER,woodworking,machinery,APAC,ASEAN,Southeast Asia,markets,Holger Ries,Area Sales Directo
In the past two years, DIEFFENBACHER has observed shifts in the Asian Pacific market, as manufacturers in the wood industry sought ways to avoid colliding head-on with challenges brought about by world events such as the U.S.- China trade war and an impending economic slowdown.
PFA speaks to Holger Ries, DIEFFENBACHER's Area Sales Director in Southeast Asia, to find out more.
Holger Ries, DIEFFENBACHER‘s Area Sales Director in Southeast Asia
"Diversification" was the word chosen by Ries when asked to describe the APAC market in 2018 and the first half of 2019.
Diversification, indeed, makes good sense, given the uncertainty and nervousness surrounding the APAC market following the trade war. Besides, trends rise and fall; products being manufactured change as market demands and tastes evolve or reach a saturation point.
“China, for example, already has a large amount of MDF(Medium Density Fibreboard) capacity. Customers are now searching for new products with which to diversify their product range. Driven by competition, there is a simultaneous need to improve plant efficiencies to reduce unit cost and boost Return On Investment (ROI) through better technologies,” Ries explained.
TOP PERFORMING MARKETS AND PRODUCTS IN ASIA
For DIEFFENBACHER, China and Thailand were the top performing market in 2018, followed by Vietnam and Malaysia sharing third place. “In China, we sold seven new 8 feet and 9 feet wide wood-based panel plants in the past year,” said Ries.
“In general, we saw an increase in new plant orders that include the traditional core package of a forming station and continuous press but also a lot of other equipment such as wood yard and size-reduction technology, sorting and cleaning solutions, energy systems, dryers and gluing systems, environmental technology and handling and finishing equipment.”
“Beyond that, it strongly depends on the region. With the introduction of Super Particleboard and Fine OSB to the Chinese market a range of key equipment in the preparation and forming areas were the top sellers. These include special MAIER Maxi Strand Flakers, new drum blenders and specialised forming systems, followed by innovative prepressing, mat preheating and compacting equipment,” he explained.
As for Southeast Asia, Ries said that the company has seen a CPS+ boom, adding eight orders since LIGNA 2015 for their newest generation continuous press for THDF(Thin High Density Fibreboard) and particleboard lines. Additionally, the latest version of the Z-Sifter for rubberwood fibres with high-sifting efficiency and low-power consumption is another bestseller in the region. Eight of these “rubberwood specialists” have been sold for new plant projects as well as replacements and modernisations during the same period.
DIEFFENBACHER Z-Sifter – The rubberwood specialist
TRENDS IN ASIA
Ries shared his observations on the products that he suggested to be trending in Asia:
• THDF boards
“ The demand for THDF boards seems to be constantly growing throughout all of Asia, and we are fortunate to be at the forefront of this trend.
The combination of CPS+ and our powerful prepress works so reliably that no additional equipment is required to produce ultrathin boards, even at the highest production speeds. The result is a high surface density, which makes it possible, for example, to achieve significant savings during direct painting.”
• Oriented Strand Board
“In Southeast Asia, Oriented Strand Board (OSB) is another trend. The first continuous OSB line in the region was successfully started by DIEFFENBACHER in Malaysia in 2015.
“Recently, Vanachai ordered a 32-metre long, 6-metre diameter drum dryer, a wet strand bin and automation of the front-end from the debarker to the strander for their new OSB plant in Thailand.”
• Super Particleboard with slender core layer flakes
“There is also increasing demand in Southeast Asia and China for Super Particleboard with slender core layer flakes produced by special MAIER Kinfe Ring Flakers with FlowOptimizer technology”
• Fine OSB and Straw-based panels
“In China, Fine OSB and straw-based panels are other trends for which customers strongly rely on DIEFFENBACHER solutions. Wanhua, for example, has ordered six straw-based particleboard plants, and two additional projects are planned. In the coming years, we will help Wanhua use straw content to produce MDF and Fine OSB.”
As the coming year promises to be fraught with challenges, DIEFFENBACHER chooses different strategies for different regions of Asia. Diversification is key.
“The APAC market is so big that there is no universal strategy for the entire region. In Southeast Asia, our goal is to provide our customers with solutions that help them gain a decisive edge in day-to-day competition. In China, our focus is on innovative technology to meet the growing demand for diversification, e.g., different panel types such as THDF, Super Particleboard, Fine OSB and alternative raw materials. ‘ Value for money’ is demanded everywhere, but it’s a strategy that especially applies to the Indian subcontinent,” said Ries.
“Looking further ahead—in Asia and throughout the world—we want to collaborate with our customers and partners on what’s next, whether that’s finding a substitute for fresh wood, complying with new environmental regulations, or digitalisation,” he remarked. ℗
(All images are credited to DIEFFENBACHER.)
* This article was first published in the NovDec 2019 issue of Panels & Furniture Asia.