Panels & Furniture Asia Nov/Dec 2019

PANELS & FURNITURE ASIA • Issue 6 • November / December 2019 IN PERSON 27 FOR DIEFFENBACHER, DIVERSIFICATION IS KEY In the past two years, DIEFFENBACHER has observed shifts in the Asian Pacificmarket, asmanufacturers 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. "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, product trends rise and fall 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 CPS+ | The gold standard for efficient continuous press systems Holger Ries, DIEFFENBACHER‘s Area Sales Director in Southeast Asia By Szeto Hiu Yan