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Hardwood processing in Germany

Challenges and opportunities for the wood based panel industry
: Berthold, D.; Meinlschmidt, P.; Ritter, N.

Möttönen, Veikko (Ed.) ; Natural Resources Institute Finland, Helsinki:
6th International Scientific Conference on Hardwood Processing, ISCHP 2017. Proceedings : 25.-28.09.2017, Lahti, Finland
Helsinki: Natural Resources Institute Finland, 2017 (Natural Resources and Bioeconomy Studies 80/2017)
ISBN: 978-952-326-509-7
International Scientific Conference on Hardwood Processing (ISCHP) <6, 2017, Lahti>
Fraunhofer WKI ()

In Europe, the wood products industry is primarily based on raw material from softwood species like spruce and pine. The high expansion of production capacities for wooden products and the shift in forest management (i.e., enhancement of hardwood and reduction of softwood stands) results in an increasing demand for softwood and in supply shortfalls and rising of softwood timber prices. On the other hand, hardwood species like beech or birch with high stocks in the European forests are hardly used for products with high added value. Consequently, the amount of hardwood forests has increased so that now, in Europe, almost 50% of forests are covered with hardwood species. Thus, there is need for new ways to use hardwood for high added value products. Besides flooring, stairs, doors, and high-end furniture from solid hardwood, plywood was an important way to use hardwood for advanced products. However, plywood lost most of its market share for furniture and even for house construction due to the competition by Oriented Strand Boards (OSB), Particle Boards (PB) and Medium Density Fibre Boards (MDF). In the view of price competitiveness, the future of plywood production will rely mostly on hardwood. The European hardwood species are ecologically advantageous and are in many cases a more economical choice than tropical hardwood species. Both new product innovations as well as new fields of application are necessary to improve the situation of the plywood industry which has not been profitable during the past 10 years. This paper highlights project approaches and results from WKI and partners aiming at an increased use of hardwoods in existing production lines and for new products.