2020 will go down as one of the most memorable years on record for the wood-based panels industries because of the background of the global pandemic which has brought disruption and uncertainty.

As we reported in last year’s survey, there had already been a slowing in the number of new wood-based panel lines being ordered before the coronavirus showed up in early 2020 and that trend looks to continue for longer.

Where particleboard is concerned there are certainly projects on the drawing board, but we are expecting to see fewer new lines coming forward for the foreseeable future.

A stronger emphasis will be on modernisation and improvement works to make mills more efficient and to produce products of higher quality.

On the positive side, furniture and building industries around the world have held up well, bouyed by increased consumer spending on the home, particularly by those furloughed in government restrictions designed to combat the virus.

And news of a rollout of several vaccines for 2021 will surely mean we are nearer the end rather than the beginning of the pandemic.

This latest survey of the global particleboard sector covers the industry outside of Europe and North America with our main listing tables featuring mills as at the end of 2019.

Projects which went online during 2020 will be added to the main listings in next year’s survey.

Our headline figures show that particleboard installed capacity outside Europe and North America for the year ended December 31, 2019 increased by 4.5% in 2019 to 42.348 million m3.

Our future capacity estimate for 2020 and beyond (for known projects planned) is 44.113 million m3.

Our Particleboard Part 1 Survey main listings in the previous issue of WBPI details production capacity at mills in Europe and North America as at December 31, 2019. WBPI’s headline capacity figures for this previous survey show production (installed) capacity for the year ending December 31, 2019 in the whole of Europe is calculated as 55.8 million m3, compared to 54.6 million m3 in 2018.

For North America we estimated the installed capacity to be 9.19 million m3. Combining both survey results we come to a world particleboard capacity of 106.759 million m3 for 2019. The projected figure for 2020 and beyond, taking into account projects known to WBPI, is 110.444 million m3


In the European Panel Federation’s annual report 2019-2020, particleboard production in China decreased by about 7% in 2019, with consumption on a similar downward trend. Despite challenges for the particleboard market there, there are several projects to report.

Plant supplier Dieffenbacher has received an order in 2020 for a 500,000m3 annual capacity ‘super’ particleboard facility from Guangx Fenglin Wood Industry Group. There is no completion date for this yet but we are including it in our future capacity table for 2021 and beyond.

Meanwhile, Guangxi Xiangsheng Household Materials Technology Co Ltd ordered a new particleboard line from Siempelkamp in October. The supply agreement also involves Jiangsu Shuntian International Group Machinery Import and Export Company.

The project will have an annual output of 300,000m³ and is aimed at producing high-end, formaldehyde free and environmentally friendly wood-based panel products.

The order includes Siempelkamp’s universal flaker to help produce boards with good mechanical properties and a low weight, utilising smaller log diameters below 80mm.

Additionally, the idea is also to have increased ecological board production, because locally available wood can be processed, limiting transport distances for raw materials.

Raw material will be sourced from forest resources in Chongzou area of Guanxi, Sino-Vietnam border area and Paiyangshan forest farm, Xiangsheng company’s controlling shareholder.

Another focus is set on the goal of producing environmentally friendly wood-based panel products.

Formaldehyde-free product use has become a big demand of consumers in China. The most significant feature of the new production line is that the whole line will follow the concept of "formaldehyde free production and environmental protection". Lubomir Avramov, general manager of Siempelkamp (Qingdao), said the signing with Xiangsheng is only the beginning of the trendsetting co-operation between the two sides.

Projects which have been added to the main listing after going online in 2019 are the Wanhua Ecoboard lines at Tongling and Jingzhou. Both are utilising rice straw as raw material.

We have also now added the Nanning Shuixin Ketien (SciSky) project to the main listing. This project features a 8’ x 30.5m ContiRoll press with an estimated annual capacity of approximately 400,000m3.

Elsewhere in Asia, the large 600,000m3 capacity Green River Panels plant in Trang, Thailand went operational in 2019 and has been added to the main listing.

In Japan there is no further news at the moment about progress of the Enboard plant project – a joint venture by the furniture manufacturer Eidai Co Ltd and leading Japanese engineered wood product producer Japan Novopan Industrial Company Ltd.

The 300,000m3 particleboard project – to be located at the foot of Mount Fuji – will feature a Siempelkamp 7ft x 47.1m ContiRoll press.

In India we have previously highlighted plans by CenturyPly to build a new particleboard plant in Sitapur, Uttar Pradesh with an estimated 150,000m3 capacity, almost three times the size of its current particleboard facility in Chennai (54,000m3).

The company has been quoted by Indian media sources in 2020 as saying that the particleboard business was witnessing “consistent growth”.

But it is understood that CenturyPly’s specific plans for Sitapur are now being reconsidered due to “issues with licences”. Other options reportedly being looked at include additional expansion of facilities at its Hoshiarpur unit, Punjab. We will be leaving the project in our future capacity listing while we try to confirm further details.

Rest Of The World

Turning to South America, the IBA (Brazilian Tree Industry) said in its 2020 annual report that Brazilian 2019 domestic sales of wood-based panels totalled 6.9 million m3, with particleboard accounting for 2.8 million m3 – which it described as relatively stable. A 3% reduction in panel prices was recorded in 2019 compared to 2018.

Pent-up demand arising from pandemic social isolation measures and increased DIY spending led to significant growth in the wood panels sector in Q3, 2020 – a growth of 19.9% versus the same quarter in the previous year.

Brazil currently has 11 MDP mills running. Duratex said its shipments of raw panels increased 36.5% to 539,058m3 in Q3 compared to a year ago, while fellow panel producer Eucatex said its wood division sales, increased 8.7% in Q3 compared to the same period last year.

Eucatex's quarterly performance is the result of stable domestic sales (+0.4%) and the upswing in exports to R$326m in Q3 (+39.2%).

The company’s performance reflects the production shutdowns in Q2 since some of its main clients in the furniture industry did not place any orders and also due to the growth in exports, which, during the initial period of the crisis caused by the outbreak of the pandemic, kept sales up.

In terms of large capacity developments in Brazil, it is quiet.

We have removed the earlier mooted Duratex Minas Gerais project from our list of future capacity as this has not transpired.

As reported last year, Ecuador-based Aglomerados Cotopaxi has plans for a new particleboard line in Quito. Its existing plant was built in 1978.

Siempelkamp is the planned supplier for the project but at the moment there are no dates for the project to move forward. Aglomerados Cotopaxi manufactures particleboard, MDF, mouldings and sawn timber.

Its MDF plant was built in 1996 and in 2017 it achieved EPA CARB Phase 11 Certification for MDF export the the US.

Novopan del Ecuador's new line at Quito, adding 300,000m3 extra capacity, went live in 2019 and has been added to the main lisitings.

Dieffenbacher supplied the press for the project, which increases the mill's total particelboard capacity to 600,000m3. On to Africa and Algeria-based Ghamoud ordered a complete particleboard plant from Dieffenbacher in October 2019.

The project is being executed together with Dieffenbacher’s Chinese subsidiary Shanghai Wood-based Panel Machinery (SWPM).

Delivery of the machinery was due to start by the end of 2020 with startup in 2021. Annual production capacity will be 115,000m3, which is added to the future capacity table.

Last, but not least, the Borg Manufacturing new 495,000m3 capacity particleboard line at Oberon, Australia has been added to the main listing after going live in 2019.

It features a Siempelkamp Generation 8 ContiRoll 8’ x 40.4 m press. In neighbouring New Zealand, Guangxi Fenglin Wood Industry Group’s plans for a new mill at Kawera have seemingly changed.

The NZ$100m 600,000m3 project was originally due to have been established in 2020.

But news reports in the country suggest the company is now looking at a different site with reduced capacity due to problems with a lease on the site.

Gisborne is now a new target location, with a reported capacity plan of 400,000m3.

As always, WBPI welcomes input from mills and technology suppliers in terms of amendments and new information.