While the news channels have been pumping out their fair share of doom on the global geo-political fronts of late (Ukraine, Israel/Gaza), the day-to-day business goes on.

As we approached our final survey report of 2023, a good deal of panels manufacturers around the world would have been planning their budgets for 2024 and hoping that markets move into more positive territory.

The lower demand environment seen in many regions has certainly been a feature of 2023, but it would be a mistake to say it’s all bad.

Indeed, our Part 2 survey on the global particleboard industry, focusing on the Rest of the World – namely Asia, Africa, the Middle East, South America and Oceania regions – does show market growth prospects in several regions, with India in particular being an interesting hub for panel board industry development.

Indian manufacturers like CenturyPly are investing a mind-boggling amount of money in new plants at the moment. CenturyPly itself has greenfield plant projects on the go in its MDF, particleboard, plywood and laminates divisions currently, with its most recent financial updates showing a decent PB sales performance.

This year’s figures show that estimated particleboard installed capacity outside Europe and North America for the year ended December 31, 2022, increased, after adjustments from last year, to 48,734,000m3, a modest rise from a year ago. Our future capacity estimate for 2023 and beyond (for known projects planned) is 51,794,000m3.

Adding our Part 1: Europe and North America results to Part 2: Rest of the World we arrive together at an estimated global particleboard installed capacity of 118,359,000m3 as at the end of 2022. That’s up from 116,421,000m3 in 2021

Elsewhere in this issue of WBPI, we bring an update on the important energy systems subject, a hot topic at the 2023 Ligna exhibition.

Vyncke, INTEC and Dieffenbacher bring updates on their activities in this area.

An interview with Dieffenbacher gives more detail about its plans with energy systems following the takeover of the assets of BERTSCHenergy a year ago.

The move has clearly supercharged Dieffenbacher’s activities in this area and the newly formed Dieffenbacher Energy has an annual turnover target of around €100-150m. It enjoyed a good start to 2023 and its order book at the end of the year was at about €200m.

Lastly, small UK panel processor TFS has come under the umbrella of US chemistry-based company Arclin. The partnership could see interesting possibilities in added-value panel products, espeically with OSB featuring paper overlay.