Part 2 of our survey covers mills and their capacities in 'The rest of the world’, outside Europe and North America, as at the end of 2017. We also look at planned new capacities in 2018 and beyond.

Looking at our total capacity figure for this wide-ranging region, we find that, at the end of 2017, that capacity was 38,339,000m3 (end-2016 37,734,000m3).

We thus find an increase in capacity of 605,000m3 between end-2016 and end-2017.

The anticipated total for end-2018, taking into account expansions or additions during 2018, is 40,504,000mm3. This represents a further increase in capacity of 2,165,000mm3, or about 5.5% (Table 5). The majority of that additional capacity for 2018 comes from South America (1,925,000m3), with one development from China (240,000m3).

Looking ahead to 2019 and beyond, we see a substantial increase of 2,998,000m3, or about 7.4%, over 2018, coming from several countries: Australia, China, New Zealand and Thailand, as again shown in Table 5.

We can see, from our particleboard survey, Part 1 (WBPI October/November 2018, p13) that there is a much larger capacity increase, of 4,080,000m3, anticipated by 2020 and beyond. There was also an additional 2,100,000m3 expected in North America, by around 2020. So we can see that the global rate of increase has been accelerating.

Table 5

Table 5 is the one which lists all anticipated future capacity known to us at the time of going to press. We would welcome any updates should we have missed any new projects.

Beginning with Australia, the Borg Manufacturing plant in Oberon remains in Table 5, but due to an error in our Table 5 in WBPI December 2017/January 2018, the capacity has been corrected to 495,000m3 from 380,000m3. Apologies for this error.

We can add that, early this year, the Borg Group bought the long-established Carter Holt Harvey (CHH) company. The CHH name has thus been changed to Borg in our listing.

Oberon's, you may remember, is a Siempelkamp Generation 8 ContiRoll continuous press line, with a press size of 8ftx40.4m, and the project was first announced in mid-2016.

Turning to Bangladesh, we have more information on a mill which in fact is no longer included in Table 5, because it is now in production and, as such, has been moved to the main listings, with a capacity of 330,000m3. That mill belongs to Akij Group.

Ordered in 2014 from Siempelkamp, it was claimed at the time to be one of the world’s most modern particleboard plants and has joined the two Star Particleboard plants already there. Those two together account for 280,000m3, so the Akij plant more than doubles the total capacity for Bangladesh.

In Brazil, there are five lines under construction and expected to come online in 2018. As this survey only includes operating mills as at the end of 2017 in the main listing, these mills remain in Table 5.

They include two mills for Berneck in Santa Caterina (400,000m3 per year each), one for Duratex in Minas Gerais (700,000m3), one for Fibraplac (325,000m3) and one expansion for Masisa Montenegro (100,000m3).

As far as we know, these are mostly, if not all, going to produce medium density particleboard (MDP), which has become very popular in the region.

In China, the Wanhua Ecoboard straw based particleboard line capacity has also been revised upwards, from 110,000m3 capacity, shown in Table 5 last year, to 250,000m3 per year. This is a Dieffenbacher CPS continuous press line, of 8.5ftx28m, and is being installed at Wanhua’s Jingmen site in the province of Hubei. The line is due to start production in the first quarter of 2019.

The world has very few straw based particleboard lines and most that exist have very small capacities. Continuous lines using straw as the raw material are even rarer. Difficulties in storing sufficient quantities of the raw material – and in keeping it in a usable condition – have held back the development of this eco-friendly board, which is glued with pMDI, not formaldehyde-based, resins.

Another Chinese project is that of Taishan Weiliban Wood. The project is not really a new plant as such: it has been operating as an MDF plant and Taishan has now changed it over to particleboard production.

Obviously, this will have required considerable modification of the line, with the addition of suitable wood preparation and forming systems.

We are advised by Dieffenbacher, the company which supplied the line, that the first board was produced on June 26, 2018 and that the new capacity is 240,000m3 per year, as shown in Table 5.

Because the line was only likely to reach full capacity late in 2018, it is still included in 'Future capacity'.

Another new project in China is that of Nanning Shuixin Ketien, known as SciSky.

This line was supplied by Siempelkamp, and, from the dimensions of the ContiRoll continuous press (8ftx30.5m), and comparing those with other similar Siempelkamp lines, we can 'guesstimate' that the annual capacity will be 395-400,000m3.

In India, the Artison plant, shown in Table 5 last year, has been moved to the main listing. This is a 200,000m3/year line.

Meanwhile, the Century line, also shown in last year’s table 5, has been removed as we have been unable to obtain any information to confirm that it does exist as a project.

The same applies to the 240,000m3 per year line shown last year for Iran.

Once again, we would be grateful for any information on these two ‘mystery’ lines.

In New Zealand, we await notification of the start-up of Chinese panel maker Guangxi Fenglin’s new line in Kawerau on North Island. This will have an annual capacity of around 600,000m3, but we do not currently have a start-up date for this line, whose purchase was announced in April 2017.

In Thailand, there is the Vanachai Chon Buri particleboard mill, which has a Siempelkamp ContiRoll continuous press of 4ftx48.7m; the longest 4ft press ever supplied by the company. The order was received by subsidiary Siempelkamp Qindao.

Again, extrapolating from this, and from our experience, we can assume an annual capacity of around 383,000m3, which is the figure we have put in Table 5.

Still in Thailand, we have been advised that Green River’s third particleboard line should be up and running by August 2019.

In Malaysia, a valued contact in the panel industry there for many years has kindly advised us of revisions to our listings, which we are pleased to incorporate in this survey.

This new information has resulted in our removing the Allgreen Timber, Segamat (not Seremban as shown in our 2017 survey) twodaylight Dieffenbacher press line, which we are advised has been closed. Also closed is the Aramijaya line shown in previous surveys.

The Evergreen line shown in previous listings was in fact that Segamat line, so that has also been removed from the listing.

We are also advised that Heveaboard's single-opening Raute line in Gemas is now only used occasionally, to make cover boards.

The Jayakuik line in Sarawak has been closed and sold to Vietnam (we do not know the name of the purchasing company).

There is also a small alteration to our previously-published data concerning Mieco, in that the company's second line is at Gebeng, not Cebang.

The result of all these amendments is a reduction of 405,000m3 in total capacity for Pensinsular Malaysia; and Sarawak which is of course on the island of Borneo.

All our total capacity figures have been amended accordingly in this survey.

We are always very grateful for such updated information, which helps us to keep our surveys accurate.

Disappearing from Table 5, and reappearing in our main listings, is the PG Bison mill in South Africa and we are also advised that the capacity has increased from an anticipated 250,000m3 to 330,000m3/year.

Other News

Too late for inclusion in this year’s Table 5, we hear that in Ecuador, Novopan del Ecuador plans a new plant in Quito. The new line, with a Dieffenbacher 8ftx20.5m CPS+, joins an existing line originally supplied by Metso, some of whose assets were bought by Dieffenbacher in 2008. Dieffenbacher has been servicing the Metso line since then. The new line, as does the older one, will produce MDP.

That existing line produces around 1,000m3 per day (approx 330,000m3 per year) and appears in our main listing of plants.

As yet, we do not have capacity, or startup date, information for this new line.

On the subject of Ecuador, it was announced early this year that the country was Peru’s main particleboard supplier in 2017. However, the country’s imports then dropped by 13.8% in the first quarter of 2018, only to increase by 16.4% in the January to May 2018 period (compared with the same period in 2017), thanks to strong demand in April and May, with Ecuador still the main supplier.

In the first two months of 2018, Ecuador’s particleboard exports rose 15.5% over the same period in 2017. These went mainly to Peru and Colombia, though exports to Panama and Bolivia also rose dramatically.

Turning to Brazil, we mentioned in last year’s survey that Arauco was buying Masisa do Brazil, subject to approval by the competition and other authorities.

This approval came in December 2017, just after we had gone to press.

Arauco went on to buy Masisa’s assets in Mexico as well, subject to approvals, which would include three particleboard lines.

Good news came from Duratex in Brazil earlier this year, when it announced the reopening of its Itapetininga plant . The factory, which produces both MDF and MDP, was suspended in 2015 because of the slowdown in the construction and furniture sectors.

However, with the recent growth in sales in domestic and export markets, the company decided to restart production in its modern plant, which can flexibly alternate production of MDF and MDP panels.

“The resumption of Itapetininga shows that we managed to overcome an adverse scenario that has affected the market for three years,” said Henrique Marcondes, vicepresident of the Wood Business Unit.

The factory was to initially operate at around 50% of its capacity when the resumption was announced in mid-2018, with further capacity ramp-up being dependent on market demand. About 90% of employees were reported to have been re-hired.

Given the flurry of panel makers setting up factories in other countries, we should mention Austrian-headquartered Egger’s acquisition of Masisa’s Concordia plant in Argentina in September 2017. This piece of news just missed our 2017 Particleboard Part 2 survey.

Global Summary(table 6)

For the outlook, combining the figures in Particleboard Part 1 (Europe and North America) and the 'Rest of the world' figures in these pages, we find a global total capacity for end-2017 of about 102,400,000m3(China's capacity is always difficult to state accurately).

This contrasts with a capacity for end- 2016 of about 101,564,000m3 – an increase of a little over 1% .

However, looking to the future (2019 and beyond), we see a global capacity of ca111,168,000m3. This represents an increase of approaching 6% on the 2018 forecast. That’s what I meant earlier about an accelerating rate of growth.

For some years, MDF has reigned supreme in global panel capacity growth rates, so particleboard did have some catching up to do.

It appears this cheaper panel, which can be made with lower-grade and recycled wood, is indeed now catching up.