Things have been difficult for the panel industry for the last 18 months or more, but I have a feeling the market may be about to change. I sense a little more activity – and MDF demand is beginning to catch up with supply, so maybe the prospects for new mills or lines are improving; Triax has already announced a second line at its Vielsalm plant in Belgium.John Wadsworth’s report on the MDF industry outside Europe and North America makes very interesting reading, especially with regard to China’s revised capacity figures and to the fact that the ‘rest of the world’ capacity is growing a lot faster than it is in Europe and North America; in fact the ‘rest of the world’ and Europe plus North America could well be at parity in volume terms by the end of this year – a quite dramatic change in their relative positions. John points out that perhaps a world total capacity of 45 million m³ by 2011 is not unrealistic.
He also flags up the fact that this would still represent only 50% of world particleboard capacity. And it is particleboard which is the subject of the survey to be presented in our next two issues. if you make particleboard, we would greatly appreciate your assistance in preparing this important work by spending just a few minutes filling in the questionnaire which you should be receiving from us, or by going on to the dedicated website at
We at WBPI are upbeat too. We are working on a very special new supplement to the next issue, dedicated to the surfacing of panels and the expert for that sector, Kenn Busch, is preparing the publication for us. If you would like to be a part of this exciting project, titled Surfaces International, please contact me by telephone, fax or email right now.
Another exciting development is the launch, in the near future, of a dedicated website for WBPI which will provide added value to our readers and advertisers. More news on that very soon.