Following on from Focus on MDF Part 1 our survey of the industry in Europe and North America (WBPI June/July 2021), we now focus on the existing MDF mills in the ‘rest of the world’ as at the end of 2020 and on those under construction in 2021 or planned for 2022 and beyond.

The current market dynamics linked to the Covid-19 pandemic are not considered here.

For the ‘rest of the world’ areas (excluding Europe, North America, and Mexico), after updated data inputs, we now show an increase in installed capacity in 2020 to 74,925,000 m3, while further investments identified in this region for 2021 and beyond bring the total up to 80,920,000m3.

So, for 2021/22 and beyond, when this figure is added to the European future capacity of 30,925,000m3 and the North American future capacity figures (including Mexico) of 6,667,000m3, we see global MDF capacity growing to 118,512,000m3.


Annual growth averages over the past five years have been typically strong in this region, except for Japan, where GDP growth declined, but subsequently has been recovering more strongly. In 2020 however, China reported GDP growth of only 2.3% – the slowest pace for more than four decades. Economic projections are still forecasting strong growth into the future from these nations, which ultimately will drive MDF consumption higher.

China and North-east Asia’s MDF markets performed well in 2020 due to an increase in global demand, and prices strengthened aided further by domestic and export demand and continual depreciating domestic currencies against the US dollar.

Japanese MDF installed capacity remains at 635,000m3 with 95% of material produced mainly in the form of raw panels and a market partially stimulated by construction activities related to the Tokyo Olympics. There are no plans currently known to increase MDF capacity.

In South Korea, installed capacity remains at 2,113,000m3, with Thailand, Brazil and China being the major suppliers.

China is still forecast to produce 85% of the furniture in north Asia by 2021/22 and the relatively strong growth in the region will influence not only the aggregate consumption of all wood panels, but also the proportion of use by each sector.

Of the annual production of furniture in China approximately 32% is exported to a wide range of countries, with the largest volumes still destined for the US, Japan, and Europe, while the domestic market continues to grow year-on-year.

China’s MDF production capacity has grown rapidly in the last decade and opinions about the actual scale and volume of installed capacity varies greatly. We have shown these volumes historically for China with installed MDF capacity plants where known based on pre-2014 data from China, plus various industry estimates and also, of course, adding new investments as announced by equipment manufacturers.

From our numbers and current estimations, over the past five years we have seen capacity increasing dramatically to a huge estimated 46,757,000m3 at the end of 2020, but some other commentators mention MDF capacity in China as lmuch higher.

Without a totally comprehensive list of local plants in China it creates doubt about additional capacity estimates.

As a result, our estimates for MDF in China are based on known capacity for listed plants only, plus estimates and new investment news, with the caveat that there may be many additional small plants with unknown capacity.

Whereas consumption has previously increased so strongly, forecasts are for it to increase at an average annual rate of just 1% in the region over the two years out to 2021/22, as China shifts to a focus on more domestic growth, possibly at the expense of some exports, such as furniture.

Also, real commercial activity in the Chinese MDF industry has continued to slow as the government tries to rein in the country’s dramatic economic growth of recent years.

Looking ahead at rice straw for MDF production, we have now added the investment by Wanhua Ecoboard Co Ltd for MDF in China (two lines are planned) based on this raw material source, in partnership with Dieffenbacher.

The first Wanhua Ecoboard MDF line, which will be installed in Yiyang, Jiangxi Province will have a designed annual capacity of about 210,000m³ using a 9ft x 32.4m CPS+ and is to run completely on straw. Wanhua Ecoboard has ordered another straw-based line from Dieffenbacher during the past few months and the firm has yet to comment on the capacity and final type of product.

Existing Chinese MDF producer Guangxi Lelin Forestry Development Co, Ltd has recently ordered a new MDF plant from Dieffenbacher. With the construction of an 80m-long CPS+, this will set a world record for the longest continuous press used to produce wood-based panels and the line will have a design capacity of 630,000m3.

Dieffenbacher will also supply equipment ranging from the air grader to the storage system. With state-of-the-art automation and control systems, the MDF line will meet the highest demands of digitalisation.

Plant construction was scheduled to start in the second quarter of 2021 in the southern Chinese city of Chongzuo, not far from the Vietnamese border. Start-up is planned for autumn 2022.

Previously we learnt of two more new MDF investment projects for China by Dieffenbacher – one by Hubei Hongyi in Xiaogan and the other by Liuzhou Sanyi in Liuzhou, volumes of both mills and more details are still to be announced.

Also in China, we can note three other new MDF investments by Xianyong Jiafumei Wood Co with 198,000m3 and Huashi Chaoyang Tech with 97,000m3 and the new investment by Guangxi Guoxu Dongteng Wood based panel Co in Wuzhou, Guangxi Province, with a planned capacity of 350,000m3.


Economies in South-east Asia are still set to be among the world’s fastest growing when looking out to 2021/22 and beyond. India, Indonesia, Korea, Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam are expected ultimately to have positive GDP growth rates, despite the Covid-19 pandemic.

In this part of Asia, the MDF market has been generally doing well driven by increasing demand, rising adhesive prices and some shortages of wood and raw material availability.

In Vietnam, with 1,920,000m3 of MDF capacity installed FSC Vietnam JSC of Kim Tin Group is running its expanded 400,000m3 operation at the VND2.3trn (US$98.7m) MDF plant in the Nam Dong Phu Industrial Zone, in the southern province of Binh Phuoc’s Dong Phu District.

In October 2019, the Korean company Dongwha, Asia’s largest producer of engineered wood, ordered the ‘longest MDF press in South-east Asia’ for the second time with another 8ft x 47.1 m press for Vietnam. The new, third Siempelkamp plant (capacity TBA) is designed for processing the demanding and fast-growing raw material Acacia mangium.

With the ContiRoll Generation 9 NEO (New Entry Option) Siempelkamp developed a continuous press with extended highly flexible press infeed that ensures controlled de-aeriation of the mat – important for reliable process stability at high production speeds, especially with special fibre geometries.

In addition to the forming and press line, board handling and a glue kitchen adapted to the raw material acacia, the scope of supply also includes a dryer and an energy system from Siempelkamp subsidiary Büttner. Commissioning is scheduled for the late summer of 2021.

In Thailand, with 4,673,000m3 of MDF capacity installed significant new investments continue. The decision by Siam Riso to go ahead with MDF and who subsequently selected Dieffenbacher for the press installation for this plant have indicated that is due to start production in 2021/22 with a capacity of 190,000m3.

Metro MDF, one of Thailand’s leading wood-based panel producers, confirmed its commitment to Siempelkamp back in October 2019 with an order for a new forming and press line for an MDF plant at the Kanchanburi site (capacity TBA).

This order sees the replacement of a Küsters forming and press line with a new Siempelkamp forming and press line for MDF with an 8ft-wide ContiRoll Generation 9.

The press is equipped with a thin- and lightboard package. At 2,000mm/s, the press is designed for thin boards produced at high speed.

This new MDF plant went into operation on time in April 2021, despite the Covid-19 pandemic and it will be added to the main MDF capacity listing next year.

No new investment plans have been seen in Malaysia for some time and our latest MDF mill listing shows the country’s substantial capacity at 1,505,000m3. Apart from domestic sales and Singapore, the Middle East market has been a consistently growing market in recent years, so the importance of this region for export of MDF from Malaysia cannot be under-estimated. But we understand the MDF market has been severely impacted by the pandemic in the past year. Companies had to resort to lockdown and movement control to stem the spread of virus, to the detriment of their economic activities and causing serious disruptions to the supply chains.

In a recent statement from Johor Baru, Evergreen Fibreboard Bhd (EFB) reported that they want to strengthen their position as one of Asia’s largest MDF manufacturers in the region and to be amongst the top 10 in the world, based on production volumes.

Accsys – the fast growing chemical technology group, continues exploring opportunities for new manufacturing plants outside Europe. Accsys announced that its subsidiary, Tricoya Technologies Ltd (TTL), had now entered into an agreement with PETRONAS Chemicals Group Berhad (PCG) to evaluate the feasibility of jointly funding, designing, building, and operating an integrated acetic anhydride and Tricoya wood elements production plant in Malaysia.

It is envisaged that Tricoya wood elements produced at the plant would use acetic acid from PCG’s existing joint venture in Malaysia. The plant would then supply the MDF and wood panel industry within South-east Asia, under licence, as the key raw material for the formation of Tricoya panels for use in the construction industry in the region.

For Indonesia we now see MDF to be a substantial product produced in this country, with nearly 1,277,500 million m3 capacity installed over 10 lines. No new investment plans have been seen in the last 12 months.

In Korea, with 2,113,000m3 of MDF production capacity installed, raw material availability is a key issue. With the introduction of the Recycled Energy Policy, the amount of wood ‘waste’ used for energy has increased. Consequently, Korean panel manufacturers seek a new policy now to prioritise the cascade and efficient use of wood for materials first.

On the demand side, China continued to import more MDF as soon as it brought the Covid-19 situation under control by mid- 2020. Likewise, in the US, the demand for furniture has increased, largely fuelled by online shopping and people working from home. MDF demand from the Middle East has also not let up as the region continues to buy in large quantity from this region. It all indicates that global demand for MDF will remain strong for now.

On the other hand, numerous supply shocks following the pandemic have resulted in lower output. The pandemic and frequent lockdowns have deprived the industry of its workers, most of whom have either fallen sick or returned to their home country.

Shortages of wood raw materials have been caused by El Niña and the extremely wet weather it brought since the middle of 2020, which resulted in logging activities being scaled down drastically. Advanced technology enables the life span of old rubber trees to be prolonged so that more latex can be extracted. More logs are licensed for export, causing shutdowns of downstream wood processing plants, which in turn deprives MDF plants of their sources of wood materials. Spikes in prices of melamine urea resin being used to produce MDF MR and CARB rated products also had an impact.

Another major problem has been shipping. A serious shortage of containers and shipping space, together with congested ports have sent sea freight prices skyrocketing.


In India MDF capacity grew substantially to 1,557,000m3 in 2020. Greenpanel Industries’ new line in Chittoor District, Andhra Pradesh at 56m-long with its Dieffenbacher CPS at the core of the plant, is currently the longest continuous press in operation in Asia.

In the current 2021/2022 financial year (March 31), Indian Greenpanel Industries (Tinsukia, Assam) announced plans to eliminate existing bottlenecks at its two MDF locations in Routhu Suramala (Andhra Pradesh) and Pantnagar (Uttarakhand). This is meant to increase total capacity of the two plants by 20%, from 540,000m³/year to 650,000m³/year.

In its current investment planning, the company estimated INR250m for this expansion, which is expected to be completed in the third quarter of the financial year.

According to Greenpanel, in the last quarter both locations produced at the limits of their capacity for the first time, total capacity utilisation was indicated at 102% (Routhu Suramala: 105%, Pantnagar: 96%). Consequently, the production volume rose by 40% compared to the preceding year to 138,080m³ (98,612m³) and MDF sales increased by 54.4% to 139,490m³ (90,355m³).

Over the year, MDF production – at an overall capacity utilisation of 69% – increased by 13.7% compared to the preceding year to 371,347m³ (2019/2020: 326,680m³). Both higher MDF deliveries (+20.4%) and higher average prices (+6%) contributed to the turnover growth of 27.4% to INR7.831bn (6.149bn).

Looking ahead, the Indian laminate and wood-based panel manufacturer Rushil Décor of Ahemdabad in Gujarat commissioned Siempelkamp as the single-source supplier of a new 240,000m3 MDF plant for them.

With the new plant in Vishakapatnam also within the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh, the manufacturer will produce MDF from eucalyptus grown in plantations and from over-mature mango trees. To meet local market needs, with this investment Rushil Décor will significantly expand its production capacities above its current and original 90,000m3 MDF capacity at Chikmagalur, within the Indian state of Karnataka.

The scope of work for Siempelkamp includes the wood as well as fibre preparation system, the resin blending and application system, the fibre dryer and sifter, the forming line, an 8ft x 28.8m ContiRoll press, the cooling and stacking line, the intermediate storage, the sanding line, and the cut-to-size line. The press line will be equipped with the mat preheater ContiBooster, which will boost production by up to 20%.

The start-up of the plant was scheduled for Q1 2020 but was delayed until 2021, so this line will be added to the main listing next year.

Rushil Décor finished assembling the new continuous MDF plant in Atchutapuram, Andhra Pradesh, in Q1 2021 after interruptions caused by the pandemic.

The company has now commenced commercial production on the completed line supplied by Siempelkamp. The greenfield project thus took roughly a year longer than originally planned. After the strict ban on entering India was relaxed, the company ultimately managed to keep to the schedule.

We understand that Rushil Décor wants to enter the MDF export business as well through the facility located on the Gulf of Bengal, where thin MDF can also be produced in future.

Century Plyboards, the Indian wood-based panels and laminate manufacturer, began producing MDF at its northern Indian facility in Hoshiarpur (Punjab) at the end of July 2017, on a continuous production line with an annual capacity of 200,000m³.

A location in southern India was also under consideration and the decision on which greenfield project was to be implemented was made in Q1 2021. They have now commenced work on construction of their second MDF production line at Andhra Pradesh, with a planned annual capacity of 231,000m3, immediately after the decision to expand capacities at the MDF plant in Hoshiarpur was announced in February.

In its current investment planning, the company has estimated a total of INR2.2bn (US$30m) for the expansion project and the new line there will have a design capacity of 230,00m3 on top of the existing facility.

In the fourth quarter of the 2020/2021 financial year (March 31), the Centuryply MDF business division achieved turnover growth clearly in the double-digit range, – this had also been the case in previous quarters. The increase of 41% to INR1.190bn means that the increase rate has doubled vis à vis both Q2 (+20.4% to INR935m) and Q3 (+20.7% to INR1.164bn).

In Pakistan, installed MDF capacity remains at 342,000m3 and we understand the ZRK Industries (Pvt) Ltd investment in its MDF mill with a continuous line in Mardan is running well.

The ZRK group is the largest wood-based panel industry in Pakistan, producing both MDF and particleboard. Having state-of-the-art plants from Europe and China, it has a distributor’s network throughout Pakistan, Afghanistan and Central Asia.

Its wood processing division is vertically integrated and the group consists of Pakistan’s largest, new, fully automated particleboard plant, paper lamination and impregnation lines and now Pakistan’s largest new MDF plant, which is fully operational.

Pakistan currently imports MDF from a variety of countries and is a major export market for MDF produced in Sri Lanka, by that country’s only producer Merbok.


With a combined population of over 250 million people, Argentina, Brazil and Chile continue to have an underlying demand of well over one million housing units annually, which is good for MDF consumption. South American economies have recently not been so buoyant and there have been currency, political and economic crises and as a result and as last year, short term the demand for MDF panels declined temporarily.

However, the Brazilian company Berneck SA Painéis e Serrados, headquartered in Araucária, Paraná, ordered its fifth wood-based panels production plant, with Generation 9 ContiRoll technology for its Lages facility to produces MDF with a design capacity of 550,000m3 per year. With this repeat order, Berneck intends to meet the anticipated increasing future demand of the Latin American market.

Also, international technology Group Andritz, headquartered in Graz, Austria, has received an order from Berneck SA to supply a pressurised refining and evaporation system for the MDF production line in Lages. The new MDF production line will include the first MDF effluent treatment evaporation plant from Andritz to be installed in Brazil.

The centrepiece of the new line will be the pressurised refining system including an S2064M refiner with a capacity of 1,150t/d, which will process 100% softwood (Pinus elliottii and Pinus taeda) as raw material. Predominant features of the systems are highly efficient pre-steaming, low electricity, and thermal energy consumption, as well as excellent dewatering in the plug screw feeder, which is essential for the customer due to the high moisture content of the raw material. This order further enhances Andritz’s leading position in the Brazilian panel board industry, with nearly 20 references.

The scope of the Siempelkamp order from Berneck SA includes the resin kitchen equipped with the Ecoresinator, the continuous press line with ContiRoll to the finishing line with the cooling turners and the intermediate storage. The drying of the wood fibres takes place in a flue gas-free indirectly steam-heated flash tube dryer made by Büttner. The engineering of the whole plant is carried out by Siempelkamp’s Belgium subsidiary Sicoplan based on laser-scan-supported surveying of the local production site. Sicoplan is also responsible for the planning of the steel construction and the wiring necessary for the process equipment. Both will be implemented by Siempelkamp.

The heart of the plant comes from Siempelkamp’s production in Krefeld – the ContiRoll Generation 9 with a length of 48.8m and a width of 9ft. With this latest generation of the ContiRoll, Berneck receives the most advanced Siempelkamp technology as the very first customer. The key design feature of the NEO version is its ultra-flexible, extended press infeed.

This large MDF/HDF mill, planned to be operational at the new location in Lages, Santa Catarina, has had to be delayed because of the coronavirus pandemic, but assembly work is resuming now, with the first MDF panels possibly being made before the year’s end. The new Berneck production line here will ultimately manufacture 1,665m3 of MDF daily.

This really remains a continent of change, of development, of expansion. Amazingly, virtually no MDF was produced in Brazil back in 1998 but it now has the largest production capacity as a country in South America. Key producers in the region have included Masisa, Arauco, Duratex, Fibraplac, Floraplac, Eucatex and Berneck over these years.

Duratex’s future MDF project of 350,000m3 at Alagoas is on stand-by for now due to current market conditions and remains in our future project listing. Duratex has 20 industrial units in Brazil and decided some years ago, to implement a unit in the north-east. Alagoas was chosen as the ideal location for its strategic location, tax incentives and the possibility of partnership with local companies.

To maintain a laminate manufacturing unit, which is the industry to be also implanted in Alagoas, Duratex needed areas of up to 20,000ha of eucalyptus forests. In Alagoas, the partnership with the Caeté Plant was announced at the end of 2014, with the creation of Caetex. Since then, the company has already planted another 6,000 hectares of eucalyptus in the state. The MDF and MDP panel manufacturing plant is scheduled to start operating possibly in 2022/23 and when fully operational, the unit will have a production capacity of 350,000m³.

Asperbras (producing now under the MDF brand name GreenPlac) is an industrial and agro business group, located in Mato Grosso do Sul state – a complete newcomer to panel production, but serious. The company is using its eucalyptus plantations to feed its 250,000m3 Siempelkamp ContiRoll line and this line was up and running back in 2017 and is in the main listing. Additionally, the group announced plans to add a second line – with a capacity of about 230,000m3 when its forest base grows more, making a potential combined capacity of 460,000m3. We have reviewed this topic again and the project remains in our future capacity listing. The Group’s concern about environmental issues can be identified in all its projects. In the GreenPlac plant of MDF, Asperbras was able to implement an old idea and produce all the energy consumed in the company by means of a thermoelectric plant that works from biomass.

Brazilian Guararapes has also placed orders for a new and additional MDF line. This third MDF line is expected to almost double the output of the Caçador works. The orders for the main items of production equipment have given more concrete shape to the recent news of the investment plans of the Brazilian plywood and MDF manufacturer Indústria de Compensados Guararapes Ltda of Palmas, Paraná, to set up a third MDF production line at the Caçador facility in Santa Catarina.

Like the second plant delivered in 2015, Siempelkamp will be supplying all the main components from the debarker through to the packaging section. The order also includes the chipper line, fibre dryer from Büttner Energie und Trocknungstechnik, the “Ecoresinator” gluing system, and the forming and press line fitted with a 9ft x 48.7m ContiRoll Generation 9.

According to Guararapes, the refiner is being supplied by Valmet Oyj of Espoo, Finland. The order for the power plant has been placed with Vyncke Energietechniek NV of Harelbeke, Belgium. Schrader Apparatebau GmbH of Ennigerloh, Germany, is to supply the wastewater treatment plant. A short-cycle press from Wemhöner Surface Technologies GmbH & Co KG of Herford, Germany, is being installed for value-adding operations.

Siempelkamp says the extent to which it is involved in the project is similar to the scope of the order for the second plant. There is evidently going to be change of supplier with regard to the refiner, however. Andritz AG of Graz, Austria, had supplied the refiners for each of the first two lines.

Building work for the third plant was scheduled to begin by the middle of this year. Machine assembly is to begin in the first quarter of 2022; the start-up is planned to take place by the end of 2022. This is expected to create approximately 220 new jobs.

Siempelkamp says the projected third plant is designed for an annual capacity of around 500,000m³ or 1,500m³ per day. The start-up will boost Guararapes’ total MDF capacity by 90% to around 1.1 million m³. Guararapes says it believes this will give it the biggest MDF facility in South America. Residues from production at the company’s two plywood works in Palmas and Santa Cecilia, Santa Catarina, will be used as raw material.

Indústria de Compensados Sudati Ltda of Palmas (also active in the plywood sector) also wants to further enlarge its MDF capacity. According to as yet unconfirmed information, the project is thought to involve a forming and continuous press line from Dieffenbacher. Other suppliers are said to include Vyncke and Wemhöner. Capacity planned is suggested at 360,000m3.

The investment projects now envisaged by Guararapes and Sudati will significantly accelerate the expansion of Brazilian MDF/ HDF capacity, which had been proceeding at a subdued pace in the past two years.

Along with increasing their raw board capacity, several Brazilian MDF/HDF manufacturers are also set to invest in coating operations. Wemhöner had previously delivered a short cycle press to Berneck’s facility in Curitibanos in April 2020 under the terms of an older contract. Assembly work has now restarted after being delayed by the pandemic.

Wemhöner has received more orders from the Brazilian MDF/HDF industry via Inserco Industrie Service GmbH, headquartered in Viersen, Germany, over the past few months. Besides Guararapes and Sudati, Floraplac Industrial MDF Ltda, based in Paragominas, Pará, has also ordered a short-cycle press.

With all these great projects in mind it is important to note that Brazil is the world’s fifth largest country by area. Its vast and varied forest sector now come under the common umbrella of IBA, the Association for the Brazilian Tree Industry. This is a young association, formed just seven years ago, but an important one. IBA, can provide information on the association’s plans and industry actions, with figures on Brazilian forestry production and its potential and thanks to them for assisting in this industry update (see:

In Paraguay, the modest project to build Paraguay’s first MDF plant, a 55,000m3 unit in Coronel Oviedo, (department of Caaguazú) was given the green light by the Industry & Commerce Ministry there. It was planned by Agroindustria del Paraguay SA as its first venture in panel manufacturing and it took advantage of fiscal incentive legislation for national and foreign investors to assist its investment of US$6.7m in imported machinery. The mill, which we understand is running well, is in the main listing. Paraguay’s domestic demand for MDF is also partially satisfied by MDF imports from Brazil and from China.

In Chile, installed MDF capacity remains at 1,155,000m3 and there is no new capacity expansion on that seen at present. Celulosa Arauco y Constitucion (Chile) has continued to expand its panel products global reach (including MDF). With the international joint venture with Sonae Industria SGPS SA (Portugal) in Europe, the recent expansion in Mexico and the acquisitions in Brazil, it really has made its mark internationally and is clearly and quite rightly recognised now as a leading global player.

Consumption of MDF in South America overall (pre Covid-19) is projected to increase continually out to 2021/22 and most of this will be in Brazil, which will be consuming 74% of all MDF in South America by then. Consumption will also expand over time in other countries such as Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Columbia, Ecuador, Peru, Uruguay, Venezuela and other non-producing South American countries, providing strong export demand regionally within the continent, as well as overseas internationally, particularly to the US.


As we have done previously the aggregate world capacity table now lists the capacities in the various regions of the world from 2019, 2020 and through to 2021 and beyond.

Also, to have an overview of other important MDF producing countries globally and to complete the picture, we are providing a short update now where information is available and relevant.

With helpful and much appreciated input from Bernie Neufeld of Neufeld Group Pte in Sydney, and industry veteran Murray Sturgeon and colleagues at Nelson Pine NZ, we can report Australia has been one of the strongest performing advanced economies in the world over the past decade. Economic production has shifted from a dominant mining and resource sector to a greater emphasis on the production of goods and services. While both housing and non-residential construction have been booming over the past decade, a moderation in residential construction activity began in 2018, and further declines were expected in 2019 until mid-2020.

MDF exports from and imports to Australia averaged less than 100,000m3 annually over the last six years to 2020. MDF is imported mainly from China, Germany, Malaysia, New Zealand and South Korea. The industry is highly concentrated with only three producers as per our listing and has operated at near full capacity over the past five years. We reported previously that MDF demand would gradually moderate but, in the long term, there was potential for an increase in production capacity and imports because of a strong domestic market, and export activity to some markets in Asia. So, it is now interesting to report that in October 2019 Borg Manufacturing Pty Ltd, Australia’s leading producer of melamine coated boards, ordered a new MDF forming and press line from Siempelkamp.

Borg is replacing an old multi-opening door skin production line with an MDF forming and press line including ContiRoll in 8ft x 18.8m format with lightboard package. The order volume also includes a Siempelkamp Compactor, which provides effective protection for the steel belts in the press and provides plant operators with significant capacity and quality improvements, especially to produce thin MDF boards.

Also included is the connection to the existing high-bay warehouse, which retains the existing fibre preparation of the old plant. The production spectrum will include boards in a thickness range from 1mm to 25mm and the use of the lightboard package also enables the production of particularly lightweight fibreboards.

Borg can thus rely on a diversified product range with a wide range of thicknesses and densities. Annual capacity of Borg’s new MDF line is planned at 100,000m3.

New Zealand’s MDF producers have an installed name plate capacity of 720,000m3 but based on the current product mix and efficiencies, are apparently now producing in the region of 770,000m3 annually.

The building and construction cycle is still forecast to shift to a strong growth path in New Zealand (albeit from a small base) over the next two years. Housing approvals we understand were still strong in 2020. Just over 75-80% of the MDF produced in New Zealand is exported, coming from a total production of 770,000m3 in 2020, with destinations being Japan, China, South-east Asia, and a small volume going to the US.

The three producers in New Zealand are all Japanese-owned. Nelson Pine in Richmond, Nelson is owned by Sumitomo, Japan; Daiken Southland Ltd, at Mataura (formerly CHH) was acquired by the Japanese company Daiken, themselves a part of the large Itochu group; and then the other Daiken MDF operation in Rangiora (formerly owned by Rayonier), Canterbury region.

It is felt unlikely that any new MDF plants will be established soon, although capacity in existing plants may be increased further to meet export demand. However, a key constraint to adding new production capacity is the highly competitive market for raw materials. There is a general shortage of logs for processing, so, with this in mind, Sumitomo purchased 30,000ha of radiata pine forest estate in the Nelson region. The estate was previously owned by Hancock investors of the US.

Although domestic consumption (+/- 200,000m3) relative to total production capacity is low, on a per capita basis, New Zealand is one of highest consumers of MDF in the world.


Algeria and Egypt are set to join the nations of MDF producers. The Algerian family-owned company, Bigstar Sarl, via its subsidiary Panneaux d’Algérie, entrusted Dieffenbacher with an order for the delivery of a complete system for producing MDF panels at its site in El Tarf in the far northeast of the country. This complete MDF plant with CPS+ is marking Dieffenbacher’ s first greenfield project on African soil and the first continuous press operating in North Africa. The plant has been operational since August 2020 and has been added to the main listing.

Proving to be an example of the versatile applications of the CPS+, the plant concept is designed specifically for smaller capacities and can be an ideal entry-level system for the wood-based panel market. Although Bigstar has been active in the wood-based panel trade for many years, it had never produced its own materials before this project.

“There is a rising demand for MDF boards in Algeria, and imports from other countries are becoming increasingly costly,” explained Bigstar CEO, Guelai Mohamed Chiheb.

The 6ft x 14.5m CPS+ for Bigstar was supplied from Eppingen, Germany whilst Dieffenbacher’s Shanghai Wood-Based Panel Machinery Co (SWPM) has been responsible for the remainder of the scope of supply and for project management. Plant assembly began in 2018 with start-up successfully completed in 2020 and with a production capacity of 250m3 per day, approximately 80,000m3 per year. This is a significant development and could be the start of a whole new wave of investment in MDF production capacity in the African continent.

In Egypt, we also recorded previously the investment decision by Nile Wood SAE to add an MDF facility. Egyptian Kuwaiti Holding (EKH) said its 99.99%-owned subsidiary, International Co for Financial Investment, will start to establish a factory to produce MDF in two phases with a total estimated investment cost of LE2bn. The company say that the facility will be built in Beni Suef. Andritz has received an order now – in cooperation with Dieffenbacher – to supply the complete MDF plant with a design capacity of 200,000m3, including a chip washing and pressurised refining system, for its greenfield site in Sadat City, Egypt. Start-up of the new equipment is scheduled before the end of 2021.

The centrepiece of the MDF production line will be the chip washing and pressurised refining system, including a proven 54-1CP refiner with a capacity of up to 20 tons per hour. The new equipment will process fast-growing trees with low moisture content as raw material.

Nile Wood will use Sesbania wood from its own plantations as the raw material for its MDF line. Sesbania is a fast-growing plant that matures for harvesting within two years and is environmentally friendly due to its ability to fix nitrogen.

The Egyptian company Wood Technology Co (WOTECH) placed a milestone project in February 2020 regarding “Green Technology” at Siempelkamp. Representatives of both companies signed the contract for an MDF plant with an annual production capacity of 205,000 m³ and which will process rice straw as the raw material.

With this plant, WOTECH is positioning itself in the areas of environmental protection and resource efficiency, because the value-added use of rice straw opens new perspectives for a raw material that would otherwise be burned as a waste product. The concept is also attractive for countries such as Egypt, which do not have sufficient wood resources for industrial use.

WOTECH is the second customer after CalAg, LLC, California, to ask Siempelkamp for an MDF plant based on rice straw. In the area of production – spreading machines, forming and press line – the production process is comparable to that of MDF. The green end process, however, the straw preparation, requires specific adjustments which Siempelkamp has developed to market maturity.

The contract value for the new project marks the third-largest single order ever placed with Siempelkamp.

In South Africa private sector housing is still projected to grow annually and certainly the demand for furniture and wood-based panel products has strengthened there considerably over the past decade.

Only one MDF mill has been under expansive construction in South Africa the last year, and this is by PG Bison, which has an existing MDF facility at Boksburg in Gauteng Province.

This has a current installed capacity of 214,000m3.

In December 2020 PG Bison, owned by the South African conglomerate KAP Industrial Holdings, unveiled a ZAR2bn (approximately €110m) programme of investments. PG Bison said that the investments involved installing a new front end, screens, gluing, blending and dryer at its particleboard mill in Mkondo (Piet Retief), Mpumalanga, that had already been modernised in several phases in the past few years, and also the installation of a new MDF line with a capacity of 264,000m3 at the Piet Retief site.

Downstream processing capacity will also be increased again following the completion of the two projects. Additional investments to the tune of around ZAR400m are envisaged for the projects between now and 2025, which include installing a seventh short cycle press and a second hot coating line.

Wemhöner Surface Technologies landed the order for the new 6 x 9ft short-cycle press. Barberán, Karl Heesemann and Anthon are involved in delivering the HotCoating line. Barberán will also supply the coating and drying systems. Heesemann will deliver the sanding units and Anton will provide the handling system.

The press and the coating line are to be installed at the Boksburg MDF mill and start operating in the third quarter of 2022. PG Bison said that these relatively short lead times were only guaranteed since it had reserved manufacturing slots at the machinery and plant manufacturers at an early stage.

Despite the sharp declines in the few years following the previous global economic crisis, MDF consumption increased by 5% annually over the past five years. The relatively strong growth in production and consumption of furniture in the past decade, as well as projections for strong growth to 2021/22/23, suggest that it will be a key sector continually driving growth in the consumption of MDF and particleboard.

There are currently only two MDF producers in South Africa: PG Bison and Novabord (now Sonae Arauco SA), and the current installed production capacity of 289,000m3 will be driven upwards by PG Bison’s recent investments.


Following an in depth review we have now been able to completely update our main listing, which shows Iran’s MDF name plate production capacity up to an impressive 2,645,000m3.

In recent times the Ministry of Industries, Mining & Trade in Iran banned the exports of timber, chipboards and MDF. The measure was said to be aimed at regulating the domestic market, as furniture producers and business in the field had recently complained of scarcity and high prices of raw materials used in their trades.

We can also report now that there was a considerable change in the MDF manufacturers evolution in Iran during the last five years. A lot of new companies came into the market with both new and second-hand lines installed. The previous details about Iranian MDF industries published in WBPI was based on quite old references that we had available but now this year, with the help of local specialists , we have been able to include the list of all current MDF manufacturers in Iran along with location and capacity details. Main list changes feature the MDF facility at Sari, Mazandaran of Arian Chemie 2 with 250,000m3 and also Arian Sina with 140,000m3.

Furthermore, there are three new MDF lines now listed in our future capacity table which are under construction. The Arian Takhteh 2 facility with 250,000m3 at Rasht, Gilan is due to produce first boards during 2021, with Arian Saeed at Sari, Mazadaran with 250,000m3 and Caspian at Salmanshahr, Mazandaran with 105,000m3 of MDF also planned for start-up in 2021. We will report further and update information on these developments in our issue next year. Also listed is the proposed AGT (Qazvin) 200,000m3 MDF plant – but no more details are currently available at this time.

In Iran MDF still has further good potential for more to be produced locally as nearly 800,000m3 MDF was imported only in the last year, mainly from Turkey and China.

In this geographical region we can still only advise that the new MDF mill project for Green Fibre, that we understood and reported as being developed as a project in ‘West Asia’, with the line being supplied in the future by Dieffenbacher, is actually for a destination as yet unspecified publicly. The specific details as to where and when it will be installed have not yet been openly defined and declared. So, at the time of going to press, again we are just noting the additional volumes for the future in this part of the world and will keep this project under review – Green Fibre, West Asia with a capacity of 165,000m3.


As previously stated in this two-part global MDF review, western Europe and North America are currently seeing fresh dynamics with the growth in Europe coming from Lithuania and the eastern region, driven mainly by Turkish and Russian investments. In North America, the rice straw MDF plant in California is now operational, the Swiss Krono MDF plant in South Carolina started up and Mexico’s new mills are taking their place in the market. For the rest of the world, we must still watch the expansionist MDF developments in Algeria, Brazil, China, Egypt, India, Iran, Thailand, and Vietnam.

In summary then, our final aggregate totals for global MDF capacity at the end of 2018 was 105,598,000m3 and it reached 109,130,000m3 by the end of 2019. For 2020 the installed capacity has expanded to 109,674,000m3 and out into 2021/22 and beyond, we could reach 118,512,000m3 based on our current information …the global production capacity growth continues, for this wood-based panel product.


The WBPI listings published in 2021 were reviewed and modifications made, using other published sources and data received directly from the mills and specific industry experts. Published information was reviewed for news of capacity changes. These sources include relevant trade magazines, association reports, press releases and equipment suppliers’ reference lists.

The mills own reported capacities are used wherever possible because this is the basis upon which they can make their estimates of future capacity and production changes. Where this information is not available, published sources are used, usually on a basis of 330 operating days per year.

Conversion to ft2 to m3/year is made with 1,000ft2 to m3/year is made with 1,000ft2 equal to 1.77m3.