As this report was going to press, a second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic was starting to affect multiple regions across the world.

Precisely how far and how deeply this will impact the international wood-based panels manufacturing sector is difficult to assess at this moment in time, with much depending on the length of uncertainty during the winter period.

Our Particleboard Part 1 Survey main listings details production capacity at mills in Europe and North America as at December 31, 2019, while this report also covers projects that are either still ongoing, planned for the future or mill closures/ reductions in capacity.

It’s important to underline that mills which come on line with new capacity in 2020 will be added to the main listing tables in next year’s Focus on Particleboard survey, although we detail them in this report. WBPI’s headline capacity figures for this 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 the EU28 we estimate the figure is 38.4 million m3, up marginally from 37.8 million m3 in 2018, with European capacity outside the EU staying the same at 17.4 million m3.

For North America we estimated the installed capacity to be 9.19 million m3.

What is quite clear is that it is a challenging period for the international wood-based panels industry, with orders for new plant and equipment having seen a slump for many in 2019 even before the pandemic.

The Germany-based Mechanical Engineering Industry Association (VDMA) said recently that the woodworking machinery sector has been hit harder than most areas of the mechanical engineering sector. Although there are some more positive signs among manufacturers of furniture and construction – the main market drivers for wood-based panels – the manufacturers of plant and machinery used to make wood-based panels have recorded the biggest slump in orders within the woodworking machinery sector.

New projects which were already under way may have only been delayed, but it is the area of completely new projects which has dipped and it remains to be seen when this is going to normalise again.

This is likely to impact the future growth of capacity as detailed in our tables and we will keep a close eye on developments.

Upgrading and improvement works at factories will of course remain important.

The European Panel Federation’s (EPF) Annual Report 2019/2020 shows that wood-based panel production output in EPF countries dipped for the first time in four years – by -1.8% to nearly 59.2 million m3. And it said current consumption of wood-based panels followed a similar trend, reducing by 0.7%.

The EPF said particleboard was the one bright spot in EPF countries during 2019, registering a 0.5% output growth to 32.095 million m3.

The EPF said it was not making forecasts for 2020 due to the uncertainties of the current coronavirus pandemic. Meanwhile, in North America, the Composite Panel Association (CPA) released its capacity report in the summer, putting particleboard production capacity at 9.788 million m3, down 0.1% from 2019 – in a similar range to WBPI’s figures.


First of all, we will look at developments and changes in the European particleboard industry, starting with the most recent.

The modernisation of the Sonae Arauco particleboard plant in Beeskow, Germany was a landmark project in Europe that concluded with the first board produced on July 7 this year.

It was originally intended to start up in October, 2019, but delays were followed by the Covid-19 pandemic and that meant an additional delay between the end of mechanical installation and start-up of the line.

The two single-opening presses have been replaced by a 42m-long CPS+ continuous press by Dieffenbacher, with the company also supplying a three-head forming station and the forming line.

The “Beeskow 50+” project, as it is known, celebrates 54 years since the first press was installed at the mill, with the new continuous production line representing an investment of over €50m.

The plant’s capacity will ultimately increase from the previous 260,000m3 to 600,000m3, with the new capacity added to next year’s main listing.

Sonae Arauco said the new equipment will also bring significant gains in terms of quality, specification and efficiency – namely the production of a lighter product with a more homogeneous surface, as well as allowing the thickness of the boards to be extended from 6 to 40mm and the width up to 2,800mm.

Also going online this year was Klaipedos Mediena’s (VMG) new particleboard plant at Akmene, Lithuania.

The first board was produced on July 31 and the plant is the third greenfield particleboard plant that VMG has ordered from Siempelkamp.

The 660,000m3 capacity plant, which had its grand opening in September, features a ContiRoll Generation 9 continuous 8ft x 45.4m press with a daily production capacity of 2,000m³.

It is considered one of the most modern wood-based panels plants in Europe with high standards of resource efficiency and energy efficiency. It can make thin boards down to just 3mm thick.

The Akmene plant supplies material for VMG's rapidly expanding furniture and kitchen production. The company manufactures exclusively for IKEA and is therefore a key player in the development of production capacity in the Baltic states. In the future it will also supply other Lithuanian manufacturers with raw particleboard.

VMG’s two other particleboard plants are at Giriu Bizonas in Lithuania and VMG Mogilev in Belarus.

In Italy, Dieffenbacher is supplying a new single opening press to Lombardo, with equipment delivery likely to be before Christmas and installation in January. This is replacing an existing Pagnoni press at its site in Mortegliano, Udine.

The capacity will be similar to the existing 70,000m3/year capacity, but the new equipment will allow Lombardo to produce an increased range of products, including thinner boards, and at a higher quality.

Lombardo has been manufacturing particleboard since 1967, for which it has been using poplar as the raw material. In Spain, a new continuous line at the Nadela plant of Tableros Hispanos produced its first board in October, 2019.

The Dieffenbacher CPS+ continuous press has a planned capacity of 495,000m3 and has been added to the main listing. It replaces a multi-opening press line.

The first stage involved renewing the forming station, forming line, press and raw board handling system, with capacity being limited currently to 1,000m3 a day.

A second stage will involve modernising the existing material preparation line, which will allow production to reach the 1,500 m³/ day designed capacity in the future. A new short-cycle laminating line has also been supplied by Dieffenbacher Zaisenhausen.

Mill owner Grupo Martín originally took over the facility when it acquired Spanish wood-based panel manufacturer Tabliciat. Another project now added to the main listing is Kastamonu’s project in Gorno Sahrane, Bulgaria, which went live in March 2019. This involved the relocation of a 580,000m3 capacity plant from Darbo in France.

Dieffenbacher completed the relocation of the forming station, forming line, prepress and a 42.4m-long CPS continuous press. This significantly expands Kastamonu’s production capacity in Bulgaria and strengthen its presence in eastern Europe.

Staying in Bulgaria, one retrospective project now added to the main listing is at Kronospan’s Veliko Tarnovo site. The Siempelkamp 7ft x 43.7m ContiRoll particleboard line went operational in 2016, replacing a multidaylight press, and has an estimated capacity of 600,000m3. Kronospan first established panel manufacturing at the site in 2016.

Kronospan announced plans back in 2017 for a new particleboard plant at its Sanem plant, Luxembourg. The project was scheduled to be in the second phase of an investment plan which initially focuses on an OSB mill upgrade. Despite their being plenty of activity on the Sanem site – new recycling facilities, combined heat and power plants and a huge photovoltaic installation – there is no news on this Phase 2 project or its intended capacity. So for now, we have marked it as potential future capacity increases from 2022 onwards.

Still in the EU28, 2019 saw Egger’s large new 650,000m3 plant at Biskupiec, Poland come on line, with a Siempelkamp ContiRoll press.

Also worth mentioning is a change of name in the main listing of Nolte Holzwerkstoff GmbH & Co. KG. Following the acquisition of more than half the shares in the company by Saviola this year it has been renamed Rheinspan.

This business – based at Germersheim, Rhineland-Palatinate – is reputed to be the oldest family-owned particleboard manufacturer in the world with 69 years of experience in the industrial manufacture of particleboard.

Non EU28

Staying in Europe but outside the EU28, a project firmly under way is at Kastamonu‘s Samsun site in the Black Sea region of Turkey. A Siempelkamp ContiRoll 7ft x 37.1m line is replacing an old multi daylight pressline and will have a capacity of approximately 1,800 – 2,000 m³/day (estimated 600,000m3 annual capacity). The existing press had a capacity of about 220,000m3 and had been inherited by Kastamonu when it took over the Samsun operation from Yontas in 2009.

Commissioning is expected in early 2021 and the new capacity has been added to our future capacity changes. Siempelkamp subsidiary Pallmann will be supplying knife-ring flaker technology. Meanwhile, in Ukraine there are moves for another particleboard plant for Kronospan, which already operates a chipboard plant since 2004 in Novovolynsk, 40km from the Polish border.

The company has started initial construction work on a new particleboard plant in Rivne, a region in north-west part of Ukraine.

The majority of construction works for the Rivne project should have been carried out in 2020, however, due to the pandemic and associated with this quarantine restrictions, is expected to be completed in 2021. It is being constructed in Horodok on the site of the closed foundry and the territory of the Rivne Tractor Unit Plant, with former buildings already cleared from the site.

An investment agreement was signed between Kronospan and the Rivne authorities at the end of last year as a result of almost 18 months of talks.

Total investment is thought to be around €200m, with about 300 people to be directly employed at the plant. Equipment details and line capacity are unavailable at the moment but Kronospan’s plan is to process 4 million m3 of raw timber annually.

In February 2020, the regional authorities approved the Horodok facility’s environmental impact assessment (EIA). Various investment plans in Russia have been mooted in the last few years, but there is nothing major to highlight at this time.

North America

North America has been a busy region for particleboard investment of late. The most recent plant to come on line is the Egger site at Lexington, North Carolina, which produced its first board on September 19.

The greenfield mill project, nicknamed ‘Columbus’ by partners Egger and Siempelkamp, features a forming and press line made by Siempelkamp – a continuous 10ft x 43.7m ContiRoll press (the 15th ContiRoll in operation at an Egger facility). The scope of delivery also included two dryers from Siempelkamp's subsidiary Büttner, along with size-reduction technology from Siempelkamp's subsidiary Pallmann.

The commissioning process was able to take place via remote service despite the Covid-19-related disruption.

“Ultimately, we managed to produce the first board slightly later than planned, but within the original time window we were aiming for – which is a success for us all,” reports Siempelkamp project manager Stefan Wolff.

The Lexington site – the 20th Egger plant – is designed to play a crucial role in expanding Egger’s presence on the North American market.

This mill follows the two other new largescale particleboard investments in the US – Kronospan’s Eastaboga plant in Alabama and Sonae Arauco’s Grayling, Michigan plant. Both went on line last year and add 550,000m3 and 800,000m3 of particleboard capacity in the US. These two are in our main listings, with the Egger plant showing as future capacity in 2020 and beyond.

With so much new hi-tech capacity coming on stream, it was inevitable that we would see some older less competitive plants close. In January, Arauco North America announced it would close its particleboard line in Moncure, North Carolina, as of April 2020.

The decision was based on an assessment over several years that the older manufacturing platform was less competitive in a challenging marketplace compared to the company’s other advanced, high-capacity particleboard platforms.

The company also made an earlier announcement that particleboard operations would end at the St Stephen plant in New Brunswick by the end of 2019.

A number of factors influenced the decision to stop particleboard production in St Stephen.

These include high costs for natural gas and electricity, distance from market, and an overall lack of demand owing to increased competition from newer and larger facilities.

The mill will continue to manufacture Fibrex from this location. The decision is expected to affect between 60 and 75 positions.

“It is a decision based on the economics of our business and the changing nature of the industry,” said Kelly Shotbolt, outgoing president, Arauco North America at the time of the announcement.

We have removed both the Moncure (262,000m3) and St Stephen capacities from the main listings.

And, of course, last year also saw the closure of Georgia-Pacific’s Thomson, Hope and Monroeville facilities, which equates to a loss of 886,000m3 of capacity.

A further, more recent closure to mention is that of the 44,000m3 Webb Particleboard in Galax, Virginia. This announcement was made by its parent company Vaughan- Bassett Furniture Company in August.

“The demand for particleboard has decreased over the years to the point where we are not competitive,” said Wyatt Bassett, chief executive officer of Vaughan-Bassett. Despite the closure, the company said its furniture business was “booming” and all affected employees were transferred to the main business.

Vaughan-Bassett is the largest manufacturer of wooden adult bedroom furniture in the United States and its chairman John D Bassett III is a champion of American-made furniture.

His book Factory Man is a New York Times bestseller and has been reviewed by the likes of film star Tom Hanks.

As normal, WBPI readers, including mills and technology providers are welcome to contact us with any corrections or new information on our survey reports.

How The List Was Compiled

The WBPI listings published in 2020 were reviewed and modifications made using other published sources and data received directly from the mills. Published information was reviewed for news of mill capacity changes.

The mills’ own reported capacities are used wherever possible but where this information is not available, published sources are used, usually on the basis of 330 operating days per year.

Conversion of ft2 to m3/year is made with 1,000 ft2 equal to 1.77m3.
With regard to press types, the following abbreviations have been used in the listings:
MO=multi-opening/multi daylight
SO=single opening/single daylight
Mende=Bison-Mende (Calender)
na=not available

The following press makes have been identified and are shown in the listing as:-

Bison (pre and post-Metso acquisition)
BVH Becker & van Hüllen
C Compak
Dieff Dieffenbacher
Küsters (pre and post-Metso acquisition)
Mende Bison Mende
Siemp Siempelkamp
WIW Washington Iron Works
na Information not available

We remain pleased to accept any and all contributions to this survey. Please send them to Stephen Powney, the group editor of WBPI, at

We are grateful to the CPA for the use of a small part of its figures. If you wish to become a member of this organisation and have access to its comprehensive data, go to We are similarly grateful to the EPF and the same applies.