As regular readers will know, there were two exhibitions held in Beijing in March this year, instead of the normal one, biennial, WM Fair.
It was the 10th edition of the jointly-held WM Fair China and Furniwood China, organised by Adsale Exhibition Services Ltd of Hong Kong. This event was, as usual, held at the large China International Exhibition Centre, on March 2-5.
Due to the high cost of renting stand space at this exhibition, Eumabois, the European federation of 12 national associations representing the largest European manufacturers of machines and accessories for woodworking, decided to organise its own, competing, exhibition called Chinawood. This event was held on March 7-10 at the Beijing Exhibition Centre.
Initially, the majority of European manufacturers of machinery for the panel making industry booked space only at the Chinawood event.
However, some of them subsequently negotiated rates ‘at the last minute’ for stand space rental at the WM Fair which were in fact lower than those at Chinawood, and so these companies attended both exhibitions.
Reflecting the importance and sudden growth of the panel industry in China in recent years, the WM Fair had a designated ‘Panelboard Equipment Zone’ in hall 2, where most suppliers to the panel industry were located.
Andritz of Austria reported that it had supplied close to 70 of its MDF refiners to China so far. These contracts have been both direct to the client and through contractors who supplied the whole, or major parts of, the production line.
In common with many others, Andritz feels that the number of new projects will probably continue to decrease as considerable new MDF capacity comes on line in China. The company exhibited at both fairs.
Anthon of Germany also attended both, promoting its saw systems for panel mills.
The company has sold eight lines to China so far, with the last order being for the Fuzhou particleboard line due to start up this year. The other seven lines were delivered in 2003 and six of them included feeding, sanding (sub-contracted), cut-tosize and packing as a supply package.
However, Anthon’s involvement in the Chinese market goes back much further, as it supplied equipment for a line to make beer barrels in 1905. It also delivered to a similar project last year. It has supplied to Dieffenbacher’s, Metso’s and Siempelkamp’s complete-line contracts.
Berndorf-Hueck attended Chinawood to promote Berndorf’s stainless steel continuous press belts and Hueck’s plain and engraved press plates for decorative laminates. Berndorf also displayed its belt patching/ refurbishing tools and its dry ice belt cleaner.
So far, the company claims a better than 40% share of the Chinese market for new press lines with continuous steel belts. It has a sales and service centre in Beijing with 10 staff, including four service engineers.
Binos Technologies was exhibiting for the first time in Beijing, at the Chinawood show.
It was offering a new Mende-type press of its own construction, with spike roll former developed in conjunction with Flakeboard of Canada and a spike roll sifter, as well as mechanical/pneumatic MDF glue blending, and modified secondhand Mende presses.
Angelo Cremona of Italy has quite a long history of supplying the plywood and veneer industries in China and worldwide and exhibited at Chinawood only. Like all European machinery makers who want to compete in this market, Cremona sells on its quality of engineering to companies wishing to produce a high-grade plywood or veneer.
Dieffenbacher was one of the companies which made a late decision to attend the WM Fair as well as Chinawood. It booked the stand under the name of Dieffenbacher Ziesenhausen at WM and the parent company at Chinawood. Zaisenhausen is the handling equipment and short-cycle press side of the business. Recently taken into full ownership, Schenkmann & Piel was also present on the stand.
Dieffenbacher’s latest tally is around 12 complete lines supplied to China in the past year, although one or two are, as yet, not finally confirmed.
Resin company Dynea, headquartered in Finland, has a group office in Shanghai and supplies resin to a number of panel mills in the country. It chose to exhibit only at WM.
Electronic Wood Systems (EWS) of Germany also attended both shows and was able to report that it had sold three thickness gauges for Mende lines and two laboratory testing lines at the WM Fair. One lab system went to the Nanjing Forestry University and the other to an MDF mill. The company also sold five spark extinguishing systems at the first fair.
Firefly attended only the WM Fair and was happy with the number of positive leads it had received. This specialist in fire protections systems supplies a wide range of industries but mainly the panel business to date in China. Press protection is especially strong for the company and its ‘electronic nose’ is attracting attention.
“Mills are becoming increasingly aware of the risks of fire, especially with the new continuous lines,said Jamshid Lodhi, sales and marketing manager.
Giben of Italy exhibited at both events and moved its Smart SP saw with grippers from the first to the second venue. The company reported that the WM Fair was “very bad for usalthough the few visitors did show a lot of interest in the saw on display.
Giben is aiming more for the panel processing and furniture production areas in China than for the primary panel industry and has supplied over 200 machines to the furniture sector – 15 in 2003.
“We have had an increasing presence in China over the last 18 months for our energy production systems in panel mills and we have supplied three lines recently – Lishui Oak MDF, Luyuan MDF and Dare Wood MDF,said Reinhold Luthringshauser of GTS Energy of the US.
The company reported a further four contracts at the time of the WM Fair and was discussing a particleboard project with cogeneration. It has a representative office in China, run by Mr Naicheng Zhou.
Another American company at WM was Globe Machinery which worked with Burelbach Industries on the supply of the handling for the Shendor doorskin line in Shenyang and another similar line in Jilin Province.
The company shares a Beijing office with another US firm, M-E-C, which has two particleboard lines under construction in Jilin and Heliongjiang provinces.
German specialist in on-the-line quality control and fire protection, GreCon, exhibited only at Chinawood and Günther Hänsch said he would like to have seen more Chinese exhibitors at the show.
The company has its equipment on many of the new continuous lines in China. It has 50 weight-per-unit-area gauges and 50 moisture analysers in operation as well as around 100 thickness gauges and “hundredsof spark detection systems.
“We are also concentrating on lower priced, simple measuring systems for older lines where the mill needs to improve panel quality,said Mr Hänsch. Here the company supplies the high-tech parts, while frames can be fabricated locally to GreCon’s drawings. The company will open a new subsidiary in Pudong (Shanghai) in June/July.
Grenzebach of Germany (formerly Babcock BSH) concentrates on veneer dryers for sliced veneers in China and said that a lot of its customers were importing logs for slicing. The company claims to be the market leader in China, with 20 installations so far. A spokesman said the Chinawood show was very quiet and not worth the money. Grenzebach prefers its own seminars with invited audiences. It runs these jointly with Fisher & Rückle, BASF and a satisfied customer from Malaysia. It has agents in Shanghai and Guangzhou.
Imal of Italy attended only the Chinawood show, together with sister company Pal srl.
Imal was promoting its new and secondhand plants, its new MDF and other gluing systems and its laboratory and on-the-line quality control equipment. It is cooperating with German companies Modul and Berstorff in supplying brand new Mendetype press lines to China and elsewhere. It also began a cooperation with Fusoni in 2003. Fusoni makes release agents for use in continuous presses and Imal makes the mat surface damping spray equipment.
Pal srl was concentrating on wood recycling equipment in a country that is notoriously short of fresh wood. The company has recently supplied its first such line in China for making MDF from a mixture of recycled and fresh wood.
Italian wide-belt sander maker Imeas already has a joint venture company manufacturing four feet wide sanders in China (Imeas Sander manufacturing (Suzhou) Co Ltd) and this company was represented alongside the Italian parent Imeas spa at WM, while Imeas spa was alone at Chinawood.
This reflected the fact that the Chinese company felt that WM was a better event for its customers. This company was formed a year ago and has already sold over 40 machines to smaller particleboard and MDF mills, mainly for new Chinese-made lines.
Imeas spa sold four 7ft and 8ft wide lines in China in the last year, to Asia Dekor MDF; Hebei Yingyang MDF; Jilin Forest, Changchun, particleboard; and Langxiang Forestry, Heilongjiang, also for particleboard. Imeas ran a seminar on the second day of WM Fair, attended by 45 delegates.
Kuper from Germany normally supplies new veneer processing equipment and secondhand lines but at the WM Fair was exhibiting its new PUR Lightboard System for making honeycomb-cored lightweight furniture panels using PUR glues and cold pressing. Kuper sells in China through its agent, Golden Field.
Maier, also from Germany, attended both shows, bringing with it a knife-ring flaker (KFR), series MRZ-1400HS, which it transported to the Chinawood show as well.
Maier is now delivering a high speed KFR, MRZHS with 60 knives to Fuzhou Company, a Metso main contract, to produce both homogeneous and normal particleboard, by using two different rings. The client also bought a sharpening machine with automatic knife protrusion setting.
Jilin Forest Industry Co will take delivery of a high-speed KFR in June, again for particleboard on a line supplied by Metso.
The Langxiang Forest Bureau particleboard mill in Heilongjiang will receive two high-speed KFRs and an MPM surface layer chipper in September.
Having brought its KFR for display purposes only, Robert Loth, chief executive of Maier, was pleased to report at the Chinawood show that he had sold the machine on the first morning to Dong Dun of Changshu, together with additional components to be brought from Germany. He was even more delighted to report a similar, second, sale in the same afternoon!
Among the three complete line general contractors for composite panels, Metso Panelboard was one of two to exhibit at both shows. As part of the Metso Group, this company has access to a sales and service operation, principally serving the group’s paper machinery operations, in Wuxi.
“We are getting an increasing number of enquiries for particleboard lines,said China area manager Thomas Sternold. “The price of particleboard is rising, while that for MDF is falling, at least for thicker board, and end-users are increasingly looking at the quality of particleboard as exports increase.”
Metso Panelboard has two recent orders for complete lines. One is the Robina ll line at Yichung, Jiangxi Province, a 200,000m3 MDF line due to start up in early 2005, with a Metso continuous press.
The second line is for Fujian Furen Wood Industry Co Ltd at Fuzhou, Fujian Province, which is to be a 255,000m3 particleboard line, again with a Metso continuous press.
In common with many other observers of the Chinese market at the present time, Mr Sternold believes that there will be more MDF lines built, but that particleboard will become increasingly favoured.
Minimax of Germany attended both shows to present its equipment for fire protection and spark detection for MDF lines. It also has a subsidiary in China, Minimax (Beijing) Firefighting System Co Ltd.
Modul Systeme, also of Germany, exhibited at the Chinawood event only; this was the company’s first exhibition in China.
“In the past, we had problems supplying our secondhand, reconditioned, machinery to China because of the 30% duty,explained Eberhard Kühnlein of Modul. “Now, with more joint-venture companies, there are more possibilities because the duty does not apply.We can also now offer a new Berstorff Mende-type press as well as secondhand ones.”
Pallmann of Germany took a booth at Chinawood but not at the WM Fair. The company opened an office in Beijing in November 2002 for sales and service of its wood-size-reduction machinery and refiners.
“We have had many orders from China over the years,said ceo Hartmut Pallmann, saying that the company had received nine new orders in 2003 which it sold directly to the mills, in addition to those which it sold through the main contractors. Recent orders include two 62in MDF refiners for Sichuan Guodong and Dare Global.
Pallmann will also deliver the complete flake preparation system to the massive Mieco particleboard project in Malaysia in June/July.
Raute of Finland also only exhibited at Chinawood. A spokesman admitted that the Chinese market was difficult because of low price expectations, but said the company was looking for customers who want world quality machinery for plywood, LVL or parquet production lines.
Sandvik and its partner, Hindrichs- Auffermann, were at both exhibitions. Jan- Ola Johnson of Sandvik said that his company had supplied belts to 18 out of 31 continuous panel lines in China, as well as 10 belts to Chinese makers of multi-opening presses with continuous belt carrier systems.
Hindrichs-Auffermann, in whose name the Chinawood stand was listed, currently produces technical plates (for PCBs) in China but will soon start refurbishing press plates supplied to the panel industry as well.
Shanghai Wood Based Panel Machinery Co Ltd (SWBPMC) exhibited at both shows, reflecting its increasing interest in exporting its range of panel making and processing machinery. The industry still awaits news of this company’s first continuous press, which is likely to come next year. Sia Abrasives of Switzerland exhibited only at the WM Fair, showing its range of abrasive belts for all sectors of the woodworking industry.
Siempelkamp showed only at Chinawood in line with VDMA and Eumabois guidelines. This supplier of complete lines has recently supplied the Luyuan and Dare Wood MDF plants in China.
The company also sees the rapid rise in MDF production in the country slowing and the strong possibility that particleboard lines will become more popular investments. Shortage of raw material is always a constraining factor, pointed out Rolf Kamper of Siempelkamp. However, he does believe that OSB will come to China in time.
The company has full representation for sales and service in China through its Beijing office.
With its many subsidiary and partner companies, Siempelkamp can offer the full range of equipment for a complete continuous, or indeed discontinuous, panel production line, from design to final commissioning, including all electronic and computerised controls.
Steinemann of Switzerland is the major European supplier of wide belt sanding machines to the panel industry in China and has supplied 90 lines to mills there, including orders for 14 Satos models in the last 18 months. The company attended both Beijing shows. “This year, about half our total sales will be to Asia, mainly China,said vice-president of Steinemann Technology Hansjörg Fritsche.
New lines are not the only source of business as a number of mills with locally supplied production lines want to improve their surface quality, he said. The company has had an office in Beijing since October and a service person in Guangzhou as well.
Vits Systems also exhibited at both shows. In fact, at WM it was represented twice as its Chinese joint venture company, Vits-Imaco, also had a stand there.
The company has around 18 of its paper impregnation lines in China, with two currently under installation, at Dare Wood in Danyang and at Krono-Sinhua in Beijing.
Vyncke of Belgium has supplied over 20 energy generation plants to China – 14 of them since 2002. The company had five plants under erection at the time of the shows (it exhibited at both) and had just received an order from Guodong in Chengdu, Sichuan Province. Other projects include Dare line ll in Fuzhou and Dare lll, Asia Dekor and Weihua in Guangdong, Beihai in Guangxi (a locally-made MDF line) and Dongying in Shandong Province.
“We are moving our China office from Beijing to Shanghai to be nearer to our customers and to the sea port for storage of spare parts.We are also taking on four more people for service and project management,said sales chief Lieven Tarras.
Wemhöner Pressen of Germany has an enviable reputation for its short cycle press lines in China, in spite of, or perhaps helped by, local competition which seems unable to match its quality. It exhibited only at Chinawood.
Wemhöner supplied a short cycle line to Asia Dekor and several other Chinese panel mills and was just completing commissioning of a line at Dare Wood MDF. It also supplies 3-D presses to the furniture industry in China.