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    The world´s leading woodworking show LIGNA 2023

    Optimistic outlook despite challenges

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    • DREMA
  • Production by the woodworking machinery industry in Germany reached a record level of €3.6 billion in 2022, an increase of 8.3 percent on the previous year. „Even though falling order intake now points to a decline in production in the current year 2023, woodworking machinery manufacturers are entering the next five days of the LIGNA trade show (May 15 – 19 in Hanover) full of optimism. After a four-year break, we finally have another opportunity to show the world the industry’s concentrated innovative power,“ explained Dr. Bernhard Dirr, Managing Director of VDMA Woodworking Machinery, a few days before the start of the exhibition. „Despite considerable problems in the supply chains and despite the global uncertainties, the industry is operating at a high level and is looking ahead with confidence overall,“ added Dirr.

     

    Exports on the rise, USA in top position

    In the past year 2022, the export value of German manufacturers of woodworking machinery increased by 4.5 percent to 2.4 billion euros compared to the previous year. The largest individual markets were again the USA (307 million euros, up 20 percent) and the People’s Republic of China (255 million euros, down 1 percent), followed by France (154 million euros, up 14 percent), Poland and Austria.

    Exports to Great Britain (119 million euros, up 36 percent) and Italy (126 million euros, up 26 percent), both countries with pronounced investment promotion programs, reached record levels. A striking and gratifying development was a near quadrupling of exports to India to 46 million euros.

    For the traditional markets in Europe, manufacturers do not expect further growth in the current year in view of the weaker order intake. By contrast, the outlook for business in North America remains good. China, too, will foreseeably retain its outstanding position as the largest sales market in the Asian region despite all trade policy differences. The Indian woodworking industry is increasingly establishing itself as a firm customer for European manufacturers of woodworking machinery and tools.

     

    High pressure to innovate keeps the industry busy

    Overall, a pronounced boom phase is coming to an end for many customer industries, which experienced a peak during the Corona pandemic. In addition, financing investments is becoming much more expensive, which often leads to reluctance to place orders. On the other hand, the pressure to innovate is undiminished, if only because of the shortage of skilled workers, and digitization and automation are therefore massively driving customer industries, which is reflected in the topics set at LIGNA 2023. Another important trend topic is building with wood, which is enjoying growing demand and which is why the general decline in construction activity in Europe is not affecting manufacturers in this segment as much.

     

    LIGNA 2023: More innovations for wood processing

    The global megatrends are playing into the hands of the woodworking machinery industry: Individualization, decarbonization and digitalization. New mechanical engineering products reduce the use of materials and energy, network and individualize production, and expand possibilities through digital services.

    The world’s leading trade fair comes at the right time. Bioeconomy, timber construction and transformation of wood processing are the three focus topics that move the industry. There is no doubt that everyone is talking about building with wood: from politicians to construction companies, which until now have mainly built with concrete, brick and steel, all the relevant players are looking at wood as a material. At LIGNA, too, the topic will be on full display in all its mechanical engineering facets. Against the backdrop of the current massive expansion of production capacity for modular and serial timber house construction, and also given the continuing high demand for equipment for the manufacture of glulam and cross-laminated timber and wood fiber insulation plants, the organizers are expecting strong visitor traffic for the segment.

    It is no different with the topic of transformation in wood processing. Transparent supply chains, end-to-end data transfer and digitization solutions ensure reduced costs and resource efficiency in all segments of the woodworking and furniture industry. In times of increased pressure on margins for customers from industry and trade, this is an important argument for visiting the world’s largest trade fair by far for woodworking machinery manufacturing.

    The triad is rounded off with the topic of bioeconomy. The term, which is mainly used in a political context, subsumes all players in the wood and furniture industry under one roof. The associated mechanical engineering sector will present technological innovations at the leading trade show in order to further expand a bio-based circular economy. Above all, the topics of recycling and resource-efficient manufacturing will be in the foreground here. Process technologies for shaping chemically digested wood fibers will also be presented.

     

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