Panels & Furniture Asia January/February 2024

Panels & Furniture Asia (PFA) is a leading regional trade magazine dedicated to the woodbased panel, furniture and flooring processing industry. Published bi-monthly since 2000, PFA delivers authentic journalism to cover the latest news, technology, machinery, projects, products and trade events throughout the sector. With a hardcopy and digital readership comprising manufacturers, designers and specifiers, among others, PFA is the platform of choice for connecting brands across the global woodworking landscape.

Panels & Furniture Asia (PFA) is a leading regional trade magazine dedicated to the woodbased panel, furniture and flooring processing industry. Published bi-monthly since 2000, PFA delivers authentic journalism to cover the latest news, technology, machinery, projects, products and trade events throughout the sector. With a hardcopy and digital readership comprising manufacturers, designers and specifiers, among others, PFA is the platform of choice for connecting brands across the global woodworking landscape.


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www.panelsfurnitureasia.com<br />

JANUARY/FEBRUARY <strong>2024</strong>

www.hanoiwoodexpo.com<br />



(NECC)<br />




VENUE<br />


29 MAY -<br />

Images Credit :<br />

Leitz Tooling<br />

01 JUNE<br />

<strong>2024</strong><br />





Organised by:<br />

Official Media:<br />


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Contents<br />

Issue 1 / <strong>Panels</strong> & <strong>Furniture</strong> <strong>Asia</strong><br />

<strong>January</strong> / <strong>February</strong> <strong>2024</strong><br />

36<br />

6 Editor’s Note<br />

8 News<br />

62 Calendar of Events<br />

64 List of Advertisers<br />

Market Report<br />

14 Why now is the best time to tap into Vietnam’s domestic<br />

furniture market<br />

18 US market export and challenges: Where the market is going<br />

(Part B)<br />

44<br />

Environmental Report<br />

22 Prefinished panels: Driving sustainability and efficiency in<br />

commercial interiors<br />

In Person<br />

25 “We want to gain recognition, even in the Western world”<br />

Product Highlight<br />

28 AquaVeg: New bio-based wax emulsion for wood panel<br />

industry<br />

30 “A beacon of innovation”: Biesse’s new ROS FT robotic system<br />

32 A new dimension for panel sizing<br />

33 CNC machining of unique furniture shapes<br />

34 Dürr launches new, standardised paint supply station for<br />

industrial applications<br />

Panel Manufacturing<br />

36 Reinventing wood panel production with Pika ReTech’s<br />

solutions<br />

38 Specialists in resin formulation and application<br />

40 Five-layer super particleboard: “A concept of greater end<br />

product flexibility”<br />

18<br />

<strong>Furniture</strong> Manufacturing<br />

42 Advanced manufacturing with HOMAG’s factory management<br />

system and full solution for automation<br />

44 Nesting processing centres: Ideal sizing mode for<br />

batch-size-one production<br />

46 Complete after-sales service with Tonsing<br />

47 “Automation must be accepted, and whoever accepts it first<br />

will succeed”<br />

Materials<br />

48 An introduction to how cross-laminated timber is produced<br />

Flooring<br />

50 AI at Unilin: Assess what there is and make improvements<br />

Structural Elements<br />

52 Monteco<br />

Columnists<br />

54 ‘Driving Nature Positive Impact’<br />

Show Preview<br />

56 CIFF Guangzhou <strong>2024</strong><br />

Show Review<br />

58 Malaysian Wood Expo 2023<br />

4 PANELS & FURNITURE ASIA | JANUARY / FEBRUARY <strong>2024</strong>

Y O U R S M A R T P L A N T<br />


Using a holistic approach, CEBRO combines digitalization and advanced<br />

plant engineering with operational excellence and sustainability solutions.<br />

That makes your plant smart.<br />

Watch the video at cebro.dieffenbacher.com to discover<br />

what CEBRO can do for you.<br />


FEBRUARY 22–26, <strong>2024</strong>,<br />



New year, new look<br />

Happy new year to all!<br />

Seasoned readers of this magazine will<br />

notice that the magazine has gotten a new<br />

look. Once in a while we try to freshen up<br />

the design so that it does not become stale.<br />

The last time we redesigned the layout was<br />

around four years ago; this time we have<br />

gone for a cleaner, tighter-looking layout.<br />

Let us know what you think of it.<br />

Speaking of new things, in this issue we<br />

featured a range of new products that<br />

cater to different segments of the wood<br />

and woodworking industry. On the wood<br />

panel industry end, we interviewed Emulco<br />

on their new AquaVeg bio-based wax<br />

emulsion, which is said to perform better<br />

than mineral wax emulsions for coating as<br />

well as in mass dosing of all kinds of wood<br />

panels (p.28).<br />

On the furniture industry end, Biesse<br />

has introduced their new robotic arm<br />

system ROS FT, which aims to streamline<br />

and optimise “the unloading process of<br />

machined parts from nesting machines,<br />

offering better speed, accuracy and<br />

adaptability in production” (p.30).<br />

For design applications, Dürr’s new<br />

EcoSupply2 Core is a modular paint supply<br />

station that makes painting in confined<br />

spaces easier (p.34). These are just a few<br />

examples — flip through the magazine and<br />

get a taste of the innovations companies<br />

have come up with.<br />

Of course, before we embark on the new<br />

year, this issue also rounded up some<br />

significant events in the last few months<br />

of 2023. We covered Andritz’s Customer<br />

Day for their medium-density fibreboard<br />

(MDF) customers, which took place in<br />

Bangkok, Thailand back in November 2023<br />

(p.8). The show review on Malaysian Wood<br />

Expo 2023 is finally out as well: Hear what<br />

some of the exhibitors have to say about<br />

the expo and its success (p.58).<br />

I think I can say for all of us that nobody<br />

ever knows how exactly this year will turn<br />

out. Who could say they anticipated how<br />

badly the year had turned out in 2023 for<br />

the industry — or, in fact, the entire world?<br />

Regardless, we still have to trudge on.<br />

New year brings new opportunities, as the<br />

saying goes. Let’s hope this turns out true<br />

for everyone.<br />

Yap Shi Quan<br />

EDITOR<br />


William Pang • Publisher<br />

williampang@pabloasia.com<br />

Yap Shi Quan • Editor<br />

shiquan@pabloasia.com<br />

Pang YanJun •<br />

Business Development Manager<br />

yanjun@pabloasia.com<br />

Goh Meng Yong • Graphic Designer<br />

mengyong@pabloasia.com<br />

Shu Ai Ling • Circulation Manager<br />

circulation@pabloasia.com<br />


Ellen Gao • General Manager<br />

pablobeijing@163.com<br />


Gia Hou • Editor<br />

pabloshanghai@163.net<br />

Pablo Publishing & Exhibition Pte Ltd (Head Office)<br />

3 Ang Mo Kio Street 62, #01-23, Link@AMK, Singapore 569139 • Tel: +65 6266 5512 • Email: info@pabloasia.com<br />

Company Registration No: 200001473N • Singapore MICA (P) No: 043/12/2023<br />

Pablo (Beijing) • Tel : +86 10 6509 7728 • Email : pablobeijing@163.com<br />

Pablo (Shanghai) • Tel : +86 21 5238 9737 / 36 • Email : pabloshanghai@163.net<br />

let's connect!<br />

@panelsfurnitureasia<br />

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infringements. <strong>Panels</strong> & <strong>Furniture</strong> <strong>Asia</strong> is a controlled-circulation magazine with six issues a year.<br />

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6 PANELS & FURNITURE ASIA | JANUARY / FEBRUARY <strong>2024</strong>

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NEWS<br />

"From A to Z": Andritz hosts Customer Day<br />

for South East <strong>Asia</strong>n MDF manufacturers<br />



For the second talk, Martin Gaertner,<br />

regional product manager of MDF plates<br />

at Andritz, went in-depth into Andritz's<br />

proprietary technology for their MDF<br />

refiner plates.<br />

From traditional plate designs that<br />

come unsteady cutting conditions,<br />

high variation in fibre geometry, and<br />

higher energy consumption, Andritz has<br />

gradually improved their plate designs to<br />

include spiral, feed control curve (FCC),<br />

and quantum designs.<br />

The latter few designs aim to reduce<br />

variation in fibre geometry and achieve<br />

more uniform fibres, thus generating<br />

better quality, while also reducing energy<br />

consumption and enabling a smoother<br />

refining performance.<br />

The MDF Customer<br />

Day was held in<br />

Bangkok, Thailand<br />

On 9-10 Nov 2023, over 50 participants<br />

from 17 South East <strong>Asia</strong>n mediumdensity<br />

fibreboard (MDF) plants<br />

gathered at Bangkok, Thailand to attend<br />

Andritz's MDF Customer Day.<br />

The Customer Day served to update<br />

Andritz’s South East <strong>Asia</strong>n MDF<br />

customers — a majority of whom are<br />

from Vietnam, Thailand and Indonesia<br />

— with their latest technologies and<br />

company performance.<br />

The event kicked off with a slew of talks<br />

on 9 Nov, which ranged from Andritz's<br />

latest developments in thermal and<br />

electrical energy savings to MDF refiner<br />

plate technology and their digitalisation<br />

and automation programme, followed<br />

by a round table discussion with Andritz<br />

specialists on 10 Nov.<br />

updates on Andritz’s sales, projects and<br />

acquisitions.<br />

Pertaining to Andritz's latest projects,<br />

Rupp said that Andritz recently supplied<br />

the world "largest" chip washing and<br />

pressurised refining system to date,<br />

the S2074, a 74in refiner, to Guangxi<br />

Chongzuo Lelin Forestry for their MDF<br />

plant.<br />

This means that "Andritz is in a position<br />

to supply equipment for highest<br />

capacity production too", declared<br />

Rupp.<br />

"The service and the support side from<br />

Andritz are well-proven. And I always<br />

like to say: We want to cover everything<br />

and support our customers from A to Z,<br />

as our name suggests," Rupp said.<br />

In particular, the quantum design has<br />

a longer-lasting lifecycle by evenly<br />

distributing fibres all over the plate-gap<br />

through its unique dam arrangement,<br />

which at the same time also benefits<br />

fibre homogeneity.<br />

Gaertner added: "Another advantage to<br />

the quantum design is versatility. With<br />

the quantum design, we have many more<br />

options to design the refiner plate, so<br />

now we can adapt to the customer needs<br />

and change the design accordingly."<br />

To help Andritz’s MDF customers<br />

better manage their refiner plates, the<br />

group has introduced two online tools:<br />

first, the Plate Change Calculator for<br />

customers to calculate the optimal<br />

lifetime; and second, the Plate<br />

Comparison Tool, which calculates<br />

and compares different Andritz plate<br />

performances.<br />


Michael Rupp, vice-president of<br />

Panelboard Systems at Andritz,<br />

welcomed the MDF producers with<br />

Andritz has also supplied equipment<br />

for the production of insulation boards,<br />

which is a relatively new type of woodpanel<br />

and insulation material.<br />



True to Rupp's statement that Andritz<br />

provides solutions from “A to Z”, Heikki<br />

8 PANELS & FURNITURE ASIA | JANUARY / FEBRUARY <strong>2024</strong>

NEWS<br />

Valtokari, area sales manager of Wood<br />

Processing at Andritz, introduced the various<br />

kinds of solutions for the primary processing<br />

of raw materials.<br />

Michael Rupp,<br />

vice-president of<br />

Panelboard Systems at<br />

Andritz, presenting<br />

In particular, Valtokari referenced their<br />

chipping and debarking lines, which are<br />

made out of standard single equipment or<br />

components and can be varied on a case-bycase<br />

basis.<br />

These include log feeding, debarkers,<br />

log washing, chippers, chip storage, bark<br />

handling, including crushers and more.<br />

For instance, he explained that Andritz’s<br />

horizontal and drop feed disc chippers that<br />

are available in different sizes for different<br />

capacities can produce chips of much<br />

better quality than drum chippers.<br />

Andritz's chippers are also durable as the<br />

parts contact with wood is covered with<br />

changeable wear plates: Valtokari reported<br />

that the first horizontal fed disc chipper they<br />

supplied in 2003 still runs now. The total<br />

amount of supplied disc chippers is over 400<br />

pieces since 1980s.<br />

Andritz has supplied their chipping and<br />

debarking lines with chip and bark handling<br />

to Indonesia, South America, and in China, to<br />

name a few.<br />



Led by Andritz's South East <strong>Asia</strong>n<br />

representative Thomas Brandl, sales<br />

manager of Andritz's Panelboard Service and<br />

Winston Lee, managing director of Malaysiabased<br />

Techstream, the second last talk of the<br />

day touched on Andritz’s efforts to maximise<br />

the performance of MDF equipment from<br />

virtually any OEM.<br />

(w): www.baillie.com<br />

(e): info@baillie.com<br />

(p): 716-649-2850<br />

Brandl and Lee emphasised to the<br />

attendees that it is no longer necessary to<br />

send the parts to the workshops, Andritz<br />

or copycat, for reconditioning by welding,<br />

especially in the case of the plug screw<br />

feeders, as the new devices are equipped<br />

with replaceable wear parts which can be<br />

easily exchanged directly on site.<br />

Spare parts repaired by copycats often come<br />

back to the customer with a different design<br />

JANUARY / FEBRUARY <strong>2024</strong> | PANELS & FURNITURE ASIA 9

NEWS<br />

as to the one originally sent in, which can have<br />

a major impact to the performance and the<br />

lifetime of the plug screw feeder equipment.<br />

Also, if the repairs are carried out with the<br />

wrong parameters, cracks can occur in the<br />

parts and also damage the surrounding<br />

equipment.<br />

Another point they stressed was that they can<br />

help customers using competitors’ refiners<br />

such as the L-, M-, Evo-Series by sending spare<br />

parts, carrying out refurbishments and also<br />

upgrading their refining equipment.<br />

One more new development presented by<br />

Andritz was the new adjustable plug screw<br />

feeder, with which the compression can<br />

be adjusted to the moisture content of the<br />

incoming material, be it softwood, hardwood, or<br />

a mixture.<br />

This results in maximising the dewatering<br />

performance and reduces the thermal energy<br />

— for example, natural gas — consumption<br />

drastically.<br />

Overall, innovative solutions were presented<br />

that aim to improve the overall efficiency of the<br />

production process and ensure smoother and<br />

longer-lasting production.<br />


The final presentation of the day was<br />

delivered by Genc Islamaj, the Panelboard<br />

Service product manager for Automation &<br />

Digitalisation at Andritz.<br />

Islamaj discussed the automation and<br />

digitalisation solutions implemented in<br />

Panelboard by Andritz.<br />

Attendees gained insight into the possibilities<br />

of classic automation upgrades, showcasing the<br />

modernisation of existing plants through the<br />

integration of state-of-the-art technologies.<br />

The main objective was to illustrate the<br />

flexibility and potential of upgrades, applicable<br />

not only to Andritz machines but also to those of<br />

competitors.<br />

In addition, Islamaj presented solutions for<br />

autonomous production, such as the MDFEye,<br />

an online measuring device for assessing<br />

fibre quality, or the DigitalWood, a product for<br />

assessing wood quality by tracking, detecting<br />

1<br />

2<br />

and monitoring the most important properties<br />

of incoming raw material.<br />

The advanced energy controls for the dryer and<br />

the refiner for reducing production costs and<br />

the Metris All-In-One platform, which enables<br />

the realisation of these new products, were also<br />

presented.<br />

DAY TWO<br />

The second day of Andritz’s MDF Customer Day<br />

gave the customers an opportunity to clarify any<br />

doubts or questions about Andritz’s solutions.<br />

Questions from the customers were diverse<br />

and covered a range of topics from all product<br />

groups present during the round table<br />

discussions.<br />

LEGEND<br />

1 Thomas Brandl (left)<br />

and Winston Lee<br />

(right) presenting<br />

on the AdvaProtect<br />

system<br />

2 Direct customer<br />

interaction on<br />

the Automation &<br />

Digitalisation round<br />

table, exchanging<br />

the newest process<br />

improvement<br />

solutions, with Genc<br />

Islamaj and Cheng<br />

Lock Beh on the right<br />

(Image: Andritz)<br />

Some of the topics, which customers could<br />

express their interest in advance, were: latest<br />

technologies on refiner systems; service<br />

centres in <strong>Asia</strong>; MDF refiner plates; energy<br />

reduction and fibre quality, mechanical and<br />

hydraulic trouble shooting of refiner machine,<br />

bark storage or bark crushing; finger blow<br />

valve and fibre diverter valve; digitalisation<br />

and automation; and lastly, new technology to<br />

improve production line.<br />

To that end, the round table discussions<br />

were “fruitful”, according to Andritz. All the<br />

customers were reportedly “very satisfied”<br />

with the customer day, especially with the fact<br />

that they were able to meet Andritz’s product<br />

specialists and sales colleagues in person<br />

again after a long time. P<br />

10 PANELS & FURNITURE ASIA | JANUARY / FEBRUARY <strong>2024</strong>

NEWS<br />

Productivity boost<br />

can come from<br />

strong domestic<br />

woodworking<br />

machinery sector<br />

The chairman of the Indonesian <strong>Furniture</strong><br />

and Crafts Industry Association (HIMKI),<br />

Abdul Sobur, said that assistance with<br />

machinery restructuring and a consistent<br />

supply of raw material will lead to an increase<br />

in domestic sales of furniture and crafts,<br />

which could reduce the need for imports.<br />

Investing in advanced woodworking machinery can help to boost productivity<br />

He further said that to increase productivity,<br />

efficiency and capacity, companies need<br />

appropriate technology. He added that one<br />

of the keys to successful downstreaming<br />

is building a technologically advanced<br />

machinery industry. HIMKI sees the reason<br />

to China's success in building productivity<br />

in the fact that it is supported by a strong<br />

woodworking machinery sector.<br />

Sobur also pointed out that the furniture<br />

and crafts industry is expanding into new<br />

markets in response to declining demand in<br />

Europe and the US. The potential markets<br />

identified include the Middle East, India,<br />

China, Africa, Japan and other South East<br />

<strong>Asia</strong>n countries.<br />

According to Sobur, a number of countries in<br />

the Middle East such as Qatar, Bahrain, Oman,<br />

and the UAE are accelerating infrastructure<br />

development, which will also have an impact<br />

on the need for furniture, crafts and home<br />

decor.<br />

Apart from the Middle East, the next target<br />

market is India, a country with rapid growth,<br />

according to HIMKI. African markets, such<br />

as Egypt, Morocco and other countries are<br />

potential markets to explore. Meanwhile,<br />

the South East <strong>Asia</strong>n market, including the<br />

Philippines, is the next region that needs to<br />

be worked on seriously, said Sobur. P<br />

Source: ITTO<br />

JANUARY / FEBRUARY <strong>2024</strong> | PANELS & FURNITURE ASIA 11

NEWS<br />

<strong>Asia</strong>’s only wood materials trade expo,<br />

Sylva Wood Expo, returns in <strong>2024</strong><br />

Sylva Wood Expo, <strong>Asia</strong>’s only wood materials<br />

specialised trade show, is set to return from<br />

24-26 Jun <strong>2024</strong>, once again bringing the<br />

global timber network under one roof in<br />

China.<br />

Jointly organised by the China Timber &<br />

Wood Products Distribution Association,<br />

the Shanghai Timber Trade Association,<br />

and Pablo Publishing & Exhibition, Sylva<br />

Wood Expo’s last edition was held in 2018,<br />

hampered by the COVID-19 pandemic and<br />

China’s strict travel restrictions.<br />

The support for Sylva Wood Expo remains<br />

strong however, with this year’s edition<br />

supported and endorsed by the likes of<br />

renowned international wood materials<br />

trade associations such as American<br />

Hardwood Export Council (AHEC), French<br />

Timber, Softwood Export Council (SEC),<br />

Canada Wood, Thai Timber Association,<br />

Malaysian Timber Council (MTC), National<br />

Hardwood Lumber Association (NHLA), and<br />

more.<br />

As per past editions, Sylva Wood Expo<br />

<strong>2024</strong> expects a strong visitor turnout, with<br />

the 2018 edition gathering around 3,800<br />

visitors.<br />

Sylva Wood Expo <strong>2024</strong> aims to be a pivotal<br />

event for industry stakeholders, offering<br />

an unparalleled opportunity to connect,<br />

collaborate, and explore the latest trends<br />

and innovations in the dynamic wood<br />

materials market.<br />

Interested visitors can look forward to wood<br />

and wood-based materials from all parts of<br />

the world, including but not limited to the<br />

US, France, North America, Russia, Thailand,<br />

Malaysia, China, and more.<br />

Alongside the three-day expo, visitors can<br />

expect a programme of keynote speakers<br />

who will discuss market movements and<br />

how innovation can be harnessed for an<br />

increasingly competitive and challenging<br />

landscape.<br />

1<br />

2<br />

For more information, please visit<br />

www.sylvawoodexpo.com or the Facebook<br />

www.facebook.com/sylvawoodexpo<br />


China is not only one of the world's leading<br />

exporters of wood products, but also one of<br />

the largest importers of wood, wood-based<br />

panels, furniture, flooring products.<br />

In particular, China’s furniture export<br />

trade has developed rapidly and become<br />

an important force in the global furniture<br />

industry.<br />

China's wood furniture exports far outweigh<br />

imports, with about 35.8 million pieces of<br />

wood furniture exported in 2021, amounting<br />

to US$76.85bn, according to statistics from<br />

China's General Administration of Customs.<br />

LEGEND<br />

1 Dignitaries and<br />

endorses gracing the<br />

opening ceremony of<br />

Sylva Wood Expo 2018<br />

2 The 2018 edition<br />

gathered around<br />

3,800 visitors<br />

In the domestic market, the wood furniture is<br />

also thriving.<br />

Besides the furniture market, the real<br />

estate sector remains at the heart of<br />

China's economy, accounting for 25% of the<br />

country's economic output, and at least 60%<br />

of household wealth is tied up in property,<br />

according to the National Bureau of Statistics.<br />

With the rapid development of China's<br />

economy and the improvement of people's<br />

living standards, people have higher and<br />

higher requirements for living and working<br />

environment.<br />

As such, the demand for interior design<br />

market continues to grow, covering<br />

residential, commercial and office, hotel,<br />

catering and medical and other industries. P<br />

12 PANELS & FURNITURE ASIA | JANUARY / FEBRUARY <strong>2024</strong>


Why now is the best time to<br />

tap into Vietnam’s domestic<br />

furniture market<br />

Known for their export furniture market, how<br />

does the domestic demand for furniture fare<br />

in Vietnam, especially in Hanoi?<br />

Studies and surveys done by the<br />

Vietnam Wood and Forest Products<br />

Association (VIFOREST) have shown<br />

that the domestic wood furniture<br />

market boasts a US$5-6bn demand.<br />

With a population of nearly 100<br />

million, Vietnam consumes furniture<br />

of around 6m Vietnamese dong<br />

(US$247) per household on average.<br />

Considering the fact that there<br />

are 70-80 million metres square<br />

of new houses built every year in<br />

Vietnam, this figure is easily met<br />

or even surpassed to satisfy the<br />

wood demand for applications<br />

such as furniture and furnishings<br />

in commercial properties, as well<br />

as for structural and interior design<br />

purposes, like scaffolding, flooring,<br />

roofs and trusses, and more.<br />

This figure might not be as<br />

impressive as the furniture exports<br />

for Vietnam, but it should not be<br />

looked down on, especially in light<br />

of the economic downturn for<br />

already the past year. If the US and<br />

Europe markets are not doing well,<br />

it is time to look inwards. Many<br />

businesses have affirmed that<br />

they turn to the domestic market<br />

in difficult times as an alternative<br />

source of revenue.<br />

The domestic furniture industry<br />

thrives in the mid-to-high end<br />

furniture segment, and is particularly<br />

well-received in the interior design<br />

14 PANELS & FURNITURE ASIA | JANUARY / FEBRUARY <strong>2024</strong>


space. Currently, the trends are developing<br />

towards minimalist styles, smart and<br />

intelligent furniture, and green furniture.<br />

To capitalise on its competitive advantage<br />

against export-oriented furniture factories,<br />

domestic furniture enterprises should focus<br />

on the quality of its design, manufacturing<br />

process, and material, and make sure<br />

the raw materials used are safe for the<br />

environment.<br />

From <strong>2024</strong> onwards,<br />

60 new projects with<br />

about 10,300 rooms<br />

will launch in Hanoi<br />


In recent years, furniture shopping in<br />

Hanoi has been increasing. Hanoi people<br />

tend to buy furniture products with high<br />

quality and modern designs. In addition,<br />

with the rise of social media and online<br />

shopping, consumers are becoming more<br />

aware of the latest trends and designs<br />

in furniture and interior design. This has<br />

led to a shift towards modern and stylish<br />

furniture. Exposure to Western lifestyle<br />

has also affected local’s tastes, leading to<br />

Vietnamese consumers developing a taste<br />

for modern and contemporary designs.<br />

All these signal opportunities for furniture<br />

manufacturers focused on domestic<br />

demand. Furthermore, Hanoi has more<br />

than 350 urban areas with a scale of 2,500<br />

hectares. By 2022, there were 93 new urban<br />

and commercial housing projects in the city<br />

for a scale of 3,453 hectares with 34.7 million<br />

metres square of residential floors, the total<br />

investment of which roughly accumulated<br />

to more than US$105bn. These 93 projects<br />

provided the market with about 164,602<br />

apartments and 58,218 low-rise apartments<br />

for furnishing chances.<br />

It has also been announced by real<br />

estate service company Savills that the<br />

urbanisation rate in Hanoi is expected to<br />

reach 62% by 2025 and increase to 75%<br />

by 2030 from 49% currently. This means<br />

around 426,700 units between now and<br />

2025 will be raised. As more people move<br />

into urban areas, there is a growing need<br />

for functional and aesthetically pleasing<br />

living spaces. However, Hanoi’s Housing<br />

Development Program targets a total new<br />

housing area of 33.2 million metres square<br />

from now to 2025, which indicates a housing<br />

area per capita of 29.5m 2 per person. The<br />

figures show an estimated supply shortfall<br />

of 95,800 units.<br />



雙 檯 面 CNC 複 合 加 工 機<br />

可 客 製 檯 面 大 小<br />

JANUARY / FEBRUARY <strong>2024</strong> | PANELS & FURNITURE ASIA 15


The following is a list of real estate<br />

projects in Hanoi for the coming years:<br />

Social housing: With 40 social housing<br />

projects under implementation, Hanoi<br />

aims to complete 18 projects with 12,137<br />

apartments in the period of 2021-2025.<br />

The period after 2025 will complete 22<br />

projects with 22,400 apartments. 1<br />

Condominium: CBRE Vietnam<br />

forecasts that from now to the end of<br />

2023, the number of new apartment<br />

launches will improve, with about 6,300<br />

apartments to be launched, bringing<br />

the total new supply for the whole year<br />

to about 10,500 apartments. 2<br />

Hotels and resorts: In 2023, it was<br />

expected that eight new hotel projects<br />

with a scale of 1,300 rooms will be<br />

launched, and from <strong>2024</strong> onwards, 60<br />

new projects with about 10,300 rooms<br />

will launch in Hanoi, with international<br />

operators including Four Seasons,<br />

Lotte, Dusit, Wink, Accor, The Shilla,<br />

Hyatt, Marriot, Hilton, and Waldorf<br />

Astoria. 3 As of December 2023, Hanoi<br />

currently has, in progress, 28 resort<br />

villa projects with high-class equipment<br />

and furniture with many unique<br />

architectures. 4<br />

On top these three segments, public<br />

buildings like schools, hospitals and<br />

office buildings also require wood<br />

furniture and furnishings. To supply<br />

this demand, many domestic and global<br />

furniture companies have established<br />

operations in Hanoi, with 1,074<br />

businesses currently operating in the<br />

city and more than 2,000 businesses<br />

across the northern region of Vietnam.<br />


In Vietnam, craft villages and smallerscale<br />

furniture enterprises supply<br />

domestic furniture, and large-scale<br />

wood enterprises typically focus on<br />

exports only. While domestic furniture<br />

does well in the mid-to-high-end<br />

segments, it faces a lot of competitors<br />

in the retail and more affordable<br />

sections, particularly from imported<br />

goods from China, Taiwan and Malaysia.<br />

Imported furniture is not only cheaper,<br />

but often comes in richer, more<br />

varied designs. Most furniture that<br />

Vietnamese consumes comes from<br />

China, which causes Vietnamese<br />

enterprises to lose out, even in their<br />

home advantage.<br />

Export-oriented furniture<br />

manufacturing factories usually<br />

only need a few export contracts<br />

to produce for half a year or a<br />

whole year, and they have a design<br />

template to follow, which means<br />

they do not need to worry about the<br />

design. In contrast, the domestic<br />

market does not follow a design<br />

standard, and the resale figures are<br />

not as much as export contracts.<br />

There is no distribution network of<br />

domestic wood enterprises as well,<br />

so retail competition becomes more<br />

difficult.<br />


To thrive in the domestic market,<br />

furniture enterprises can invest<br />

in better designs, higher quality<br />

production, and sales and services<br />

to catch the attention of local<br />

consumers. They can also invest in<br />

domestic channels of distributions.<br />

Segments to pay attention to<br />

include office, residential, and hotel<br />

furniture, or for construction and<br />

interior design spaces.<br />

Currently, the domestic wood market<br />

is developing in a spontaneous<br />

and fragmented manner. There<br />

must be investment, research and<br />

reorganisation of the domestic<br />

supply chain in a more standardised<br />

direction. In particular, there should<br />

be a separate trade promotion<br />

programme in the domestic<br />

market for timber enterprises<br />

instead of a joint promotion<br />

with other industries, such as<br />

creating a separate playground<br />

for timber enterprises to access<br />

the domestic market through<br />

specialised fairs, exhibitions as well<br />

as other connection programmes<br />

if necessary. These create more<br />

favourable conditions for domestic<br />

businesses, especially since most<br />

of the big trade fairs in Ho Chi Minh<br />

and Hanoi are focused primarily on<br />

exports. P<br />

References<br />

1. VTV News. Social housing projects in Hanoi to begin<br />

construction. <br />

3. Tap Chi Tai Chinh Online. Positive signs in Hanoi hotel<br />

market. <br />

4. Guland. Hanoi resort and village projects, December<br />

2023. <br />

BKG Viet Nam Investment Joint Stock Company<br />

Thang Long Urban Development And Construction<br />

Investment JSC<br />

Xuan Hoa <strong>Furniture</strong> Joint Stock Company<br />

<strong>Furniture</strong> Joint Stock Company 190<br />

MDF VRG Quang Tri Wood JSC<br />

Hoa Phat <strong>Furniture</strong> Joint Stock Company (The One)<br />

Vietnam Forestry Corporation - JSC<br />

Revenue 2022 (Billion VND)<br />

Revenue 2022 (Billion VND)<br />

Top furniture<br />

companies based<br />

in Hanoi and their<br />

revenue in 2022<br />

0 500 1000 1500 2000 2500<br />

16 PANELS & FURNITURE ASIA | JANUARY / FEBRUARY <strong>2024</strong>


US market export<br />

and challenges:<br />

Where the market<br />

is going (Part B)<br />

In this two-part article, commercial director<br />

Truc Ly shares with <strong>Panels</strong> & <strong>Furniture</strong> <strong>Asia</strong> all<br />

things US furniture market. Part B dives into<br />

market strategies on how to enter the US furniture<br />

market, as well as Truc’s personal dos and don’ts.<br />

By Yap Shi Quan<br />


Networking is an essential skill to thrive<br />

in the US market, according to Truc.<br />

Getting in touch with somebody through<br />

cold calling, e-mailing or texting usually<br />

do not yield results, and referrals from a<br />

trusted client to other potential clients<br />

are more likely to gain new projects.<br />

One platform for manufacturers to<br />

network is the tried-and-tested trade<br />

shows. Trade shows are designed<br />

to help manufacturers promote the<br />

latest products and connect with<br />

other companies, customers, and<br />

future partners in the same domain.<br />

Such events add to brand awareness,<br />

increase customer engagement, and<br />

boost sales. In the US, they are still<br />

one of the most successful B2B media<br />

strategies.<br />

Some popular trade shows in the US are<br />

the High Point Market in North Carolina;<br />

the Las Vegas Market in Nevada; and<br />

International Contemporary <strong>Furniture</strong><br />

Fair in New York. Truc emphasised that<br />

it is better for manufacturers to go down<br />

to these trade shows themselves or<br />

send down representatives to increase<br />

outreach and showcase their factory’s<br />

capabilities.<br />

Another platform is through trade<br />

associations. Manufacturers can<br />

establish themselves in trade<br />

associations through memberships,<br />

conferences and social events to<br />

meet and network with other people<br />

in the US industry, and catch up with<br />

the latest trends, technologies and<br />

news. Such trade associations include<br />

the International Furnishings and<br />

Design Association; the <strong>Furniture</strong><br />

Society; the Interior Design Society;<br />

the International Interior Design<br />

Association; and the International<br />

Home Furnishings Representatives<br />

Association.<br />

Instead of baiting and switching, try value engineering to convince clients of a lower-cost material<br />


Language barriers and difficulty in<br />

communication are huge challenges for<br />

<strong>Asia</strong>n manufacturers who do not speak<br />

English, since the US is an Englishspeaking<br />

country.<br />

18 PANELS & FURNITURE ASIA | JANUARY / FEBRUARY <strong>2024</strong>


US trade shows like<br />

High Point Market<br />

present networking<br />

opportunities (Image:<br />

High Point Market)<br />

Google Translate might help, but its<br />

translation ability is limited; it does not<br />

fully translate the nuances between<br />

languages, said Truc. He shared an<br />

example:<br />

“Chevrolet, an American automobile<br />

manufacturer, decided to introduce a<br />

new automobile model called Chevrolet<br />

Nova. In English Nova refers to a star<br />

showing a sudden large increase in<br />

brightness and then slowly returning<br />

to its original state over a few months.<br />

This sounds very fancy and impressive.<br />

However, when Nova is translated in<br />

Spanish, it became ‘No Go’. ‘No Go’ for<br />

a car was a disaster, and the sales for<br />

this model was affected significantly.<br />

Only after they changed the name to<br />

‘Caribe’ did the sales finally take off.”<br />

Language difficulties also extends<br />

to time zone and culture differences.<br />

Huge difference in time zones,<br />

especially between the US and South<br />

East <strong>Asia</strong>n countries like Vietnam<br />

and Malaysia where there is at least a<br />

12-hour difference, might incur delays<br />

in information, production and getting<br />

approvals.<br />

The US working style can also be<br />

drastically different from Vietnamese<br />

or Chinese working styles: Truc shared<br />

that from his six years of working in<br />

the US furniture industry, US clients<br />

want constant communication and<br />

daily updates — whether the product is<br />

finished, not finished, whether there<br />

are mistakes or not. However, <strong>Asia</strong>n<br />

manufacturers generally are hesitant<br />

are giving bad news. This might put<br />

of communication for weeks, and this<br />

ends up upsetting the US clients.<br />

To counteract this, Truc advised that<br />

hiring a representative — be it an<br />

individual or a business — can help<br />

bridge the client and manufacturer.<br />

It is better to get someone who is<br />

bilingual or even trilingual to be the<br />

middleman between both parties.<br />

This will minimise differences in<br />

communication and the time zone,<br />

and the representative can provide<br />

management support in terms of<br />

material samples, shop drawings,<br />

site inspections, shipping. The<br />

representative can also find more<br />

clients or strengthen existing<br />

accounts.<br />


However, before anything else, any<br />

furniture manufacturer looking to enter<br />

the US market must first be compliant<br />

with their regulations.<br />

Among the regulations that manufacturers<br />

should take note of, according to Truc,<br />

are the United States Department of<br />

Agriculture Animal and Plant Health<br />

Inspection Service (USDA APHIS), the<br />

Lacey act, the Toxic Substances Control<br />

Act (TSCA), and the Law Labels.<br />

USDA APHIS: Certain wooden products<br />

are regulated by the USDA APHIS.<br />

On their website is a list of approved<br />

manufacturers from China. If a certain<br />

manufacturer is not on it, clients in the US<br />

typically would not want to work them, as<br />

the manufacturer’s products might not<br />

enter the US legally.<br />

For a manufacturer in China to get<br />

approved by the USDA APHIS, the<br />

manufacturer must abide by a few<br />

requirements:<br />

First, manufacturers should have a<br />

production area that is neat and clean,<br />

JANUARY / FEBRUARY <strong>2024</strong> | PANELS & FURNITURE ASIA 19


with the roads and site surface paved<br />

and should have no standing water.<br />

They should have a reasonable plant<br />

layout, raw materials storage areas,<br />

with the packaging and finished<br />

product storage area divided.<br />

Second, there should be adequate<br />

pest control measures to control,<br />

manage, minimise or completely<br />

remove undesirable insects and<br />

other pests from the furniture<br />

products. This includes pesticide<br />

treatment that uses poisonous<br />

gas to kill pests inside the wood.<br />

The minimum temperature of the<br />

fumigation should not be lower than<br />

5 ̊C.<br />

Third, there should be a traceability<br />

system that ensures the production<br />

batch of finished products can<br />

be traced back to the quarantine<br />

treatment facility. This includes the<br />

registration number of production<br />

company and product batch.<br />

Lacey act: Administered by the<br />

USDA APHIS, the US Fish and<br />

Wildlife Service, and the National<br />

Marine Fisheries Service, this<br />

act assesses whether the plant<br />

products, which include timber, are<br />

illegally possessed, sold, taken or<br />

transported. The manufacturer has<br />

to submit a Lacey act declaration<br />

that determines the origin and the<br />

legitimacy of their products.<br />

TSCA: This act is administered by<br />

the US Environmental Protection<br />

Agency (EPA) that places restrictions<br />

on formaldehyde emissions and<br />

certification requirements for<br />

composite wood products. The<br />

emission restrictions vary according<br />

to the panel type. For example,<br />

hardwood plywood, its veneer and<br />

composite cores, should be less<br />

than 0.05ppm; medium-density<br />

fibreboard (MDF) less than 0.11ppm,<br />

thin MDF less than 0.13ppm, and<br />

particleboard less than 0.09ppm.<br />

To obtain the TSCA certification,<br />

manufacturers need to provide<br />

importer contact information, quality<br />

control manual as well as their test<br />

reports.<br />

Law labels: Law labels are used to<br />

inform consumers about the kinds of<br />

filling materials inside their bedding,<br />

stuffed products, and upholstered<br />

furniture. Although they are not a<br />

federal requirement, most US states<br />

however require a law label, and<br />

every state has their own label. For<br />

instance, manufacturers looking to<br />

export into California, US, will need<br />

to get a label specific to California,<br />

and cannot use this label in other<br />

states.<br />


Truc emphasised again that<br />

communication is key when it comes<br />

to project management. Clients in<br />

the US require constant updates<br />

and communication, whether it is<br />

through email, text, phone call. And<br />

they typically want it fast: A photo or<br />

a video of a product-in-progress will<br />

usually satisfy the client.<br />

“Put yourself in your client’s shoes,”<br />

Truc warned. “If, as a client, you<br />

do not hear anything from the<br />

manufacturer for a week, you would<br />

probably get worried and anxious.<br />

Because not only have you spent<br />

a lot of money, but you also have<br />

a deadline to meet. Whatever the<br />

deadline may be, you do not want to<br />

postpone it.”<br />

He added: “When there is a mistake,<br />

please let the client know as soon<br />

as possible. Be transparent. Let<br />

them know a mistake has happened,<br />

explain what happened, how long it<br />

will take to fix, and that you are in the<br />

process of fixing it. Let them know as<br />

well how you will avoid the mistake in<br />

the future.”<br />

This would allow the client to<br />

be more prepared rather than<br />

expecting the product to be done<br />

on a particular day; the client would<br />

rather to see a problem weeks<br />

before the deadline rather than two<br />

days before, so that both parties can<br />

come up with a solution together.<br />

Another thing that Truc cautioned<br />

against is the bait-and-switch<br />

tactic. This happens when a<br />

manufacturer uses an alternative<br />

option that can imitate the design<br />

intent of the project to save money.<br />

For instance, the manufacturer<br />

uses a local laminate instead of a<br />

laminate brand stipulated by the<br />

client to save costs and increase<br />

profits. “This is unethical because<br />

it is the same as tricking the client,”<br />

said Truc.<br />

Consequences of such a tactic<br />

might result in more than just<br />

the loss of a client: There might<br />

be potential lawsuits, and the<br />

manufacturer’s brand image might<br />

be affected as well. It is difficult for<br />

manufacturers to get another client<br />

in the US if they acquired a bad<br />

reputation.<br />

What manufacturers should do<br />

instead, in collaboration with the<br />

client, is value engineering. This is<br />

when the manufacturer discusses<br />

with the client an alternative option,<br />

propose another material with a<br />

sample available, and have them<br />

approve it. “The client will be very<br />

happy with the cut in budget,” said<br />

Truc.<br />

Quality control (QC) at the end of the<br />

project is also equally important.<br />

Manufacturers should try to provide<br />

internal QC reports to the client,<br />

allowing minor issues to be picked<br />

up during production. In doing so,<br />

fixes will be easier and less timeconsuming.<br />

Sometimes, clients<br />

might hire a third-party QC team to<br />

check the production as well. P<br />

*For more details on the regulations, it is<br />

advised to visit the relevant websites and<br />

stay up-to-date on them.<br />

Part A of this article was published in<br />

the September/October issue of <strong>Panels</strong><br />

& <strong>Furniture</strong> <strong>Asia</strong>, and discussed market<br />

trends that have affected the US trends<br />

of late.<br />

20 PANELS & FURNITURE ASIA | JANUARY / FEBRUARY <strong>2024</strong>


Prefinished panels:<br />

Driving sustainability<br />

and efficiency in<br />

commercial interiors<br />

No matter the design goal, architects and contractors typically negotiate<br />

the balance of efficiency and aesthetics. However, sustainability is a<br />

must, and prefinished panels come with environmental credentials if<br />

they are properly sourced and certified.<br />



Gone are the days when stunning<br />

interiors were reserved only for<br />

projects with extravagant budgets.<br />

Prefinished panels are revolutionising<br />

how architects and designers create<br />

beautiful spaces without breaking<br />

the bank. Whether they are dreaming<br />

of rich, natural wood textures or<br />

sleek looks, architects and designers<br />

are now offered an array of modern<br />

finishes and prefinished panels to<br />

suit their vision. This allows them to<br />

achieve the desired aesthetic without<br />

the exorbitant cost of customised<br />

wood applications.<br />

With its blend of<br />

environmental<br />

responsibility and<br />

human wellbeing,<br />

wood panels<br />

give all players<br />

in the design and<br />

furniture industries<br />

the benefits of<br />

incorporating wood<br />

into living and work<br />

spaces<br />

Wood has remained a top choice<br />

for commercial projects, not just<br />

for cabinetry or flooring but also as<br />

a unique treatment for ceilings or<br />

aesthetically pleasing wall effects. Its<br />

timeless appeal for interiors fits with<br />

design styles ranging from rustic to<br />

contemporary. Discerning customers<br />

also look for solutions that offer that<br />

warm and inviting aesthetic that<br />

brings the outside in. Some interiors<br />

are so eye-catching they make<br />

people stop and take notice when<br />

they walk into the room; others simply<br />

convey an atmosphere of calm by<br />

instilling a sense of comfort and ease.<br />

Furthermore, when properly installed<br />

and maintained, wood can last for<br />

generations.<br />

However, many projects shy away<br />

from using wood in interiors due to the<br />

perception that it comes at a high cost<br />

as compared to options such as tiles.<br />

This also means less messier and less<br />

time-consuming on-site finishing:<br />

Prefinished panels come ready to<br />

be installed, minimising the need for<br />

sanding, staining, and the inevitable<br />

clean-up. This then translates to faster<br />

project completion times and reduced<br />

labour costs, freeing up resources for<br />

other aspects of the build. From small<br />

renovations to large-scale projects,<br />

the manageable sizes of prefinished<br />

panels make them easy to transport<br />

and install, further reducing the<br />

logistical challenges associated with<br />

handling bulky materials.<br />

22 PANELS & FURNITURE ASIA | JANUARY / FEBRUARY <strong>2024</strong>



Prefinished wood panels can<br />

help commercial projects achieve<br />

their sustainability goals — an<br />

increasingly important requirement of<br />

eco-conscious construction projects.<br />

With its blend of environmental<br />

responsibility and human wellbeing,<br />

wood panels give all players in the<br />

design and furniture industries the<br />

benefits of incorporating wood into<br />

living and work spaces.<br />

Wood stores atmospheric carbon<br />

throughout its lifespan, thus lowering<br />

a building project’s embodied carbon<br />

footprint compared to other materials.<br />

Certifications such as the Programme<br />

for the Endorsement of Forest<br />

Certification’s (PEFC’s) sustainable<br />

forest management standard ensures<br />

that any claims of sustainability<br />

about products made from wood are<br />

independently verified and held to<br />

rigorous international standards. When<br />

sourced from a certified sustainably<br />

managed forest, a vibrant future for<br />

these vital ecosystems is ensured,<br />

seeing to their long-term health and<br />

survival while allowing consumers and<br />

businesses to responsibly enjoy their<br />

resources.<br />

Managed in this way, wood is a naturally<br />

renewable resource, contributing to<br />

the circular economy where waste<br />

is minimised and resources can be<br />

reused multiple times.<br />



Prefinished wood panels transform<br />

what would otherwise be discarded<br />

wood scraps into valuable building<br />

materials, maximising the use of<br />

every tree harvested. Engineered<br />

wood products like plywood,<br />

medium-density fibreboard (MDF)<br />

or particleboard offer strength and<br />

stability while minimising the overall<br />

dependence on solid wood. A thin layer<br />

of real wood veneer, applied for the<br />

desired aesthetic, maximises the use<br />

of more sought-after timber — like oak,<br />

walnut and teak — that takes longer to<br />

grow to maturity.<br />

The benefits of prefinished wood<br />

panels extend well beyond functionality.<br />

Their layered construction minimises<br />

waste throughout the production<br />

and installation process, which thus<br />

minimises the need for on-site finishing<br />

and the associated chemical emissions<br />

and potential spills. Additionally, the<br />

responsible disposal or recycling<br />

of prefinished panels at the end of<br />

their lifespan can further minimise<br />

their environmental footprint and<br />

contribution to construction waste.<br />


It is difficult to separate the<br />

environmental benefits from the<br />

benefits of living or working in an<br />

environment filled with wood. Beyond<br />

their visual appeal and environmental<br />

credentials, prefinished wood panels<br />

possess optimal acoustic performance.<br />

Prefinished wood panels are<br />

specifically designed to absorb and<br />

reflect sound waves. Their layered<br />

structure, often incorporating natural<br />

wood fibres and air pockets, creates<br />

an acoustic barrier that mitigates<br />

noise. This results in a quieter and<br />

more comfortable environment,<br />

fostering improved communication,<br />

concentration, and productivity.<br />

Prefinished wood panels offer a<br />

tailored solution for diverse acoustic<br />

needs. In bustling restaurants,<br />

they absorb the cacophony of<br />

conversations and clattering dishes,<br />

creating a serene atmosphere for<br />

diners. Within open-plan offices, they<br />

reduce noise distractions and improve<br />

communication clarity, enhancing<br />

collaboration and productivity. Even<br />

conference rooms and auditoriums<br />

benefit from the enhanced acoustic<br />

quality, ensuring clear and impactful<br />

presentations.<br />



Prefinished wood panels therefore<br />

offer a blend of acoustic performance<br />

and visual aesthetic. Their natural<br />

beauty adds warmth and character to<br />

any space, while their range of colours,<br />

LEGEND<br />

1 Installing<br />

prefinished wood<br />

panels comes<br />

with the minimal<br />

need for on-site<br />

finishing and<br />

the associated<br />

chemical<br />

emissions and<br />

potential spills<br />

2 From small<br />

renovations<br />

to large-scale<br />

projects, the<br />

manageable sizes<br />

of prefinished<br />

panels make them<br />

easy to transport<br />

and install (Image:<br />

Anton Grassl)<br />

3 APP Timber’s Oak<br />

Vintage original<br />

Baltimore veneer<br />

(Image: APP<br />

Timber)<br />

1<br />

2<br />

3<br />

JANUARY / FEBRUARY <strong>2024</strong> | PANELS & FURNITURE ASIA 23


textures, and finishes allows for<br />

easier integration with existing design<br />

themes. This ensures that achieving<br />

a superior acoustic environment does<br />

not come at the expense of aesthetic<br />

appeal.<br />

APP Timber is a provider of PEFCcertified<br />

sustainable timber solutions.<br />

Their approach to prefinished panels<br />

allows customers to gain that<br />

true-solid wood feel that captures<br />

the essence of wood. Working<br />

exclusively with wood from<br />

sustainably managed forests for<br />

virgin materials, they also reuse<br />

materials like old oak beams to<br />

create veneers that extend their<br />

rustic look much further than<br />

applying them directly would allow.<br />

The acoustic benefits of prefinished<br />

wood panels extend beyond walls. These<br />

panels can be used for ceilings, furniture<br />

elements, and even custom-designed<br />

installations to create an integrated<br />

acoustic solution as well. This holistic<br />

approach ensures consistent and<br />

effective noise reduction throughout<br />

the space, maximising the comfort and<br />

wellbeing of occupants. P<br />

5<br />

4<br />

LEGEND<br />

4 APP Timber’s Oak Vintage intense<br />

Hoboken veneer, with an embossed<br />

texture (Image: APP Timber)<br />

5 APP Timber’s Oak Natural Adagio veneer<br />

used by Jaspers-Eyers (Image: Klaas<br />

Verdru/APP Timber)<br />

6 In bustling restaurants, prefinished<br />

wood panels absorb the cacophony of<br />

conversations and clattering dishes,<br />

creating a serene atmosphere for diners<br />

6<br />

24 PANELS & FURNITURE ASIA | JANUARY / FEBRUARY <strong>2024</strong>


“If you are looking to invest in a particular<br />

machinery for the long-run, I would<br />

recommend buying our machineries<br />

because they can last for many years<br />

in comparison to other manufacturers,<br />

enabling you to have a peace of mind<br />

when it comes to operation stability and<br />

consistency performance.”<br />

This statement by Brandon Lee,<br />

international marketing manager of<br />

Chinglun Machine Engineering, is his<br />

and the company’s usual response<br />

to potential customers who ask why<br />

their sanders and presses for plywood<br />

production are priced much higher than<br />

their competitors.<br />

Chinglun’s sanders<br />

“We want to<br />

gain recognition,<br />

even in the<br />

Western world”<br />

China-based Chinglun Machine Engineering<br />

wants to show the world their sanders and<br />

cold and hot presses for plywood production<br />

are here to stay for a good and long time, and<br />

beat allegations surrounding the poor quality<br />

of Chinese-made machines.<br />

By Yap Shi Quan<br />

“A lot of people over the years have<br />

had their scepticism towards Chinese<br />

machine manufacturers,” Lee<br />

elaborated. “But it is worthwhile doing<br />

business with us. We use good raw<br />

material and spare parts imported from<br />

international brands for our sanders and<br />

presses. The price is worth it to produce<br />

a good panel. Our technical specs are at<br />

the forefront of the game.”<br />

What Lee and Chinglun truly want<br />

to emphasise is they are not the<br />

run-of-the-mill Chinese machinery<br />

manufacturer that sells cheap and<br />

flimsy equipment; they are dedicated<br />

to making long-lasting, high-quality and<br />

reliable machines, and they are willing to<br />

put in the resources and effort.<br />


Originally founded in Taiwan, Chinglun<br />

moved to China back in the early 2000s<br />

because they saw the country’s huge<br />

potential. Chinese labour was cheap<br />

and there was a lack of machine<br />

manufacturers in China. To meet the<br />

growing demand for plywood there, and<br />

to avoid costly tariffs from exporting<br />

their machinery into the country,<br />

establishing themselves in there made<br />

more financial sense.<br />

Ever since then, Chinglun specialised<br />

in producing sanders and hot and cold<br />

presses, but it has also evolved provide<br />

plant design services for plywood<br />

manufacturing. If a customer comes<br />

JANUARY / FEBRUARY <strong>2024</strong> | PANELS & FURNITURE ASIA 25


wants to start a plywood mill with<br />

Chinglun’s help, Lee said that they<br />

are confident in providing what<br />

the customer wants “from A to Z”,<br />

tailored to their requirements.<br />

“First, we meet up with the customer<br />

and ask them what they need, to<br />

understand, for example, their target<br />

capacity, what kinds of products<br />

they are manufacturing, or what<br />

their working hours are like, because<br />

different factories have different<br />

working hours. Like in Indonesia,<br />

most factories are doing 10 hours<br />

a shift, with two shifts a day and 25<br />

days per month. Then we write up a<br />

proposal. Sometimes we ask them<br />

for a layout of their existing plan or<br />

factory, and we propose to them how<br />

it would be installed, so their flow of<br />

work would turn out smooth. Once<br />

everything is confirmed and after<br />

receiving the down payment, we<br />

will assign technicians to start the<br />

plant manufacturing and install the<br />

machines.”<br />



Chinglun’s commitment to quality<br />

is evident from what goes into the<br />

production of their equipment.<br />

According to Lee, their presses and<br />

sanders are at least 30% heavier<br />

than other Chinese brands because<br />

of the good-quality spare parts they<br />

used in their sanders and presses —<br />

which accounts for their costliness.<br />

Although the company wants to<br />

convince the world of their quality<br />

Chinese-made machines, it is more<br />

than just that; Chinglun strives to<br />

keep improving their machinery to<br />

meet the ever-changing demands<br />

of the global market, and to keep<br />

improving their after-sales service<br />

and help their customers meet their<br />

production targets and quality.<br />

Lee pointed out, for example, that<br />

back when Chinglun first entered<br />

China, their presses and sanders<br />

sold to Chinese manufacturers were<br />

different from to South East <strong>Asia</strong>n or<br />

European manufacturers. That was<br />

because the raw material in China<br />

in the past was much smaller than<br />

the hardwood in South East <strong>Asia</strong>n<br />

or European countries, where the<br />

diameter of the lumber there could<br />

be taller than an average person.<br />

Sanders to China were therefore more<br />

heavy-duty and a lot more precise<br />

to compensate for the deficiency in<br />

the raw materials, while sanders to<br />

other countries were less heavy duty,<br />

since their raw material needed less<br />

processing.<br />

“Back in the day, for Chinese<br />

manufacturers to produce a<br />

controlled level or flatness of their<br />

panels — since their raw material was<br />

not that good — we needed a machine<br />

that was really efficient in getting the<br />

panel flat,” he said. “And that was how<br />

we gradually increased our rollers and<br />

our whole system of actually sanding<br />

it for these raw materials to become<br />

a final good product.” He added that<br />

the integrity and strength of today’s<br />

plywood is sturdier than before, and<br />

they are now providing a stronger and<br />

evenly distributed pressure in their<br />

press machines.<br />

Now things have changed, Lee said.<br />

Raw materials across the world, and<br />

not just China, has become smaller<br />

because they are plantation trees, which<br />

means Chinglun has to make all their<br />

machinery heavy duty.<br />

Chinglun tries to be sensitive to each<br />

region’s needs and culture. Take<br />

automation, for example. Automation<br />

has been touted as a megatrend in<br />

every manufacturing industry, but it is<br />

not exactly favoured in every region.<br />

Whether it is accepted depends on<br />

variables like the raw material, the<br />

workers, the habits and customs<br />

of plywood production, or even the<br />

technical specs of the plywood itself.<br />

“Different markets require different<br />

processing techniques, or as we call<br />

it, recipes. So, when you actually see a<br />

plywood equipment or production line<br />

from maybe Russia, or even Australia,<br />

Japan, Malaysia, Indonesia, the<br />

process of production and the plywood<br />

construction itself differs greatly from<br />

one another.” Lee said.<br />

For example, Chinglun is now developing<br />

a fully automatic film laminating press<br />

machine for a Russian company. Lee<br />

explained that Russian manpower is<br />

expensive, so plywood manufacturers<br />

prefer to tap into fully or semi-automatic<br />

machines. The same goes for Mexico —<br />

or in general Western countries — where<br />

there is a culture of “give-or-take money<br />

1<br />

26 PANELS & FURNITURE ASIA | JANUARY / FEBRUARY <strong>2024</strong>


LEGEND<br />

1 Chinglun’s fully<br />

automated hot<br />

press<br />

2 Chinglun’s cold<br />

press<br />

2<br />

exchange”, with workers not willing to<br />

put in the extra manual work unless<br />

they are compensated accordingly.<br />

Likewise, in China, what used to be a<br />

preference for manual labour due to the<br />

cheap manpower has now given way<br />

to fully or semi-automatic machines<br />

because of the rise in labour costs.<br />

However, for some South East <strong>Asia</strong>n<br />

countries like Indonesia or Vietnam,<br />

manual labour is still the preferred<br />

mode of production.<br />

“In China, everyone wants to go<br />

automatic now because labour is so<br />

expensive,” reported Lee. “Labour<br />

cost is around, let’s say, US$1,000 to<br />

$1,600, which is five times the wage in<br />

Indonesia or Vietnam. When you factor<br />

in everything like healthcare insurance<br />

for workers, it is actually better to just<br />

buy a fully or semi-automatic machine<br />

[for more developed countries].” On<br />

top of that, factories would also need<br />

to factor in the challenge of managing<br />

workers while taking into account<br />

their performance, compliance and<br />

wellbeing in the company.<br />


Spanning from South East <strong>Asia</strong>n<br />

countries like Vietnam, Indonesia and<br />

Myanmar to as far as South America<br />

and Europe, Chinglun has supplied<br />

their equipment to various plywood<br />

manufacturers across the world.<br />

In traditional markets like China,<br />

Japan, Indonesia and Vietnam, Lee<br />

reported that Chinglun does very well.<br />

Even in Myanmar, they have supplied<br />

their machines to a big customer<br />

that is said to have “17 factories”.<br />

For developed countries like the US,<br />

Canada, the UK, and New Zealand,<br />

Chinglun has supplied what Lee called<br />

their add-on or 2nd-time processing<br />

machinery, which is a lightweight<br />

version of their typical equipment,<br />

but more for processing plywood into<br />

finished decorative panels, ready for<br />

end consumer’s use.<br />

Currently, Chinglun hopes to sell<br />

more into South East <strong>Asia</strong>, Africa,<br />

Russia, India and Brazil. In particular,<br />

South East <strong>Asia</strong>, Russia and Brazil<br />

have plenty of plantation material<br />

for plywood production that can be<br />

utilised more fully, and India has<br />

customers looking to purchase quality<br />

and reliable plywood manufacturing<br />

equipment. But what makes Chinglun’s<br />

global footprint more impressive<br />

is that they are not held back by<br />

unfamiliarity. Lee explained that the<br />

company dares to explore territories<br />

that are not even traditionally known<br />

for their wood panel market. They<br />

aspire to gain recognition everywhere<br />

in the world.<br />

“For example, if I tell my boss that we<br />

have an inquiry from some unknown,<br />

no man’s land, where nobody has ever<br />

done a project before, she will tell me<br />

not to worry and follow up with that<br />

particular region, even if we do not earn<br />

any money,” he said. “Our aim is to gain<br />

recognition, even in the Western world.”<br />

Of course, it is not that Lee and his<br />

team take uncalculated risks; at<br />

the end of the day, they are more<br />

concerned with building long-term<br />

relationships with potential and<br />

existing customers, rather than just<br />

one-off transactions. Lee concluded<br />

with one encounter he had with a<br />

customer in Indonesia:<br />

“We went to this factory before the<br />

COVID-19 pandemic, one that I have<br />

never been to in Indonesia before. The<br />

factory manager came out and told us<br />

they had three to four of our machinery.<br />

But I personally had never been to their<br />

factory before. The manager told us the<br />

machinery had been there for decades,<br />

even before 2000s when Chinglun was<br />

still manufacturing in Taiwan,” he said.<br />

“So, our machinery has been running<br />

there after so many decades. I was<br />

quite amazed.” P<br />

JANUARY / FEBRUARY <strong>2024</strong> | PANELS & FURNITURE ASIA 27


AquaVeg: New bio-based<br />

wax emulsion for wood<br />

panel industry<br />

AquaVeg is the latest bio wax emulsion by Emulco, an emulsion company,<br />

said to perform better than mineral wax emulsions for coating as well as<br />

in mass dosing of all kinds of wood panels, including engineered wood.<br />

Jean Vanhoebost, CEO of Emulco, introduces it to Yap Shi Quan.<br />

How did Emulco and Sestec come<br />

up with AquaVeg, and what was<br />

Emulco’s role in this collaboration?<br />

Vanhoebost: Sestec and Emulco<br />

are two independent companies<br />

operating in the same market<br />

segment of the panelboard Industry.<br />

Sestec is a producer of bio-based<br />

resins, and Emulco produces a<br />

range of bio wax emulsions. If a<br />

panelboard producer combines a<br />

bio adhesive with a bio emulsion,<br />

the panel can be sold as a bio-based<br />

panel, with the emulsion as 99.8%<br />

bio content.<br />

AquaVeg<br />

What inspired Emulco to create an<br />

eco-friendlier wax emulsion?<br />

Jean Vanhoebost: It all started with<br />

our commitment to the production<br />

of sustainable solutions. It is time<br />

to move towards green solutions in<br />

the emulsion sector. Emulco has<br />

been focusing the last decade on the<br />

development of new emulsification<br />

techniques as well as the discovery<br />

of new molecules to emulsify. This<br />

has led to the development of our<br />

product family of high-end bio wax<br />

emulsions.<br />

Bio emulsions are a very good<br />

alternative to mineral emulsions. What<br />

is more, complex polymer emulsions<br />

such as polyisobutylene (PIB) and<br />

ethylene propylene diene momoner<br />

(EPDM) are now equally available as<br />

water-based emulsions. As such,<br />

the use of mineral solvents can be<br />

avoided to apply these interesting<br />

molecules in diverse markets, to the<br />

benefit of the environment.<br />

Some widely used mineral waxes in<br />

the panelboard industry have been<br />

identified by the European Chemical<br />

Agency (ECHA) as a potential health<br />

hazard. Bio-based wax emulsions<br />

offer a more competitive, safer and<br />

eco-friendlier alternative.<br />

Emulco and Sestec quickly found<br />

common ground as our products<br />

showed great compatibility and<br />

proved very effective when applied<br />

on panels. However, our products<br />

work independently from each other.<br />

The benefit in combining them for<br />

panelboard producers is that there<br />

is no added formaldehyde and no<br />

added mineral carbon material,<br />

resulting in a bio-based panel.<br />

How do particleboards and<br />

medium-density fibreboards (MDFs)<br />

made with AquaVeg perform better<br />

than with mineral wax emulsions,<br />

and what do panel producers have<br />

to take note when using AquaVeg?<br />

Vanhoebost: Industrial data as well<br />

as laboratory test results confirm<br />

28 PANELS & FURNITURE ASIA | JANUARY / FEBRUARY <strong>2024</strong>


consistent better performance of bio<br />

wax emulsions compared to mineral<br />

wax emulsions for water absorption and<br />

thickness swelling, while mechanical<br />

properties show comparable results.<br />

Mineral slack waxes contain quite a bit of<br />

light oils and volatile organic compounds<br />

(VOCs) and have a flash point around<br />

230°C, while bio waxes have no free oil,<br />

no VOCs, and have a typical flash point<br />

around 280-300°C. So, we believe that this<br />

would result in a lower evaporation loss<br />

once the emulsion is in the press at high<br />

temperatures, resulting in a higher net<br />

dosing amount compared to slack waxes.<br />

1<br />

LEGEND<br />

1 Bio-based wax<br />

emulsions offer a more<br />

competitive, safer<br />

and eco-friendlier<br />

alternative to mineral<br />

wax emulsions<br />

2 Bio waxes have no free<br />

oil, no VOCs, and have<br />

a typical flash point<br />

around 280-300°C<br />

3 Emulco has been<br />

focusing the last<br />

decade on the<br />

development of<br />

new emulsification<br />

techniques as well as<br />

the discovery of new<br />

molecules to emulsify<br />

Our AquaVeg emulsions are compatible<br />

with mineral wax emulsions and can be<br />

mixed without concern. At equal dosing<br />

levels for panel production or at equal<br />

film thickness for a surface coating,<br />

the AquaVeg emulsions are a perfect<br />

alternative for slack wax emulsions<br />

and they need no specific attention or<br />

considerations.<br />

Can you elaborate how AquaVeg can be<br />

used as a top coating for engineered<br />

wood products like laminated veneer<br />

lumber (LVL) and cross-laminated timber<br />

(CLT), and to what effect?<br />

Vanhoebost: In the ongoing quest to<br />

reduce carbon emissions, building<br />

materials such as LVL and CLT products<br />

are reintroduced to reduce the use of<br />

armed concrete, which is very carbon<br />

unfriendly in terms of energy needs when<br />

it is produced.<br />

2<br />

Prefabricated CLT and LVL elements have<br />

to be stored outside during construction<br />

phases on a building site. When exposed<br />

to the environmental elements such as<br />

sunshine, rain, hail or snow, the CLT or<br />

LVL elements can be damaged. To prevent<br />

such damage, a mineral wax coating is<br />

generally applied on the wood surface.<br />

Replacing this mineral wax coating<br />

with a bio wax coating which on top is<br />

bio-degradable is again a big step forward<br />

to protect our precious environment. No<br />

mineral wax will pollute the soil, and even<br />

when installed the bio wax coating will<br />

have a zero-emission effect inside the<br />

building while slack wax mineral emissions<br />

remain less healthy.<br />

What certifications or accreditations<br />

have been applied to AquaVeg, or are<br />

currently pending results for?<br />

Vanhoebost: The AquaVeg range can be<br />

sold as technical product and is certified<br />

as food contact safe — Emulco provides<br />

Food Contact Statement certificate — and<br />

has many certification levels, depending<br />

on the formulation and additive package<br />

used.<br />

3<br />

How does Emulco intend to push AquaVeg out<br />

in the market, especially to <strong>Asia</strong> and South<br />

East <strong>Asia</strong>?<br />

Vanhoebost: In the first stage, Emulco will<br />

export the emulsions to <strong>Asia</strong>n or South East<br />

<strong>Asia</strong>n markets directly. Once certain volumes<br />

are established, there will be a need for a local<br />

agent and preferably, a collaboration with a local<br />

producer; exporting big amounts of the liquid<br />

across the ocean is not a long-term option. P<br />

JANUARY / FEBRUARY <strong>2024</strong> | PANELS & FURNITURE ASIA 29


“A beacon of innovation”:<br />

Biesse’s new ROS FT<br />

robotic system<br />

tasks, including part recognition, sorting,<br />

and stacking preferences. This user-friendly<br />

interface reportedly minimises the learning<br />

curve and enables operators to maximise the<br />

system’s potential. With this programming<br />

interface as well as its gripping technology,<br />

ROS FT allows manufacturers to flexibly<br />

switch between different production runs and<br />

handle diverse materials without extensive<br />

reprogramming.<br />

Biesse’s new ROS FT<br />

In the evolving landscape of manufacturing,<br />

automation plays a pivotal role in<br />

enhancing efficiency, precision, and<br />

overall productivity, offering a solution to<br />

challenges such as labour shortages, rising<br />

production demands, and the need for<br />

consistently high-quality output.<br />

As industries continue to embrace<br />

automation, machine and integrated<br />

line manufacturer for multi-material<br />

processing Biesse strives for its newlylaunched<br />

ROS FT to stand as “a beacon<br />

of innovation”, paving a future where<br />

manufacturing processes are not only<br />

streamlined but also optimised for<br />

success.<br />


Also known as the Robotic Operated<br />

System for Flexible Unloading, the ROS<br />

FT is designed to optimise the unloading<br />

process of machined parts from nesting<br />

machines, offering better speed, accuracy<br />

and adaptability in production.<br />

The heart of the ROS FT system lies in its<br />

robotic arm, engineered to handle a range of<br />

materials with precision. Its precision ensures<br />

the consistent and accurate unloading of<br />

machined parts, contributing to a higher<br />

quality end-product. This level of consistency<br />

is challenging to achieve with manual labour<br />

alone.<br />

According to Biesse, this robotic arm is<br />

equipped with advanced sensors and vision<br />

systems, enabling it to adapt to varying<br />

shapes, sizes, and materials of machined<br />

parts. The ROS FT further incorporates an<br />

adaptive gripping technology that allows the<br />

robotic arm to securely hold and manipulate<br />

parts of different geometries. This versatility<br />

ensures that the system can accommodate<br />

an array of products, making it suitable for<br />

manufacturers with diverse production needs.<br />

The ROS FT system is also equipped with a<br />

programming interface that facilitates easy<br />

setup and configuration. Manufacturers can<br />

define specific parameters for unloading<br />

For manufacturers with Biesse’s nesting<br />

machines, ROS FT can be integrated with<br />

them, thus creating a synchronised and<br />

harmonious workflow. The robotic arm<br />

unloads machined parts, allowing the nesting<br />

machine to continue its operations without<br />

unnecessary downtime. This integration<br />

enhances overall production throughput and<br />

reduces bottlenecks in the manufacturing<br />

process. The system also operates 24/7<br />

automatically, reducing the need for manual<br />

labour and enabling manufacturers to meet<br />

demanding production schedules, thus<br />

increasing the overall production productivity.<br />

Lastly, the system comes with real-time<br />

monitoring and analytics capabilities,<br />

providing insights into production efficiency<br />

and performance. Manufacturers can track key<br />

metrics, identify potential issues, and optimise<br />

their processes for continuous improvement.<br />

The ROS FT not only enhances efficiency<br />

and precision by addressing the challenges<br />

associated with unloading machined parts<br />

from nesting machines, it also aims to set<br />

a new standard for adaptability in the everevolving<br />

manufacturing landscape. While the<br />

initial investment in automation technology<br />

is significant, the long-term cost savings<br />

and returns on investment are substantial<br />

by reducing labour costs, minimising errors,<br />

and increasing the overall efficiency of the<br />

manufacturing process. P<br />

30 PANELS & FURNITURE ASIA | JANUARY / FEBRUARY <strong>2024</strong>


A new dimension<br />

for panel sizing<br />

Leuco’s diamond-tipped panel-sizing circular saw blades are said<br />

to achieve high cutting quality with long tool lives, and after being<br />

upgraded, they now perform better and are more robust.<br />

Leuco has further improved their DP<br />

panel cutting circular saw blades,<br />

introducing the two cut lines U-Cut and<br />

Q-Cut to complement the HW version.<br />

The U-Cut variant is ideal for classic or<br />

universal cuts while the Q-Cut version is<br />

used for high-quality finish cuts. Now,<br />

these saw blades are capable of cutting<br />

all particleboards and medium-density<br />

fibreboard (MDF) panels.<br />

1<br />

LEGEND<br />

1 The new<br />

diamond-tipped<br />

panel-sizing<br />

circular saw<br />

blades U-Cut<br />

with TR-F-FA<br />

and Q-Cut with<br />

G6 are on a par<br />

with the HW<br />

versions in terms<br />

of application and<br />

cutting quality,<br />

while achieving<br />

up to 20 times the<br />

tool life<br />

2 Thicker teeth with<br />

a bigger wedge<br />

angle reduce the<br />

risk of breakage<br />

to DP teeth<br />

2<br />


According to Leuco, the DP variants of<br />

both cut categories have smaller gullets,<br />

and this makes the tools more robust.<br />

Thicker teeth with a bigger wedge angle<br />

reduce the risk of tooth breakage. Also,<br />

with their new grade of diamond, these<br />

saw blades can reportedly process<br />

all standards of wood materials. The<br />

strength achieved is also able to protect<br />

the fragile diamond-tipped tool from<br />

foreign bodies.<br />


The DP version of the Q-Cut line also has<br />

laser ornaments that are mounted in a<br />

specific sequence and are filled with a<br />

vibration-damping material. This means<br />

that the saw blade cuts more smoothly,<br />

delivering power and quality without a<br />

lot of noise. Additionally, Leuco reports<br />

that it does so consistently right across<br />

the service life of the saw blade, even<br />

after all sharpening operations. The<br />

new saw blades are said to be able to<br />

reach 20 times the tool service life of<br />

their HW counterpart, making them the<br />

equivalent of “marathon runners”, as<br />

declared by Leuco. P<br />

Images: Leuco<br />

32 PANELS & FURNITURE ASIA | JANUARY / FEBRUARY <strong>2024</strong>


CNC machining<br />

of unique furniture shapes<br />

1 2<br />

Ganzhou Kejiang Electromechanical<br />

Equipment specialises in developing<br />

computerised numerical control<br />

(CNC) machining centres as well as<br />

CNC-controlled lathes for milling<br />

and processing unique furniture<br />

shapes. In particular, they featured<br />

at Malaysian Wood Expo (MWE) 2023<br />

their MCJ13020 model can process<br />

various kinds of solid wood furniture<br />

— for instance, dining tables and<br />

chairs, uniquely shaped wooden legs,<br />

particular furniture shapes, solid<br />

wood crafts and accessories.<br />

According to a spokesperson<br />

from Kejiang, their MCJ13020 CNC<br />

machining centre can also carry out<br />

the automatic one-time clamping<br />

of workpieces that are challenging<br />

to process manually, especially for<br />

turning, milling, drilling and grinding.<br />

“Whether it is a simple curve or a<br />

complex engraving, our equipment<br />

can handle it with precision,”<br />

explained the spokesperson from<br />

Kejiang. “In the past, different<br />

processes needed to be carried<br />

out separately, with each process<br />

completed by different machines and<br />

workers. Now, our equipment can<br />

achieve composite processing, and<br />

one machine can integrate multiple<br />

processes, which greatly saves time<br />

and space costs. Our equipment<br />

is also automated, reducing the<br />

need for manual operations and<br />

increasing production efficiency and<br />

consistency.”<br />

On top of their CNC machining<br />

centres, the company also provides<br />

customised solutions according<br />

to the specific needs of each<br />

manufacturer: “When customers<br />

require specific processing<br />

solutions, we will provide detailed<br />

training materials and parameters<br />

to ensure that customers can<br />

make full use of our equipment for<br />

production.”<br />

At the moment, Kejiang has<br />

customers across South East<br />

<strong>Asia</strong>, including Vietnam, Malaysia,<br />

Thailand, and looking to expand<br />

to Indonesia in the future. The<br />

firm has a professional team that<br />

provides customers with training<br />

and technical support. This is part<br />

of their strategy of developing<br />

long-term relationships with their<br />

customers, regularly communicating<br />

with them, gathering their feedback,<br />

and making improvements<br />

accordingly.<br />

The company aims to differentiate<br />

itself from other firms by focusing<br />

on the R&D of equipment for specific<br />

processes of producing furniture<br />

— be it turning or milling or others.<br />

Currently, their machines already<br />

use advanced control systems and<br />

high-quality parts to ensure strong<br />

performance and longer lifetime.<br />

However, they are also committed to<br />

improving the accuracy and stability<br />

of their machines, believing that<br />

with better methods, higher-quality<br />

furniture can be produced: “Although<br />

the furniture industry has not seen<br />

much growth lately, we continue<br />

to improve on our equipment<br />

through incrementally adopting<br />

new manufacturing methods<br />

and developments. As a result,<br />

our equipment is selling well and<br />

growing.” P<br />

LEGEND<br />

1 Kejiang with the<br />

MCJ13020 CNC<br />

machining centre<br />

at MWE 2023<br />

2 Demonstrating the<br />

use of MCJ13020 CNC<br />

machining centre<br />

JANUARY / FEBRUARY <strong>2024</strong> | PANELS & FURNITURE ASIA 33


Dürr launches new,<br />

standardised paint supply<br />

station for industrial<br />

applications<br />

The EcoSupply2 Core delivers time savings<br />

on assembly, commissioning, and<br />

documentation.<br />

Dürr’s new EcoSupply2 Core is a modular paint<br />

supply station that integrates all the necessary<br />

components into a compact design. The<br />

space-saving, easy-to-use system is ideal for<br />

industrial applications where painting is done<br />

in a confined space.<br />

The EcoSupply2 Core is available<br />

now. Certified for the European,<br />

US, and <strong>Asia</strong>n markets, the<br />

solutions saves integrators and end<br />

customers time on engineering,<br />

assembly, and commissioning. Once<br />

the pre-assembled complete package<br />

arrives on site, all that remains is to<br />

commission it.<br />


According to Dürr, the EcoSupply2 Core<br />

reduces the workload for integrators since<br />

the system only requires bolting to the ground<br />

and commissioning before use. As a result,<br />

almost all the assembly and engineering work<br />

is eliminated. Until now, the integrator had to<br />

document both stages. This requirement is<br />

no longer necessary, since Dürr will reportedly<br />

provide a declaration of conformity ensuring<br />

that the customer’s EcoSupply2 Core has<br />

undergone a technical inspection.<br />


The EcoSupply2 Core comes in different<br />

versions. It is the centre component of the<br />

station, and users can choose between a<br />

diaphragm pump for the low-pressure range<br />

or a piston pump for pressures up to 300<br />

bar, depending on the specific application<br />

technology and the paint type being used.<br />

Additionally, different flow and return<br />

regulators tailored to various flow rates and<br />

pressure ranges compatible with these pumps<br />

are available.<br />

EcoSupply2 Core is a modular paint supply<br />

station that integrates all necessary components<br />

into a compact design<br />

The EcoSupply2 Core is ideal wherever<br />

machines need a paint supply, be it for the<br />

woodworking or construction industries, in<br />

injection molding shops, or at automotive<br />

suppliers. The system combines multiple<br />

products: an agitator, pumps or pressure<br />

tanks that transport the paint, filters<br />

for material purification, and pressure<br />

controllers. In addition, sensors can be<br />

installed to display the fill level in the paint<br />

drum or lifters for easy drum replacement.<br />

“With the EcoSupply2 Core, we developed the<br />

first paint supply station as a standard solution<br />

that is also highly flexible. With its range of<br />

individual components, it offers customers 15<br />

individual configuration options,” explained<br />

Tom Reiner, a product engineer at Dürr.<br />

With the paint supply station, Dürr provides<br />

pressure tanks that can accommodate<br />

volumes of up to 60L. When using buckets or<br />

drums in variants of 30L, 60L, or 200L, the<br />

original container directly supplies the paint.<br />


While pumps, controllers, and tanks are<br />

available in various designs, there is the<br />

option to add other components as extras.<br />

For example, an agitator, filter, or lifter can<br />

be added which raises the pump for changing<br />

the paint container. Industrial companies can<br />

also utilise the EcoSupply2 Core exclusively as<br />

an agitator. When used in this way, a separate<br />

station agitates the paint, accelerating the<br />

paint changing process and minimising<br />

production interruptions. P<br />

34 PANELS & FURNITURE ASIA | JANUARY / FEBRUARY <strong>2024</strong>


Reinventing wood<br />

panel production<br />

with Pika ReTech’s<br />

solutions<br />

Sedat Balioglu, marketing, comms and sales at<br />

Pika ReTech, dives deep into the mechanics of<br />

the company’s solutions.<br />

such as glue-induced stains on the<br />

panels, resulting in the same or<br />

better mechanical panel values while<br />

the amount of glue is reduced and<br />

saved. ReFogger does not require<br />

maintenance apart from routine ones,<br />

and this minimises indirect losses<br />

due to clogging, deterioration, or<br />

production stoppage.<br />

To date, the ReFogger has been<br />

installed in 33 factories in different<br />

countries. It comes in two separate<br />

versions: the Plugin, which is the<br />

upgraded version for factories that<br />

already have a glue-saving system<br />

by Ecoresinator from Siempelkamp,<br />

ProJet from DIEFFENBACHER, or<br />

Schlick system nozzles; and the ACE<br />

version with full automation and<br />

content, recommended for plants that<br />

do not have a glue-saving system.<br />

REJIT<br />

Paraffin has been an essential<br />

component since the beginning<br />

of wood-based panel production.<br />

However, there has been no changes<br />

in this product’s method or usage<br />

methodology, in spite of studies<br />

and research carried out, until the<br />

last four to five years. This lack of<br />

change was a problem for panel<br />

manufacturers. At the same time,<br />

the price of using paraffin increased<br />

in the last few years, not least due<br />

to global challenges such as supply<br />

issues, changing purchasing costs,<br />

and dependence on limited suppliers.<br />

ReFogger<br />


ReFogger is a resin-saving system that<br />

aims to be a better interpretation of<br />

conventional resin-saving systems,<br />

reducing all raw materials used in the<br />

system — making it an example of a<br />

sustainable, environmentally friendly<br />

system.<br />

We developed ReFogger to be a<br />

straightforward system with its<br />

structure. It works with similar or<br />

common resin-saving systems, but its<br />

most important distinction, compared<br />

to other systems, is it turns glue into<br />

fog via steam in a small steam chamber<br />

outside the Blowline — hence the<br />

name ‘ReFogger’. The fibres move in<br />

the Blowline with high heat and speed<br />

to better disperse the fog cloud. This<br />

then provides a more homogeneous<br />

distribution of the fog by creating<br />

turbulence with its non-flat structure,<br />

which in Pika ReTech is called the ‘S’<br />

Blowline. Thus, as the particle size<br />

shrinks, the number of particles<br />

increases, and the surface area<br />

expands. This minimises problems<br />

As such, we decided to take the issue<br />

seriously and started evaluating the<br />

situation and analysing user needs.<br />

Every manufacturer’s first and only<br />

problem was that the quality of the<br />

paraffin emulsion used was not<br />

stable. We therefore developed ReJIT<br />

— the JIT stands for ‘Just in Time’. It<br />

is a nano emulsion paraffin system<br />

that allows the user to work with wax<br />

or paraffin emulsion on a standalone<br />

line, without being connected<br />

anywhere, and to obtain a product<br />

that they can produce with their<br />

recipe and store as paraffin emulsion<br />

at the exit of the line. In the system,<br />

36 PANELS & FURNITURE ASIA | JANUARY / FEBRUARY <strong>2024</strong>


almost all the particle size in the paraffin<br />

emulsion obtained is in nano measurement,<br />

below 1µm. As such, a larger surface area can<br />

be covered due to the much smaller particle<br />

size, thus reducing paraffin consumption.<br />

ReJIT is not a highly complex machine,<br />

and the return on investment is within<br />

reasonable times, especially for the pricebenefit<br />

relationship in terms of ease of<br />

maintenance, spare parts advantage, and<br />

high capacity. Reducing consumption as well<br />

as the amount of toxic fumes released into<br />

the atmosphere makes ReJIT sustainable as<br />

well. More than 10 units of ReJIT has been<br />

sold worldwide as of 2023.<br />


Pika ReTech produces high-quality<br />

aluminium oxide for the laminate flooring<br />

industry. The reason we started in this field<br />

was due to customer demand. There is a<br />

strong laminate flooring production potential<br />

in Turkey, which was where our production<br />

centre was from the beginning. And now, we<br />

bring this technology globally, working with<br />

laminate flooring manufacturers.<br />

ReFlot processes high-purity aluminium<br />

oxide to create abrasion resistance for<br />

laminate flooring panels. After being<br />

obtained in powder form, the aluminium<br />

oxide is applied on overlay or patterned<br />

papers during the impregnation phase.<br />

The shape and size of the aluminium oxide<br />

particles are the most crucial factors that<br />

ascertain the robustness of the material.<br />

We began producing the ReTuner powder<br />

scattering system because one of our<br />

customers could not find a suitable powder<br />

scattering machine for their conditions,<br />

and we tailormade a unique solution for<br />

them — which was ReTuner. The system<br />

spreads the aluminium oxide material over<br />

the overlay and decor paper smoothly and<br />

homogenously. We use aluminium for the<br />

body and cylinders of the ReTuner, so it can<br />

be manufactured according to the narrow<br />

areas requested by the customer and can<br />

lay and distribute the powder with high<br />

homogeneity.<br />

The ReTuner works with a vacuum<br />

suction or auger system in addition to<br />

feeding the aluminium oxide powder into<br />

a funnel-shaped chamber. The powder<br />

inside the feeding bunker is then poured<br />

homogeneously, and the level is kept<br />

constant during the scattering process. By<br />

using a specially prepared scattering roll, the<br />

formation of voids and the decomposition of<br />

the material are prevented during casting.<br />

The scattering roll is driven by a servo driver,<br />

mounted under the hopper, and is designed<br />

according to the powder size. The material is<br />

taken up by the scattering roll and stripped<br />

from a flexible doctor blade. Together with<br />

a modified oscillating brushing device, the<br />

There is a strong laminate<br />

flooring production potential<br />

in Turkey, which was where our<br />

production centre was from<br />

the beginning. And now, we<br />

bring this technology globally,<br />

working with laminate flooring<br />

manufacturers.<br />

scattering roll ensures that the required<br />

amount of the material (g/m 2 ) is properly<br />

and evenly distributed to the substrate. The<br />

doctor blade design allows the material to<br />

be dosed evenly over the entire scattering<br />

width.<br />

The ReTuner scattering system is available<br />

in different sizes and capacities, and can<br />

be supplied with a vertical or horizontal<br />

transfer system for easier cleaning and<br />

maintenance.<br />


In the production process of all wood-based<br />

panels, wood and glue constitute the main<br />

cost item. Constant and correct dosing and<br />

mixing of wood particles and fibres with<br />

resin is the most important basic condition<br />

for obtaining a board with good mechanical<br />

properties. Intelligent and qualified chemical<br />

additives to be added to this process will<br />

contribute to meeting the target quality<br />

expectations of the panels produced.<br />

When Pika ReTech started R&D studies for<br />

our ReFogger glue-saving system in 2016,<br />

we decided to develop some chemicals<br />

that would be beneficial for panel<br />

manufacturers. Our ReBoost series of highquality<br />

additives emerged from this. The<br />

ReBoost performance additive programme<br />

aims to enhance the manufacturer’s ability<br />

to produce more qualified and targeted<br />

panels. As of the time of printing this<br />

article, Pika ReTech has on the ReBoost<br />

product range the Release Agent,<br />

the Panel Performance Additive, the<br />

Surface Performance Additive, and the<br />

Formaldehyde Catcher available. P<br />

To know more about Pika ReTech, read our interview with them in<br />

the November/December 2023 issue of <strong>Panels</strong> & <strong>Furniture</strong> <strong>Asia</strong>.<br />

JANUARY / FEBRUARY <strong>2024</strong> | PANELS & FURNITURE ASIA 37


Specialists in<br />

resin formulation<br />

and application<br />

As raw material prices increase and<br />

sustainability credentials become a<br />

trade requirement, how resins are being<br />

used in wood panel production should be<br />

reassessed as well. How can companies<br />

like CHIMAR, a resin technology developer,<br />

help to tackle these challenges? Charles<br />

Markessini, vice-president, R&D, introduces<br />

CHIMAR to Yap Shi Quan.<br />

formaldehyde (PF) resins. These resins are<br />

used predominantly in the production of<br />

particleboard, medium-density fibreboard<br />

(MDF), oriented strand board (OSB), and<br />

plywood panels. Lower volume applications are<br />

paper impregnation and insulation materials<br />

such as mineral and glass wool or fabrics.<br />

CHIMAR brings long-standing expertise<br />

on the subject and our team of 30 skilled<br />

professionals works and interacts strongly<br />

with every customer, striving to understand<br />

the local market and processes, to reach the<br />

beneficial targets, and always to achieve the<br />

fruits of a joint effort.<br />

What are your responsibilities as the<br />

company’s vice-president of R&D?<br />

Markessini: I am responsible for monitoring<br />

all research projects being executed. My<br />

personal favourite assignment is to scale up<br />

new technologies, take good results from the<br />

lab and implement the latter in the real world.<br />

I also take part in the technical support of<br />

customers on-site and try to inspire our team<br />

to develop technologies the market will be<br />

using in the next 20 years.<br />

Lab synthesis of PF resin<br />

Can you tell us more about CHIMAR?<br />

Charles Markessini: CHIMAR is a company<br />

active since 1977. It has expertise in over 100<br />

industrial sites around the world. Its most<br />

important function is to develop technologies<br />

related to the production and application<br />

of adhesives used in manufacturing woodbased<br />

panels. The company specialises in<br />

formulation development and the application<br />

of formaldehyde-based resins. Our customers<br />

use our technology to: increase their market<br />

share, product portfolio and profit margin<br />

in case they are active in the free — not<br />

captive — resin market; to reduce production<br />

cost, improve production speed, or reduce<br />

formaldehyde emissions; as well as to improve<br />

other product properties in case of integrated<br />

resin and panel production.<br />

It is important to note that we do not<br />

produce or provide industrial binders but<br />

rather the technology for their production<br />

and application. Our technology addresses<br />

all types of urea-formaldehyde (UF),<br />

urea-melamine-formaldehyde (UmF),<br />

melamine-urea-formaldehyde (MUF),<br />

melamine-formaldehyde (MF) and phenol<br />

Can you share how CHIMAR contributes to<br />

producers’ Deming cycle with your solutions<br />

and technical pre- and after-sales support?<br />

Markessini: As our relationship with any<br />

customer is always target-oriented, we fulfil,<br />

and in some cases exceed, our obligations<br />

by executing several improvement projects.<br />

These are represented by the (Observe)-<br />

Plan-Do-Check-Act cycle that is applied<br />

sequentially several times until the technology<br />

is fully launched and the results are obtained.<br />

As discussed above, this is done in strong<br />

cooperation with the local industrial team, a<br />

practice that reinforces the initial technology<br />

and enables its implementation efficiently.<br />

So in practice, all our technology transfer and<br />

technical support, including pre- and aftersales,<br />

evolves around the execution of several<br />

cycles till measurable targets are reached or<br />

surpassed.<br />

Can you tell us more about the lignin-based<br />

resin developed with UPM 1 , as well as the NAF<br />

binder developed with Ecosynthetix? 2<br />

Markessini: Lignin-based adhesives are<br />

mostly suitable for plywood, insulation and<br />

high-pressure laminate (HPL) industries.<br />

Their performance matches those of phenolic<br />

38 PANELS & FURNITURE ASIA | JANUARY / FEBRUARY <strong>2024</strong>


Our team of 30 has embarked on a tough but<br />

rewarding and satisfying mission to develop the<br />

wood adhesive technologies that will satisfy the<br />

future needs of this intricate and magnificent<br />

industry we all love.<br />

Charles Markessini, Vice-President, R&D, CHIMAR<br />

adhesives that the sector is using, and their<br />

cost is attractive while their carbon footprint<br />

is either close to zero or even in some<br />

cases negative as they can store carbon.<br />

This project, a very demanding one from a<br />

scientific point of view, has been successful<br />

on a commercial scale, to a degree that<br />

surpassed even the most optimistic scenario.<br />

The Durabind series of products developed<br />

with Ecosynthetix offers several advantages<br />

to industries that wish to produce no-added<br />

formaldehyde (NAF) particleboard, MDF and<br />

OSB by using polymeric methyl diphenyl<br />

diisocyanate (pMDI). Durabind products<br />

reduce the carbon footprint of the production<br />

but also offer economical and technical<br />

advantages. For instance, the production<br />

outcome is significantly increased while<br />

process benefits such as tack in particleboard<br />

and blowline cleanliness in MDF are observed,<br />

alongside greater machinability of the final<br />

product.<br />

Researching on<br />

UF resin<br />

already remarkable and it reduces the<br />

carbon footprint of the wood-based panel<br />

production process, we firmly believe that<br />

through innovation related to the production<br />

process of this material, its market value will<br />

be increased and its price will be reduced,<br />

enabling its widespread adoption by the<br />

industry.<br />

CHIMAR has worked with companies in<br />

Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand. What<br />

was the experience like working with them,<br />

what extra considerations do you have to<br />

account for when working with companies<br />

in South East <strong>Asia</strong>?<br />

Markessini: The most important<br />

consideration is that the wood species<br />

in this region are different, so that alone<br />

poses a great challenge. The South East<br />

<strong>Asia</strong>n market is demanding as high moisture<br />

resistance and low formaldehyde emissions<br />

are a prerequisite especially for products to<br />

be exported.<br />

market shows signs of improvement. These<br />

products can increase the line speed by a<br />

factor of up to 30%, while the cost increase is<br />

minimal.<br />

Lastly, do you want to add anything else<br />

about CHIMAR that has not been touched on?<br />

Markessini: Every project, from the short-term<br />

ones that demand swift reaction and agility in a<br />

matter of days, to the long-term ones that test<br />

our stamina and perseverance for decades,<br />

has contributed to our knowledge, and so have<br />

our partners from the industrial, academic and<br />

equipment manufacturing worlds. Our team<br />

of 30 has embarked on a tough but rewarding<br />

and satisfying mission to develop the wood<br />

adhesive technologies that will satisfy the<br />

future needs of this intricate and magnificent<br />

industry we all love. P<br />

References<br />

1. Chimar Hellas. Chimar – UPM: Lignin based Phenolic Resins.<br />

<br />

2. Chimar Hellas. Chimar – Ecosynthetix: No added Formaldehyde<br />

Binders. <br />

Can you also share CHIMAR’s progress on the<br />

micro-fibrillated cellulose (MFC) research in<br />

wood panel production?<br />

Markessini: We are cooperating with<br />

several companies, research institutes and<br />

universities related to new forms of nano- or<br />

micro-cellulose. It is a fascinating material<br />

that acts as a rheology modifier and a polymer<br />

reinforcing agent.<br />

Although we believe it is one of the most<br />

promising materials available in the market<br />

today, its low solid content and relatively<br />

high price currently inhibit its widespread<br />

commercialisation in the low-cost<br />

commoditised market of formaldehydebased<br />

resins. Since its performance is<br />

CHIMAR has not been able to successfully<br />

transfer the aforementioned message about<br />

the continuous development to South East<br />

<strong>Asia</strong> yet. Probably the market barriers have<br />

had a negative effect on the efficiency and<br />

outreach of the message. Nevertheless, as<br />

this market is a focal point of the growth plan<br />

of CHIMAR, we are constantly evolving our<br />

messaging and we hope we can convince<br />

a large proportion of the producers to<br />

enter common development projects with<br />

CHIMAR — to enjoy the fruits that advanced<br />

technological developments yield in the<br />

realm of wood adhesives. Moreover, the new<br />

product line of CHIMAR, catalysts for pMDI<br />

bonded wood-based panels, is expected to<br />

sell well in the <strong>Asia</strong>n market, as soon as the<br />

Charles Markessini, Vice-President, R&D,<br />

CHIMAR<br />

JANUARY / FEBRUARY <strong>2024</strong> | PANELS & FURNITURE ASIA 39


Five-layer super<br />

particleboard:<br />

“A concept of greater<br />

end product flexibility”<br />

What is the five-layer super particleboard (SPB),<br />

and how did IMALPAL develop it?<br />

By Yap Shi Quan<br />

properties. Its applications are similar<br />

to a normal particleboard and can be<br />

used for furniture and flooring, but it can<br />

also be used in areas where the typical<br />

particleboard is not strong enough,” said<br />

Nardin.<br />

But what makes the SPB stand out<br />

from a typical particleboard — even<br />

from other wood panel variants — is the<br />

flexibility in its production method.<br />

“The five-layer board allows the<br />

manufacturer to play with different<br />

product characteristics of the board<br />

that they would like to produce,<br />

according to the end user’s demands<br />

and applications,” Nardin elaborated.<br />

IMALPAL formed<br />

mats surface<br />

A particleboard plant in Hubei, China,<br />

owned by wood panel producer<br />

Ningfeng Group is reportedly the “first”<br />

facility globally to produce five-layer<br />

SPB.<br />

The IMALPAL Group signed the<br />

agreement to supply particleboard<br />

production equipment in May 2022,<br />

including equipment for producing<br />

five-layer SPB, and IMALPAL fully<br />

installed everything in June 2023.<br />

What is a five-layer super<br />

particleboard? According to Gabriele<br />

Nardin, sales manager of PAL, the<br />

five-layer SPB has the technical<br />

specifications and machinability of<br />

somewhere “between the typical OSB<br />

construction panel and the typical<br />

particleboard decorative panel”.<br />

In other words, it is multi-layer board<br />

stronger than the typical particleboard,<br />

and catching up to the robustness<br />

of an oriented-strand board (OSB)<br />

construction panel.<br />

“Thanks to its fine surface layer,<br />

a SPB board has high mechanical<br />

What this means is that when producing<br />

a five-layer SPB panel, the manufacturer<br />

can tailor the technical properties<br />

according to what the end consumer<br />

wants by playing with different board<br />

recipes — such as the flake size, flake<br />

distribution, and glue quality and<br />

quantity. “It is a concept of greater end<br />

product flexibility,” as Nardin put it.<br />

The reason for developing such a panel<br />

is because of market demand. Nardin<br />

explained that companies used to<br />

produce the same kind of board with<br />

the same board characteristics. But as<br />

40 PANELS & FURNITURE ASIA | JANUARY / FEBRUARY <strong>2024</strong>


customisation becomes a global trend,<br />

now end users prefer to have their own<br />

product.<br />

The secrets to the system that creates<br />

the five-layer SPB are high-quality<br />

flaking, maintaining the size of the<br />

flakes without generating dust, and<br />

gentle handling. And to do that, it<br />

is important to have a good-quality<br />

flaker. “For example, our Globus SRC<br />

Flaker has 690mm long blades which<br />

allow the manufacturer to use bigger<br />

chips and produce longer flakes than<br />

the standard ones.”<br />

LEGEND<br />

1 PAL forming line<br />

2 IMAL Glue Blender<br />

3 IMAL high-pressure<br />

resination<br />

technology<br />

“Gentle” drying of the flakes is also<br />

equally important, which can be<br />

achieved by IMAL’s Belt Dryer. “This<br />

is to preserve the good shape of<br />

the flakes throughout the drying<br />

process,” said Nardin. “After which,<br />

the screening is carried out first with<br />

PAL’s Quadradyn, and then with an<br />

oscillating screen; the combination<br />

of this two-step screening ensures a<br />

thorough and optimal screening of the<br />

different flake sizes without breakage.<br />

The production is completed by highpressure<br />

glue resination by IMAL, and<br />

a five-layer Dynaformer complete the<br />

system with the Dynasteam press. This<br />

results in properly glued flakes in the<br />

Dynaformer and gentle pressing with<br />

steam injection.”<br />

As of the time of printing this article,<br />

the Ningfeng plant is able to produce<br />

up to 2,300m3 of five-layer SPB per<br />

day, surpassing the expected daily<br />

output of 1,800m3 that IMALPAL had<br />

initially designed for Ningfeng.<br />

1<br />

2<br />

“We have to thank the Ningfeng<br />

team for their ability to operate the<br />

machinery to the best of their ability,”<br />

said Nardin.<br />

The other kinds of particleboard<br />

production equipment that IMALPAL<br />

supplied include the full Superscreen<br />

and Wind Sifter sets for screening and<br />

quality control of the flakes, IMAL’s<br />

dosing system with three blenders for<br />

the production of high-pressure, fine,<br />

large SPB core and the regular core. P<br />

3<br />

JANUARY / FEBRUARY <strong>2024</strong> | PANELS & FURNITURE ASIA 41


Advanced manufacturing<br />

with HOMAG’s factory<br />

management system and<br />

full solution for automation<br />

the production process helps companies<br />

track and locate responsibilities and achieve<br />

standardisation.<br />

Most companies are aware of the importance<br />

of digitalisation in advanced furniture<br />

manufacturing, yet many generally give<br />

priority to the setting up of enterprise<br />

resource planning (ERP) systems to meet their<br />

needs.<br />

It is undeniable that ERP integrates much<br />

of the information within corporations and<br />

provides the management a platform for<br />

decision making, planning, control and the<br />

evaluation of business performance. However,<br />

at the shopfloor ERP alone cannot meet the<br />

needs of information processing, collection<br />

and exchange in the production process.<br />

Some common problems at the factory<br />

include: The planning department formulates<br />

a good production plan but is not timely or<br />

effectively transferred to the shopfloor;<br />

the production crew at the shopfloor does<br />

not receive a feasible production plan and<br />

Cutting: As the production process changes,<br />

order optimisation must also keep up.<br />

Through a combination of CutRite, another<br />

of HOMAG’s software for cutting panelthe<br />

designated production process is<br />

unclear; the processing of orders is not<br />

communicated to the planning management<br />

department in real time, and when orders<br />

are completed they cannot be tracked;<br />

or the management or decision makers<br />

are confused about the production at the<br />

shopfloor and are unable to make a practical<br />

plan.<br />

The root of the problem lies in the<br />

misalignment between the planning<br />

management and the production at<br />

the shopfloor. The introduction of the<br />

manufacturing executive system (MES)<br />

closes loopholes in the ERP system. This<br />

fills in gaps in the process of production<br />

organisation, production execution,<br />

warehouse management, process<br />

management, equipment monitoring, cost<br />

accounting, quality management, among<br />

others. The exchange of real-time data in<br />

As a solution provider for smart<br />

manufacturing in furniture production,<br />

HOMAG developed a customisable MES<br />

product: the factory management system<br />

FMS, combining German advanced<br />

technology, localised interface and deeprooted<br />

experience to meet needs in<br />

order management, production planning<br />

management, production scheduling<br />

management, inventory management<br />

and production process control. Based on<br />

modularity for key needs such as delivery<br />

management, the FMS can help companies<br />

achieve personalised digital transformation. It<br />

reflects the companies’ real production status<br />

through scientific data and resolve their<br />

production ‘black box’.<br />


The FMS is easy to operate and user-friendly.<br />

It offers several benefits to furniture<br />

production:<br />

Scheduling: According to HOMAG, their<br />

FMS can make precise scheduling plans<br />

based on data. The system automatically<br />

collects data in real time through smart<br />

terminals at the production line, analyses<br />

the processing method and processing time<br />

of each workpiece in combination with the<br />

actual situation of the order and machines,<br />

calculates the optimal process route, and<br />

automatically schedules production.<br />

42 PANELS & FURNITURE ASIA | JANUARY / FEBRUARY <strong>2024</strong>


LEGEND<br />

1 A sample of smart<br />

factory using FMS<br />

2 Sorting system<br />

managed through FMS<br />

1<br />

shaped materials, and FMS, the system<br />

automatically calculates the optimal cutting<br />

method and provides data to the panel saws<br />

and storage and sorting system.<br />

Packaging: Through packaging<br />

optimisation, the FMS system can<br />

automatically calculate each unique order:<br />

How to use the least, fastest, and most<br />

cost-effective way to package. The data<br />

can be provided to the manual packaging<br />

team in the shopfloor and also connected<br />

to the automated packaging machine and<br />

robot. The automated packaging line can<br />

prepare customised cartons and packaging.<br />

The above methods have been proven to<br />

save up to 30% of the material compared to<br />

traditional packaging methods, as claimed<br />

by HOMAG.<br />

Tracking: Additionally, the FMS will tag<br />

each board with an identification label<br />

from the moment the order enters the<br />

smart production process. This instructs<br />

the smart production line to carry out<br />

intelligent operations in sorting, cutting,<br />

edgebanding, drilling and other processes.<br />

Rework requirements are generated and<br />

circulated within the production process<br />

automatically. The smart process will also<br />

eliminate common pain points in panel<br />

usage and selection, including the use<br />

of less popular colours, missing panels,<br />

misplaced panels and low-quality panels.<br />

Integrating with ERP: As a production<br />

information management system, FMS is<br />

not an isolated system. It can be combined<br />

with the ERP system. As both systems<br />

now operate together, the data is centrally<br />

2<br />

managed. Real-time and accurate production<br />

data is readily available, and the management<br />

has a precise understanding of the updated<br />

production status. The companies can now<br />

make decisions with real data, combined<br />

with systematic analysis, so as to achieve<br />

transparency in the smart factory.<br />


The FMS not only emphasises process<br />

integration, control and monitoring of the<br />

production, allocates and organises all<br />

resources, and improves the shopfloor’s<br />

response and processing ability to unexpected<br />

requests and random activities, but it also<br />

helps companies build a digitalised production<br />

management system characterised by lean<br />

production and intelligent manufacturing.<br />

And more importantly, the FMS is unlike<br />

any “off-the-shelf” standardised software,<br />

according to HOMAG. The key to the<br />

success of the FMS lies in the ability of the<br />

project team, to continuously improve and<br />

upgrade the system to better fit furniture<br />

manufacturers’ business needs. HOMAG has<br />

integrated FMS to solve the manufacturing<br />

problems of furniture manufacturers<br />

to achieve breakthroughs amid keen<br />

competition.<br />

Furthermore, with the continuous product<br />

development of recent years in HOMAG,<br />

the company is now reportedly able to<br />

offer more affordable solutions not just for<br />

cutting, edgebanding and drilling, but also for<br />

automation and software — for example, the<br />

combination of automatic storage systems<br />

with robot panel saw, edgebanding tandem<br />

line with automatic loop interlinked with highspeed<br />

four- and six-sided drilling machines,<br />

decoupling buffers, sorting robots for a range<br />

of products, as well as connected assembly<br />

and packing lines. P<br />

JANUARY / FEBRUARY <strong>2024</strong> | PANELS & FURNITURE ASIA 43


Nesting processing centres:<br />

Ideal sizing mode for batchsize-one<br />

production<br />

Nanxing Machinery’s<br />

NCG3021L production line<br />

During the sizing process of panel furniture<br />

production, panel dividing saws CNC nesting<br />

machines are the main equipment. The<br />

computer panel saw, popular relatively earlier<br />

in the industry than processing centres,<br />

can stack and cut multiple large panels at<br />

once, making it more efficient and accurate<br />

compared to traditional sliding table saws<br />

and reciprocating saws. However, the panel<br />

dividing saw tends to be more suitable for<br />

the mass production of finished furniture;<br />

its processing accuracy and flexibility<br />

cannot meet the requirements of high-end<br />

customised furniture.<br />

In contrast, nesting processing centres,<br />

driven by a digital control system and<br />

equipped with optimisation software, are<br />

more intelligent and flexible. These centres<br />

excel in accuracy, standardisation, and<br />

material utilisation. From several standpoints,<br />

they are ideal for cutting in batch-size-one<br />

and customised production:<br />


Take Nanxing Machinery’s production line<br />

NCG3021L as an example: It features 21<br />

vertical drilling heads, a 12kW automatic<br />

tool-changing spindle, and a 12-tool automatic<br />

tool-changing magazine. The entire stack of<br />

raw material boards is placed on the material<br />

lifting table, and the line can automatically<br />

complete labelling, feeding, vertical drilling,<br />

top slotting, milling, carving, hollowing, and<br />

cutting of rectangular and irregular boards in<br />

one go. It then automatically unloads, saving<br />

other processes. The 12-tool automatic<br />

tool-changing magazine allows the spindle<br />

to automatically change tools according to<br />

processing needs, providing greater flexibility<br />

in customised furniture production while also<br />

reducing a few of the subsequent processes.<br />

In comparison, a computer panel saw can<br />

only be used to cut rectangular boards, and<br />

each board needs to be manually rotated and<br />

positioned for cutting. Its advantages are<br />

better utilised in mass production mode.<br />


The term ‘flexible production’ is frequently<br />

mentioned in the whole-house customised<br />

furniture industry because customised<br />

furniture involves personalised products —<br />

orders with batch-size-one. Without flexible<br />

production, there will be material waste,<br />

time-consuming difficulties, and increased<br />

costs. Flexible production involves merging<br />

multiple personalised orders through the<br />

furniture design software, optimising them,<br />

and processing them with flexible equipment,<br />

thus saving time and materials.<br />

Nanxing reports that their nesting processing<br />

centre has high flexibility. Its high-speed<br />

spindle allows flexible cutting of single large<br />

boards without restrictions. The in-built<br />

optimisation software uses algorithms to<br />

automatically optimise the best layout for<br />

processing orders received from the furniture<br />

design software, achieving the highest material<br />

utilisation rate of up to 92%. In contrast,<br />

panel dividing saws, although equipped with<br />

optimisation software, generally achieve<br />

utilisation rates of only around 85-88% and are<br />

not suitable for flexible production modes. The<br />

intelligent control system and optimisation<br />

software of processing centres thus make<br />

them more suitable for smart workstations or<br />

Industry 4.0 smart production lines.<br />


In terms of structure, although computer<br />

panel saws rely on servo positioning — which<br />

allows a general precision and accuracy of<br />

0.02mm — the actual cutting involves the<br />

continuous movement of the panels, and many<br />

mechanisms, including pressure beams, saw<br />

carriages and machine vibrations contribute to<br />

mechanical errors. Even well-made computer<br />

panel saws have processing accuracy errors of<br />

0.2mm or more.<br />

In contrast, the CNC nesting machine uses<br />

vacuum pumps to fix the board securely to the<br />

44 PANELS & FURNITURE ASIA | JANUARY / FEBRUARY <strong>2024</strong>


working table, ensuring it does not move<br />

until the processing is complete. Each axis is<br />

servo-driven, and the digital control system<br />

sends signals as command information for<br />

automatic processing. The entire digital<br />

control system, with digitalised operations<br />

such as spindle start-stop, spindle speed<br />

change, tool advance and retreat, and<br />

relative displacement between tools and<br />

workpieces, improves the stability of the<br />

entire processing process, thereby improving<br />

positioning and processing accuracies.<br />

Errors can be controlled within 0.1mm, and<br />

if the cutting is done in two passes, the<br />

accuracy can be controlled to about 0.05mm.<br />

1<br />


Standardisation is an important element<br />

in the production of high-end customised<br />

furniture. Common panel materials like<br />

particleboard, plywood, and medium densityfibreboard<br />

(MDF) are all produced by gluing<br />

and hot pressing, and there will be internal<br />

stress inside the boards. When cutting with a<br />

computer panel saw, the edges of the boards<br />

will have banana bending due to internal<br />

stress, resulting in non-standard shapes.<br />

Some manufacturers with high-quality<br />

requirements may use a double-end milling<br />

or double-sided edgebander to square the<br />

boards.<br />

2<br />

However, when using a nesting processing<br />

centre for cutting, the tool cuts around<br />

the boards instead of a simple one-cut<br />

separation. Through two rounds of<br />

processing, the first rough cut leaves 5mm<br />

without cutting through, releasing the<br />

internal stress of the board and preventing<br />

small boards from moving. The second round<br />

then finely trims and cuts through the board.<br />

With proper equipment and this process, it<br />

ensures higher precision and squaring of the<br />

boards. Nanxing has tested its NCG3021L<br />

production line by cutting nine pieces of<br />

boards of the same size from a large board,<br />

and the standardisation of the boards was<br />

high, with errors within 0.2mm.<br />

In summary, the nesting processing centre<br />

provides another mode for sizing for the<br />

batch-size-one production of customised<br />

furniture. Its optimal flexibility, board<br />

accuracy, and standardisation make it a<br />

better choice than panel dividing saws for<br />

sizing high-end customised furniture. P<br />

3<br />

4<br />

LEGEND<br />

1 The NCG3021L<br />

features 21 vertical<br />

drilling heads<br />

2 The 12-tool automatic<br />

tool-changing<br />

magazine allows<br />

the spindle to<br />

automatically change<br />

tools according<br />

to processing<br />

needs, providing<br />

greater flexibility in<br />

customised furniture<br />

production<br />

3 Sizing mode of the<br />

boards is high with<br />

Nanxing’s NCG3021L,<br />

with errors within<br />

0.2mm<br />

4 Nanxing’s optimisation<br />

software uses<br />

algorithms to<br />

automatically<br />

optimise the best<br />

layout for processing<br />

orders<br />

JANUARY / FEBRUARY <strong>2024</strong> | PANELS & FURNITURE ASIA 45


Second, they aim to provide a<br />

complete after-sales service<br />

network. Peng backed up this claim<br />

during MWE 2023. For any furniture<br />

manufacturer that patronised<br />

their booth, especially Malaysian<br />

manufacturers, Tonsing has a<br />

proposition for them: After they<br />

ordered a machine from Tonsing,<br />

the equipment would be shipped<br />

back to China through Tonsing’s<br />

dealer. The technicians at Tonsing<br />

will subsequently scan the drawings<br />

and complete the base film and<br />

other work for customers in China,<br />

and then ship the required parts and<br />

materials to the Malaysian customer’s<br />

location.<br />

Tonsing at Malaysian Wood Expo (MWE) 2023, displaying their four-axis double-station machining centre<br />

Complete<br />

after-sales service<br />

with Tonsing<br />

Tonsing Machinery Manufacturing, a China-based<br />

manufacturer of woodworking equipment,<br />

aims to provide excellent after-sales<br />

service on top of advanced machinery.<br />

Over 20 years ago, Tonsing started<br />

as a manufacturer of hot and cold<br />

presses and waveguide machines.<br />

As market demands evolved, they<br />

shifted their focus to secondary wood<br />

processing equipment, such as three-,<br />

four- and five-axis CNC machining<br />

centres. Currently, 70-80% of their<br />

sales are made in China, while the<br />

rest are exported to South East <strong>Asia</strong>,<br />

including Malaysia, Vietnam, Indonesia,<br />

and Thailand, as well as Kazakhstan,<br />

Russia, South America and other<br />

places in Europe.<br />

Tonsing seeks to distinguish itself<br />

in two ways. First, by prioritising<br />

R&D with a workshop dedicated to<br />

“exploring advanced wood processing<br />

technologies”, according to Peng Jian,<br />

the sales representative of Tonsing.<br />

For instance, during Malaysian Wood<br />

Expo (2023) they showcased their<br />

four-axis double-station machining<br />

centre. They want to offer customers<br />

machines armed with multiple<br />

functions and integrated solutions,<br />

instead of machines with only one<br />

capability.<br />

Going the extra mile can help their<br />

customers amid tough economic<br />

times, said Peng. Current market<br />

conditions are not optimistic. Rising<br />

raw material and rising manpower<br />

costs, combined with the lack<br />

of orders, have contributed to<br />

fiercer competition in the furniture<br />

manufacturing scene lately.<br />

As a result, manufacturers are<br />

reluctant to buy and upgrade to new<br />

equipment. Even during exhibitions<br />

like MWE 2023 where visitors can see<br />

and touch machinery, and examine<br />

the quality themselves, they are not<br />

easily convinced to buy.<br />

“Our service therefore tries to<br />

eliminate the customer’s worries,”<br />

Peng said. “They only need to carry<br />

out normal worker training and daily<br />

operations without worrying about<br />

complex technical issues.”<br />

It is not only during MWE 2023 that<br />

Tonsing focuses on their after-sales<br />

service. In general, Peng said, they<br />

provide integrated solutions for<br />

the overall process and production<br />

solutions, “different from the<br />

approach of some small companies<br />

that only focus on equipment<br />

sales and ignore the upstream and<br />

downstream production processes”.<br />

As a result, “95%” of their customers<br />

are reportedly satisfied, as stated on<br />

their website. P<br />

46 PANELS & FURNITURE ASIA | JANUARY / FEBRUARY <strong>2024</strong>


“Automation<br />

must be accepted,<br />

and whoever<br />

accepts it first<br />

will succeed”<br />

Panel Master Engineering, the Malaysian dealer<br />

for China-based woodworking machinery<br />

manufacturer KDT, believes that automation is<br />

the future of the woodworking industry.<br />

With the increase in manpower and raw<br />

material costs recently, many have said that<br />

digitalisation and automation are key to<br />

mitigating these challenges.<br />

This is true of Western countries, but here<br />

in <strong>Asia</strong> and South East <strong>Asia</strong>, the relevance of<br />

Industry 4.0 solutions is slow to take hold of<br />

furniture manufacturers.<br />

“Malaysian factories do not like to use<br />

automated solutions,” said Gavin Chan, a<br />

representative of Panel Master Engineering.<br />

“But the market trend favours automation. If<br />

you resist this change, are you willing to be<br />

eliminated from the competition?”<br />

Having been in the woodworking industry for 12<br />

years, Panel Master Engineering is the Malaysian<br />

dealer for KDT, a China-based developer<br />

specialised in producing computerised<br />

numerical control (CNC) machining centres<br />

and automated lines for furniture production,<br />

including edgebanding lines, panel saw<br />

machinery, drilling centres and more.<br />

According to Chan, KDT’s automated<br />

machines can increase production output<br />

while reducing manpower. Their machines<br />

are reportedly stable and do not require<br />

frequent maintenance as well. One machine<br />

they featured during Malaysian Wood Expo<br />

(MWE) 2023 was the CNC panel saw KS-832C,<br />

for the large-scale processing of chipboards or<br />

fibreboards and production of panel furniture.<br />

“After the customer purchases our machine,<br />

we transport the machine and install it in the<br />

customer’s factory. If there are any problems<br />

with it, we will help them solve it immediately,<br />

but we also provide after-sales services. We<br />

just opened another branch to be closer to our<br />

customers.”<br />

Although the Malaysian furniture export market<br />

has dipped over the last few months, the<br />

domestic market is still doing relatively fine,<br />

said Chan. Not all of Panel Master Engineering’s<br />

customers export their furniture goods, so those<br />

that make domestic sales can still upgrade their<br />

equipment to KDT’s machinery. “Some of our<br />

customers still purchase more equipment to<br />

reduce their manpower, since many factories<br />

want to reduce their manpower costs.”<br />

Traditional methods of manufacturing can<br />

cope with small orders, but for manufacturers<br />

to survive tough competition, and to keep<br />

up with the quality, output and productivity<br />

that automated solutions provide at half the<br />

manpower, Malaysian manufacturers should<br />

consider upgrading to Industry 4.0 solutions.<br />

“The equipment we sell follows the progress<br />

of the times and needs to be equipped with<br />

artificial intelligence (AI) and software,”<br />

concluded Chan. “So, automation must be<br />

accepted, and whoever accepts it first will<br />

succeed.” P<br />

LEGEND<br />

1 Gavin Chan (left) together with the rest of his Panel<br />

Master Engineering team at MWE 2023<br />

2 MWE 2023 visitors interested in the CNC panel saw<br />

KS-832C<br />

1 2<br />

JANUARY / FEBRUARY <strong>2024</strong> | PANELS & FURNITURE ASIA 47


An introduction to<br />

how cross-laminated<br />

timber is produced<br />

After sorting, these boards enter the production<br />

line and get vacuum de-stacked according to<br />

two different types of timber quality. Boards are<br />

then transported on cross chains into the infeed<br />

system of the finger jointing machine to be<br />

precision-cut and joined into lamellas for both<br />

crosswise and lengthwise layers. For example,<br />

in Element5’s line, the KONTIZINK L-S120 finger<br />

jointing line can process the boards with a<br />

capacity of up to 80 boards per minute, or 120m<br />

per minute. The processed boards are conveyed<br />

into the infeed system of the SUPERPLAN 4V-<br />

S350 planer for laminations for high speed and<br />

perfect finish.<br />


Cross-laminated timber (CLT) is an engineered<br />

wood product made by stacking layers of<br />

kiln-dried wooden lamellas. It serves as a<br />

fundamental building component, particularly<br />

ideal for constructing tall wooden buildings.<br />

Its prefabricated segments, including walls,<br />

roofs, floors, and ceilings, enable swift and<br />

precise and clean on-site installation.<br />

CLT finds versatile application across various<br />

building types, ranging from residential<br />

to office towers, making it especially<br />

appealing for the construction of educational<br />

institutions and community buildings. The<br />

utilisation of CLT and other mass timber<br />

elements like glue-laminated timber (glulam)<br />

contributes to the reduction of the carbon<br />

footprint associated with construction<br />

projects, as wood absorbs CO2 during its<br />

growth, aiding in the reduction of greenhouse<br />

gas emissions.<br />


Typically, CLT panels come in three, five,<br />

seven or nine layers. These layers are<br />

arranged perpendicular to each other and<br />

glued together to form sturdy structural<br />

panels. The perpendicular alignment<br />

ensures exceptional structural stability<br />

in both horizontal and vertical directions,<br />

making CLT panels reliable for construction<br />

projects.<br />

How CLT panels are formed will be illustrated<br />

with a turnkey CLT line case study by<br />

Ledinek, a company specialised in delivering<br />

mass engineered timber production lines.<br />

Ledinek equipped woodworking company<br />

Element5 located in Ontario, Canada with<br />

a turnkey CLT processing line back in<br />

2021, now reaching production capacity of<br />

45,000m 3 per year and producing CLT panel<br />

sizes of up to 16 x 3.5 x 0.36m.<br />

The process of creating CLT starts with<br />

kiln-dried boards. These boards are<br />

pre-planed, machine scanned for defects<br />

and structural integrity and sorted based<br />

on their structural and if needed visual<br />

qualities.<br />

1<br />

These boards are then stacked in a multi-tray<br />

curing storage. The next step involves gluing<br />

these boards into single layer panels with the<br />

hotmelt edge gluing Z-PRESS. Longitudinal<br />

panels are placed into the multi-tray storage<br />

for longitudinal laminations. Some longitudinal<br />

panels are cross cut into the cross panels,<br />

stacked into packages and placed into the<br />

buffer storage for single layer cross panels.<br />

The following step involves arranging these<br />

layers alternately on top of one another. There<br />

is a vacuum assembly unit for longitudinal<br />

single layer panels, as well as one for the cross<br />

single layer panels. A computerised numerical<br />

control (CNC) glue application unit applies glue<br />

on these layers in between destacking of each<br />

layer. Afterwards the CLT cake is driven into the<br />

Ledinek’s X-PRESS 16 and is pressed together<br />

with at least 0.8N/mm² of pressure.<br />

Additional feature of the Element5 line is<br />

section for production of up to 16m-long glulam<br />

beams, including a glulam press and a Ledinek<br />

beam planer EUROPLAN 600 4V for cross<br />

sections of up to 600 x 300mm, and a CNC<br />

joinery machine.<br />


CLT production varies based on the production<br />

48 PANELS & FURNITURE ASIA | JANUARY / FEBRUARY <strong>2024</strong>


capacity and the maximum panel<br />

size. Regardless of the scale, two key<br />

components are essential: the CLT press<br />

and the finger jointing line. Additional<br />

specific equipment needed depends on the<br />

production capacity. For industrial-level<br />

production beginning at 5,000m 3 yearly<br />

production, additional equipment includes<br />

planers, cross-cut saws, mechanization<br />

systems, and board and panel handling<br />

systems. Moreover, a sander and a CNC<br />

machining centre designed for large<br />

format panels are necessary for a complete<br />

manufacturing process.<br />

and then finger joint whole CLT panels into<br />

the appropriate lengths with a unique finger<br />

jointing block press. This allows various<br />

possibilities and reduces the entry price as<br />

there is no need to finger joint lamellas, and<br />

the cold CLT press is only 6m long.<br />

According to Ledinek, new entrants can<br />

start with limited means and later modularly<br />

upgrade it to more automatic functions, and<br />

thus raise the capacity of the line. With fully<br />

equipped line they can achieve production<br />

volume of up to 100m 3 per shift. P<br />

For smaller workshops, Ledinek supplies<br />

production equipment for narrow CLT<br />

panels. The company has an automated<br />

production line that aims at smaller and<br />

medium-sized companies interested to<br />

enter the CLT market. The main advantage<br />

of the line is the possibility to press panels of<br />

the same length as boards in the packages<br />

2<br />

LEGEND<br />

1 KONTIZINK L-S120<br />

finger jointing line<br />

2 Ledinek’s X-PRESS<br />

3 A diagram of how<br />

CLT is made<br />

3<br />

JANUARY / FEBRUARY <strong>2024</strong> | PANELS & FURNITURE ASIA 49


AI at Unilin:<br />

Assess what there is and<br />

make improvements<br />

The key question for Unilin on whether to<br />

implement artificial intelligence (AI) in their<br />

processes is this: When does AI provide<br />

them with added value?<br />

that cannot be told apart from genuine wood.<br />

This requires a great level of detail, resulting<br />

in increasingly intricate production processes<br />

based on thousands of settings. The more<br />

complex the product, the more sources of<br />

variation arise, leading to greater risks of<br />

machine downtime and production loss.<br />

The processes are becoming too complicated<br />

for Unilin’s operators, which is why several<br />

departments at Unilin have been asking<br />

themselves how AI can support their operators<br />

and engineers. de Smet elaborated: “The<br />

days when the same product came off the<br />

production line for hours on end are long gone.<br />

We train our AI models with data to teach them<br />

how to handle variation in designs and colours.<br />

The more data, the greater the accuracy of your<br />

AI model. Today we also have the necessary<br />

infrastructure to store such data volumes and<br />

that was not the case 10 years ago.”<br />

One of Unilin’s Capture colours, Patina oak grey, for laminate flooring<br />

A global AI hype has taken the world by<br />

storm recently. Unilin was in no hurry to<br />

climb the bandwagon because they have<br />

been investigating the potential benefits of<br />

AI for all their processes for several years<br />

now. Meanwhile, some AI models have been<br />

integrated into their production process while<br />

others are currently being trained and tested.<br />

Still, others were found to be too unreliable<br />

after a test phase.<br />

But what is AI really? Tom de Smet, product<br />

owner within the Digital Operations team of<br />

Unilin Flooring, described it as follows: “AI is<br />

the capacity of a machine to imitate human<br />

behaviour. You could see AI as a child that<br />

learns by example but, contrary to a child, AI<br />

forgets nothing. Constant training makes it<br />

increasingly intelligent.”<br />

Unilin has been looking into AI for some time<br />

now, in line with their purpose: The company<br />

believes that AI can help them raise the bar and<br />

produce better products that will enrich the<br />

lives of their customers.<br />


Product concepts and designs are becoming<br />

ever more complex. For instance, Unilin<br />

aspires to manufacture floors and boards<br />


In 2019, the first AI stone was laid when Unilin<br />

Flooring went in search of the right external<br />

partner to help them implement AI in their<br />

production processes. This led to the launch of<br />

the first case in early 2020 and some of those<br />

initial projects have meanwhile been integrated<br />

into production. This makes Unilin a “pioneer” in<br />

the industry, as the company claimed.<br />

The approach implemented by Unilin Flooring<br />

is an example of how Unilin handles the<br />

development of an AI model, said Stijn Lioen,<br />

Domain Architect Data & Analytics at Unilin.<br />

“We started from an existing AI model by<br />

Google to detect errors but that model was<br />

not good enough at handling variations, so we<br />

adapted it. That is typical Unilin. We take what<br />

exists on the market and we make it better.<br />

This way we stay ahead of the competition and<br />

are able to develop better and more innovative<br />

products.”<br />

50 PANELS & FURNITURE ASIA | JANUARY / FEBRUARY <strong>2024</strong>



Both de Smet and Lioen are convinced that<br />

the possibilities of using AI are limitless.<br />

“I do not think there are any limits,” Lioen<br />

said. “For instance, with AI we can make<br />

decors from wood that does not exist. The<br />

trials are ongoing but right now they are<br />

still in the early stages.”<br />

de Smet agreed: “We can take these<br />

designs really far, but at the same time<br />

we verify whether the new product<br />

would fit our vision of ‘enduring beauty’<br />

and ‘true to nature’.” He sees plenty of<br />

potential to interlink the data of the various<br />

departments. “At the moment we are<br />

capturing a lot of data we are not using<br />

yet. For example, interlinking process<br />

parameters across and within the divisions<br />

would greatly accelerate things.”<br />


A major concern with AI is the potential<br />

loss of jobs. de Smet clarified: “I think it<br />

would be more accurate to say that AI will<br />

change the job content. Our industry faces<br />

huge shortages in terms of technically<br />

skilled personnel. We always have vacant<br />

positions. AI could take over tasks from<br />

roles for which it is already difficult to find<br />

new staff. AI can help us bridge the gap<br />

between the more complex production<br />

processes and less skilled personnel.”<br />

achieve this, they use cameras that perfectly<br />

position the wood texture and wood pattern<br />

in relation to each other. In conjunction with<br />

an external partner, they also introduced AI<br />

into this process.<br />

The AI model is based on deep learning and<br />

had to meet strict requirements. de Smet<br />

said: “In 99% of cases, our classic computer<br />

vision gives us a good result, but that final<br />

percent eludes us. This results in downtime<br />

and outages. So, the AI has to produce better<br />

results or the operator will not see the added<br />

value of working with it. That is why we<br />

strive for 99.9% or even 100%, results that<br />

would be outright impossible with any other<br />

technology. In addition, it has to learn to deal<br />

with different sources of variation, and it<br />

must be pixel-perfect and applicable on all<br />

machines.”<br />

The next step consists of expanding the<br />

solution to other production lines and new<br />

problems. From 1 million predictions per<br />

month, Unilin has now set their sights on<br />

more than 3 million predictions per month by<br />

the end of 2023.<br />

Argus: Several models have meanwhile<br />

demonstrated their added value and this leads<br />

to greater acceptance on the production floor.<br />

Lioen elaborated: “Argus is a quality detection<br />

system on the line that manufactures the<br />

Quick-Step Capture collection of Unilin<br />

Flooring. The deep learning AI model behind<br />

the system is also able to not detect the<br />

intentional imperfections in the design<br />

— which also occurs in real wood — as an<br />

error, which helps the operators to check<br />

every single board on the line. Before the<br />

introduction, spot checks were carried out<br />

every 20 boards, which led to more production<br />

loss. Now, Argus traces the smallest defect.<br />

Since March 2023, Argus has been deployed<br />

on all of our Capture colours and in that short<br />

period the operators have already indicated<br />

that Argus has become indispensable.” P<br />

This article was first published by Unilin, and is reproduced here<br />

with permission.<br />

One thing is for certain for Unilin: The<br />

role of AI will continue to grow, precisely<br />

because Unilin, as well as the rest of the<br />

world, are starting to embrace it: “That is<br />

one of the strengths of Unilin’s pragmatic<br />

entrepreneurship: investing in knowledge<br />

to see through the hype. We are not only<br />

given the time to thoroughly immerse<br />

ourselves in the subject matter but also<br />

the freedom to make mistakes so we can<br />

experience what does not work yet. If<br />

we are convinced a specific avenue can<br />

produce results then we continue to invest<br />

in it. Not every company would devote so<br />

much time and resources to this, but if you<br />

are going to move forward and innovate,<br />

they are absolutely essential.”<br />


UNILIN<br />

AI Finders: Unilin strives to create laminate<br />

that looks and feels like actual wood. To<br />

JANUARY / FEBRUARY <strong>2024</strong> | PANELS & FURNITURE ASIA 51


1<br />

2<br />

Monteco<br />

Designed by Archi2000, Monteco<br />

is what is said to be the “tallest<br />

timber-structured office building<br />

in Brussels”, the capital of Belgium.<br />

This building excels in terms of<br />

sustainability, constructed from<br />

wood certified by the Programme<br />

for the Endorsement of Forest<br />

Certification (PEFC).<br />

Since the end of 2022, the Monteco<br />

has been in the news in Brussels’<br />

European quarter. The new offices<br />

of private bank Nagelmackers<br />

have moved into the brand new<br />

Monteco in the heart of Brussels.<br />

A contraction of ‘Montoyer’<br />

and ‘ecological’, the name of<br />

Monteco refers to its location and<br />

sustainability. The 3,674m² building<br />

has eight floors above ground. The<br />

top two floors are set back slightly,<br />

giving way to a panoramic terrace<br />

with a view of the capital.<br />



The special feature of this building is<br />

its timber-frame design. Except for<br />

the prefabricated concrete core, the<br />

columns, beams, slabs and walls are<br />

made of visible wood. “A great deal of<br />

added value, both aesthetically and<br />

ecologically,” said Philippe Courtois,<br />

wood specialist at Wood Shapers,<br />

the company forming a cooperative<br />

with construction company BPC as<br />

general contractor on this project.<br />

Nextensa is the property investor<br />

and developer of Monteco.<br />

Architects: Archi2000<br />

Contractor: Wood Shapers, in<br />

cooperation with BPC<br />

Property investor: Nextensa<br />

Images: Eric Bouvier<br />

Text: PEFC<br />



“At Wood Shapers, we invest in new<br />

construction methods. We focus<br />

on change and offer solutions for<br />

greater sustainability in the sector,”<br />

explained Courtois. The building<br />

is mainly made of solid wood. “We<br />

combined two timber technologies,<br />

cross-laminated timber (CLT) and<br />

the beam and column system,” he<br />

explained further. In total, some<br />

960m³ of timber were used. “The<br />

heart of the building is made of<br />

prefabricated concrete. The right<br />

materials and the right techniques in<br />

the right place.”<br />


The use of CLT and the beam and<br />

column structure meant that the<br />

52 PANELS & FURNITURE ASIA | JANUARY / FEBRUARY <strong>2024</strong>


3<br />

5<br />

4<br />

Legend<br />

1 Monteco<br />

2 The rest of the building is made with prefabricated concrete<br />

3 The columns, beams, slabs and walls are made of visible wood<br />

4 The use of CLT and the beam and column structure meant that the<br />

building was completed in nine months<br />

5 Wood Sharpers combined two timber technologies, cross-laminated<br />

timber (CLT) and the beam and column system<br />

building could be completed in<br />

record time, in reportedly nine<br />

months. This rapid construction<br />

technique also had a low impact<br />

on the environment. The use of dry<br />

materials reduced dust, noise and<br />

transport.<br />


DNA<br />

The structure is made entirely<br />

of PEFC-certified European<br />

timber, sourced from within a<br />

500km radius of the site. This<br />

further reduces the transport of<br />

this natural raw material, which<br />

itself weighs less than other raw<br />

materials. All the wood products<br />

used in Wood Shapers’ structures<br />

have a sustainable management<br />

certificate and comply with<br />

the rules of the PEFC’s chain of<br />

custody.<br />

“This is not only important to<br />

us, but it is also a requirement<br />

that we set for our suppliers.<br />

Wood inspection is necessary.<br />

We ourselves have a chainof-custody<br />

certificate issued<br />

by PEFC, so we also undergo<br />

audits. PEFC certification has<br />

been part of our DNA for over<br />

10 years. Monteco has obtained<br />

BREAAM certification, awarded<br />

to sustainable buildings with<br />

minimal environmental impact.<br />

BREAAM also requires certified<br />

wood, which seems perfectly<br />

normal to us,” said Courtois.<br />


“This office space also focuses on<br />

employee health. The wood gives the<br />

rooms a peaceful atmosphere, and<br />

the floor-to-ceiling windows create<br />

a feeling of space and light. Offering<br />

this added value to employees is<br />

increasingly in demand. We hope that<br />

many other companies will follow this<br />

example,” elaborated Courtois.<br />


By carrying out this project in terms<br />

of sustainability, Wood Shapers<br />

wants to make a mark. “On the<br />

private market, timber construction<br />

is becoming increasingly popular. We<br />

also want to change attitudes in the<br />

business world,” concluded the wood<br />

specialist. P<br />

JANUARY / FEBRUARY <strong>2024</strong> | PANELS & FURNITURE ASIA 53


‘Driving Nature<br />

Positive Impact’<br />

In the quest for a sustainable<br />

future, IOI Corporation (IOIC)<br />

has adopted the theme ‘Driving<br />

Nature Positive Impact’ in its<br />

2023 Sustainability Report. The<br />

company has pledged to achieve<br />

net-zero carbon emissions by<br />

2040. This commitment extends<br />

beyond mere decarbonisation of its<br />

current activities; IOIC is seeking<br />

technologies and innovations to<br />

design future-proof operations that<br />

can minimise their carbon footprint.<br />

To achieve this goal, the company<br />

has doubled down on its efforts<br />

to promote the 7R’s sustainability<br />

framework: Rethink, Repurpose,<br />

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Repair,<br />

and Recover.<br />

In particular, IOI Palm Wood (IOI<br />

Palm Wood), a subsidiary of IOIC,<br />

aims to apply three out of the 7R’s<br />

principles: Repurpose, Rethink,<br />

Reduce.<br />




IOI Palm Wood was established<br />

to transform oil palm trunk<br />

(OPT) waste, which is sourced<br />

from local oil palm estates<br />

during their regular replanting<br />

schedules, into environmentally<br />

friendly palm wood panels.<br />

This approach not only locks<br />

the release of greenhouse gas<br />

(GHG) emissions into the panels<br />

but also offers a sustainable<br />

alternative to traditional timber.<br />

By reducing pressure on natural<br />

forest harvesting, IOI Palm Wood<br />

contributes to the preservation of<br />

habitats and ecosystems.<br />

The palm-based engineered wood<br />

products, commercially branded as<br />

OnCore encompass premium grade<br />

lumber core, blockboards, and palm<br />

wood panels. All OnCore products<br />

adhere to international quality<br />

and safety standards, ensuring<br />

their durability and longevity. This<br />

longevity extends their role for GHG<br />

storage as they continue to lock in<br />

carbon emissions even after their<br />

initial use. Moreover, at the end of<br />

54 PANELS & FURNITURE ASIA | JANUARY / FEBRUARY <strong>2024</strong>


1 2<br />

3<br />

4<br />

5<br />

LEGEND<br />

1 OnCore Lumber Core<br />

2 OnCore Cross<br />

Laminated Timber<br />

(CLT)<br />

3 OnCore Glue<br />

Laminated Beam<br />

(Glulam)<br />

4 OnCore Three-Layer<br />

Panel<br />

5 OnCore Blockboard<br />

with Laminate<br />

their lifecycle, OnCore products can be<br />

upcycled or used as bioenergy sources.<br />

This circular approach not only enhances<br />

the product’s sustainability but also<br />

boosts the commercial potential of the<br />

entire venture.<br />

among governments but also within the<br />

corporate sector. As the world grapples<br />

with the pressing threat of climate<br />

change, the adoption of net-zero targets<br />

has emerged as a pivotal strategy for<br />

mitigating its adverse effects. P<br />


Rethinking waste management in<br />

the context of transforming OPT into<br />

engineered wood products by using OPT<br />

offcuts as biofuel for energy plants is an<br />

environmentally responsible approach.<br />

This process aims to reduce the release<br />

of GHG emissions, ultimately contributing<br />

to the organisation’s commitment to<br />

achieving net-zero carbon emissions by<br />

2040 and promoting sustainability.<br />



Traditionally, felled OPTs are left to<br />

decompose. In doing so this emits<br />

methane, a potent GHG that contributes<br />

to global warming. By transforming OPT<br />

into engineered wood products and using<br />

it as biofuel, the release of these GHGs is<br />

minimised. This action aligns with global<br />

efforts to reduce methane emissions.<br />

In conclusion, meeting the climate<br />

change challenge is a global responsibility<br />

that has garnered widespread<br />

recognition and acceptance, not only<br />

Inspiring the next “material revolution”<br />

by creating sustainable and highperformance<br />

materials from oil palm<br />

waste, Peter Fitch, together with IOI, have<br />

set up IOI Palm Wood to commercialise<br />

this untapped potential.<br />

JANUARY / FEBRUARY <strong>2024</strong> | PANELS & FURNITURE ASIA 55


CIFF Guangzhou <strong>2024</strong>:<br />

New layout for upgraded fair<br />

Positioned as ‘Design Trend, Global<br />

Trade and Full Supply Chain’, the<br />

China International <strong>Furniture</strong> Fair<br />

(CIFF) Guangzhou is held annually<br />

from 18-21 and 28-31 Mar in Pazhou,<br />

Guangzhou, China.<br />

With an exhibition area of<br />

830,00m 2 , CIFF Guangzhou <strong>2024</strong><br />

will host over 4,000 brands from<br />

China and abroad, comprising<br />

home furniture, home decor<br />

and home textiles, outdoor and<br />

leisure furniture, office furniture,<br />

commercial furniture, and<br />

furniture producing machinery<br />

and raw materials. The exhibition<br />

typically draws more than 380,000<br />

professional visitors from more<br />

than 200 countries and regions.<br />

Dedicated to industry development<br />

and global trade, CIFF Guangzhou<br />

<strong>2024</strong> aims deliver a dynamic<br />

celebration of extended space,<br />

optimised layout and upgraded<br />

show experience, presenting<br />

a testament to a new theme:<br />

‘Designing the Beauty of Homes,<br />

Embracing the New Paradigm’.<br />


The CIFM/interzum guangzhou,<br />

scheduled from 28-31 Mar <strong>2024</strong> in<br />

conjunction with CIFF Guangzhou,<br />

will take place in Halls B and C<br />

of the Canton Fair Complex,<br />

targeting specifically the furniture<br />

manufacturing industry. With<br />

the theme ‘Linking the Industry<br />

Upstream and Downstream to<br />

Achieve New Developments’, this<br />

exhibition is dedicated to creating<br />

a comprehensive platform around<br />

production equipment, hardware<br />

and furniture materials. Efforts<br />

are underway to establish it as the<br />

foremost global event in furniture<br />

manufacturing.<br />

56 PANELS & FURNITURE ASIA | JANUARY / FEBRUARY <strong>2024</strong>


MACHINERY - Located at Halls 9.1-13.1 in Area B<br />

This zone brings together global smart furniture production<br />

technologies, showcasing digital transformation and intelligent<br />

solutions.<br />

Themed ‘Intelligent Living’, it creates a platform for smart<br />

manufacturing, exploring the new trends in intelligent production<br />

and craftsmanship.<br />

<strong>Furniture</strong> production machinery at CIFM/interzum guangzhou<br />

HARDWARE - Hall 9.3-11.3 and 12.2-13.2 of Area B<br />

Located in Hall 9.3-11.3 and 12.2-13.2 of Area B, the Infinite Space<br />

pavilion brings together international brands of furniture hardware,<br />

aiming to shape supplier-trade relationships and foster<br />

business opportunities.<br />

<strong>Furniture</strong> hardware at CIFM/interzum guangzhou<br />

FURNITURE MATERIALS - Expanding into the entire Area C<br />

The organisers of CIFF Guangzhou have announced an expansion<br />

of their exhibition footprint, growing from floors 1-3 to floors 1-4<br />

in Area C. Expanding in Area C is the upgraded ‘Source of Design’<br />

pavilion at Hall 16.3, where home design aesthetics brands will be<br />

featured.<br />

This exhibition is presented as a hub for the entire spectrum of<br />

upholstered furniture and panel furniture materials, bringing together<br />

national and international brands. Under the theme of ‘Inspiration’,<br />

this space presents a curated platform for material selection,<br />

fostering creativity in the world of interior design. P<br />

Displays of raw materials in use at CIFM/interzum guangzhou<br />

JANUARY / FEBRUARY <strong>2024</strong> | PANELS & FURNITURE ASIA 57


Malaysia Wood<br />

Expo 2023:<br />

A success story<br />

The Malaysian Wood Expo (MWE) 2023<br />

concluded on a high note, leaving an indelible<br />

mark on the timber industry while sparking a<br />

wave of innovation and collaboration.<br />

foreign buyers were plywood, mediumdensity<br />

fibreboard (MDF), veneers, wooden<br />

doors, wooden floorings, and furniture<br />

products.<br />

Another highlight was MTC’s Inbound<br />

Overseas Suppliers Programme (IOSP)<br />

where 21 companies placed orders worth<br />

RM6.4m for raw materials under this<br />

programme, while MWE 2023 exhibitors<br />

recorded sales of RM28.3m. MTC also<br />

offered special incentives for the purchase<br />

of machinery which included material<br />

handling equipment and software<br />

technologies. A total of RM26.12m in sales<br />

was generated through this incentive,<br />

surpassing the figures achieved in 2019.<br />

Expressing his satisfaction with the expo’s<br />

success, Tuan Haji Zainal Abidin Haji<br />

Abdullah, chairman of MTC, said MWE has<br />

proven to be a lucrative platform for business<br />

networking and trade opportunities: “We<br />

could not be prouder of our achievements<br />

which have far surpassed our previous<br />

success. We made a promise that MWE 2023<br />

would offer greater opportunities for our<br />

visitors, buyers, and exhibitors. I believe we<br />

have delivered on that promise.”<br />

He added that the success of MWE 2023<br />

reflects how the timber industry is gaining<br />

momentum globally with stakeholders putting<br />

forward strong investment plans, which is<br />

also creating demand for Malaysian-made<br />

products.<br />

MTC CEO Noraihan Abdul Rahman (left) and managing director of Pablo Publishing and Exhibition William Pang (right)<br />

Jointly organised by the Malaysian Timber<br />

Council (MTC) and Pablo Publishing and<br />

Exhibition, MWE 2023, held from 18-20 Jun<br />

2023 at the Malaysia International Trade<br />

and Exhibition Centre (MITEC), surpassed<br />

expectations and did better on all counts,<br />

generating more sales than its debut back in<br />

2019.<br />

According to MTC’s estimations, MWE’s<br />

sales in 2023 reached RM182.5m, marking<br />

an increase compared to its 2019 sales of<br />

approximately RM140m.<br />

With over 3,000 visitors and 124 local and<br />

international exhibitors, MWE 2023’s sales<br />

achievement was largely driven by its<br />

Incoming Buying Mission (IBM), which was<br />

one of the major highlights of the exhibition<br />

where it garnered sales of RM147.8m.<br />

Conducted in collaboration with Malaysia’s<br />

trade promotion agency Malaysia External<br />

Trade Development Corporation (MATRADE),<br />

the IBM involved 88 buyers from 23 countries.<br />

A total of 773 business meetings took place<br />

during the event. According to a press release<br />

by MATRADE, the products sourced by these<br />

MWE 2023 was officiated by the Deputy<br />

Minister of Plantation and Commodities YB<br />

Datuk Hajah Siti Aminah Aching on behalf of<br />

the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of<br />

Plantation and Commodities YAB Dato’ Sri<br />

Haji Fadillah Haji Yusof. Also present at the<br />

opening ceremony were Secretary-General of<br />

the Ministry of Plantation and Commodities<br />

YBhg. Dato’ Haji Mad Zaidi Mohd Karli,<br />

ambassadors, trade commissioners, and<br />

other dignitaries.<br />

“I am delighted to see the robust comeback<br />

of MWE just a year after Malaysia re-opened<br />

its borders following the pandemic. Expos like<br />

MWE play a crucial role in bringing together<br />

global industry players to offer new solutions<br />

and concrete business opportunities for the<br />

advancement of the timber industry,” said<br />

58 PANELS & FURNITURE ASIA | JANUARY / FEBRUARY <strong>2024</strong>


YAB Dato’ Sri Haji Fadillah Haji Yusof<br />

in his speech, which was read by YB<br />

Datuk Hajah Siti Aminah Aching.<br />

MWE 2023 showcased raw materials<br />

and wood products such as wooden<br />

flooring, mouldings, doors, door<br />

frames and windows, panel products<br />

as well as woodworking machinery<br />

such as cutting tools, combined<br />

machines, dust collection equipment,<br />

edgebanding materials and machines,<br />

handling equipment, abrasives,<br />

adhesives, coatings, timber-related<br />

equipment, and furniture production<br />

software, among others.<br />

“Much of the machinery and material<br />

handling equipment were purchased<br />

from local as well as overseas<br />

exhibitors with brands originating<br />

from China, Germany, Denmark and<br />

Taiwan,” said MTC CEO Noraihan Abdul<br />

Rahman. She further highlighted that<br />

the software technologies acquired<br />

comprised enterprise resource<br />

planning (ERP), management work<br />

element (MWE), manufacturing<br />

operating management (MOM),<br />

Internet of Things (IoT) system<br />

integration and software for custommade<br />

furniture.<br />

Apart from the IBM and IOSP<br />

programmes, MTC also held 16 pocket<br />

talk sessions with key industry<br />

specialists as speakers. Sharing the<br />

platform for knowledge-sharing was<br />

1<br />

the International Tropical Timber<br />

Organisation-Global Green Supply<br />

Chains (ITTO-GGSC) which conducted<br />

a seminar titled “Global Timber<br />

Index (GTI) for the Malaysian Timber<br />

Industry”.<br />

A Media Familiarisation Programme<br />

was also conducted concurrently<br />

with the expo, providing participants<br />

with a first-hand experience of the<br />

Malaysian timber industry from its<br />

forest management practices to its<br />

manufacturing and trade aspects.<br />

During the opening ceremony, MTC<br />

also recognised three companies for<br />

their participation in the council’s<br />

Factory Transformation Programme<br />

(FTP). The three companies, one<br />

wood panel producer and two<br />

furniture manufacturers, had<br />

upgraded their factory operations<br />

under the programme, integrating<br />

smart manufacturing processes and<br />

achieving Industry 4.0 in production.<br />

MTC believes that MWE 2023’s<br />

success will undoubtedly contribute<br />

to the growth and development<br />

of the Malaysian timber sector,<br />

fostering economic opportunities and<br />

reinforcing Malaysia’s reputation as<br />

a leading player in the international<br />

timber market.<br />

The next edition of MWE will be held in<br />

2025, according to MTC. P<br />

LEGEND<br />

1 YB Datuk Hajah Siti Aminah Aching at one of the machinery exhibitor’s<br />

booths (Image: MTC)<br />

2 The IBM recorded sales of RM147.8m (Image: MTC)<br />

3 According to MTC, MWE 2023 exhibitors recorded sales of RM28.3m<br />

4 Over 3,000 visitors attended MWE 2023<br />

2<br />

3<br />

4<br />

JANUARY / FEBRUARY <strong>2024</strong> | PANELS & FURNITURE ASIA 59


Reviews for MWE 2023<br />

[MWE 2023] is as good as the 2019<br />

edition. The traffic and quality of<br />

visitors are good, and they meet<br />

our expectations. The first day was<br />

busy, and the second day slowed<br />

down a bit, but all these were within<br />

our expectations.<br />

John Chan<br />

Director of South East <strong>Asia</strong> and Greater China,<br />

American Hardwood Export Council (AHEC)<br />

“We had a very positive experience. Even though<br />

MWE 2023 took place over the weekend and<br />

Sunday was Father’s Day, it was actually the<br />

busiest day so far. We have connected with<br />

existing and new customers. The visitor quality<br />

is good as well. They are either very interested or<br />

want to find out more over the next few months.<br />

Graham Rutter<br />

International Business Development, Smart Connected<br />

Solutions South East <strong>Asia</strong><br />

“MWE 2023 is managed very well, especially the<br />

business meetings [at IBM]. The first day was full of<br />

people, the second day I only managed to attend half<br />

a day, so I cannot say for sure. I will consider coming<br />

for the next edition.”<br />

Ony Hindra Kusuma<br />

Board Member, Asociasi Panel Kayu Indonesia (Indonesia Wood<br />

Panel Association)<br />

60 PANELS & FURNITURE ASIA | JANUARY / FEBRUARY <strong>2024</strong>


The show has been, overall, a big success. The quality<br />

of the attendees is the main reason for this success:<br />

This quality can be converted into potential sales, or<br />

you can network with industry players and gain market<br />

information or knowledge. Quality over quantity. More<br />

importantly, MWE 2023 has given us the platform<br />

to soft launch our brand, IOI Palm Wood, and get<br />

feedback and enquiries into our products.<br />

Hans Peter Fitch, CEO, IOI Palm Wood<br />

“I am very satisfied with MWE 2023. The biggest selling<br />

point of this show is the financial support from the<br />

Malaysian government. Besides that, the promotional<br />

activity for MWE 2023 was done well, which is why many<br />

overseas and domestic visitors came down. All in all, we<br />

have sold more than 10 machines worth RM2.5m in sales.”<br />

Jacky Tan, Founder, Yik Feng Wood & Machinery<br />

“Overall, the show is good. We had quite<br />

a lot of visitors, who enquired about our<br />

machines, especially our moulders which<br />

are on display. Thanks to MTC’s grant, we<br />

have sold 10 machines to visitors over the<br />

past three days.”<br />

Leslie Lye, Vice-General Manager, Sales,<br />

Michael Weinig <strong>Asia</strong><br />

We attained good results from MWE 2023. The visitor<br />

traffic and quality were great. With high domestic<br />

demand for furniture in Malaysia, as well as financial<br />

support from the government to engage manufacturers<br />

to buy machines, we managed to sell at least six to<br />

seven machines, and might still sell more.<br />

Peter Liu<br />

International Sales Director, Nanxing Machinery<br />

JANUARY / FEBRUARY <strong>2024</strong> | PANELS & FURNITURE ASIA 61


Events Calendar<br />

<strong>2024</strong><br />

<strong>2024</strong><br />


<strong>January</strong>, 11 – 14<br />


Hannover, Germany<br />

<strong>January</strong>, 14 – 18<br />

Imm Cologne<br />

Cologne, Germany<br />


<strong>February</strong>, 22 – 26<br />

India Wood<br />

Bengaluru, India<br />

<strong>February</strong>, 26 – 29<br />

VIFA Expo<br />

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam<br />

MARCH<br />

March, 01 – 04<br />

Malaysian International <strong>Furniture</strong> Fair<br />

<strong>2024</strong><br />

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia<br />

March, 05 – 07<br />

Dubai WoodShow<br />

Dubai, United Arab Emirates<br />

March, 06 – 09<br />

HawaExpo<br />

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam<br />

March, 18 – 21<br />

China International <strong>Furniture</strong> Fair<br />

Guangzhou (Phase 1)<br />

Guangzhou, China<br />

March, 19 – 22<br />

Holz-Handwerk <strong>2024</strong><br />

Nuremberg, Germany<br />

March, 28 – 31<br />

China International <strong>Furniture</strong> Fair<br />

Guangzhou (Phase 2)<br />

Guangzhou, China<br />

March, 28 – 31<br />

Interzum Guangzhou<br />

Guangzhou, China<br />

MAY<br />

May, 09 – 12<br />

Qingdao International <strong>Furniture</strong> Fair<br />

Qingdao, China<br />

May, 21 – 24<br />

Xylexpo <strong>2024</strong><br />

Milan, Italy<br />

May, 28 – 30<br />


Shanghai, China<br />

May, 29 – June, 01<br />

Hanoi Wood Expo<br />

Hanoi, Vietnam<br />

May, 29 – June, 01<br />

Hanoi Fittings & Upholstery Expo<br />

Hanoi, Vietnam<br />

JUNE<br />

June, 24 – 26<br />

Sylva Wood Expo<br />

Shanghai, China<br />

AUGUST<br />

August, 29 – September, 01<br />

Korean International <strong>Furniture</strong> &<br />

Interior Fair<br />

Seoul, South Korea<br />

August, 27 – 30<br />


Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam<br />


September, 10 – 13<br />

FMC <strong>2024</strong><br />

Shanghai, China<br />

September, 11 – 14<br />

China International <strong>Furniture</strong> Fair<br />

Shanghai<br />

Shanghai, China<br />

September, 18 – 20<br />

Thailand International Woodworking &<br />

<strong>Furniture</strong> Exhibition<br />

Bangkok, Thailand<br />

September, 25 – 28<br />


Jakarta, Indonesia<br />


October, 04 – 06<br />

<strong>2024</strong> NHLA Annual Convention &<br />

Exhibit Showcase<br />

Ohio, US<br />

2025<br />

MAY<br />

May, 26 – 30<br />

LIGNA<br />

Hanover, Germany<br />


October, 15 – 18<br />

VietnamWood<br />

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam<br />

62 PANELS & FURNITURE ASIA | JANUARY / FEBRUARY <strong>2024</strong>

高 境 機 械 工 業 有 限 公 司<br />

台 灣 台 中 市 豐 原 區 朴 子 街 355 巷 33 號<br />

No.33, Lane 355, Pu Zei St., Feng Yuan 420, Taichung, Taiwan.<br />

Tel.: +886-4-2527-4116 (Rep.)<br />

Fax: +886-4-2528-2376<br />

http://www.gaujing.com<br />

http://www.foursidesplaner.com<br />

E-mail: g8664278@ms47.hinet.net


Index of Advertisers<br />

<strong>Panels</strong> & <strong>Furniture</strong> <strong>Asia</strong> (Issue 1) - <strong>January</strong>/<strong>February</strong> <strong>2024</strong><br />


American Hardwood Export Council<br />

OBC<br />

Baillie Lumber 9<br />

CIFF guangzhou <strong>2024</strong><br />

FC<br />

Dieffenbacher Industriemarketing GmbH 5<br />

Forestry Innovation Investment Ltd. 7<br />

Gau Jing Machinery Ind Co Ltd 63<br />

Hanoi Wood <strong>2024</strong><br />

IFC<br />

IMAL SRL 13<br />

interzum guangzhou 21<br />

Kuang Yung Machinery Co.,Ltd 11<br />

Lesnaya Industriya Journal 17<br />

Lih Woei Carpentry Machine Co., Ltd 15<br />

Nanxing Machinery Co., Ltd 2, 3<br />

OAV Equipment and Tools, Inc 35<br />

Sylvawood <strong>2024</strong> 1<br />

Technik Associates, Inc<br />

IBC<br />

Waylong Machinery Industrial Co., Ltd 64<br />

Yalian Machinery Co., Ltd 31<br />

Scan to download eBook<br />

PFA <strong>January</strong>/<strong>February</strong> <strong>2024</strong><br />

64 PANELS & FURNITURE ASIA | JANUARY / FEBRUARY <strong>2024</strong>

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