The economic downturn has cut into orders received by European woodworking machinery manufacturers as well. But it’s not a crash into the abyss, as unlike other sectors, woodworking machinery manufacturers have been preparing for tough times. They’ve adjusted to the fact that the machine manufacturing business is cyclic. Thus, this sector of industry has provided a foundation for a recovery after it gets through these hard times.
However, the economic downturn has turned out to be more dramatic than the experts feared it would be. Over the next few years the world market will shrink, and the outlook for the wood industry is cloudy as well. The momentum that European woodworking machinery manufacturers had gained a year before has now ground to a halt, but they maintain their leadership position in the world market – with Germany and Italy the two strongest export countries, accounting for about half of worldwide exports.
The European Federation of Woodworking Machinery Manufacturers (Eumabois) brings together companies from 13 countries, with a turnover of 7.6 million euros. They have resolved to face the immense challenges together. The difficult conditions are also making it hard for their customers to obtain financing for investments, but the demand for mechanical equipment for processing and finishing wood continues to be apparent. Wood, the best raw material of all times, will always be needed and in demand.
In hard times, customer interest focuses on the issue of increased productivity. Efficiency throughout the process chain brings the strong points of European manufacturers to the forefront, as they have used research and development to gain an advantage over Asian and American firms and they serve their customers precisely with the machines that offer the best return on investment.
European machine manufacturers will consequently deal with resource efficiency in production. For example, all advancement in wood drying, a process step with very high energy use, has a direct result on a company’s success. Similarly, even small changes, such as the reduction of cut widths or intelligent sectioning methods, improve profitability. Even additives such as varnish and glue are included in this approach. This strategy gives customers the ability they need to withstand tough competition and cheap copies even when the price of raw materials is rising.