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German woodworking machinery industry poised for a rebound.

The sluggish world economy contributed to about a 7.5 percent drop in business last year for the 260 companies that comprise the German woodworking machinery industry.

Due to the worldwide economic slump, the production value of German-made woodworking equipment fell by an estimated 7.5 percent last year to $2.469 billion (1 DM = $0.62 U.S.). This decline came on the heels of a 2.8 percent decrease in 1991. The sale of German woodworking machines reached a high of $2.743 billion in 1990.

Incoming orders

Incoming machinery orders from foreign countries during 1992 were characterized by a summer slump resulting in a double-digit decrease. On the other hand, a two-digit increase in domestic orders partially offset the overall decrease. Still, total incoming orders were down 5 percent for the year compared to 1991 figures.

Because of the tense economic situation in Europe and the United States, exports reduced by 8 percent to $736 million in the first half of 1992. The export quota was approximately 60 percent in the first half of 1992. The export value of the entire year of 1992 shows an estimated $1.426 billion. Distribution by region was consistent with previous years: Europe, 70 percent; North America, 10 percent; and Asia, 17 percent.


Imports of woodworking machinery into Germany were reduced by 2.1 percent to about $242 million in the first half of 1992, about 32 percent of the export value. Internal calculations are showing a total volume of approximately $453 million in 1992.

Domestic market

The German domestic market had a special boom in 1991 because of German reunification, with orders for woodworking equipment increasing by 36 percent. This effect did not carry into 1992. Domestic volume in the first half of 1992 declined by 5 percent to approximately $718 million compared to the same period in 1991. The year's total ended at approximately $1.507 billion.

Performance range

The German woodworking machinery industry sets an example for providing customers with comprehensive and intense training and education so that their personnel can fully utilize the increased functionality of the equipment. This includes optimizing material use, reducing working time and increasing manufacturing precision.

The development of specific customer software and helping customers develop successful project scheduling for complete manufacturing plants is further evidence of this commitment. The necessary experience is based on 150 years of tradition in developing and manufacturing the entire range of woodworking machines, beginning with hand-held electric tools and standard machines for the custom woodworker up to flexible machinery systems and computerized working centers and complete production lines for large furniture manufacturers.

Ligna '93

Ligna, to be held in Hannover May 19-25, will serve as an economic barometer for the European market. This, the largest machinery and equipment show of the world for woodworking and forestry, is again in the international limelight. Some 100,000 visitors, 40 percent of them from foreign countries, are expected to attend Ligna.

The direct contact between manufacturers and users will demonstrate how well the dynamics of the woodworking industry will develop. Ligna's 1,290 exhibiting companies have already answered this question with confidence. Clear proof is with their participation covering more than 117,000 square meters of net space.

Again, new woodworking fair standards are being set by Ligna. On one hand there is the first-time realization of a partner-country idea. The Russian Federation will present its woodworking industry on approximately 1,000 square meters in Hall 4 and offer numerous contact possibilities to make connections to their huge timber resources.

In addition, for the first time there will be the international custom woodworkers show, highlighting innovation and work safety and featuring numerous special events in 1,000 square meters of Hall 13.

Werner Neubauer is business manager of the VDMA, Germany's woodworking machinery manufacturers association.
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Author:Neubauer, Werner
Publication:Wood & Wood Products
Date:Apr 1, 1993
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