Story by David Abott,
Senior Associate Editor
For decades, Timber Processing has been earning a reputation as one of the most respected and trusted publications covering this industry in the United States. But, in a manner of speaking, we’re not in Kansas anymore…or not just in Kansas, at least. Like most other things, timber processing in the U.S. has grown more and more integrated with timber processing in South America, China, Australia, the Middle East and Europe. Many mills have revealed in recent years that the export market is what has kept them alive as the domestic housing market implosion has dramatically curbed demand for many lumber and veneer products stateside. Mills in Mississippi ship their lumber to customers in Dubai. The international exchange isn’t limited to wood products, but includes the machines that do the producing. European-manufactured wood processing equipment makes its way to producing mills in the U.S., and vice versa.
Moreover, ideas also travel across national boundaries. For example, North Carolina’s Jordan Lumber Co., featured in this issue on page 8, laid out its lumber sorting and infeed lines, in part, based on ideas inspired by a trip to Finland. From one end of the forest products business to the other, market realities in far-distant lands now factor into decision making at all levels. It’s all connected these days.
Over the last few years, Timber Processing as a media presence has expanded its scope internationally, both in terms of editorial coverage and readership. Reflecting the increasingly globalized nature of the wood products market and wood fiber supply chain, it is only appropriate that we should make an effort to incorporate a global perspective.
This effort, though long discussed prior, really began in 2010 when I had the pleasure of venturing to Europe as a guest of Austrian company Springer Maschinenfabrik AG and its Italian subsidiary MiCROTEC, two major players in the European mill machinery scene. During the trip, representatives from those companies coordinated my visits to their plant in Friesach, Austria, and to a number of mills in several countries, which were covered in subsequent months in these pages. Those kinds of trips are expensive and so regrettably more rare than our domestic travels, but there will undoubtedly be more in the future as we continue to establish our relationships worldwide.
This issue actually features a section focused on international vendors, and some of the submissions serve to underscore my point. For instance, Swedish company Dynalyse reports that it has installed its grading systems in 10 countries, and grading systems by FinScan Oy can be found in sawmills in Europe, Russia, North America and Asia. LIMAB, with headquarters in Sweden, has subsidiaries in Finland, the UK, Germany and the U.S. Söderhamn Eriksson, another Swedish firm and the maker of Cambio debarkers, among other brand names, also has subsidiaries in Finland, Norway, Great Britain, Estonia, Russia, Germany and Poland. The company reports currently planned installation projects at mills in Scotland, Norway and Russia. The aforementioned Springer says that 80% of its business is in exports, with markets primarily located in France, Russia and Scandinavia, not to mention Germany, Australia and Brazil. Germany’s Brunner Hildebrand has projects going in South Africa, Scotland and the U.S., where it has a branch in Nashville. You can read about the offerings of all of these companies and more on page 28.