The gap between global demand and the production of woodworking machinery is widening.

In the first quarter of 2022 and even in March, which was already overshadowed by the Ukraine crisis, companies experienced a renewed double-digit surge in demand at record levels. At the same time, sales grew by only 4 percent, not a surprising result given the manifold problems in the industry.

“We don’t have enough components and material, and what is available is getting more expensive. Skyrocketing purchase prices are a major problem for manufacturers whose order calculations for larger projects are now proving to be much too low,” explained Markus Hüllmann, chairman of VDMA Woodworking Machinery, at the 2022 general meeting in Weimar. “This is hitting some companies hard. And it comes on top of the fact that some machines are not finished at all because of missing components, or that delivery to customers is then jammed because of various logistics problems.”

Nevertheless, the trade association is satisfied with the past year. In 2021, the declines of the weak first Coronavirus year 2020 were more than made up for. Production increased by 17 percent to 3.4 billion euros. Exports grew by 8 percent to 2.3 billion euros, still clearly outstripped by growth in the domestic market, which exceeded the billion euro threshold for the first time. Consequently, the export ratio fell to 68 percent.

In terms of exports, the two top markets, China and the USA, are tied at around 260 million euros, after China took 18 percent less German woodworking machinery than in the previous year, while the USA took 28 percent more. Austria ( +24 percent), Poland ( +3 percent) and France ( +9 percent) follow in third to fifth place.

The unpredictable overall situation in the mechanical engineering sector makes solid forecasts virtually impossible at present. The order books are still well filled, but the aforementioned problems on the purchasing side are serious and are likely to continue to hamper the sector, in some cases significantly, into next year. However, growth in sales and exports for 2022 should be possible due to the high order backlog.

There are many reasons for the enormous propensity to invest that can be observed globally in the woodworking industries. Wood processing is benefiting from a worldwide trend towards sustainable products and resource-saving construction. Manufacturers of woodworking machinery have solutions for more efficient use of wood as well as for the severe shortage of skilled workers in many markets. The new possibilities of digitalization and automation in machines and systems are far from being exhausted in the wood and furniture industry. The industry is therefore quite optimistic about the future, even if the current problems are complicating everyday life in the companies in a way that has not been seen before.

The post German woodworking machinery industry with record level of demand appeared first on Global Wood Markets Info.

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