Plywood has many applications

Raute – Plywood has retained its strong position in applications where structural strength and resistance to moisture, impact resistance, and an attractive appearance are required. Various coatings add to the versatility of the applications.

Hardwood plywood has excellent strength and stiffness and good resistance to creep. Its surface hardness and damage and wear resistance are also good. Typical end uses for birch plywood are concrete formwork panels, transport vehicle floors, container floors, walls and roofs, traffic signs and billboards, furniture and support strips for furnishings.

The strength and stiffness of softwood plywood are also high, but it is softer and has more knots than hardwood plywood. On the other hand, softwood plywood is fairly light and easy to machine and nail. The typical end-uses include roof structures, floorings, walls and ceilings, non-visible structures in vehicles, packaging and boxes, construction site structures, fencing and shelters, as well as formwork with a limited number of concrete pourings. Softwood plywood with three thick veneer plies is also used as a wind barrier in construction thanks to its breathability and stiffness.

Plywood productionCustomer needs changing in all market areas We have achieved a significant position as a supplier of technology and services in our key markets in Europe, Russia, North America and Chile. We believe that our renewable technology offering targeted at the emerging markets and our globally growing service capability will also strengthen our position in our other target markets. New capacity projects still played a key role in our order intake in 2018. In addition to projects that started up in Europe and Russia, we received a major order from Northeast Asia. Several large new capacity projects are still in the planning phase. New plywood and LVL production capacity is also being generated through modernizations of existing production plants.  Our customer base in 2018 comprised some 330 mills to which we supplied complete mills, production lines and line modernizations and offered our comprehensive maintenance service. Of our customers in 2018, 30 were new. Our customer relationships are usually long, just like the investment cycles. The number of production lines with service agreements rose to more than 250.  Technology and services for various customer needs Of our market areas, North America is a mature and service-oriented market where an extensive installed base continuously creates growth opportunities for our service business.  In South America, our company holds a significant position as a technology supplier in Chile.  In Europe, our customers have invested in recent years in new production capacity for special plywood grades and LVL. We believe that the focus will shift from the building of new capacity towards the upgrading of existing mills. Europe also offers growing opportunities for our services. On Africa’s slowly developing market, the growth in internal market demand brings us new interesting growth opportunities.  In recent years, Russia’s markets have also developed favorably for us. There, the need for renewal creates demand for modernizations and replacement investments and growth in production volumes for new capacity projects.  In the Asia-Pacific area and China, demand linked to investments in new technology is slowly taking off. Increasing product quality requirements and rising environmental awareness are creating new opportunities for us. Also demand for services is growing in the Asia-Pacific area.  Sector’s growth outlook remains good  The uncertainty around economic development that marked 2018 continues. The availability of suitable wood raw material is becoming increasingly important and investments are moving closer to raw material resources. Integrated mills drawing on centralized wood sourcing and mill infrastructure are becoming more common.  We believe that the wood products industry is also globalizing. Our customers plan and implement production investments in neighboring countries, even in other market areas, such as from Europe to Russia. At the same time, the markets for new machinery are rapidly becoming international. New equipment investments were, as a whole, at a higher level than the normal economic situation in 2018. The total value of new equipment investments in the industries we serve is approximately EUR 650 million a year in a normal economic situation. Our market share of all investments in production process machinery in the industry is 15 to 20 percent on average.  In 2018, the capacity utilization rates of our customers’ production facilities remained essentially at a good level. The share of planned and preventive maintenance services will grow as new production capacity goes on stream. Demand for remote services and the supporting systems is also growing.  Plywood production in Raute’s market areas (1 000 m3; Source: Indufor) 

 2005201020152017
North America16 77111 37011 17411 819
Europe and Africa5 3934 2095 3155 889
Russia2 9173 0634 0294 190
South America5 0904 0854 7914 953
China25 96545 32758 17063 623
Rest APAC countries17 17413 43216 93416 899
Total73 31081 486100 412107 375

 The development of plywood production is continuing strong on the emerging markets in Asia, South America and Africa. Russia is also showing positive development with the focus remaining on the development of the production capacity and improving output.  On our traditional markets, the future looks good. In North America, production investments are focused on the modernization of processes and technology and in Europe, the growth in production capacity is focused on special plywood products.   New opportunities on the horizon Our competitive position will be strong, also going forward, in all of our traditional market areas and especially in new technologies. Our advanced and comprehensive solutions help our customers strengthen their resource efficiency and develop the quality of their products throughout the life cycle of their production processes and their various steps. Our success is based on overall expertise in production processes, our extensive technology offering and our wide selection of services.  Our position as the most reliable supplier of mill-scale projects is strong. We are specialized in the resource-efficient processing of small-diameter plantation wood. We have developed, together with local operators, an upgraded technology offering designed for the emerging markets. We expect it to provide new growth opportunities in the near future.  

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