New MDF investment in Lithuania, and a rice straw MDF plant in the US are now nearing completion. Meanwhile, Russia, Turkey and Mexico still lead the main expansion in MDF capacity in Europe and North America.
In this, the first part of our annual survey of the global MDF manufacturing industry, independent consultant Geoff Rhodes looks at the MDF mills and their capacities in Europe and North America in 2018 and at the prospects for the industry in 2019 and beyond.
Looking at Europe first, 2018 was a positive year for MDF manufacturers and Arauco continued to consolidate its MDF position since entering the European wood based panels market with its operational, and rebranded, MDF facilities in Spain, Portugal and Germany. Raw material supply issues have now been largely resolved.
As in the past, news of all upcoming new European MDF mills are listed in Table 1: European capacity development for 2019 and beyond.
The new capacity announcements include AGT Turkey, with Siempelkamp providing a second MDF line for this company in Antalya (design capacity 300,000m3).
Also included are: the investment by Yildiz Entegre of Turkey overseas in Vladimir, Russia; the proposed Kastamonu Entegre mill in Alabuga, Tatarstan; the Pavlovskiy MDF mill east of the Urals; and Altayles’ plans to build a large-scale plant to produce MDF in the Altai Krai region in Russian Siberia, bordering Kazakhstan.
In the Baltic states, Germany’s fibreboard maker Homanit has unveiled plans to invest some €115m in constructing a new production facility in Lithuania. The project was recently announced by the country’s investment promotion agency ‘Invest Lithuania’. Under the plan, the new facility, which is to make MDF/HDF will create 440 jobs. The jobs at the factory, located in the region surrounding Lithuania’s capital Vilnius, are to be created in the first five years of the plant’s operations. The move is related to the growing demand from local users, who are currently supplied from the output of Homanit’s two existing Polish factories located in Karlino and Krosno Odrzanskie, according to senior company representatives.