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Trends in the wood industry and State co-funded operations

Adapting to new trends and customers is a must in the wood supply chain. We need to identify what the general public needs and what we can offer them. We encourage creative work and help with the integration of a new product by co-funding the purchase of new machinery and equipment.

Wooden construction

There are many prospects for building with wood in the construction industry, as wood’s warmth and aesthetic qualities make it popular for use. 

Construction with wood has significant advantages over construction with other materials. The most important are the following:

  • modularity of construction (possibility of upgrading or reconstructing existing facilities),
  • fast construction and assembly (frames are fabricated in workshops and erected on site within a few weeks),
  • a healthy living environment (wood gives off a pleasant smell, does not create any static electricity or radiation),
  • earthquake safe (wood withstands earthquakes well compared to other materials); and
  • fire safety (adequately dimensioned beams can withstand loads during fires and extinguishing, and allow for safe evacuation).

New technologies and know-how in manufacturing structural elements make it possible to construct multi-storey buildings made of wood. Wood processing techniques enable the erection of facilities of various shapes, such as the Expano pavilion in Murska Sobota, which Slovenia presented at the 2015 World Expo in Milan. Glued laminated wood (Glulam) can also be widely used to make larger facilities (halls, production halls).

Paviljon Expano ob Soboškem jezeru v Murski Soboti.

Paviljon Expano | Author Jure Banfi

The role of the State

Wood construction is encouraged through various activities promoting wood as a building material, by co-funding projects for the development and rollout of new wood products, and by co-funding the development of the wood industry for semi-finished products. In order to qualify for funding, companies must meet the conditions of the competent authority that grants the aid. An important factor is value added per employee, in the wood processing chain, which is below the Slovenian average.

Consideration of environmental aspects is also encouraged through green public procurement, under which the furniture purchaser must meet certain environmental requirements and criteria (origin from legal and sustainably harvested sources, no treatment with certain substances, no materials that hinder recycling, specific requirements for coatings, adhesives, emissions, packaging).

Value added per employee is an important key indicator of the industry performance. After the biggest crisis in the wood processing industry in 2013, value added per employee has been steadily recovering. In 2020, the value added per employee was EUR 38,091, which was 76% higher than in 2010. The main reason for this is the increased use of wood in construction and the recognition of wood’s usefulness in producing joinery such as windows, doors and stairs.

Example of good practice in a public tender

Jezeršek Carpentry (Mizarstvo Jezeršek), which participated with its "New staircase for more demanding customers" project in the public tender "Incentives for the development of wood products in semi-finished products 2.0 2019-2020", has been singled out as an example of good practice. The purpose of the public tender was to promote the development of products and services with high value added, boost job creation, and increase energy efficiency and the use of renewables in the processing and treatment of wood.  

The value of the project "New staircase for demanding customers" was EUR 214,245.52, of which the Jezeršek Carpentry received 30%, i.e. EUR 64,520.27, from the European fund.  

The project ran from 1 November 2017 to 31 July 2018 and resulted in the launch of a new product, the result of in-house development, which had not been available on the market before.

In building the staircase, they relied on their know-how, innovative approach, available technology and production capacity. The combination of an innovative approach to the technological and production process and the purchase of machinery enabled faster processing and the optimum use of wood material, more efficient use of human resources and faster handling of wood. The development of the production process, along with the introduction of advanced techniques and new machinery, has opened up new possibilities for architects, interior designers and others, who, in addition to the basic function of the staircase, have been able to put aesthetics – namely in a designer product made of wood that stands out in the room – at the forefront.

The product is entirely made of solid hardwood (oak, maple, walnut, ash, acacia). It fills a market niche, meets the expectations of a more demanding segment of customers looking for an interior staircase of the highest quality, for a designer product that stands for prestige.

The company employed an additional person to work on the project.

The project has also contributed to energy and material efficiency through:

  • reducing emissions of harmful substances:
    • more efficient machines (faster cutting, less time spent on the same work),
    • reducing noise and vibration emissions by up to 10%,
    • up to a 5% reduction in waste (less waste disposal and related lower emissions of harmful substances into the environment during transport).
  • recycling and reusing raw materials:
    • the possibility of suction at all machines as part of the investment,
    • wood waste used as an energy source for heat generation,
    • the re-use of raw materials (which would otherwise be discarded but re-used with the development of a new assembly process).
  • reducing the consumption of raw materials:
    • optimal material cutting due to new machines (efficiency improved by 8%),
    • up to 5% better material utilisation due to the development of a new assembly process.