Bioeconomy is a strategic industry in Western Hungary from sectorial point of view, while new materials and digitalization is a sector-independent RIS3 focus. Overall social challenge is the ageing in the entire area, also the increasing costs of the social public sector. The overlapping of the tendencies and trends are formulated into a vision, which is built on value growth of the wood sector, while transforming the difficulties and challenges into opportunities. It is the advanced manufacturing applications of the furniture industry, with special health group orientation.

The purpose of our BRIDGES feasibility study is to investigate the opportunities of additive manufacturing in the wood industry, what specific segments could be targeted, how it could be applied, and what could be the comparative advantage of the Hungarian applications. It is also an issue how to ensure the integration of the academic know-how into the business field, or is there competitive scientific knowledge at all within the academia in the region.

Why the wood and furniture industry is our selected bioeconomy sector ? 

Hungary has a relatively high density of forestry – that is 20% of the total land. What is even more promising is the high proportion of hard wood, which enables quality raw material supply for the wood and furniture industry. In Western Hungary the ratio of forests is above national average, which gives a strong, sustainable position for the industry. 20% of the total national wood living tree stock can be found here. There is traditional handcraft know-how, offering a solid cultural embedding of the industry into the society. When looking at the overall character of the industrial landscape, it is a challenge that the output of the wood export is at high and growing level, meanwhile the furniture manufacturing performance is domestic market dependant and low value performing. Therefore, a shift in the industrial performance has to be achieved.

Market performance and added-value creation:

There is a strong correlation between the competitive market situation and the generated added value. In order to have an insight of the overall value creation, it is visualized along the entire supply chain. The measure is the gross added value, which is basically the net sales performance, deducted by COGS (Cost of goods sold) and amortisation. It is the framework which has to cover labour costs, innovation and the expected margin. After having a close look at it, it can be observed that there is a constantly decreasing space for the furniture manufacturers, as they are squeezed by the increasing raw material costs and the growing purchasing power of the purchasers. To enable industrial comparison and international benchmarking, a cross-table was elaborated, indicating the added value creation divided by the net sales, what is the gross operating rate. It makes size-independent value creation comparison feasible.

The sector mainly focuses on big serial production - mass production - and base materials production of furnitures to safisfy the market needs; it means low level of added value therefore the resources are underutilized.

Revitalization process of the Western Hungarian wood and furniture industry as an eco-friendly, smart, quality of life assisting and knowledge intensive sector:

Based on our experiences until now our objective is to evaluate the potential scenarios and options with respect to additive manufacturing within the wood and furniture industry and together with the stakeholders find a consensus on where the resources should be allocated.

Additive manufacturing applications and 3D solutions can be regarded as a technology with a great potential, but as we see the market participants do not have the sufficient knowledge about the technology and its potential influence in product development. We would like to transform these difficulties and challanges into opportunities.
During the Feasibility Study and Action Plan elaboration we would like to strengthen collaboration with innovation players to find a new way for the industry revitalization because there is a real need for the renewal of the industry.

Intention to establish a Furniture Centre of Competence in Western Transdanubia:

Pannon Business Network Association (PBN) will participate on a site visit in Kainuu on April 2018 for the kind invitation of the Finnish partners. During the site visit PBN will meet with the representatives of the Kantola wood-processing industry cluster and the Woodpolis centre of competence (“Kantola good practice (GP)”). The purpose of the visit is to gain better insights on the processes, results and further cooperation possibilities between the Finnish-Hungarian participating regions.