The wood industry holds exceptional promise, is one of Austria’s largest employers and has proven to be a highly successful economic model, thanks to its expertise in exports. Companies in this industry are SMEs and almost all of them are privately owned.
This exceptionally diverse economic sector includes the sawmill industry, the construction sector, the furniture industry , the timber and wood composite industry and the skiing industry. The sawmill industry is the largest wood processor within the entire wood industry: Austria is one of the world’s most important exporters of lumber and sawn timber.
Building with wood and timber
Increased importance in wood as a construction material has led to new approaches to this material in recent years. Wood has proven itself for outdoor use particularly because of its high durability, long life and low maintenance requirements.
Modified timber has a wide range of different outdoor applications, for example for facades, windows and noise barriers.
Austrian expertise in wood construction can be seen in many different areas, with Austrian export-oriented producers of:
- Prefabricated houses
- Doors and parquet flooring
One of Europe’s largest manufacturers of glulam is Binderholz GmbH , a technological leader in its field. Thoma Holz GmbH operates a research centre for processing natural wood and has developed Holz100, an exceptionally innovative and forward-looking wood construction method.
ROHOL produces plywood and blockboard for international clients from the furniture and door industries as well as the road, rail and shipbuilding industries. Wiehag GmbH from Altheim in Upper Austria counts among the leading providers of bearing systems and entire roofs made of timber.
Hasslacher Holding AG from Feistritz supplies sawn timber, planed timber and glulam, as well as pellets and timber construction systems to the global market.
With 18 subsidiaries in 15 countries, the Wolf Group , headquartered in Upper Austria, is the European leader in the fields of producing prefabricated housing (link in German) , agricultural and industrial construction and the production of nailplates.
Prefabricated houses from wood
Austrian producers of prefabricated houses, log cabins and sheds have enjoyed success with high quality products which are in demand across the globe, for example ELK Fertighaus AG , Schachnerhaus GmbH (in German) , Hartl Haus Holzindustriegesellschaft m.b.H. (in German) .
Austrian manufacturers export their top quality, innovative wooden flooring mainly to Switzerland, Germany and Italy. The Czech Republic, Spain, Great Britain and Russia are strong growth markets.
Customers of Austrian companies can choose from a rich array of different construction methods and parquet flooring systems.
EGGER offers a wide range of high quality laminate flooring. Innovations from this company include integrated soundproofing or extras such as LED lighting incorporated into the flooring.
KAINDL FLOORING GmbH produces laminate flooring and wooden flooring with particular attention paid to technology and the environment. Exports account for 93% of this company’s sales.
The innovation from Bergland Parkett, Karl Amashaufer Ges.m.b.H. Holzindustrie lies in a three-layer solid parquet floor made of hardwood. This combines all of the advantages of solid and pre-finished wood flooring in one product.
Founded in 1831, the family-run company Weitzer Parkett GmbH & Co KG is one of Europe’s top 10 parquet flooring manufacturers. For every parquet floor, the company offers the matching wooden staircase and is the only Austrian provider to do so.
mafi Naturholzboden GmbH is synonymous with exclusive non-varnished, ecologically treated wooden flooring. Instead of using common varnishes, the company is committed to a natural, oil-based method for treating floors and has established itself as an international pioneer in natural wood flooring.
Research for the future
Austrian expertise in wood has secured the high technical standards of this innovative industry and guarantees the highest quality products to customers at home and abroad.
Holzforschung Austria is the leading R&D and testing facility for the Austrian wood and timber industry. Its main tasks include:
- Research and development
- Testing wood products
- Knowledge transfer
holz.bau forschungs gmbh acts as a link between fundamental scientific research and education and the trailblazing, practice-oriented wood industry.
Kompetenzzentrum Holz GmbH is a collaboration of partners from business and science with a focus on wood composites and wood-cellulose chemistry.
Forestry and wood are crucial to environmental protection: forests absorb carbon dioxide, thereby making a key contribution to environmental preservation – an important advantage in times of rising CO2 emissions. When wood is used for building, the carbon is absorbed in the long term and does not harm the atmosphere. As a general rule much less energy is required even during the production of construction wood and derived timber products compared to the production of other construction materials. This also leads to cuts in CO2 emissions and preserves the environment.
You can read more on this topic here: Renewable energy
Paper production and paper processing
Austria is rich in wood. The Austrian paper and pulp industry specialises in an array of applications for this important raw material. Research and development of Austrian companies in this sector is focused on sustainability and maximum value add. Investment in modernising plants has enabled companies to make a full transition to ecological business. This not only benefits the environment, it also brings advantages for customers at home and abroad.
Demand for high-quality Austrian paper is high. In addition to product innovations, it has been the advances in ecological and social responsibility that have come to characterise companies in the Austrian paper industry.
Part of the Heinzel Group , the paper wholesaler Europapier and the specialist paper manufacturer Lenzing Papier are pioneers in the production and sale of paper produced in an exceptionally environmental way. The innovative “climate-neutral” paper is now sold in almost every CEE country.
The Lenzing Group is the global leader in producing and marketing cellulose fibres such as viscose and Lyocell. As the only producer of these products, Lenzing brings together three generations of manmade cellulose fibres (Viscose, Modal and Lyocell) under one roof.
Zellstoff Pöls AG is the largest manufacturer of high-quality elemental chlorine free (ECF) bleached softwood sulphate pulp in Central and South East Europe. In addition to the core product of pulp, the company also makes kraft paper and the company’s products are exported across Europe.
Salzer Papier GmbH is a leading manufacturer and supplier of high-quality paper for book printing. The company produces paper containing wood or printing paper which is 100% wood-free and supplies publishers, printers and wholesalers throughout Europe.
Wattenspapier , part of the Delfort Group, is the global market leader in cigarette paper and filter paper.
Operating worldwide, the Mondi Group offers a wide range of products: from fine paper and kraft paper through to high-quality specialist paper types. Other leading companies for the production of paper and cardboard include Mayr-Melnhof Karton Gesellschaft m.b.H (recycled card and cartonboard) and W. Hamburger GmbH (corrugated board).
The majority of companies in this sector are SMEs which are ideally placed to meet the needs of the international market. They predominantly operate on the European market as well as the Middle East and the Mediterranean region. The 115 companies working in the Austrian paper processing industry have an equal number of subsidiaries located outside Austria.
The following product groups reflect the diversity of the Austrian paper and pulp industry:
- Corrugated board, corrugated packaging
- Folding boxes, solid fibre board
- Flexible and miscellaneous packaging
- Hygienic paper products
- Office and stationery supplies
- Other paper products (e.g. industrial bookbinding products, playing cards, labels, paper finishing and tailored specialist products)
Among Austria’s most important producers of cardboard and corrugated board are Duropack GmbH , Mosburger GmbH , Rondo Ganahl AG and Smurfit Kappa Interwell GmbH & Co KG .
Mayr-Melnhof Packaging International GmbH is not only number one in Europe, it is also one of the world’s largest producers of folding cartons.
The Mondi Group not only produces packaging from corrugated board, it also provides flexible packaging solutions such as sacks for construction materials.
SCA Hygiene Products GmbH is one of the leading manufacturers of hygiene paper products (tissues, toilet paper, kitchen roll etc.) in Austria. Around half of all production is exported.
The specialist area of Paul & Co GmbH is the production of cylindrical paper cores – both standard products and customised designs. The client list includes leading companies from the paper, foil, metal and textile industries.
The Ulrich Group is one of the key players in the field of labelling: Ulrich Etiketten Ges.m.b.H is the Austrian market leader for adhesive labels and special labels and supplies a range of industries across Europe. Securikett Ulrich & Horn GmbH produces an array of security labels and hangtags made from card which are mainly used in the textile industry.
Industrial bookbinders are also part of the paper processing industry. Two companies operating in this field in Austrian are Oberndorfer Druckerei GmbH and the group Brüder Glöckler (in German) .
Wiener Spielkartenfabrik Ferd. Piatnik & Söhne is also a member of this industry. The company has been producing playing cards, puzzles and games since 1824 and is represented in over 60 countries.
Tann Papier , a company in the Trierenberg Holding, is an internationally acclaimed paper supplier to the cigarette industry and the one of the world’s largest producers of fine papers.
Machinery, equipment, accessories
The high technical standard and knowhow of this sector of the Austrian mechanical engineering industry has gained acclaim on the international market. Austrian providers do not only produce machinery, they also supply modules, tools and automation to guarantee customers the highest quality and maximum productivity. A well trained specialist workforce, high quality standards and collaboration with producers in other countries are just some of the success factors.
Austrian producers of machinery for wood processing are a well established presence on the international market. They are characterised by their innovative ideas and offer a broad range of products:
- Processing plants
- Sawing machines
- Rounding and bending machines
- Drilling and mortising machines
- Lathes, choppers and crushers
- Planing, milling and moulding machines
Fill Gesellschaft m.b.H. provides machinery for producing and processing plywood, parquet, solid wood boards and components.
Since 1947 Prinz GmbH & Co KG has been developing and producing crosscut saws, accessories and wearing parts for professional use. The company is the sole complete supplier in the chainsaw business and exports account for over 90% of production.
Schelling Anlagenbau GmbH produces panel dividing technology for wood and other materials and has sites in Great Britain, Poland, Singapore, China, Australia, Slovakia and the USA.
Springer Maschinenfabrik AG is the leading European company for producing customised high-performance plants for processing logs, sawn timber and glulam.
Machinery for the pulp and paper industry
Austrian companies in mechanical and plant engineering have a successful record of exports across the globe. These Austrian firms are particularly active in the field of specialist machinery.
Voith Paper St. Pölten is the innovation leader in machinery for the paper industry. The company also produces the world’s fastest paper packaging machinery.
Andritz AG has its headquarters in Graz and develops high-tech production systems and industrial process solutions in the fields of paper and pulp, which has made it one of the world’s market leaders.
FMW Industrieanlagenbau GmbH Austria supplies equipment and components for handling and preparing wood, woodchips, used paper and pulp bales. In addition to engineering new plants, the company also offers reconstruction and expansion of existing plants and supplies the electronic components and control systems.
The IBS Paper Performance Group is an international supplier to the paper and pulp industry and has offices in North and South America, Asia and Europe.