EDITIONS

Innovation and entrepreneurship in India’s wood industry

From construction and interiors to musical instruments; from home decor to sporting goods, wood touches upon every walk of our lives in some manner or other. An art for the passionate and the devoted, woodworking necessitates skill and knowledge to develop a thriving long-term business.

Avijit Marwah
10th May 2019
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There are thousands of species of woods that exist with multitude applications, thereby making it one of the most versatile materials used across industries. From construction and interiors to musical instruments; from home decor to sporting goods, wood touches upon every walk of our lives in some manner or other. An art for the passionate and the devoted, woodworking necessitates skill and knowledge to develop a thriving long-term business.


Before entering this profession, one must understand the roots of this dynamic industry. Using the latest technological developments and age-old skills, wood can be crafted into an even wider range of shapes and designs now more than ever. Wood working is not only a profession for some people, it is an obsession to produce a range of extraordinary products that impart the charm of the material.


In accordance with the growing global population and its correlated increase in the demand for wood, products need to be manufactured in a way to reduce waste. There is a growing need for increased output at a lower cost. People are opting for different technologies and skills to optimize the usage of wood. To do away with wastage and help in grading the multiple types of wood, scanning technologies are available like video, laser and dielectric sensors. To minimize wastage, software systems needs to be developed and implemented to ensure optimum utilisation of wood. 



Knowledge of the material and machinery


There are over 50,000 species of wood and each species is unique in its own way. One needs to be well versed in the variety of wood available to be able to select the appropriate type for a certain application. The use of constructive and creative techniques ensures long life of the product, enhancing the resistance and durability of wood.


To keep this knowledge running from generation to generation, we need more youngsters entering the industry. Otherwise there is a huge possibility of the valuable knowledge being lost in time. One needs to be well-versed with the species of wood, instrumentation and system to process wood into artistic wooden products. 


Skills required


Wood industry is a skill-driven profession. Know-how of the various methods for processing wood and the right machine and tools is key to manufacturing products using wood. The idea is to get the right training in woodworking before stepping in any specific sector. To master the skills of woodworking, all you need is a creative mind-set, a fully equipped woodworking shop and a lot of perseverance.


Customer insights


Consumers are always looking for materials with minimal service and maintenance that saw a shift towards synthetic and unconventional materials over wood. This happens because of lack of in depth knowledge of the species of wood and its application. Correctly understanding the consumer’s brief and then suggesting the right kind of wood and its application will solve this problem.


Also, the need of the hour is to brief them about the harmful effects of certain synthetic materials and what it does to the environment, whereas custodians of wood industry are continuously working towards minimizing the carbon footprint by judiciously optimising the use of wood in various fabrication processes.


We can add value by ensuring the customer opts for the right species and quantity of wood and contribute towards the environment besides making his structure look aesthetically appealing. Enlightening the customer about the woodworking industry and its added social implications is the key to bring about a change in the way people conceive and use wood.


Creativity and innovation


The application of wood across industries is an undisputed fact. Being such an innovative and forward-looking material which has stood the test of time, it can be used in any industry in multiple ways. But what needs to be taken care of is the methodology of its ‘process’ and ‘application’ in a particular job. With modern machines and tools, wood can be moulded into any shape, design and can even be stained in different colours to blend in seamlessly with its surrounding.


Concrete and steel are the next petrol and diesel. While these resources have been essential for a long period of time, we are realising their impact on the environment now. Like alternate sources of energy, developing alternate building materials is the need of the hour.


Engineered timber such as Cross Laminated Timber is being extensively used for construction. This material has strength comparable to steel and concrete while being much lighter. Although charred wood is naturally insulating, advancements in coating technologies now provide additional fire retardant properties to wood.


In case of fire, wood loses natural structural mass but upon the source being extinguished, it remains stable whereas steel becomes soft. There have been cases where steel supported roofs have collapsed whereas wood remained intact. Creating awareness with urban developers and planners is necessary to promote this Eco-friendly building material.



Techniques to reduce carbon footprint


People today want to do their bit by selecting products that are environment-friendly. Using wood that has been sourced from sustainable forests is one of the ways we can do our part.


According to a report by The Engineered Wood Association, in US and Canada, 27% more timber is grown than harvested every year and for every ton of wood grown, 1.07 tons of oxygen is produced and 1.47 tons of carbon dioxide is absorbed from the atmosphere. Studies also show that using wood to construct a 125m skyscraper can reduce the building’s carbon footprint by upto 75%.


Regulations and policies to promote sustainable forestry must be implemented to ensure that our forests flourish. The challenge today lies in discovering solutions to the insufficiency of sustainable wood that is proficiently processed and creating a marketplace where these are readily available.


Concrete and steel are the next petrol and diesel. While these resources have been essential for a long period of time, we are realising their impact on the environment now. Like alternate sources of energy, developing alternate building materials is the need of the hour. Engineered timber such as Cross Laminated Timber is being extensively used for construction. This material has strength comparable to steel and concrete while being much lighter.


Although charred wood is naturally insulating, advancements in coating technologies now provide additional fire retardant properties to wood. In case of fire, wood loses natural structural mass but upon the source being extinguished, it remains stable whereas steel becomes soft.


There have been cases where steel supported roofs have collapsed whereas wood remained intact. Creating awareness with urban developers and planners is necessary to promote this eco-friendly building material. Studies show that using wood to construct a 125m skyscraper can reduce the building’s carbon footprint by upto 75%.




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