The ZIM cooperation network "Hardwood Innovation Network" brings together companies throughout Germany and across all sectors along the forestry and timber value chain, their suppliers and partners from science and research.
The aim of the network is, through joint and coordinated activities:
- to analyse existing barriers to the use of indigenous hardwoods, in particular beech,
- to identify corresponding optimisation potentials,
- to develop new products and technologies, and
- introduce them to the market.
The focus is currently on bonded, statically strong products for the construction industry, which are being investigated in several research and development projects. Studies into the biological and chemical modification of beech wood complement the strategic orientation of the network. Accompanying measures to the project for the marketing of hardwood construction products round off the project’s field of activity.
The goal in the development of hardwood products is not to replace existing softwood products, but to use the special material properties of hardwood in applications that were either previously not suitable for softwoods or in which economically competitive hardwood products can now be used alongside softwood products. This largely avoids companies involved in development within the Forest and Wood Cluster having to compete with already established companies in the same market segment. Irrespective of this, the expansion of the product range reduces company risk.
The advantage of the network partnership lies in its early participation in a development process that has been emerging for several years or decades, which enables them to position themselves early and strategically advantageously in a sustainable market. The network currently comprises of 15 partners, 11 from industry and 4 from research. Other companies and institutions interested in participating in the "Hardwood Innovation Network" can join the open network at any time.
The Cluster-Initiative Forst und Holz in Bayern GmbH was commissioned to manage the network.