New president Ambrogio Delachi (right) thanked Franz-Joseph Bütfering for his good work

Eumabois, the European federation which unites 13 national associations of woodworking technology, tools and acessories manufacturers, met in Jyvaskyla, Finland early in September for its annual assembly.

The representatives from the different organisations, hosted by the Finnish association of woodworking technology manufacturers, appointed a new board for the association. The new president is Ambrogio Delachi, president of Acimall, the Italian woodworking technology manufacturers association, while the position of vice-president falls to Jürgen Koeppel, member of the Homag Group board, representing the German association, the VDMA.

The other members were confirmed for new term: Zdenek Bezdek (SVDSZ, Czech Republic), Heikki Sonninen (Technology Industries of Finland, Finland) and Erich Zeller (HBT, Switzerland), in addition to treasurer Jean Paul Balz (HBT, Switzerland).

The retiring president, Franz-Joseph Bütfering, opened the meeting with his report, which gave a particularly significant review of the European group's work over the last six years. Bütfering immediately emphasised the importance of the presence, for the first time in the federation's history, of two new companies, Robland from Belgium and Toskar from Turkey.

“With them,” comments Mr Bütfering, “We are embarking on a new, highly interesting period which, I am certain, will provide a strong stimulus to the growth of our federation. In fact, we have decided, in cases where there is no national association for the sector, to accept other associations which can provide credibility and representation within their home countries. This has a double purpose: to gain access to first-hand information on individual countries, while also stimulating the creation of national associations within Europe".

Mr Bütfering then continued by recalling the most important milestones during his mandate, which coincided with one of the most difficult periods for the global economy. He thanked each association for ‘having done everything within their power to support firms’.

The retiring president also drew attention to the hard work put in to set up a high quality trade fair network, creating events that, under the sponsorship of the European Federation, can act as a reference point for the entire production chain in the various economic areas – he aslo emphasised that from 2014, IWF in Atlanta, USA will also be part of the Eumabois circuit.

Mr Bütfering moved on to mention the activities of the Tool Group and the ‘good work on communications’, starting with the new website and the creation of the Eumabois newsletter and the Eumabois annual report, not to mention the success of the ‘Made in Europe’ campaign.

He concluded his report with a heartfelt thanks to all those who have worked together with him during his mandate. Finally, he invited the associations to continue with the good work of Eumabois:  “The essential task of offering services and skills, while also never letting go of the values without which a firm cannot perform as a driver of innovation and improved quality of life for an ever larger number of people, but simply and exclusively, a private opportunity, a business with no other purpose, lacking any real future goal”.

The assembly then proceeded to approve the 2014 trade fair calendar. Some particularly interesting work was done on regulatory issues and to eliminate the obstacles present in some countries – Ontario, Canada and Brazil in particular – in order to allow European firms to compete with solutions that provide a reference point both on a technical-quality level and in terms of safety for operators.

After approving the 2012 financial statements, the forecast 2013 financial statements and the 2014 budget, the meeting established that the next assembly will be held on 12th September 2014 in Verona, hosted by Acimall, the Italian association.

The assembly then heard from the new Eumabois president, Ambrogio Delachi. "Starting off my presidency with a heartfelt thanks to Mr Bütfering, the entire board and past president Gianni Ghizzoni for all their hard work is not merely a formality: their passion and commitment are the foundations of the strong climate of collaboration that exists between European manufacturers today.

“Their work succeeded in eliminating all diffidences, allowing the European woodworking technology industry to increase its global prestige. A genuine European collaboration has allowed us, beyond all expectations, to rationalise the international trade fair calendar as well as negotiate more suitable participation costs, something which has been warmly welcomed by operators all over the world, without forgetting everything that has been done to deal with specific markets, offering advanced safety and performance standards in the global panorama’”

During his presidency, Mr Delachi will  be seeking to give continuity to the big issues at the heart of Eumabois’ activities. “Together with the whole board, we will work to ensure that the excellent atmosphere that has sprung up within the federation becomes an important factor in encouraging collaboration between firms and groups from the various countries, hopefully leading to the creation of supranational collaboration relations and pacts.

“I believe that the time has come to break down some of the often restricted national horizons, so that European manufacturers can face the challenges of an ever more difficult global market together.

“We will give continuity to the Bütfering presidency’s commitment to expanding the Eumabois base, opening the doors to new players who – as in the recent cases of the Czech Republic, Poland or Russia – will be receive a warm welcome. One possibility would be Turkey which, although not yet ‘European’, is playing an increasingly important role in the woodworking and derivatives market. Moreover, we will also be establishing relations with non-European manufacturers,” concludes Mr Delachi, “in order to work together rationally, with the common aim of meeting the needs of users all over the world. We will also be stepping up work in European capitals in order to establish positive relations with all the associations in the industry, together with the representatives of the firms using our machinery.

“We believe that it is essential to work on creating new relations placing all those involved in woodworking, who have this wonderful raw material at the core of their business, in a position to meet and openly discuss the possibility of working together on shared issues.”