European Timber Industry

The European Timber Industry Begins Its Digital Transformation

By Sharanya, February 14,2022

The end of the year 2020 saw an MoU (Memorandum of Understanding) being signed by the member states of the CEO-Bois, European Confederation of Woodworking Industries, about an initiative that would digitize the European timber industry. “TIMBIM”, the name given to this initiative, supports the constant collaboration and knowledge-sharing of the timber market between the member states participating.

Digitization has a lot of potential, especially when we talk about forest monitoring, management, certification, mapping of forestry services and resources, and opening new value chains. This ultimately aims at supporting decision making and improving competitiveness. The TIMBIM project, however, is the pilot project for any European digital platform where you can get information on construction wood. The initial partners to take part in the project are members of CEO-Bois that include Austria, Sweden, Switzerland, and Finland.

What Does the TIMBIM Initiative Entail?

As per the TIMBIM documentation fine print, along with the Norwegian software company Cobuilder, all the participating member states are supposed to develop a common data structure that has a specific dictionary & templates for the selected construction wood products. The base of these templates is the properties and names described by the European test and product standards which are applied across all EU countries.

The four participating members of the pilot project, Swedish Wood, Lignum, Federation of the Finnish Woodworking Industries, and the Association of the Austrian Wood Industries, will first select and then provide the information required to create data templates for the selected categories. With these structures, one can send both specific and generic information side-by-side by making use of the common data models made through a standard technical language.

Through this common data management platform, stakeholders will enable credible, clear, and standard-based communication even within the BIM methodology. The information provided through the same will then be used through all stages of the planning process. In the early project stages even though we see generic information, it is then replaced by specific ones in later stages to build credibility.

How Can Stakeholders Benefit from the Project?

Since the entire TIMBIM initiative focuses on a coordinated approach with other national associations, the main aim includes cost savings for the wood industry along with the faster implementation of workflows to optimize building in basic requirements over the entire lifecycle.

The information is machine-readable and thus ready to be processed by algorithms of applications following the BIM methodology. Add this to a supply chain automation platform that aims to digitize and automate global trade like Timber Exchange, and the entire flow would be smooth-functioning in no time.

The Timber Exchange custom platform also allows a multilingual feature where you can interact with stakeholders across the world without any language barriers. The fact that you can access a global price index and a market data hub statistics from the platform makes it one of the top-most shifts to digitization seen by the Sweden forestry industry.

What Does the Future Have in Store?

The future would see a common platform with a web-based view and an API (Application Programming Interface), where the information can be used by various actors. In this web-based view, the information would be open to translation into the respective language while you supplement other national information. It can also be presented in various user environments and national contexts such as dimensioning tools, and product catalogues, among others.

The information available on the API, on the other hand, can be used with the manufacturers’ PIM (Product Information Management Systems), BIM (Building Information Management), and ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning Systems), in association with data packets in Industry Foundation Classes (IFC).