The Slovenia Times

Ledinek Engineering, a global woodworking machinery specialist

Ledinek Engineering production hall in Hoče. Ledinek Engineering

Ledinek Engineering, a family-run business whose tradition goes back to wooden barrel craftsmanship in the 19th century, has grown into a global manufacturer of top-notch woodworking machines and turnkey lines. It equips production facilities around the world.

Based in Hoče near Maribor, the company has been growing year after year, with sales rising from €57 million in 2021 to €94 million last year as net profit increased from €10 million to almost €16 million.

Some of their major new projects this year include a new production line for a client in Alabama in what will be their first project of this scale in the US market, and a new generation cross-laminated timber (CLT) production line for their long-term Swedish partner.

The initial shipments containing their state-of-the-art equipment for Smartlam's new automated glued laminated timber production facility in Dothan, Alabama are en route to the Port of Savannah in a project that is to keep them busy over the next five months.

Designed and manufactured by Ledinek, the automated plant comprises an array of their cutting-edge machines. The first Ledinek team will start installing the equipment in the US in January. Their experts will also provide staff training and launch the plant.

For its long-standing customer Moelven Edanesagen in Sweden, part of the Norwegian-Swedish Moelven Group, which produces wood elements and systems for the construction sector, Ledinek will manufacture and deliver a new planer line for exterior elements. As part of a major investment at the Edane site in Sweden they will also build a new production line for planing and sorting.

"This new line will allow faster flexibility and greater capacity for a variety of products, enabling the customer to produce high volumes of products at lower cost. The planned line will be the most powerful production line for this type of product," company founder Gregor Ledinek says.

In another important milestone for the company, its long-term partner Mayr-Melnhof Holz opened a new factory at its headquarters in Leoben in June that facilitates a modern CLT production and includes a spacious high-bay storage and a sorting plant. Ledinek was the main supplier for the new CLT plant at the heart of the project.

Ledinek Engineering production hall in Hoče. Ledinek Engineering

The company was incorporated in 1992, at the time of Slovenia's transition to a market economy, a period that Ledinek says was tough for entrepreneurs who had ambitions to export abroad.

"We were a small team, mainly sketchers and designers, looking for new solutions on drawing boards. I had a vision of developing lines alongside the machines to solve complex problems in production, which required even more know-how and experience," he remembers.

"1997 was a turning point that put us first on the European map and then on the world map of suppliers of modern technology lines for the wood processing industry," the founder told the Slovenian Press Agency.

Their mission remains developing the potential of wood for a sustainable future, which has become a trend in the past decade. Virtually the whole world wants to build with wood, says Ledinek, because it is a natural material rather than just a fad, one that has been used by man since time immemorial.

Boasting a number of innovation awards, the company supplies all major European, American and other wood-processing companies. To remain competitive, they must keep innovating to guarantee technologically sophisticated quality products and services.

The company serves some 1400 clients in more than 50 countries around the globe. Central Europe and Scandinavian countries remain their main markets but they are increasingly present in North and South America, Eastern Europe, Japan, Australia and other countries where wood is increasingly valued as a construction material.

Having opened 30 new jobs last year, Ledinek Engineering employs almost 260 people. After a record business year, they expect a slight drop in sales in 2023 in what the founder says is a transitional period that will have allow them to boost their presence in cross-Atlantic markets and build the foundations for further growth.


More from Business