HANNOVER, GERMANY – A sneak peek at some of the new woodworking technology and innovations on display at LIGNA 2017 was given to more than 70 journalists from 28 countries at a special event hosted by show organizer Deutsche Messe. The world’s largest woodworking event, LIGNA will be held May 22-26 in Hannover, Germany.

This year’s LIGNA fair will play host to more than1,500 exhibitors from 45 nations, with displays spread across more than 1.313 million square feet of display space. The number of visitors to the show is projected to reach 93,000, said Dr. Andreas Gruchow, member of Deutsche Messe’s Management Board.

“LIGNA 2017 is where key solutions and applications will be showcased. It’s where business relationships and networks will be built that will benefit the entire wood industry for years to come,” Gruchow added.

The event included presentations from (left to right): Giulio Masotti, founder of Wood-Skin srl; Wolfgang Poschl, chairman of the VDMA Woodworking Machinery division and chairman of the management board of Michael Weinig AG; Dr. Andreas Gruchow, member of Deutsche Messe’s Management Board; and Anja Brokjans, LIGNA spokesperson.

The themes for this year’s event include: Integrated Manufacturing – on the Way to Industry 4.0; Processing of Plastics and Composites; and “Access to Resources and Technology” at the Wood Industry Summit.  “This year, the exhibitors are presenting a wide array of innovations for intelligent networked manufacturing systems, not to mention new ideas and strategies for the many value-creation networks at play in the wood processing and woodworking industries,” he said.

The LIGNA 2017 Preview, held Feb. 14 at the show fairgrounds, also included a presentation from Wolfgang Poschl, chairman of the VDMA Woodworking Machinery division and chairman of the management board of Michael Weinig AG. The VDMA is also an organizer of the LIGNA fair.

Poschl noted that the global market for woodworking machinery is upbeat. German-based woodworking machinery manufacturers in particular had a record year in 2016, growing an estimated 14 percent, to €3.2 billion (projected). And with forecasts for 2017 looking to continue the growth trend, “That puts our industry on track for record sales of around €3.4 billion, meaning it is set to significantly outperform Germany’s mechanical engineering industry as a whole,” Poschl said.

Woodworking Network was among the media in attendance at the LIGNA Preview event

“One of the key drivers of this growth is digitalization, which is experiencing rapid uptake across all sectors,” he added. Poschl noted that even small, stand-alone machines can be digitally integrated into the production flow, and that shops of all sizes can take advantage of integration to improve their productivity and profitability.

North America comprises the third largest region for German woodworking machinery exports, according to figures from the VDMA and German Federal Statistical Office. Of the €1.45 billion in exports recorded in the first three quarters of 2016, other countries in Europe (58%) were by far the largest market, followed by Asia (20%), North America (11%), South America (7%), Oceania (2%) and Africa (2%). In terms of individual countries, the United States ranked as the top buyer (€148 million), followed by China & Hong Kong (€123 million) and Poland (€117 million).

Also sharing insights and information on his company’s technologies was Giulio Masotti, founder of Wood-Skin srl, which produces panels that can be bent into 3D shapes.

New categories and layout

New to LIGNA is a revamped, thematic layout to the show, including two new display categories: Surface Technology, which will be located in Hall 17, and Machine Components and Automation Technology in Hall 16. Gruchow noted the technologies displayed in Hall 16 also highlight the theme of Industry 4.0, which encompasses the networking of machines and other forms of automation to improve efficiency in high-production as well as small-scale environments.

Located in Halls 11 to 15 and in 27 will be a new display, “Tools and Machinery for Custom and Mass Production.” According to show management, this display includes machinery for processing solid wood and panel products, including tools for crafting custom products. Hall 11 will also feature the LIGNA Connected Factory, featuring networked and RFID manufacturing.

Rounding out the themes are Wood-Based Panel Production and Energy from Wood displays in Hall 26, Sawmill Technology in Hall 25, and Forestry Technology located in an open-air site and outdoor pavilions.

“The new layout of themes reflects the fact that, in modern woodworking, the type of technology used is more about what’s needed to get the job done, than about the size or scale of the user’s operation,” Gruchow said. “In other words, new technologies and their applications are converging. Ligna brings these innovations to life, making it easier for visitors to experience all the most relevant innovations for their particular needs.”

Sneak peek at new products

On hand at the LIGNA preview event, 30-plus exhibitors provided a sneak peek at some of their offerings to enhance the production of solid wood and panel-based furniture, cabinetry and casegoods. Among them:

Homag AirTec zero joint edgebanding

Homag Group: Located within “Homag City” will be integrated and energy-efficient solutions for shops of all sizes, including networked batch one systems. On display will be a high-tech furniture line featuring: the TLF 411 storage system, Holzma’s HPS 320 flexTec cutting cell, a Profi KAL 610 edge processing cell, ABF 600 CNC for drilling and fitting insertion, with the woodFlex cell control system for networking. Also being showed are innovations to the airTec zero joint edgebanding solution, which can be used on entry level to high-tech machines. Within the group, Holzma will debut new panel cutting solutions and Durr will also be showcasing products for Industry 4.0.

Weinig Powermat 1500 moulder with SmartTouch

Weinig Group/Holz-Her: The company says all 40 of its group exhibits will be demonstrated live at the 13,123 square foot booth, as well as flexible processing lines. Making its LIGNA debut, the ProfiPress T Next Generation uses automatic wood thickness setting to avoid defects. The world-debut of the Powermat 2400 shows off the moulder’s speed, up to 100 m/min, while the 3D version can produce freely programmable structured surfaces during throughfeed, the company says. On the panel processing side, Holz-Her’s new Accura and Lumina edgebanders are equipped with Glu Jet PUR 2K stations for use with 2 kg PUR glue sticks. New vertical saws, including the Sector 1255 and 1260, are available with even greater capacities and features.

SCM Morbidelli Author CNC machining center

SCM Group: Among the 60-plus products being showcased is a cell system combined with robot, implementing the mass customization concept while maintaining the advantages of industrial production. Also new are the Morbidelli Author M100 and M200 machining centers featuring “all-in-one” technology, as well as the Stefani Easy Order SZ cell, which combines Batch One processing with measuring and tenoning-squaring. For solid wood processing are the SCM Accord 25 FX 5-axis machining center and Superset NT throughfeed moulder. Also at LIGNA will be high-tech CMS machines, new Minimax saws and edgebanders, and Superfici finishing systems.

Biesse Selco Sektor SK4 panel saw with twin pusher

Biesse: On display in an estimated 16,400 square feet of space will be more than 40 fully functional solutions for all size companies, including Industry 4.0 innovations to enable companies to become full-fledged smart factories. The new Biesse Services will also be presented, as well as the full Customer Care Experience, which further strengthens customer engagement. As part of the company’s Thinkforward philosophy, bLab will also be featured, where software can be tested and machines and manufactured items can be rendered digitally for test runs.

2020 Technologies: The focus at LIGNA will be on the company’s comprehensive modular ERP solution 2020 Insight, which is specifically tailored to the needs of the furniture industry. It enables the automation of sales and production processes and offers the technological basis for a profitable and customized product, even in large quantities, by automating and optimizing order processing, preparation and production processes.

IMA Robot

IMA Schelling Group: Batch 1 production using a fully automated and integrated production line will be the predominant theme at this year's fair Schelling will debut a flexible cut-to-size panel saw with miter capabilities and a basic infeed system. A second focus will be robotics. Here, IMA will display flexible 6-axis robots, which are programmed depending on the individual application. IMA’s new plant control system will also be presented for the first time at LIGNA. Presenting with IMA Schelling is Priess u Horstmann, with products for drilling and cabinet assembly.

Felder: New debuts include an entry-level CNC machining center, 5-axis CNC machining center, edgebander and panel saw innovations. Also on display will be material handling systems including the U-Motion Return System for edgebanders, the V-Motion vacuum panel lifter and the L-Motion Loading Unit for saws, plus a wide range of Felder, Format and Hammer woodworking systems.

Leuco: The company says it will showcase tooling innovations to help improve the processing quality and work environment, through noise reduction and other technology improvements. Focus will also be put on tooling flexibility, performance innovations such as “edge live,” plus organization and process improvements, such as ToolCloud.

Buerkle Rotation

Robert Buerkle: Added to its finishing range are newly developed systems for spray coating, featuring a modular platform design and a specific air treatment and humidification technology to improve overspray. The system can be enhanced with air jet drying tunnels, UV units, materials handling systems and fully automatic loading and unloading systems.  Also on display will be innovations in 3D lamination, including the new Rotation thermoforming system, which Buerkle says offers a compact, space-saving design, high production and automation, and minimal foil wastage. Also live at LIGNA will be a high-performance flat laminating line for various surface materials, including plastic overlays, woods and metals.

System TM: Making its debut will be the Opti-Kap 5100 optimization crosscut saw series, which features easy-to-use operation and intelligent control software. The saw has been enhanced to ensure minimal downtime and to automatically resolve errors caused by workpiece condition, operator or machine error, the company adds. Also demonstrated will be the Opti-Solution line featuring automatic feeding, scanning, crosscutting and stacking, working at high speed without operator intervention.

Flexijet: Together with its development partner Nedo GmbH & Co., Flexijet will present an update to its mobile 3D laser measurement system. In addition to a new product design, the Flexijet has a redesigned device interface with an integrated 7-inch touch screen as well as improved haptics. Photos can now be directly imported into the CAD drawing and measurement points can be precisely targeted, even under intensive sunlight.

Leitz BrillianceCut blade for plastics 

Leitz: Featured at LIGNA will be Leitz’s range of products, including the ProFix and ProFix C re-sharpenable, constant diameter tooling systems, and the ProfilCut Q changeable knife system. The company adds that its Marathon high-performance coating increases tool life and improves productivity. For cutting hard plastics such as PMMA and polycarbonate, Leitz offers the newly designed BrillianceCut circular saw blades, which it says reduce the need for sanding and polishing.

imos: In addition to a new software version, the company will showcase the upgrades and innovations now available in the individual product groups: CAD, CAM, NET and 360, as well as in the handling. For the first time, imos also will be presenting how end customers and users can be integrated into these processes.

Vecoplan: Among the products shown will be the energy efficient VecoBelt belt conveyor, which runs on an air cushion, ensuring minimal friction loss and quiet operation, the company says. It can convey bulk goods over a distance of up to 400 m with a capacity of up to 1600 cubic metre (poured volume)/hour.

Weima Eco2 shredder

Weima: Highlighted will be new entry-level offerings, including the Eco2 shredder. The single-shaft shredder has a working width of 600mm and an Eco rotor with 14 blades, a diameter of 252mm, and has a replaceable screen with 10-40 mm perforation. Also on display will be additional shredders and briquetters.

GreCon will display its latest offerings in fire and spark detection equipment.

AKE panel sizing blade 2.0

AKE: The cutting tool manufacturer will demonstrate its panel sizing saw blade 2.0 which it says offers increased tool life and improved finish quality. Noise emissions have also been reduced by 10 dB(A), or 50%. The same saw blade can be used to cut a variety of materials including particleboard, MDF, plywood and HPL.

Lignum Consulting: Founded in 2003, the group offers consulting, planning and organization assistance and will be available at LIGNA to discuss its services. It has offices in North Carolina as well as Germany and Brazil.

Grotefeld: The aggregate tooling provider will be showcasing its power units, which it says are highly resistant to mechanical stress. They can be used for machining a wide variety of materials including wood, plastics, glass and metal.

Keep watch at WoodworkingNetwork.com for updates on LIGNA 2017. Also visit Ligna.de for registration and information.