Challenging the Limits of Technology: IWF Challengers Award

By Bill Esler | Posted: 07/08/2014 11:00AM


Earth Anatomy flexible stone veneerEarth Anatomy Wood technology buzz is running strong for the 2014 International Woodworking Fair, August 20-23 at Atlanta’s Georgia World Congress Center. Much of the interest centers on innovations expected at the show, which are well represented among entries in IWF’s Challengers Distinguished Achievement Award competition.

This 24th edition of the Challengers Award program, which originated to promote development of innovative technology in woodworking machinery, supplies and services for the wood product industries, was tweaked this year: 61 woodworking products from 45 companies were entered in April; the field was narrowed to semi-finalists in May; then winnowed down in June to the 20 finalists listed here. The official IWF Challengers Award publication is linked to the online version of this article.

IWF Challengers Award Notable in this Challengers go-round are multiple entries from two companies — 5 from Stiles Machinery, 3 from Weinig/Holz-Her — that have reached the Finalist stage. Here is the complete list of Challengers Award Finalists with brief description:

Aiken Development Ndepth 3D Sensor provides 3D color and depth measurement of lumber defects.

Castle Pocket Cutter/Screw Inserter speeds drill and insertion of screws, automating the simplest style joint.

Colonial Saw Lamello Tenso Self-clamping Glue Aid pulls from joint center so clamping angle is correct.

Earth Anatomy Thin Stone Veneer is so light it can be used on any surface.

Friulmac Randomax End Matcher endmatches planks of random length.

Graco ProMix PD2K mixes coating close to use, cutting flush zone waste.

Leitz DFC Dust Extraction Hoods extract 98% of chips and dust returning “clean” air back into the shop.

Martin Hebrock Airtronic hot air edgebander anchors liquid polymer edgeband material to panel.

Next Wave Automation’s Ready2Rout has a digital fence for portable routers.

SD Machinery MagPi push-button operated arc forming machine, produces laminated or thermo-formed arcs of almost any radius.

Stiles Machinery Holzma dustEX automatically removes abrasive dust from panel saw tables.

Stiles Machinery airTec by Homag.

Stiles Machinery’s Kentwood Random Scraping Machine makes authentic-looking, antiqued wood flooring.

Stiles Machinery Homag Group PowerTouch Control “revolutionizes” the interface between operators.

Stiles Machinery Microtec Scanner automatically determines the quality and strength of lumber.

Thermwood Cut Center push-button self-programmed CNC router makes closets, furniture and cabinets.

Timesavers Yieldsaver-24 self-centering double-knife planer compensates for lumber with scant areas.

Weinig/Holz-Her Surface Structuring for texturizing board surfaces.

Weinig/Holz-Her Evolution Vertical Machining Center; the compact CNC machines all four panel sides.

Weinig/Holz-Her GluJet, an on-demand thin-film hot glue delivery system.

See Challengers Live

Most of the original entries and all 20 Finalists will be on display at IWF 2014. Selection of the seven Challengers Award winners will take place August 19, the day before IWF opens, so the panel of judges can actually see the machines or software operate, and touch materials. Winners will be announced August 20.


About the Author

Bill Esler, Woodworking Network, WMS

Bill Esler

Bill Esler, Editorial Director, Woodworking Network Bill is responsible for overall content at Woodworking Network magazine, and related newsletters. Bill also manages event programs for Woodworking Network Live conferences at the Woodworking Machinery & Supplies Expo in Toronto and Cabinets & Closets Expo. He developing audience engagement programs using custom digital printing, live lead-generating events, custom websites, and custom digital and print content. Read Bill Esler's woodworking blogs. He can be reached at or follow him on Google+.

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