More American Woodworkers Traipse to Europe for Ligna, interzum

By Bill Esler | Posted: 05/18/2013 6:27PM


  The German woodworking industry contracted in February - shrinking 3.6% acording to EUWID  wood industry analysts. Italy's economy shrank by 10% overall. And Western Europe is suffering through a downturn, with rising unemployment, and popular unrest.

So equipment and supply manufacturers exhibiting at two big global wood industry events in May in Germany - Ligna 2013, the giant global wood manufacturing machinery show in Hannover; and Interzum 2013, the lumber, panel hardware and supplies show in Cologne - rejoiced at the turnout of North Americans.

For Ligna, North American attendance rose 52%, which came as a surprise. And it is possible that the growth in North American attendance at Interzum was even higher. One exhibitor shared his hot list of larger U.S. cabinet manufacturers in attendance: five times as many companies were in Cologne for the show as the previous event in 2011.

We ran into American wood manufacturers with surprising frequency in the aisles at both shows. My last day at Ligna, I met with Curt Brannon, president of Sympateco, Inc., a flourishing retail franchise interiors business based in Omaha. He was accompanied by five team managers from Sympateco. "It's a big investment," Brannon said. "But it is worth it."

American equipment manufacturers and suppliers were very well represented at both events, at individual exhibits in throughout both shows, and in group representation such as the Southern Group of State Foresters at Ligna, and at Interzum, the American Hardwood Export Association.

Fred Stringfellow, representing the U.S.-based Wood Machinery Manufacturers of America at Ligna, noted that more than 3,000 North American attendees were present at the show. WMMA members at Ligna included Black Bros. Company, C.R. Onsrud, Inc., Mereen-Johnson, LLC, MultiCam, Inc., Super-Thin Saws, Inc., Wagner Electronics/Wagner Meters, AceCo Precision Manufacturing, Microvellum, Inc., Newman Whitney/Newman Machine Company, Inc., Safety Speed Cut/Safety Speed Manufacturing Co., Inc., UNIQUE Machine & Tool Co., USNR and Voorwood/Turbosand Co.


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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