Two weeks ago I attended the AWFS fair primarily for the networking opportunities and to see if anyone was showing anything new in 3DL products and related technology. I must admit I was a little surprised at the lack of involvement, but could not judge as I was only there as an attendee and not as an exhibitor. For those offering main staple technology (CNC routers, edgebanders, panel saws, etc.) interest was high and the enthusiasm in these booths was obvious. However, though growing in acceptance, 3DL is still a relatively small niche and the decision to “show or not show” is still a difficult one to make. As a result,industry participation in the exhibit hall was very low.

Despite the obvious lack of larger presses and materials suppliers, AWFS still representeda tremendous opportunity for industry networking. One such event was the Composite Panel Association 3DL Task Force Meeting at the end of day one. The 3DL Task Force falls under the CPA Marketing Committee and is comprised of 3DL producers, suppliers and end users all dedicated to promoting the use and specification of 3D laminates. Necessary for the long-term health of the industry, the group will also work to promote industry best practices in the manufacture, marketing and specifying of 3DL components.

Out of this meeting came a more aggressive agenda to produce a series of documents and/or brochures addressing various issues involving 3DL. These will describe the sustainable practices of 3DL, benefits of using 3DL components in various applications, address environmental issues, as well as educate fabricators and buyers as to the distinctions between high and low quality products. These projects all have various projected completion dates over the next year with the hopes of having many, if not all, completed by the time IWF 2014 comes around. Though several methods of distribution will be used, they will all be available on the Composite Panel Association website,, as they are completed.