All Hail the Challengers Award Finalists

By Rich Christianson | Posted: 07/08/2014 10:21AM


IWF Challengers Award Exhibitors representing seven products will be feted as 2014 Challengers Award winners during an Aug. 20 opening day ceremony at the International Woodworking Fair in Atlanta.

I have had the privilege of seeing several of the 20 finalists in action, plus have written articles about many of the others on Based on my personal observations, interviews and readings, it is safe to say that the judges have their work cut out for them to select the seven winners out of the final contenders. Nor was it easy to winnow the original field of 61 to 20.

Stiles Machinery represents an unprecedented five finalists, including the Homag Group’s airTec hot air edgebander. One of its challengers is a hot air edgebander made by Hebrock and distributed in the U.S. by Martin Machinery. Both machines were introduced at LIGNA Hanover last year as a less-costly alternative to laser edgebanders to achieve zero edge glue lines on panels.

Weinig/Holz-Her have three Challengers finalists. One of them, Weinig’s Powermat, includes a new CNC structuring surfacing moulder. This machine is the next generation of a Weinig moulder used at Great Lake Woods to add a random texture to wood, that I wrote about in July 2010. Another finalist, the Holz-Her Evolution CNC vertical machining center, was the subject of a video interview I conducted at the 2014 Cabinets & Closets Conference, where it made its North American debut.

Other finalists I wrote about include Leitz’s DFC Dust Extraction Hood, Graco’s ProMix PD2K, designed to reduce finishing material waste; AikenControls’ nDepth 3D Sensor, a lumber defect detection system; and the Friulmac Randomax Evo which combines wood defecting and end matching.

Click here to read the digital edition of the Challengers Award finalists.

Click here to read more about IWF


About the Author

Rich Christianson

Rich Christianson is Associate Publisher and Editor at Large of Woodworking Network. During his 25+ years covering the wood products industry, Rich has toured hundreds of manufacturing plants throughout North America, Europe and Asia. His reporting has covered everything from the state of the industry and impact of wood imports to technology and environmental issues. In his current capacity he is responsible for editing the daily Woodworking Network Update newsletter and coordinating events including the annual Cabinets & Closets Conference & Expo and Canada’s biennial Woodworking Machinery & Supply Expo. He can be contacted at or follow him on Google+.

Read more of Rich Christianson's blogs.

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