Thousands of woodworkers crowded the expo hall of the Direct Energy Centre to view the latest technology and services on display by the 125 exhibitors at the Woodworking Machinery & Supply Expo, held Oct. 27-29 in Toronto. The biennial WMS, Canada’s largest woodworking event, is owned by Vance Communications Canada ULC.
This year’s WMS show marked several industry firsts, among them the largest wood conference program ever put together for WMS since it began almost 50 years ago. Topics included: Product Design & Development, Driving More Traffic to your Website; Lean Production & Quality Management; and Finishing for Small Shops. The two most well-attended seminar program topics were Cost Estimating Essentials, presented by Sean Benetin, immediate past president of the Cabinet Makers Assn., and Lean Manufacturing Basics, led by Lignum Consulting veteran Sepp Gmeiner.
“This leads me to believe that WMS attendees are keen on shoring up their bottom lines by getting a better handle on their costs and to become more efficient,” said Rich Christianson, conference director.
In addition, the Wood Tech Summit offered free interactive panel discussions of cutting edge woodworking technologies, presented live on the expo floor. These special presentations included: “Software Trends & Innovations;” “LIGNA Hannover: Technology for Today & Tomorrow;” “Digital Marketing: What Are the Best Practices?” and sessions on “Technology That Fits: Software Solutions for Cabinetmakers.”
With the economy stronger in Canada than in the United States, it is no great surprise that the woodworkers from throughout Canada who attended WMS “did so with a great sense of optimism and purpose,” said Christianson.
“WMS attendees came to the show in a buying mood, as judged by discussions I had with a wide swath of exhibitors,” he said. This trend continued throughout the event, with traffic remaining at a steady pace through closing on day three. Exhibitors reported hundreds of quality leads at show’s end, from attendees representing all segments of the industry, including: cabinetry, residential and contract furniture, architectural woodwork, closets and home storage systems, etc.
The show was preluded by a Technology Tour of area woodworking plants and showrooms organized by CNC Automation. The Wednesday tour afforded participants an opportunity to see three well-equipped, Toronto-area woodworking operations: Olympic Kitchens, White Oak Custom Woodworking Ltd. and Bamco Custom Woodworking. The buses also made stops at Royce//Ayr’s cutting tool facility and Hettich Canada’s hardware showroom.
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