Woodworkers producing at any scale of production could find automated tools; spray finish mix systems optimized for quick changeover; software that is easier to use; and the latest in plug and play LED and universal design woodworking hardware at AWFS Fair 2013.
The record 65 entries from 48 companies competing for the 7 Visionary Awards suggestes the prominence new technology had at AWFS Fair 2013.
Larger woodworking businesses are already using more automated CNC machinery. At AWFS Fair they found they could cost justify new integrated machinery, or update xisting lines with automated materials handling.
Smaller woodshops are automating sawing and hand routing with computerized fences and jigs. As business ramps up, many small woodshops are taking a fresh look at the new crop of higher quality,entry-level CNCs appeared at a number of exhibitors. Compact vertical machining centers that can cut, route and drill in a small footprint continue to be popular and a number of new models debuted.
In finishing we saw fast color-change spray systems for short run and custom colors, automated mixers, robotic spray coaters, and easier to use and quick changeover handheld systems. Finishing was a major entry category in the Visionary Awards.
Software is easier to use, with better user interfaces, and increasingly is built into tools and machines at a high standard of ease of use and performance. Improved user interfaces make benchtop, floor and large capital equipment much easier to operate, and far more productive.
New technologies included:• inkjet printing systems dedicated to wood, shown by several manufacturers. Using high definition printing heads and instantly cured UV inks, these devices print color patterns on wood or any serface, even allowing MDF to impersonate oak (good for store displays, cabinet backs, etc);
• new generation hot air edgebanding systems which allow edgbanders to make the seamless joint between surface and side, using the same edgeband materials that expensive laser edgebanders use - but with lower capital investment.
nd contour edgbanding (Oliver, SNX, etc.).
+AWFS Fair itself:
AWFS Fair 2013 attendance grew for the first time since 2005, as the show hosted 9,150 registered attendees and nearly 13,500 total participants with 503 exhibiting companies.
+ General business climate:
Woodworking and manufacturing businesses are recovering. Segments related to new home construction (cabinetry, furniture, flooring, windows, doors) are leading, and home remodeling (custom woodworking and cabinetry) lagging, but improving significantly.
+ Need to increase yield, throughput:
Demand is driving up lumber and panel prices (spot shortages were seen in 1/4-inch MDF). So waste must be reduced: automated equipment, consistently milled lumber and panel, and just-in-time delivery are in demand.