Fuji Onset inkjet digital staining at North American Plywood.
Fuji Onset inkjet digital staining at North American Plywood.
Changing buyer preferences promises to open exciting new wood industry market opportunities, but managers will need to take a fresh view of how they are conducting business and operations. 
New materials and new manufacturing approaches, often developed by wood manufacturers themselves in partnership with their suppliers, are reshaping the face of the wood industry. A Woodworking Network Leadership Forum on July 18 at the Las Vegas Convention Center will look at the development of new technology - including a new generation of plant operations management systems, custom production technology such as a CNC cabinet door sanding machine, as well as new lumber and panel processes, including digitally stained and veneered Baltic plywood, Cross Laminated Timber for high-rise wood buildings, and flame-finished wood (aka, Shou Sugi Ban). 
North American Plywood general manager Donald Kuser will detail joint-development with imaging technology firm Fuji of an adaptation of the Inca Onset high-speed digital inkjet press for staining plywood. John Mills, CEO of Inca Digital Printers , Cambridge, U.K., will co-present. By development of high resolution images of finely figure wood species, the process creditably simulates veneering by printing on a 5x10-foot plywood sheet to generate high-def oak, anigre, walnut burl, or other veneer looks in 90 seconds. 
A presentation by Andy Hehl, head of  Kebony USA, will cover its adaptation with Delta Millworks in Austin, Texas, of this centuries old technique that is trending lumber in interior. By metering the flame intensity and duration, hardwoods and softwoods are rendered in a variety of colors. They can also be brushed and oiled to created unique textures.
Cross Laminated Timber (CLT) for wood high-rise buildings will be presented by Valerie Johnson, CEO and president of DR Johnson Lumber, and Iain MacDonald, associate director of the Tallwood Design Institute launched jointly by Oregon State University and the University of Oregon. The program integrates architecture,e ngineering and forest products education departments for skyscrapers and other large buildings designed in wood. The growing trend will reset methods for interior buildouts, affecting millwork and fine carpentry areas.
Trends such as the current dramatic shift to frameless cabinetry are also facilitating a more automated process for manufacturing kitchens, and other rooms – with electronics and electrical wiring and plumbing built in during the manufacturing process. This development will be examined in a magnetic presentation by Joe Wheeler, Professor of Architecture + Design at Virginia Tech University on Manufacturing FutureHAUS.
This revolutionary prototype for the home of the future, with designs that lend themselves to modular room and furnishings manufacture, has been expanded and presented at KBIS over the past four years, with prototypes for the kitchen, bath, living room, bedrooms and home offices have been developed. 25 industry partners, including California Closets, provided design expertise to maximize function and aesthetics. Grad students and architects at the university wield power tools, operate CNCs, and laminate panel as they have brought the project to fruition. Wheeler’s multidisciplinary effort has been the subject of a TEDx presentation, which he will share.
The inaugural Woodworking Network Leadership Forum overall is designed as a TEDx-style program for wood manufacturers, a top-level conference with a fast-paced briefings format.
Other sessions include: 
  • Decore-ative Specialties VP Todd Shapiro and Bacci America’s Joe Berry recount the two-year joint development of custom CNC cabinet door sanding system. 
  • Sauder Woodworking’s Jonathan Zublena and other 40 Under 40 panelists address reshaping corporate culture. 
  • Timberline Cabinetry & Millwork’s Kent Swinson and software expert Roger Shaw recount tailoring Production Coach enterprise software following a plant audit. 
  • RCS Millwork’s Dan Keller and Innergy’s Marc Sanderson cover development of a plant-wide management system to integrate machinery.
Bacci CNC door sander developed for Decore-ative Specialties
Premium registration for the Leadership Forum includes a luncheon and the 5:00 p.m. Leadership Reception, and the 2017 Wood Industry 40 Under 40 Awards. Registrants may also attend individual sessions of the concurrent Closets and Finishing Symposia.  The Closets Symposium includes star attractions like Lisa Adams, LA Closet Design; Jonathan Zublena on WoodTrac Closets by Sauder; Strategic Showrooms in an Internet Age with Masco Cabinetry’s Sarah Reep and designer Denise Butchko; and ClosetsMaid dealer Brandon Olson of Closet Creations Inc., Maryville, Washington one high-end closets for new customer homes. 

Have something to say? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.