Ligna preview: A sneak peek at the world's largest woodworking show
February 25, 2019 | 12:22 pm CST

HANNOVER, Germany – A sneak peek at some of the new woodworking technology and innovations on display at LIGNA 2019 was given to more than 60 journalists from 25 countries at a special event hosted by show organizer Deutsche Messe. The world’s largest woodworking event, LIGNA will be held May 27-31 at the fairgrounds in Hannover, Germany.

This year’s LIGNA fair will play host to more than 1,500 exhibitors from more than 50 nations, with displays spread across nearly 1.4 million net square feet (130,000 square meters) of display space. The number of visitors to the show is projected to surpass 93,000, said Dr. Andreas Gruchow, member of Deutsche Messe’s Management Board.

Pictured (left to right): Dr. Andreas Gruchow of Deutsche Messe, Pekka Paasivaara of VDMA, and guest speaker Sebastian Bacher, Bacher Bermann. The LIGNA preview event was held Feb. 5 in Hannover.

Showcased will be state-of-the-art processing solutions, including IoT platforms for industry 4.0, applications and concepts for the primary and secondary woodworking industries, said Dr. Gruchow, adding, "One of the biggest challenges is the ever greater trend to product individualization  — a trend that is putting pressure on manufacturers to deliver customized products at least as quickly, profitably and efficiently as with series production. It's these sorts of challenges for which LIGNA exhibitors will be presenting solutions."

The themes for this year’s event include Integrated Woodworking – Customized Solutions; Smart Surface Technology; and “Access to Resources and Technology,” which is the keynote theme of the Wood Industry Summit.  "Once again in 2019, LIGNA will serve as the industry's showcase of choice for unveiling their innovations, with a great many exhibitors even timing their development cycles to coincide with the show's staging every two years," Dr. Gruchow said.

"Visitors to the next LIGNA will gain captivating insights into what the future has in store for the furniture and woodworking industries."

Woodworking Network was among the journalists in attendance at the 2019 LIGNA preview.

The LIGNA 2019 Preview, held Feb. 5 at the show fairgrounds, also included a presentation from Pekka Paasivaara, chairman of the VDMA Woodworking Machinery division. The VDMA is also an organizer of the LIGNA fair.

Paasivaara noted that the global market for woodworking machinery is relatively upbeat, although a moderate economic slowdown in main markets is expected in 2019. German-based woodworking machinery manufacturers, in particular, had a record year for production in 2018, growing an estimated 8 percent, to roughly €3.4 billion. "Despite the emerging economic slowdown in several international markets, we expect to maintain this high level in 2019," said Paasivaara, who is also CEO of Homag Group and a member of the Dürr AG Board of Management.

According to figures from VDMA, on a country-by-country basis, the United States ranks as the largest export market for German woodworking equipment, followed by China, Poland, France and Austria. The VDMA represents more than 3,200 companies in Germany and Europe.

Machine innovations and technology for Industry 4.0 will be highlighted by a number of companies at LIGNA 2019. Photo: Deutsche Messe

Also sharing insights on the integration of technology with traditional woodworking skills was Sebastian Bacher, CEO of Bacher Bergmann GmbH, a custom woodworking facility based in Cologne, Germany, and winner of the 2018 European WATIFY award for digitally transforming its business.

In order to stay competitive, Bacher said, "the woodworking trades will need to digitize their manufacturing operations," including adapting CNC technology and software solutions. "Digital technologies are more than just a means of prevailing in an increasingly competitive market. They also represent a big opportunity," he said. At the end of his presentation, Bacher encouraged associations and agencies to "work on ensuring a fully functional, robust IT infrastructure, standardized industry applications and open software architectures," for the betterment of the overall industry.

Surfacing technology will be among the featured displays at LIGNA. The show will be held May 27-31 in Hannover. Photo: Deutsche Messe

Showcase for innovation, skills events

Visitors to LIGNA will see a wide range of technology and innovations across seven main display categories: Tools and Machinery for Custom and Mass Production in halls 11 to 15 and 27; Machine Components and Automation Technology in halls 15 and 16; Surface Technology in halls 16 and 17; Wood-Based Panel Production in hall 26; Energy from Wood in halls 25 and 26, as well as pavilions 32, 33 and 35; and Forestry Technology on the open-air site and in pavilions 32, 33 and 35.

Demonstrations will also take place in the open-air site

The third Wood Industry Summit, "Access to Resources and Technology" will be held in hall 26. Organized by Deutsche Messe in partnership with the German Forestry Council (KWF), it includes a forum, lounge and exhibition area. Also featured is the "Future Workshop for Forestry & Wood" showcase, a pavilion showcasing startups and inspired by the German government's Charter for Wood 2.0 policy. KWF will also present a special forestry technology presentation in pavilion 33.

Along with the machinery displays and seminars, for the first time, Deutsche Messe and the German Woodsmen's Championships Association (VWMD) will co-stage the German Logging Championships, to take place on the open-air site at LIGNA. Also in the open-air site, on Thursday, May 30, will be the Lower Saxony Crane Driving Championships and the Women's Crane Driving Cup.

For more information on the LIGNA Fair, visit

Sneak peek at products

On hand at the LIGNA preview event, more than 30 exhibitors provided a sneak peek at some of their offerings to enhance the production of solid wood and panel-based furniture, cabinetry and casegoods. Among them:

Among the new items by Homag are the SawTEQ B-300 and B-400 robotic saws with the capability for batch size 1 production with up to 800 parts per shift.

Homag Group's 5,000 square meter booth in hall 14 will feature 50 machines for solid wood and panel processing applications, as well as the popular Innovation Center. Homag will also demonstrate a number of integrated cell concepts for mid-size and industrial operations, plus machines for surface and profile painting, sanding and laminating, including the new LamTEQ F-200, plus graphical optimizations of the powerTouch control system. Among the developments for panel processing the new generation of robot saws, the SawTEQ B-300 and B-400 flexTEC. Homag will also show intelligent automation solutions that combine the MouldTEQ planing and profiling machines with other production steps, further optimizing processes. Also new is an integrated adhesive tape application process developed by Homag and tesa for the gluing of composite windows.

In addition, Weimann technology for wood frame components will be featured in hall 13.

Among the items on display at Weinig is the Powermat 2400

The Weinig Group's expanded booth size in hall 27 will feature more than 50 machines, including demonstrations of a connected system (cutting, optimizing, moulding, jointing) manufacturing a finished product. Weinig will also show three new developments in planing and profiling, including the debut of the Hydromat Generation series with the capability of up to 300 mpm, the Powermat 2400 3D with contour milling from the right and left during throughfeed, and Powermat 3000 moulder with feed speeds up to 100 mpm.  Also new are versions of the Conturex CNCs, OptiCut saws and the patented Turbo S 100 jointing technology, which will be shown in the production line. The ProfiPress LB gluing press, with an automatic packaging system, is also making its debut in the 5,000 square meter booth.

Holz-Her's Nextec 7735 lift

Also part of the Weinig Group, Holz-Her will showcase its expanded Nextec CNC technology at the booth in hall 27. The new Nextec 4.0 office software module is now a standard feature of the Push, Automatic and Lift Editions; another component of Nextec 4.0 is Warehouse, designed for managing order directly at the machine. Machinery debuts include the Evolution 7400 series CNC for four-sided formatting, plus new looks and features to the Tectra 6120, Return Master 5920 and Lumina 1596 edgebander.

Among Biesse's debuts will be the Ray Force zero glue line contour edgebander

Celebrating its 50th anniversary, Biesse Group's 6,000 square meter booth in hall 11 at LIGNA will have more than 39 machines and seven robots. The display will include three process solutions that have been automated from the raw material to the finished product, with several integrated lines and robotized cells. Highlights include the Akron 1100 compact entry-level edgebander, plus the Ray Force zero glue line contour edgebander which uses infrared lamps to fuse a reactive layer, with an option for EVA or PUR glue with a fast change of equipment; the Ray Force has also been entered in the AWFS Visionary Award program. Guided by the Automaction concept, Biesse will also present new features of its Internet of Things app, Sophia, the company's global service platform for developing real-time analytics and data for predicting machine performance.

SCM takes a look at the Smart & Human Factory

Inside hall 13, SCM's  4,000-plus square meter booth showcases the theme of the Smart & Human Factory, a cutting-edge production model based on digital and automation systems and allowing for advanced man-machine interaction and 360-degree control over the entire production flow. The flexible, modular and easily reconfigurable systems are designed to respond in an increasingly effective and fast way to the challenges of mass customization and include the integration of robotics to minimize the low-added value and repetitive human tasks. Also noteworthy are the upgrades to Maestro Suite, part of the company's IoT platform, along with advancements to its CNC line of products.

New developments in surface technology, including sanding, membrane pressing and finishing, will be on display at the Superfici booth in hall 16, part of the SCM group.

LIGNA marks the international debut of the newly formed Altendorf Group

The Altendorf Group makes its debut to the international market, showcasing the latest innovations, options and improvements to Altendorf sliding table saw and the redesigned Hebrock edgebanders; Altendorf acquired Hebrock in 2018. At Altendorf Group's booth in hall 12, the focus will also be on digital services and connectivity, between machines, and also to the office, warehouses, purchasing and work preparation. Digitalization and the products to meet those needs will also be addressed, including an international online user platform. The newly established Altendorf Group America is located in Mooresville, North Carolina.

Robots working in conjunction with CNC machines can be seen at Bacci's booth

Inside an increased booth size in hall 27, Bacci will display a range of new and popular products for solid wood and panel processing, including seven CNC machines, copying lathes, linear shaper sanders, mortisers, tenoners and saws, for the manufacture of cabinet doors, chairs and other products. One highlight of Bacci's exhibit will be demonstrations of robots feeding and outfeeding two different CNC machines, one for solid wood and one for flat panels.

Bürkle (Robert Bürkle GmbH) will feature robot technology in the finishing operation

Bürkle will display its range of services and solutions, with a focus on system automation using robot technology, spray-paint machines combined with system peripheries, digital printing, surface finishing and Industry 4.0 functionality. At the significantly expanded booth in hall 17, also featured will be new process-related developments to the ROBUSpro series, a new handling system for semi-automatic loading on the ROBUSeco series, and two single-pass inkjet printers for wood decor printing.

Leitz will display a range of tooling solutions

Under the motto "solutions in new dimensions," Leitz's booth in hall 15 will showcase the XPert digital service concept as well as new products, including additions to the ProfilCut family: the ProfilCut Q Plus and ProfilCut Q Premium Plus with a resharpenable, diameter and profile-constant cutting edges.  The company also says its new compact hogger generation is ideally suited for batch size 1 production as well as for processing large quantities in furniture production. Another innovation is the swiveling bevel cutterhead with exchangeable cutting systems, which allows for angles to be adjusted quickly and easily.   

Barberan's display will include the Jetmaster TXT digital printer

Barberan continues to innovate its surfacing technology, including the capability for haptic impression and realistic textures on the Jetmaster TXT. The company says the digital printing equipment also allows for the application of protective lacquers selectively and precisely. In addition to its digital printing solutions, also on display at the company's booth in hall 17 will be a newly developed cutting and finishing system for "cleaning" (i.e., trimming foil) off panels on all four sides, as well as a bilateral profile wrapper and a fully automatic, quick change profile wrapper.

Leuco's SmartJointer airFace

Leuco says it will "magentify wood processing" as it showcases new and updated tooling for processing new and complex materials at its booth in hall 15. In addition, the company notes improvements in processes are crucial. To address this, Leuco will offer digital tool management, in which a digital twin of the tool is created with static tool data, i.e., dimensions of the new tool, and with dynamic data, such as dimensions after sharpening — and managed in the "ToolCloud."

Software innovations include 2020's mobility app for Insight

2020 will be showcasing its latest releases of 2020 Insight, 2020 Ideal Spaces and 2020 Fusion design software at its booth in hall 15. New features of 2020 Insight version 11 include a Service Management Module, which takes users from the design and manufacturing process through delivery and installation of the product, an update to the user interface, and a suite of mobility applications for Business Intelligence, Field Sales and Field Service.

The Star Press is reportedly the world's largest briquetting press

RUF's booth in hall 25 will showcase a range of briquetting solutions. Following the acquisition of C.F. Nielsen in 2018, the company's offerings now include mechanical and hydraulic briquetters, as well as briquetting with extruders, also known as Shimada technology. Among the offerings, RUF LIGNUM (for wood) and RUF 500-800 (for biomass) systems now require 25 percent less energy and produce 15 percent more briquettes thanks to improved efficiency of the hydraulics. The latest addition to the C.F. Nielsen line, the SBP-9 Star Press is the world's largest briquetting press, the company says. It is capable of producing briquettes with diameters of Ø40-60 and can with Ø60 briquettes reach a capacity of up to 5.000 kg/h. Upgrades have also been made to the extrusion lines.

Among GreCon's display will be the UPU 6000 FS scanning system

Fagus GreCon's LIGNA exhibit in hall 26 will feature the company's range of scanning systems, including the UPU 6000 FS, a full-scale ultrasonic measuring/scanning system for the inline detection of delamination and inhomogeneities in panel-shaped materials, such as wood-based panels. Also on display will be the company's spark detection and extinguishment systems.

Vecoplan’s Live Service gives its maintenance technicians access to the controller or the control panel so that they can identify, analyze and eliminate errors in real time.

In hall 25, Vecoplan's display includes an efficient single-shaft shredder with an improved cutting unit and a special drive, plus systems for upstream and downstream processes such as conveying and storage. Equipped with the patented Electronic Slip Control drive (ESC), the new VHZ 1600 can process coarse wood, composite panel, hard and soft wood waste and even bark and can detect impurities with a fast-reacting rotor brake. Vecoplan will also display a new biomass chipper designed as a stationary unit with a compact, horizontal feed unit, and a wood shredder with a U rotor, suitable for smaller operations.

IMOS will demonstrate the new version of iX furniture software

IMOS' booth in hall 15 will include the new software version of iX 2019, an optimized process that maps the user profiles of the furniture industry. The company says the new version is more user-friendly, and the individual iX-product groups like CAD, CAM, NET, PLAN and iFurn feature new functions.

Beck's LignoLoc F60 will be among the products on display

Beck Fastener Group's display in hall 13 will feature the LignoLoc wood nail system, including the new F60 system which offers larger dimensions, better pull-out and shear values. The LignoLoc F60 pneumatic nailer can shoot the wooden nails directly into wood or wooden materials without pre-drilling, where they fuse with the surrounding wood, forming an inseparable bond (referred to as lignin welding), the company says. The beech wood nails are available in lengths of 45 to 90mm in diameters of 4.7 and 5.3mm.

The new circular workcell concept of the 1s 1-panel cutting line.

Although not at the preview event, IMA Schelling will also be in attendance at LIGNA showcasing robotics, panel processing and material handling solutions. Among the highlights on display in hall 12 will be the BIMA Px80 gantry routing machine with diode laser and 6-axis robot, the Novimat Contour L20 lipping and veneer edgebanding machine with multi-profile technology, as well as the ls 1-panel cutting line with leaner processes and the fh 4 panel saw. IMA Schelling will also present its new holistic IoT and service platform and Industrial Consulting portfolio.

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About the author
Karen Koenig | Editor

Karen M. Koenig has more than 30 years of experience in the woodworking industry, including visits to wood products manufacturing facilities throughout North America, Europe and Asia. As editor of special publications under the Woodworking Network brand, including the Red Book Best Practices resource guide and website, Karen’s responsibilities include writing, editing and coordinating of editorial content. She is also a contributor to FDMC and other Woodworking Network online and print media owned by CCI Media. She can be reached at