HANNOVER, Germany - Against a backdrop of Industry 4.0, “LIGNA 2017 will go down as a milestone in the digitalization of the wood industry,” said Dr. Andreas Gruchow, managing board member of Deutsche Messe, organizer of the woodworking industry's largest trade show in the world.
Held May 22-26 in Hannover, Germany, the biennial show drew 93,000 visitors, including an estimated 42,000 attendees from outside the host country, according to show figures. More than 1,500 exhibitors, including 900 from abroad, showcased a range of innovative machinery, tools and solutions, with displays spanning across almost 1.4 million square feet of net space at the fairgrounds.
LIGNA 2017 featured a revamped, thematic layout, including two new display categories: Surface Technology and Machine Components and Automation Technology, which highlighted the theme of Industry 4.0: the networking of machines and automation to improve efficiency in high-production as well as small-scale environments.
“Digitalization and integrated production are the new keys to success for our customers," added Wolfgang Pöschl, chairman of the Woodworking Machinery division of Germany’s Mechanical Engineering Industry Assn. (VDMA), a show sponsor, and also chairman of the management board of Michael Weinig AG. "There is huge demand across the board, resulting in full order books. The challenge now is to shorten delivery lead times as much as possible.”
Catering to the wide range and skill levels of the attendees, exhibits ranged from high-tech, sophisticated machinery to entry-level systems for use by those in the furniture, cabinet, architectural woodworking, casegoods and closets industries. Solutions shown included: service apps for machine monitoring, to the first professional table saw using SawStop technology, dual glue technology on a contour edgebander, sanding and finishing innovations, a moulder that produces lineal shapes and designs in a single step, robots, a “three-click” process for producing a complete item of furniture, and of course, Batch 1 systems incorporating CNC technology.
“This has been an outstanding LIGNA for us," said Pekka Paasivaara, CEO of the Homag Group, which featured a large range of machinery in its booth. "Highlights included our 100-meter long, ‘batch size 1’ plant, our innovations center and, above all, Tapio – the new digital woodworking platform. Our skilled trades display was very well attended,” he added.
Festool's Marcel Pfost, director of Training & Fairs, also noted, “The new layout concept for LIGNA has worked extremely well. The mix of large and small-scale machinery attracted some new visitor categories to our stand. The interplay between outdoor exhibition space and indoor stands was just what Festool needed, as the ideal way for us to reach the target group of joiners and cabinetmakers. We noted an especially strong interest in our products on the part of international visitors over the first two days of the fair.”
“We were overwhelmed by the internationality of this LIGNA," added Luigi De Vito, director of the Woodworking Machinery Division of the SCM GROUP SpA. "We had customers from more than 60 countries at our booth. This has created significant opportunities in new and existing markets for SCM.”
Klaus Longmuss, general manager of Wood-Mizer Sägewerke Vertriebs GmbH, agreed. “We have never had so many foreign visitors at our stand. The concept of exhibiting our large-scale sawmills to an international audience on the open-air site was a complete success.”
“LIGNA is our innovations fair, where we translate innovations into tangible reality and demonstrate our customer service approach in practice," said Jürgen Philipps, Sspokesperson for the management board of Siempelkamp Maschinen und Anlagenbau GmbH. "LIGNA 2017 has been a complete success from our point of view.”
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