CHARLOTTE, N.C. - More than 400 attendees gathered at the inaugural Charlotte Wood Pro Expo, which was held February 14-16 at the Charlotte Convention Center.  The event featured a full day of conferences and plant tours on February 14, followed by two days of exhibits.
The event kicked off February 14 with a keynote address by George Frey, president of Lignum Consulting.  In his presentation titled, “How Industry 4.0 Can Optimize Any Size Plant,” Frey simplified the process by which woodworkers can take advantage of new technology and improve their productivity, regardless of the size of their companies. According to Frey, Industry 4.0 is a high tech strategy but the time is ripe for shops of any size to adopt it.
Other industry personalities keynoting the show include FDMC editor Will Sampson; and Gene Wengert, longtime FDMC Magazine columnist "The Wood Dr."  Lean expert, Mike Roth delivered a two-part presentation on lean.  Greg Pilotti, a furniture manufacturer and one of Woodworking Network's 40 under 40, discussed workforce strategies and Adam West of Dixon Abrasives discussed how to eliminate waste and improve your sanding operation.
Sixty attendees got a firsthand look at commercial cabinet manufacturer, CABTEQ Solutions. Located in Rock Hill, S.C., CABTEQ offers design, manufacturing and installation services and serves a variety of commercial markets, including the dental and overall medical markets.  The tour was sponsored by Wurth Wood Group.
Attendees were also able to tour Blum in nearby Stanley, North Carolina. Attendees learned about the company’s award-winning apprenticeship program as well as Blum’s $16 million expansion that includes $7 million for equipment upgrades for its fully automated warehouse as well as $6 million for new manufacturing technology. 
Another highlight of Wood Pro Expo Charlotte was a reception that acknowledged the Top 5 vote-getters of the Young Woodworking Professionals competition.  Nathan Deal and his project, The Great Auk, was the winner of the competition.

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