IWF 2012: A Turning Point for 3D Laminating?
August 29, 2012 | 11:46 am CDT

I don’t think I’m the only one that experienced a whirlwind of conflicting emotions as IWF approached. The past couple of months had me working well into the night finishing up the development of products that were being released at the show. Would the products be well received? Would there be enough visitors to even get an accurate reading? Would it all be a waste of time? My anxiety increased with every moment that passed.

The show started the usual way. With the exception of other exhibitors stopping by to catch up, it was a bit of a ghost town for the first hour or so. Gradually people started making their way down the aisles. Good conversations were started and the demonstrations began.

Though the traffic was light, I started getting a real good feeling about what was happening. Something was different. People were excited to find ways they could improve or expand and seemed to be ready to make the necessary investment. With just a few exceptions, other exhibitors seemed to be experiencing the same thing. We were off to a pretty encouraging start.

By noon on Thursday I knew we were all experiencing something special. The crowd grew larger throughout the day and into Friday. Visitors were upbeat and showing all kinds of buying signs. Even Saturday, with its promise of severe boredom, proved to be a fruitful day. On a warm August day in Atlanta, it appeared the wood industry’s harsh winter was truly coming to an end.

As positive as this all is, conversations at IWF lead me to believe something even more significant is taking place for those in the 3D laminating industry. Like-minded people with similar visions for our future are connecting with the intention of taking our industry to a new level. Fabricators are showing more concern over issues related to the quality and long-term durability of their products. Companies from every segment of the industry are discussing the value of cooperation in promoting all that 3D laminating can offer to architects and designers. The development of industry standards and cooperative advertising and promotion are just a few of the issues that were discussed in various settings. Yes, winds of change are beginning to blow and the timing seems to be right.

Where will we go from here? That remains to be seen. But judging from the discussions and meetings that took place during IWF, the ball is moving in the right direction and the momentum is growing. Stay tuned! There is much more to come.

Bill Formella is the product applications specialist for Smartech International. Watch Smartech's video from IWF.

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About the author
Bill Formella | Technical Applications

Bill Formella is a 25 year veteran in the 3D laminating industry with extensive involvement in every facet including machinery, materials, supplies, as well as training and technical support.  Bill is the Technical Applications specialist for Smartech International and writes the Tech|Tips - 3DL blog, a free service provided by Smartech for the benefit of the entire 3D Lamination industry. Bill is also the owner and moderator of the LinkedIn group Membrane Pressing & 3D Laminating Design. Follow him via twitter @formellacsi and @smartechint.