IWF, the International Woodworking Fair, is North America’s largest show for production and custom woodworkers involved in cabinet, furniture, architectural woodwork, closets and more. A showcase for woodworking technology and supplies, IWF takes place Aug. 22-25 at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta

.Roberto Ghizzoni

Woodworking Network talked to IWF 2018 Show Chairman Roberto Ghizzoni, vice president of OMGA Industries, for the latest news and highlights of the biennial show.

Why should woodworkers attend IWF?

IWF is the largest show for material processing and design in the world for 2018, with over 1,000 exhibitors – including over 200 first-time exhibitors - displaying thousands of new products relative to design and machinery in a footprint of 1 million square feet of exhibit space. IWF 2018 also offers over 70 educational sessions and 11 full-day symposiums, making IWF the largest educational offering/training in the world.

The reason industry professionals should attend are numerous. Take advantage of networking opportunities, learn from peers, and meet with supplier experts on-site to gain more knowledge. See what the products and the suppliers can do for your business, now and for the future.

Whether you’re new to the business or have been a long-time fixture, small shop or large plant, you need to invest in information and manufacturing efficiency; IWF 2018 is where you need to be. It’s once every two years and everyone involved in our industry should commit time to something that will make an immediate impact on their business and manufacturing design process.

What are some of the new features and highlights awaiting attendees at this year’s show?

IWF is the most advanced show in world for technology, in 2018. The new halls configuration (B+C) will increase the buyers experience for more exhibitors.

The highlights begin the day prior to the show, with 11 all-day symposia on a range of topics, including: Closets, CNC, Countertop & Architectural Surfaces, Digital Printing, Expanding Your Business to the U.S., Finishing, Leadership Forum, Lean, Powder Coating, Engineered Surfacing Products and Wood Flooring.

During the show, Aug. 22-25, will be more than 70 education sessions from industry leaders, covering manufacturing, design, business management, marketing and production.

The Student Design Emphasis Competition and Challengers Award are always an amazing inside look at our industries future. Recognized around the world as the “Heisman Trophy for woodworking,” this year’s Challengers Award boasts more than 70 entries, proving the commitment to the industry for research and development, from our exhibitors. Other features include the new Digital Print/Decorative Surfaces Pavilion and New Product Showcase.

Look for IWF to continue to invest in technology and become more interactive and easier to navigate, so you can find the products you need, and the exhibitors you want to meet.

How does the projected attendance compare to past shows?

We are pacing 10 percent ahead of 2016 as positive industry trends continue and are expecting over 30,000 registrants for IWF 2018, compared to 27,260 in 2016 (including 17,125 verified buyers).

We hope the number will further increase thanks to the realization from all company sizes, that IWF is a must attend event, where everything comes together in one place. “Imagine” is our theme for 2018 and the possibilities that we all can “imagine” for our business will become a reality at IWF.

IWF is recognized in the tradeshow industry as one of the top 100 shows in North America and has been a Fastest 50 growth winner in 2014 and 2016, according to Tradeshow Executive Magazine and the Tradeshow News Network. IWF has been growing by double digits each of the last three shows, since 2012.

Continued improvements in both the residential & commercial markets bode well for the growth of the North American wood products industry. How can IWF help companies improve their productivity and take advantage of the domestic, and international, opportunities that await?

We are part of the Department of Commerce International Buyer Program and have been since 2006. We have specialists on site who recruit companies and assist with exporting their products. Over 80 foreign countries send leaders to IWF. And all 50 states send their key-decision makers to IWF.

Our online search and on-site app and show directory will enable attendees to find what they need and discover the unexpected. The 1,000-plus exhibitors present this year invest in product development, creative design and market smart experts to enable the enrichment of the experience of the industry operators, at the event.

Our industry gives back and shares, which means the ideas you learn from a peer by networking at IWF could have a major impact on your, or someone else’s, business. IWF will showcase the products which will enable everyone to seize the current trend of growth, for all the sectors related to our core industry and more.

For information about IWF or to register, visit IWFAtlanta.com.

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