Looking back on 2015 it was a good year for the woodworking industry and an especially good year for innovations in tools for professional woodworking. FDMC magazine editors looked over all the new tools we encountered this year and picked our favorites. All these tools represent significant advances in their categories, and many were honored with industry awards during the year.
While most readers of FDMC work out of shops or factories and are more interested in stationary tools, many custom woodworkers still spend a lot of time on job sites doing installation work. SawStop’s new job site saw brings SawStop’s patented blade brake safety system to the job site in a saw that offers outstanding performance and portability as well as safety. That combination earned SawStop a Visionary Award at the 2015 AWFS Fair in July.
Winners for the 2015 AWFS Fair Visionary Awards were announced during an awards ceremony held Friday, July 24 at the Las Vegas Convention, including SawStop's jobsite saw. See all seven here>>
2 ) Top full-size CNC innovation: Weeke Optimat BHX
Space always seems to be at a premium in today’s woodworking plants, so the introduction of CNC machining centers in a small footprint vertical format has been a welcome innovation.
The Weeke Optimat BHX series is one of the latest to enter this field. Several models are available offering high efficiency drilling and machining in a compact package that does not sacrifice performance.
Speaking of smaller packages, the other trend in CNC machines has been an explosion in desktop units. Although most of these are too small for mainstream cabinet manufacturing or panel processing, they are just the thing for shops needed small CNC projects done or for shops that want to try out CNC without a huge investment. One of the most amazing entries in this field this year is the Next Wave Piranha Fx that not only offers a desktop CNC router, but it also easily converts to laser engraving and even 3D printing. It was no surprise that it won a Visionary Award at the AWFS Fair in Las Vegas.
With the rise of CNC manufacturing comes the increasing importance of software. AWFS 2015’s Visionary Award winner for innovation in software was WoodCAD/CAM from RSA Solutions. WoodCAD/CAM uses the AutoCAD engine for submittals, shop drawings, one off modeling, BOM, and CNC tools, providing increased data flow to shop floors with less investment. A fully parametric library of pre-built products is featured, along with the ability to incorporate purchased items, hardware, and customer specific connector applications as needed.
With increasing demand for more efficient panel processing, top woodworking machinery manufacturers are competing in the market for sophisticated panel sorting and delivery systems that feed sheet goods into CNC machines efficiently. Holz-Her’s entry into that market is the Store-Master panel processor, which features a storage and retrieval feature for panel stacks as well as horizontal storage locations for free layout. The panel material can be booked in on the control computer integrated into the system, where it can be managed completely in the material master file for the panel cutting saw. The intelligent storage software eliminates any delays in supplying the panel material to the panel cutting saw.
Have something to say? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.