At the recent IWF exhibition seven Challengers Award winners were named, out of 61 total entries. Therewere 34 semi-finalists and 20 finalists. Here is a closer look at the seven 2014final winners:


AikenControls, anoperating division of Aiken Development LLC, introduced the nDepth 3D sensor. The nDepth sensorprovides advanced three-dimensional color and depth measurement for industrialapplications, including the wood and wood products industries.

The sensor combines color and depth imaging with advancedprocessing to complete common automation tasks. By scanning for 3D shapes anddepth, the sensor can detect missing parts, holes, wane, and other types ofdefects in material, regardless of color, to improve inspection and cuttingprocesses. The nDepth technology is easy to configure and can be connected tomost existing systems and PLCs.


Castle Inc.CSI-1.5 pocket cutter/screw inserter is designed to save time, reducewaste and eliminate labor and screw-handling motion trauma for high-productionjoinery. It cuts Castle’s screw pocket, drills a low angle pilot hole andinserts a flush, stackable screw in 1.5 seconds. It is designed to eliminate screwhandling at assembly.

Features include Castle’spatented 6 degree low angle pocket, undersized pilot hole for screw retentionand easy access for quick tooling changes. Inserted screws sit below flush toprevent marring of adjacent materials. Basic machine footprint is 28 x 28inches, with working height of 36 inches. The machine is 71 inches high.

Also, integratedsafety features include stock sensing switch, door position switch, cycletime-out, covered foot switch, and E-stop functionality. The feed rate isadjustable to optimize quality and cycle time for various materials. The pocketcutter also includes a durable solid carbide router bit, short flute drill bitand a dust collection port.


TheGraco ProMix PD2K mixes the materialclose to the gun so the flush zone is significantly smaller. This allowscustomers to use less paint, spend less on disposal costs and allows for fastercolor changes. And because there is limited mixed material in the system, theProMix PD2K is ideal for short pot life materials. It is also compatible withacid-based materials. 

Up to 80 percent reduction influshing waste over the most efficient traditional proportioning systems ispossible. Faster color changes and less material to flush mean less waste andless downtime. It also stalls under pressure for consistent, on-ratioresults (within 1 percent accuracy). It is possible to manage up to 30colors and four catalysts with two or four dosing pumps.



Thermwood Corp. Cut Center is a machine thatlooks a like a CNC router but works completely differently. Instead ofgenerating CNC programs that tell the machine how to move, it already knows howto move and how to make tens of thousands of products.

This is an approach to manufacturing that can be run by almostanyone, according to Thermwood. No special technical skills or training arerequired. It tells the operator what to do and shows what to do. It willconnect to a real live person if needed.

The operator tells the machine what they want to make, including cabinets,closets, furniture, doors, drawers, mouldings and shapes, by using an intuitivetouch screen. The operator also enters the number to be made, and details suchas frame or frameless and one- or two-sided material. The operator can seeimages of all the products requested and can see and adjust a three dimensionalimage


The Timesavers LLC automated opposedself-centering knife planer YieldSaver24 is a new approach to the conventional roughlumber planer. The YieldSaver 24 is a top and bottom knife planer with theadded capability to automatically center each board as it is being processed.

This newplaner has a compact design with a smaller footprint than other rough millplaners. The opposed cutterheads, self-centering infeed shoes, andself-centering infeed drive rolls individually center every board. This abilityeliminates fixed cuts from thin boards and roller splits of material. Itultimately produces the highest yields, best grades, and a high quality finish(while minimizing knife marks and snipe).

The YieldSaver 24 has a 24-inch working width,a compact design and small footprint, opposing top/bottom cutterheads, self-centeringinfeed rolls and shoes, segmented infeed shoes, consistant passline with jack backlashcompensation and infeed anti-kickback fingers (top and bottom). Optionsinclude HMI machine control and cutterhead speedcontrol with feed drive synchronization.


Weinig/Holz-HerU.S. Evolution vertical machining center 7405 is a compact vertical CNC machine that has theability to drill and rout on all four sides of the panel without reclamping.

With itspatent pending vacuum clamping system the Evolution provides vertical andhorizontal drilling, saw cutting and routing. Maximum machining capacity of 138x 36 x 2.75 inches is provided in a small and efficient footprint.

The machiningcenter provides five vertical and six horizontal drill spindles and a groovingsaw as standard. Also included is a 7.5 Hp router spindle, and six-positionautomatic tool changer providing full four-sided machining capability.

The Evolutionis provided as standard with Holz-Her Campus/NCHops for parametric programmingas well as many macros to simplify programming. The Evolution series offersmachining simulation, software controlled vacuum pod placement as well asdirect DXF/DWG import.


Weinig/Holz-HerU.S. GluJet system is a melt-on-demand adhesive application system foredgebanders with the appearance of zero-joint edgebanding. GluJet can use PUR and EVA glue with no special equipment. It can quicklychange glue type, colors, or formulations.

The clear advantages of the hybrid technologyin combination with the new Holz-Her thin film technology make this gluingsystem useful for both craftsmen and industrial users.
Ultra-thin glue joints, easily equivalent to industrial laser edges, are easyto achieve with the Holz-Her GluJet system. High gloss edging and solid woodedging can be performed with a cross section of 15 x 65 mm.

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