Technology marches on whether times are good or bad, a point made by many. Whether the economy is strong or not there are new developments that any company, large or small, needs to be aware of.

A few weeks after the show, sponsoring associations WMIA and WMMA announced that registered attendance at the 2012 IWF exhibition topped 15,000. Overall attendance, including about 8,000 exhibitor and other personnel, reportedly reached 23,000.

Registered attendees came from 60 countries, and China sent a special delegation.

There was not a discouraging word to be heard from exhibitors I talked to. This group is usually more than willing to share complaints if they feel that traffic isn’t what they want it to be.

We also were able to organize a lunch of some of our readers and they provided interesting views on the challenges facing wood products manufacturers today.

The show itself is a good indication of the direction of the wood products industry. A stronger industry leads to a stronger show, which in turn helps the industry.

There are outside issues, such as new regulations, that represent a black cloud on the horizon.
Speaking of new technology, the Challengers Awards are a great place to start. We saw all of the winners firsthand, and wanted to see all of the finalists but ran out of time.

“Industry professionals wanted to see what’s new and what’s next for the industry,” said Michael Burdis, IWF 2012 chairman and president of James L. Taylor Mfg. Co. “The future of the industry was showcased at IWF with over 850 exhibits.”

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