MEXICO CITY -  More than 7,000 wood industry professionals from across Latin America were in attendance at MEM Industrial, the region's leading trade show for woodworking technology, tools and supplies, for the cabinetry, furniture and forestry industries. Held Jan. 22-24 at the Centro Citibanamex convention center in Mexico City, the annual trade show generated more than $21 million in on-site business for exhibitors.

Spread across 150,000-square-feet of exhibit space, the 2020 MEM Industrial featured 130 companies and 200 brands from nine countries. The show was organized by Hannover Fairs Mexico, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Deutsche Messe based in Hannover, Germany.

Exhibits at MEM Industrial 2020 encompassed the entire supply chain, from equipment for the forestry industry, to technology for wood products manufacturing, including applications of Industry 4.0, plus raw materials and accessories.

“We have succeeded in turning MEM Industrial into Latin America’s leading show in the woodworking segment,” said Christian Pfeiffer, Deutsche Messe’s Global Director LIGNA & Woodworking Shows.  

Many of the exhibitors also commented on the importance of MEM Industrial to showcase their technology to the region's growing wood products industry.

At distributor Mademaq's booth, Cefla, which has had a presence in the Mexican market for approximately 25 years, drew lots of interest with demonstrations of a robotic spray system for customers looking to improve the quality and/or efficiency of their finishing system. "The machine was a game-changer. When customers can see or touch technology, it helps them move to the next step," said Fabio Caroli, sales area manager for Cefla's Finishing Unit. "If they want to stay competitive with the global market, they have to stay current with technology."

"We've been really busy, meeting with existing customers and some new ones as well," Caroli added.

Felder, which has had a presence in Mexico for more than a dozen years, also drew large crowds to the booth. The company, which offers a wide range of equipment for both solid wood and panel processing, featured a number of popular, improved and new products, said Klaus Schweizer, CEO of Felder Group-Mexico. 

"About 20 to 25 percent of our sales happen as a result of trade shows like this," added Louis Carlos Plato, Felder general manager.

Axel Puig of Calegris Importe, a distributor of Biesse equipment, commented on the increased interest in high technology by show attendees, with particular interest on both vertical and horizontal CNC machining centers.

It was also busy at the SCM Group Mexico booth, with much interest on the panel processing technology, including beam saws, edgebanders, CNC routing and drilling equipment, said Marco Pedronici, general manager. "Mexico's demand for high technology is growing," he noted, spurred in part by labor costs in some areas.

Along with the labor issue, the ability to improve quality and productivity are factors driving the technology demand. The recently signed USMCA (United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement), as well as U.S. tariffs on Chinese products, may also have a positive impact on the manufacture and export by Mexican companies of cabinetry, furniture, millwork and other wood products.

This becomes a great opportunity for equipment and supply providers as wood products manufacturers ramp up to meet the increased demand, said Sergio Carrillo, sales and operations manager for Stiles Machinery, a Homag company. "There's a lot of potential here. It's up to us to guide Mexican manufacturers down the right road, and it's up to the Mexican manufacturers to take advantage of the opportunity."

Carillo added, "I'm a big believer in trade show platforms," as a showcase for new technology, "[Show management] has done an excellent job, and this show is a win-win for everyone. My outlook for this year is very positive, and I'm optimistic the Mexican market will continue to grow."

That same optimism was expressed by many exhibitors, including a number of other U.S.-based firms exhibiting at the show. Under the banner of the Wood Machinery Manufacturers of America were displays by C.R. Onsrud, Mereen-Johnson, Safety Speed Mfg., Pillar Machine, Williams & White and Nordfab. "The WMMA's International Business Development Committee is always looking at trade shows, and ultimately we decided this would be an excellent marketplace for us, and provide exposure and distribution opportunities," said Thomas Tuck, sales manager for C.R. Onsrud.

"It's been a very good show," said Robert Santoro, Latin America sales development manager for Northwest Hardwoods. "There's a lot of opportunity here in Mexico." Northwest Hardwoods, along with PantoRouter, were among the first-time exhibitors at the show.

Following last year's partnership with AMPIMM, the Mexican Association of Wood Industry Suppliers, there were also a number of new hardware, decorative surfaces, and upholstery companies in attendance, including Hettich and Fulterer. "We decided this is a very important show for us to be present at," said Sebastian Huisman, general director at Hettich S.A., a first-time exhibitor to MEM. He added that the show kicks off what looks to be a very promising 2020 for the company, particularly with the growing market, and overall "growing quality awareness" for Mexican wood products.

During the 2020 show, the organizers of MEM Industrial announced a new partnership with TecnoMueble Internacional, an affiliate of AFAMJAL (Asociación de Fabricantes de Muebles de Jalisco), the major furniture association in México. “MEM Industrial’s partnership with TecnoMueble will bring huge benefits for the industry, given that it marks a coming together of the two largest expos in the country for machinery and supplies for the furniture industry,” said AFAMJAL President Abelardo Arreola Jiménez.

The 26th MEM Industrial trade show was also supported by the European Federation of Woodworking Machinery Manufacturers (Eumabois) and the German Woodworking Machinery Manufacturers’ Association within the German Engineering Federation (VDMA).

The 2020 show also included approximately 20 conferences, workshops and seminars organized to promote the themes of this year's event: sustainability, innovation in surface technologies and design. MEM Industrial also served as a platform for three award ceremonies related to the themes.

Forest Conservation Award: Organized by the National Wood Processing Chamber CANAINMA in cooperation with Hannover Fairs México, the Forest Conservation Award acknowledges the conservation efforts of institutions, individuals and companies.

Prior to the show, it was announced the National Forestry Commission (CONAFOR) has embarked on a long-term strategic partnership with Hannover Fairs México to find sustainable development solutions for Mexico’s forestry industry. These efforts have been shored up by MEM Industrial's collaboration with the civil organization Reforestamos, announced in September, to help create a sense of community and an inclusive professional platform accessible to all actors in the forestry industry.

Furniture Design Award: Targeting architecture, industrial and interior design students, the goal of this award was to promote innovation and close the gap between the student community and furniture manufacturers.

•  Makers for Good @ MEM Industrial 2020 Makeathon: The Makers for Good @ MEM Industrial Makeathon was aimed at artists, designers, engineers and creative talents from all kinds of disciplines, who were asked to design items of furniture using 3D modeling and digital manufacturing processes.

The next MEM Industrial will take place Jan. 20-22, 2021, at the Centro Citibanamex convention center in Mexico City. More information can be found at memindustrial.mx.

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