HIGH POINT – It was standing room only as approximately 200 woodworkers, representing 119 companies, were on hand for the 2013 Manufacturing Symposium, a two-day event hosted by Stiles Machinery.
Held Jan. 24-25 in the estimated 40,000-square-foot expanded showroom in High Point, NC, the Stiles Manufacturing Symposium featured information and demonstrations on panel processing, solid wood machining, and finishing and sanding technologies. The event attracted production and custom wood products manufacturers from a wide range of industry segments, including: cabinets, residential and office furniture, closets, architectural woodworking and panel processing.
Andreas Muehlbauer, vice president of operations for Stiles, said the large attendance and range of market segments highlights the resurgence of manufacturing in America. “Along with economic growth returning, we’ve received a lot of positive feedback from customers that business in improving and that their outlook remains positive for this year and next,” he said.
Those woodworkers interviewed at the event agreed. “I came to get new ideas and see the new technologies,” said one architectural woodworker. “We do value stream mapping, so I have a special interest in the material handling equipment,” he added.
The event kicked off with a presentation on material handling techniques by Ken McFadden, an update on panel processing technologies by Scott Cruickshank, information on financing capital equipment by Bill Pitt, and a presentation by Tim Middleton on sanding technologies. Also of special interest were workcell demonstrations including: a mid-range production cell for cabinetmaking, narrated by Arnie Hopkins; a flexible cell utilizing the IntelliStore material handling system, presented by Alan Huffman; a high production cell, presented by Cruickshank; plus a finishing demonstration on rollcoating, by Bob Kostelnik.
“You can see equipment like this is pictures, and read about it, but to see it in action is very impressive,” said an attendee.
Day two of the event began with Middleton providing information on sanding of solid wood and veneer, and Don Leblanc offering advice on color application and changeover in the finishing process. Attendees also had the opportunity to view the capabilities of the Durst digital printer. Additional presentations included those of Steve Call and Dan Forrest on solid wood machining, including high speed defect scanning and cutting.
Prior to the event, Stiles Machinery consolidated the operations from its Holzma facility in Gastonia to High Point and Grand Rapids, MI. The company now has more than 60 machines under one roof, available for demonstration.
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