Ligna tech trends key on energy efficiency and flexibilityHANNOVER, GERMANY -- Biesse, Homag, SCM and Weinig -- arguably the world's largest woodworking machinery makers -- are presenting innovations geared to facilitate more energy efficient and flexible factories at Ligna 2011.

Those themes, which continued to emerge on another strong day of attendance Wednesday, tackle two huge issues affecting wood products companies around the globe.

Reducing Energy Consumption
Becoming more energy efficient not only addresses rising fuel costs, but also offers companies to be greener manufacturers by lowering their plants' carbon footprints.

Ligna tech trends key on energy efficiency and flexibilityHomag greatly built on its ecoPlus concept that it introduced at Ligna 2009 among a limited line of its Holzma panel saw line. One of the central components of EcoPlus is the standby function; via the machine is switched to standby mode and puts energy-consuming systems into hibernation.

Biesse and Weinig, along with Holzma, touted the concept of producing residual energy when running the machine by switching from pneumatics to servo motors.

Practically every type of machine has been made more energy efficient by as much as 35%, from edgebanders and panel saws to CNC routers and moulders. 

Enhanced Flexibility
Flexible machinery means many things to many people. For some, it means having a machine that is capable of doing multiple functions with zero or minimal manual adjustments. 

Prime example are five-axis routers, which Biesse, SCM and others noted are now being offered in entry-level models at greatly reduced prices. 

Ligna tech trends key on energy efficiency and flexibilityBiesse, for example introduced the Rover A S 1325 (shown right), a five-axis router that can quickly be changed over from doing flat panel nesting to five-axis routing of solid wood. The machine, which uses the same Biesse software of its nearly twice the price big brothers, can select from up to 10 tools. 

Ligna tech trends key on energy efficiency and flexibilityAmong its many new offerings, SCM displayed the Morbidelli Universal HP, a CNC machining center with built-in contour edgebanding capability. It features a five-axis motor and new glue system that applies the glue directly to the profile of the panel. In addition to complex router and edgebanding capabilities, the machine features 26 independent drill spindles and dedicated Rapid tool change at 10 positions.

Ligna tech trends key on energy efficiency and flexibilityWeinig showed off a new CNC machining center for routing solid wood bearing its logo, but developed and produced by Holz-Her, which it purchased last year. In addition, Weinig also highlighted new concepts for textured moulding in developing the ability to produce a consistent pattern on a moulded part in one pass. What's more, Weinig showed how the textured process could be applied to MDF parts as well as solid wood (shown).

Homag displayed a wide range of new flexible machines, frequently showing side by side concepts that would be used for "batch one" production vs. high production. A lot of emphasis was placed on showing how processes traditionally requiring multiple operators could be reduced. One example is in the accompanying video of a Bargstedt storage and retrieval system feeding into a Holzma panel saw.

Look for more news from Ligna Hannover at in coming days.

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