The International Woodworking Fair (IWF), North America’s largest woodworking technology trade show, returns to the Georgia World Congress Center Aug. 20–23 with more than 900 exhibitors set to showcase new design trends, software developments, manufacturing innovations and safety solutions.
While a majority of the 850 exhibitors from the 2012 event are returning, this year’s IWF includes more than 100 exhibitors that will be new to the thousands of woodworking professionals scheduled to be in attendance.
IWF Chairman Rick Hannigan of Weinig/Holz-Her says the increased exhibitor base reflects improved confidence and stability of the North American wood products industry. He adds that a strong IWF will have a favorable impact on the woodworking industry’s performance in the months to come.
“Change inside our industry has become more rapid,” Hannigan says. “There is a strong desire for owners to reinvest in their companies, to improve their quality productivity, flexibility and profitability.”
Hannigan says IWF exhibitors will collectively demonstrate literally thousands of woodworking machines, tools and supplies designed for use by small custom woodworking shops and large-volume wood production facilities. The need to replace aging equipment, tooling and software, he adds, is critical to the long-term competitiveness and success of those attending the show.
The 2014 IWF looks to be on pace to attract an even greater attendance than the 2012 woodworking show which boasted more than 15,000 verified attendees.
One of the hallmarks of IWF since 1966 has been presentation of awards to exhibitors for outstanding achievements in product innovation that push the envelope on productivity, safety and environmental improvements. The 20 finalists of what has long come to be known as the Challengers Distinguished Achievement Awards will get one last chance to impress the judges of the merits of their products on the day before IWF officially opens. (A list of the 20 finalists appears on page 30 of this issue.) The winners will be announced and presented with Challengers Award statues during a special ceremony scheduled to start at 11:00 a.m. on. Wednesday, Aug. 20.
“The Challengers Award is always a standard for innovation,” Hannigan says. “So each show year the industry will see many new products that will impact their businesses.”
IWF also will celebrate the talents of student furniture designs in the Design Emphasis competition. Students from more than 25 colleges and universities have submitted their works, vying for a share of the $10,000 in prize money. The competition recognizes and rewards advanced level designs in five categories: Seating, Case Goods, Commercial/Office/Hospitality Furniture, Accent Furniture/Accent Tables, and Design Creativity.
The student furniture works will be displayed in the Design Emphasis Showcase throughout the four-day show.
Expanded Education Offerings
IWF 2014 also will feature expanded education opportunities, including more than fifty 60-90-minute learning sessions during the show and five all-day symposiums on Tuesday, Aug. 19, the day before the exhibition kicks off.
Hannigan says the conference program offers something for everyone, regardless of their company’s size or the type of products it manufactures. Topics range from business development and online marketing, to production, 3D printing, wood finishing and responsible wood sourcing.
Woodworking Network has a key role in this year’s educational programing. On Aug. 19, Woodworking Network Editorial Director Bill Esler will moderate a full-day symposium: “Woodworking Inventors: Creating New Products, and Business Approaches.” Featured speakers include Adam Rogers, design director of Thos. Moser Cabinetmakers, plus custom woodworkers Jared Patchen, Corbin Clay and others.
On Friday, Aug. 22, “Housing Markets & the Secondary Woodworking Industry – Lessons from the Downturn,” will be presented by Urs Buehlmann of Virginia Tech, Matt Bumgardner of the USDA Forest Service, and Wood Products Editor Karen Koenig. The special 2-hour session has information from recent studies, including the annual industry housing survey conducted jointly by Virginia Tech, the USDA Forest Service and Wood Products; results of the 2014 survey also will be featured in the August issue of the magazine.
IWF AT A GLANCE
Dates: August 20–23, 2014. All-day learning symposiums begin Tuesday August 19, the day before the exhibition opens.
Times: Wednesday – Friday 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Saturday 8:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Location: Georgia World Congress Center, Atlanta, GA
Highlights: More than 900 exhibiting companies from around the world, 50+ educational sessions on topics from wood finishing to business management, and presentation of the Challengers Distinguished Achievement and Student Design Emphasis awards.
Information: Visit IWFAtlanta.com, follow IWF Atlanta on Facebook and @IWFAtlanta on Twitter, or call (404) 693-8333.
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