“Lightweight construction – made by igeL” is the motto under which igeL, the Herford-based Interessengemeinschaft Leichtbau e.V. (Interest Group for Lightweight Engineering), will present itself and its products at ZOW 2011 in Bad Salzuflen. The presentation area has once more been expanded. Between 14 and 17 February, the specialist audience will be able to take a close look at recent developments for the furniture industry in hall 22.2. Large and small igeL member companies and institutes along the value chain will showcase their know-how and their latest product solutions. Axxor, Döllken, Jowat, Hettich, Moralt, Swap and Torwegge are some of the exhibiting companies.

Lightweight construction is on everyone’s lips and has been a key topic at ZOW for a very long time: The interest group „igeL“, an organisation of numerous companies with competence in lightweight construction, has been represented with its own exhibition area at ZOW since 2009. In 2011, this platform will be even larger and more attractive: For the first time, igeL members will be able to use larger booths in hall 22.2, along with information booths. The flexible concept will create a new quality of presentations and make the introduction of lightweight solutions even more accessible for the specialist audience. Here, both young and renowned companies from the international supplier industry will impressively showcase the various types of development potential, with smart lightweight construction solutions for the furniture and furnishing world. Additionally, universities will provide information about their recent research projects. The funded project “Leichtbauoffensive OWL” (“OWL lightweight construction campaign”) initiated by igeL, will also be part of the event.

Increasing value with intelligent engineering skills

Lower transport, energy and packaging costs are not the only key factors that make lightweight construction solutions interesting for the furniture industry, interior design, trade fair construction and shop fitting. Due to intelligent engineering solutions, lightweight construction is synonymous with significant value appreciation in the construction of furniture across the entire value chain. Manufacturers are developing new wood composites, which offer a high level of stability in spite of their low weight. These new wood based panel materials are driving forward the development of novel connection technologies for screws, glues or plugs. Other aspects are the ongoing miniaturisation of components, such as fittings, and the integration of technology: Hollow boards provide the necessary space for constructions that can be hidden from sight in the furniture. This will cause significant changes in furniture design and functionality and thus create a new buying incentive for customers.

Hence, competence in lightweight construction is synonymous with having a technological advantage, also in terms of global competitiveness. This means that lightweight construction is not only a true flagship for the German furniture region East-Westphalia-Lippe, but also a key factor for future success. It is no coincidence that the initiative igeL is based in the centre of the furniture cluster East-Westphalia-Lippe. Here, competences in research and development are bundled and promoted within a network. As a source of inspiration, ZOW supports the industry in spreading the idea of lightweight construction every year.

The ultra-lightweight caravan prototype

Another highlight showcased in hall 20 is evidence for the future-oriented developments in lightweight construction for caravan technology: With the ultra-lightweight “glass” camper “Cross-Over 2”, the Trochtelfingen-based company Vöhringer GmbH is going to show where the journey is going. The 900 kg light prototype – 4.20 m long, with a vehicle body that is only 1.53 m in diameter – harbours a multitude of innovative ideas. Brand new, for example, is the heavy duty, non-rotting supporting structure made of reinforced polyurethane. Thanks to special quick connectors, it can be mounted easily and permanently with only a few hammer blows. And within seconds, the "Cross-Over 2" turns from a narrow gauge trailer into a spacious temporary residence, thanks to a folding mechanism: For a comfortable stay, the double bed can be folded into the living area. Characteristic features are the ultra compact functional areas, such as the kitchen area and the creation of useful storage space by making use of the smallest corners.

Technological progress requires visions. At ZOW, pioneers are showing the lightweight construction solutions of tomorrow. With this, ZOW once more stresses its unique position as an effective platform for innovation and inspiration for the furniture industry and interior design.

SOURCE: ZOW 2011

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