The International Wood-working Machinery & Furniture Supply Fair (IWF) has grown to new proportions. Since the completion of the Georgia World Congress Center’s phase IV expansion in 2002, IWF officials say the event has once again begun to utilize every available square inch. At its opening on August 23rd, IWF had three exhibit halls of the Atlanta, Ga.-based facility bursting at the seams.
Is Bigger Better?
Those who had attended the event in the past expected its gargantuan size, but this year discovered a little more with a record-high attendance of more than 24,000. IWF officials reported this was the highest in 20 years.
With 1,384 exhibitors spread out over 851,000 net square feet and some machinery displays the size of a city block, this event can feel more like an independent country than a trade show. At these proportions it can take an entire day to cover one exhibit hall, but Amanda Dombek, information and communications specialist for Stiles Machinery, a CNC equipment provider in Grand Rapids, Mich., said it’s worth the effort because it’s “always interesting to see what all the other companies are offering.”
While a few attendees and exhibitors expressed concern for the enormity of this event, others discovered the advantages.
Dave Schmucker, president of Global Sales Group LLC, a distributor of pre-hung door and specialty woodworking machinery, reported selling half of the equipment in his booth.
“I’ve been attending for more than 15 years now,” he said, “and I could definitely tell a difference [in size].”
With companies from more than 79 countries, it’s not surprising that Schmucker found many of his leads were international.
Attendees this year found the same world-class events: IWF 2006 Challengers Distinguished Achievement Awards®, the new product showcase and the technical conference program.
All the Favorite Oldies But How Many New Hits?
Besides a bigger exhibit hall, IWF also introduced Exhibinars. These technical seminars were presented by exhibitors, each in their respective area of expertise. While technical conferences incorporate multiple speakers and presenters, Exhibinars are put on by individual exhibitors and are intended to provide a more hands-on demonstration.
While there was certainly plenty to look at, not everyone found something new.
Amanda Dombek said, “We were a bit disappointed, because we didn’t really find any new technology this year.”
But Steve Beatty, a marketing director for Foley Belsaw, a wholesale distributor of sharpening supplies and equipment based out of River Falls, Wis., still praised IWF as “the most informative annual event for labor-saving machinery and cutting-edge technology.”
And the Award Goes To …
This year’s Challenger’s Distinguished Achievement Awards went to (Listed alphabetically and not according to rank or score): Biesse, Pesaro, Italy; Dubois Equipment Co. Inc., Jasper, Ind.; ETemplate Systems, Raleigh, N.C.; Holz-Her U.S. Inc., Charlotte, N.C.; Navy Island Plywood Inc., Saint Paul, Minn.; Stiles Machinery Inc./Climate Technologies Corp., Grand Rapids, Mich.; and Weinig Group/Michael Weinig Inc., Mooresville, N.C.
This year’s IWF survey question: “What new manufacturing methods will you implement in 2006?” showed 41 percent of attendees agreed on CNC technology. One thing is for sure, with 21,000 in attendance this year, exhibitors were the real winners.
Drew Vass is an assistant editor for SHELTER magazine
IWF Product Review
Get a Consistent Finish
Saint-Gobain Abrasives of Worcester, Mass., has added the SG H968 to its Norton brand product line. The belt offers a consistent scratch pattern and finish and features a proprietary ceramic seeded gel abrasive and a new heavy backing with anti-static properties.
The company reports the SG H968 is available in widths up to 52 inches and grit sizes P80 through P220.
AGE Adds to Glass Offerings
Architectural Glass Effects (AGE), a Clifton, N.J.-based supplier of decorative glass, has added 19 new types of decorative glass to its list of offerings. The company reports its increasing line is a direct result of the diversity of its clients’ needs.
In addition to added textures, AGE officials say the company is now frosting textures, reportedly doubling customers’ available options. A total of up to 120 unique glass types are available.
Automation That’s Smart
Stiles Machinery Inc., a supplier of advanced CNC equipment in Grand Rapids, Mich., has announced the integration of software, robotics and project engineering into a vision they’re calling: “Intelligent Automation.”
Stiles reports that Intelligent Automation is a part of its Total Production SolutionsSM and allows them to provide customers a successful production solution.
New to the Market: SDF
Sierra Pine, a Roseville, Calif-based manufacturer of sustainable medium-density fiberboard (MDF) panels and mouldings, has announced its latest innovation, Arreis™
SDF. Arreis is an MDF panel that contains no added formaldehyde. It will be produced under the category name Sustainable Design Fiberboard, or SDF. SDF contains 100-percent recycled wood fiber and boasts third-party certifications of: SCS, EPP, ChiPS section 01350 and LEED credit support for materials and resources and indoor environmental quality.
Arreis™ is designed to work as standard MDF products do and can be used for cabinetry, wall paneling, furniture, shelving, architectural
woodwork, casework and anywhere sustainable products are mandated. The new product designation is intended to make sustainable wood products easier to identify.
A Vacuum to the Rescue
Schmalz Inc. of Raleigh, N.C., a dealer of vacuum components and gripping systems, has introduced the SBX – a vacuum designed specifically for wood handling. Created to handle rough-sawn wood, building timber, warped beams and planks, the SBX is suitable for handling pallets. The intended applications range from material flow, store-room technology, commissioning and packing and anywhere pallets need to be changed, positioned and loaded with the aid of industrial robots.
This system is available in four sizes and, according to Schmalz, is compact and lightweight enough to be integrated into existing work spaces. Several vacuums can be mounted on a crossbeam to form a system for handling wooden work pieces of various sizes and shapes, and can handle single pieces along with complete layers.
Sometimes companies like to check out trade shows before they exhibit at one. Representatives from Dux of Seattle visited our booth and explained the latest technology that can be used in spraying paints and adhesives in the door and window manufacturing process.
Formula Three Inspired
After more than five years of research and development, Dux of Seattle has reinvented the pressure-feed spray gun. By incorporating the company’s airflow technology, originally used in Formula Three race car engines, the company says it has developed an innovative spray gun.
Most pressure feed spray guns incorporate front-heavy body design with fluid hose connections near the tip of the gun. The Dux gun is designed with much shorter air passages, an upright handle and fluid and air connections located at the base of the gun. According to company information, this creates a lighter, more compact and balanced gun that’s easy to maneuver.
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