LIGNA 2017 preview: Integrated manufacturing takes centre stage

LIGNA 2017, which runs from May 22 to 26, will put the spotlight on integrated manufacturing across all links in the wood processing chain.

Occupying more than 122,000sqm across 10 exhibition halls and an open-air site at the Hannover Exhibition Center in Germany, over 1,500 exhibitors from 45 countries will be participating at this year’s fair, securing LIGNA’s reputation as the top international trade fair for the wood industry.

Global market leaders will impress visitors with their latest products and process innovations. A number of brands will also be exhibiting for the first time this year.

Highlights, themes, trends

This year’s LIGNA has three focus themes that deal with important, overarching industry trends. They are: Integrated Manufacturing – Towards Industry 4.0, Processing of Plastics and Composites, and Access to Resources and Technology, which is the main theme of the Wood Industry Summit.

Integrated manufacturing or Industry 4.0 will host manufacturers of hardware, software and automatic solutions showcasing developments and pilot applications in this very area.

Global Director of LIGNA and Woodworking Events Mr Christian Pfeiffer

“These solutions offer major opportunities for companies seeking to develop new business areas, boost productivity and build their competitive edge, especially as furniture manufacturers strive to meet stringent requirements in terms of precision, flexibility, speed, safety and reliability,” said Global Director of LIGNA and Woodworking Events Christian Pfeiffer.

Visitors, who are expected to come from 90 countries, will be able to get a quick overview of this theme area by going on an “Integrated Manufacturing” guided tour of the show that will take them to the stands of selected exhibitors. Tour participants will be able to witness the latest developments and solutions for intelligent production first-hand.

An RFID Factory display in Hall 11 will present an integrated furniture industry logistics chain “powered” by RFID contactless data transmission. Hall 11 will also be home to a new showcase: Connected Factory.

This special display will present an integrated process chain modeled on process flows in the furniture manufacturing industry. The individual stages in the process chain will be illustrated by demonstrators, by means of actual machines and with the aid of electronic media. The Connected Factory display is also the departure point for one of the show’s many guided tours, for which participants can register at LIGNA’s website.

“Of course, far from being confined to the furniture industry, the Industry 4.0 trend also applies to the entire forestry and wood industry,” Mr Pfeiffer said. “These are major developments of relevance to companies of all sizes and types, in both primary and secondary wood processing.”

Another of LIGNA’s objective is to make the “smart factory” tangible in the here-and-now, and to portray and facilitate the “evolution” of intelligent factories in which manufacturing plant and logistics systems are largely self-organising.

“The ultimate aim of the “smart factory” vision is to make production more flexible and efficient, for which LIGNA is the only platform that profiles technology across the whole value chain in the wood industry – from forestry to furniture production,” Mr Pfeiffer added.

New halls, new organisation

LIGNA comprises the following seven main display categories: Tools and Machinery for Custom and Mass Production, Surface Technology, Wood-based Panel Production, Sawmill Technology, Energy from Wood, Machine Components and Automation Technology, and Forestry Technology.

The Surface Technology display in halls 16 and 17 is new this year. This showcase reflects the strong market demand for product individualisation. Visitors to these halls can look forward to a wide range of new solutions and technologies for creating surface finishes. These technologies include wet-coating systems, direct and digital printing, the use of synchronised pores to create different textures and surfaces.

The Machine Components and Automation Technology display in Hall 16 is also new, featuring electrical automation solutions, power transmission and drive technology, data integration systems, and automation software.