LIGNA 2019: Industry 4.0 tech for product individualisation

Opening Press Conference LIGNA (27 – 31 May 2019): Dr. Andreas Gruchow and Dr. Johann Quatmann

This year, from 27 to 31 May, LIGNA is opening a window on the future of the wood processing and woodworking industries. The trade show features all the latest smart technologies, automated systems, digital platform solutions, wood industry trends and innovations, and a wealth of live machine demonstrations. 1,500 companies from 50 countries will showcase their solutions on the open-air site and indoors on 132,000 square metres (1.42 million sq. ft.) of net space. “In terms of display area, this year’s show will be even bigger than the last LIGNA held two years ago. The woodworking and furniture industries are turning to Industry 4.0 solutions to meet rising consumer demand for custom designed interiors,” said Deutsche Messe Managing Board member Andreas Gruchow. “Just about every wooden window, cabinet or chair these days is made using machines that were launched at LIGNA.”

LIGNA features the full range of tools, machinery and plant for custom and mass production, surface finishing solutions, wood based panel production technology, sawmill technology, wood energy technology, machine components, automation technology and forestry technology – essentially all solutions along the wood value chain that can be used meet customer demand for individualized, unique wood products and furniture. The core drivers of next-generation processing technology in all instances are digitisation, automation and integration.

“LIGNA really is in a class of its own internationally. For instance, it’s by far the world’s most important woodworking machinery showcase and is the platform of choice for technology users and providers seeking new ideas for the next generation of processing solutions. No other trade show in the world can match LIGNA for the sheer volume of wood-industry innovations on display. Why?

Because the world’s leading manufacturers specifically time their innovation cycles to coincide with it. LIGNA also provides an unrivalled overview of the many applications of digitization and automation. It’s where wood industry professionals from around the world go to discover the specific applications and technologies they need in order to boost their competitiveness and grow their business. Put simply, LIGNA is the number one platform for innovations that greatly simplify, if not revolutionize, daily operations in the wood industry,” explained Gruchow.

Among this year’s highlights will be integrated woodworking solutions comprising machines, autonomous cells, systems and software designed to help joiners, cabinetmakers and furniture manufacturers take that crucial next step on the road to digitisation. Digitisation and Industry 4.0 are also the dominant themes in the primary processing industry. The “sawmills of the future” feature AI-controlled processing lines that tag every piece of lumber with its own digital fingerprint, allowing it to be traced back to the original log. These fully integrated sawmills can calculate the total value of all end products before logs are broken down, enabling sawmill operators to minimise costs and maximise yields.

Visitors to this year’s LIGNA will also be able to see live demonstrations of entire, fully integrated furniture production lines featuring the latest VR modelling, robotics and scanner systems. The demonstrations will be complemented by exhibits of software for managing and integrating all stages of furniture production, window and door production, stairs and staircase construction as well as 3D free forming.

Trade visitors from around 100 countries are expected to attend LIGNA 2019. The entire furniture and woodworking industry is keenly anticipating this year’s show. That’s everyone, from big players such as IKEA to small, owner-operated joineries, and including foresters, forest owners, sawmillers and panel products manufacturers.

Surface technology is one of the key means by which furniture manufacturers are catering for the growing individualisation trend. The upcoming LIGNA will showcase the full range of surface finishing solutions, including flawless matt finishes that are fingerprint resistant and feature self-regeneration technology which can “heal” blemishes overnight, and 3D digital printing solutions that provide a cost-effective means of embossing positive and negative relief effects on wood or other panels. The exhibits, which include all the latest finishing and industrial digital printing systems, will highlight the outstanding results that can be achieved by combining the right panel preparation techniques, digitally printed images and 3D effects.

This year’s LIGNA will also feature a comprehensive programme of networking events were participants can meet up with existing business partners and customers, make new contacts and cultivate the next generation of industry professionals. The line-up includes the LIGNA.Forum, the LIGNA Training Workshops, the LIGNA Campus, the LIGNA Forestry Get-together and the ever-popular Crane Driving Championships.

Another hot favorite, featuring thrills and spectacle aplenty, is the German Logging Championship, where around 100 elite lumberjacks and forestry professionals from all over Germany will face off in a range of logging disciplines. One of the highlight disciplines is tree felling, where contestants are required to fell 18-metre-high standing logs with pinpoint accuracy in front of a large audience.