Woodworking innovations were the true stars of LIGNA 2017

LIGNA 2017 Closing Press Conference. Photo credit: Deutsche Messe/LIGNA

LIGNA 2017 drew to a close on Friday, 26 May, having delivered big in terms of innovations and global appeal, with a significant upswing in the number of exhibitors and visitors from abroad and new impetus for the wave of digitalisation currently redefining the industry.

“LIGNA 2017 will go down as a milestone in the digitalisation of the wood industry,” said Dr Andreas Gruchow, the Deutsche Messe Managing Board member in charge of LIGNA, at the end-of-show press conference on Friday in Hannover. “Industry 4.0 concepts for the wood industry were the dominant theme at this year’s LIGNA, with major emphasis placed on digitalisation, integration and automation. The exhibitors covered everything from sophisticated approaches to plant integration right on down to entry-level systems for the skilled trades, thus offering the right technology for any scale of operation.”

LIGNA 2017 featured a new site layout and an array of display categories chosen to reflect the increasing technology convergence between the skilled trades and industry.

“The new layout proved a great success. Our customers have found it very easy to navigate,” remarked Wolfgang Pöschl, Chairman of the Woodworking Machinery division of Germany’s Mechanical Engineering Industry Association (VDMA), and Chairman of the Management Board of Michael Weinig AG. “Digitalisation and integrated production are the new keys to success for our customers. There is huge demand across the board, resulting in full order books. The challenge now is to shorten delivery lead times as much as possible.”

“The new layout concept for LIGNA has worked extremely well. The mix of large and small-scale machinery attracted some new visitor categories to our stand. The outdoor exhibition space and indoor stands was just what Festool needed, as the ideal way for us to reach the target group of joiners and cabinet makers,” Marcel Pfost, director of Training & Fairs at Festool GmbH, said.

More than 1,500 exhibitors, including 900 from abroad, participated this year. Mr Gruchow said, “Many exhibitors have opted for stands with a highly classy design, in some cases even going for radically new structural approaches. This has put a fresh face on LIGNA and gone down very well with everyone concerned. This LIGNA has also scored highly in terms of its international appeal among exhibitors and visitors, thus underscoring its reputation as the industry’s No. 1 event worldwide.”

LIGNA 2017 attracted a total of 93,000 visitors, half coming from outside Germany.The top ten visitor nations after Germany were France, Austria, the United States, Sweden, Belgium, Spain, China, Poland, Italy and Russia.


Photo credit: Deutsche Messe/LIGNA

Digitalisation a hit with visitors

Market leaders used the flagship fair to introduce new software for integrating the complete range of plant components. In line with the mega-theme of Industry 4.0, visitors were especially interested in the trend towards visualising process and work steps. The wood industry’s capacity for innovation was showcased via solutions ranging from a service app for machine monitoring to a digital graphical operator saw guide, plus a bucket camera system for wheel loaders. Cloud-based digital twins of tools and machines were used to present effective processes for faster machine commissioning and life-cycle documentation.

Pekka Paasivaara, CEO of the HOMAG Group, said, “This has been an outstanding LIGNA for us. We had excellent visitor turnout at the HOMAG stand. Highlights included our 100-metre long, ‘batch size 1’ plant, our innovations center and, above all, tapio – the new digital woodworking platform. Our skilled trades display was very well attended. There was a higher international presence this year, and LIGNA has clearly confirmed its profile as the leading global trade fair in its sector.”

Jürgen Philipps, spokesperson for the Management Board of Siempelkamp, added, “LIGNA is our innovations fair, where we translate innovations into tangible reality and demonstrate our customer service approach in practice. LIGNA 2017 has been a complete success from our point of view.”

The LIGNA program also featured a series of brief presentations on the processing of plastics and composites at the Robotation Academy.

The second Wood Industry Summit welcomed 15 delegations from 13 countries (including Canada, Colombia, Chile, Bulgaria and Romania). Under the theme of “Access to Resources and Technology”, summit participants debated the latest trends and developments in the categories of “Forestry and Wood Industry 4.0”, “Resource Roads”, “Forest Fire Control” and “Fleet Management”.

The next LIGNA will be staged from 27 to 31 May 2019.