Tens of thousands flocked to LIGNA 2017 for the latest in innovation and technology.
LIGNA, the world's leading trade fair for woodworking and wood processing plant, machinery and tools, has once again delivered big in terms of innovations and global appeal, with a significant increase in the number of exhibitors and visitors from abroad and new momentum for the wave of digitalization currently redefining the industry.
After five action-packed days, organizers, exhibitors and visitors alike can look back on a truly impressive event.
"LIGNA 2017 will go down as a milestone in the digitalization 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 last Friday in Hannover.
LIGNA 2017 also featured a new site layout and an array of display categories chosen to reflect the increasing technology convergence between the skilled trades and industry.
More than 1,500 exhibitors, including 900 from abroad, were on hand to showcase innovative plant, machinery, tools and solutions on some 129,000 square meters (1,388,544 sq. ft.) of exhibition space.
Strong global appeal
LIGNA 2017 attracted some 93,000 visitors, including 42,000 attendees from outside of Germany who had come to Hannover from more than 100 different countries.
And as expected, Industry 4.0 and all aspects of networked manufacturing dominated the show. 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 visualizing process and work steps.
A further key trend at LIGNA consisted of ways of significantly boosting production efficiency with minimal demands on the operator. One exhibitor presented the first-ever "three-click" process for producing a complete item of furniture.
Meanwhile, in the area of machine components and automation, robots continued their forward march.
In the pavilion next to Hall 11, the first LIGNA training workshops for joiners, cabinetmakers, carpenters and mobile assemblers were held in partnership with the Sprint Academy (Cologne, Germany). Participants were given the opportunity to put the manually-operated woodworking machines through their paces, under the watchful eye of expert technicians.
The LIGNA program also featured a series of brief presentations on the processing of plastics and composites at the Robotation Academy. Industry experts were on hand to share information and ideas on current themes and trends. Many exhibitors featured displays showing that woodworking machines can work not only with wood, but also with plastics, composite panels, and insulation and building materials.
The new LIGNA layout was also well received by primary industry visitors, with the four thematic areas of Forestry Technology , Sawmill Technology , Wood-based Panel Production and Energy from Wood . The focus was on the production of wood as a raw material for products or energy generation, through the planning, felling and retrieval stages. The current state of the art on the use in forestry of UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles), or drones, proved a popular drawing card, along with the latest forest surveying processes.
For the first time at this year's fair, an open-air demonstration area was set up at the foot of the Hermes tower, in partnership with the German Forestry Council (KWF). Several moderated technology presentations were staged each day on an area measuring approximately 1,500 square meters (approx. 16,145.87 sq. ft.). Every step in the process was covered: pruning, the extraction of standing timber with harvesters, removal to the forest roadside with forwarders and logging trailers, and transport to the sawmill.
Another standout attraction, particularly for the international primary industry audience, was the second Wood Industry Summit . Fifteen delegations from 13 nations (including Canada, Colombia, Chile, Bulgaria and Romania) availed themselves of the opportunity for dialogue with industry experts. Under the motto 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 held May 27-31, 2019.