This year AWISA returns to Sydney where it promises to be the best ever. However, there are two overseas shows prior to AWISA well-worth visiting, each with a particular focus and each presenting the latest technologies prior to AWISA. Supplier will report on both shows and of course 2018’s big event; AWISA.

Amongst the many wood-related trade shows this year there are three that are most significant for Australian manufacturers. These are Holz-Handwerk in Nuremberg (March), one of the few shows that is always fully booked out; Xylexpo in Milan (May), the favoured show for Italian suppliers; and AWISA in Sydney (July). Supplier will report on both overseas shows which should be an insight into what will be shown in Sydney. It’s a ‘sneak-peek’ of sorts, or at the very least, the ‘big picture’ of 2018 technology.

First to Holz-Handwerk; the twin exhibitions of Holz-Handwerk and Fensterbau Frontale attracted 110,000 decision-makers to Nuremberg from all over the world in 2016. Few other international trade fair offers more ideas for wood products, more experts from architecture, industry, trade and research, and more potential business contacts, all in one place! At this European trade fair, the leading European suppliers present current woodworking trends and technologies for wood, woodworking machinery, wood-based materials, fixing equipment, hardware, components, tools, finishing technology, grinding aids, polishing aids, disposal equipment, electrical tools, pneumatic tools, adhesives or coatings.

Holz-Handwerk 2018 is the 19th edition of this established international gathering for the woodworking sector. The figures show that the mixture of innovation, tradition and professional dialogue is more up to date than ever. You can expect over 500 exhibitors from over 20 countries. In 2016 96% of the visitors from Germany and abroad were satisfied with the products and services and with the opportunities for information and contact at Holz-Handwerk 2016. Unlike the Ligna fair held last year, Holz-Handwerk is more aligned to Australian needs and more like AWISA, only much larger.

Nowhere else can you find so many ideas for your own wood products in compact form and in one place! Holz-Handwerk inspires with innovative machine technology and wood-based materials, unusual wood finishes, sustainable raw materials or the latest design and colour trends! Many special shows and demonstrations intensify the professional exchange of ideas at Holz-Handwerk and the practical aspects are not neglected either, because the chips fly when the experts start planing, sawing and grinding at this working exhibition.

Holz-Handwerk is staged in Nuremberg in the same year as our own AWISA trade fair. Many people see this show as more relevant to Australia than Ligna which is geared more towards the bigger companies, and most if not all of your Australian machine supplier representatives will be there. Only four months before AWISA, the Holz-Handwerk show is often overlooked due to time and cost and this is a pity because your machinery suppliers all speak very highly of this extensive international exhibition. You’ll see a lot more from Europe, the home of most of the new technologies at Holz-Handwerk and you just might see some of the new offerings at AWISA there, four months before your competitors. Weinig will release their new entry-level moulder; the Unimat 217 and their new machine controller. Biesse will show their new Selco WN2 saw for artisans who wish to step up from traditional sawing machinery to an entry-level high tech solution.

The other International trade show held this year is Xylexpo in Milan in May and it’s bigger than last time. All the big brands Homag; Weinig and Holz-Her; Cefla; Ima Schelling; Scm and Biesse have submitted registrations, some of them with a significant expansion of their booth area. As a result, organizers have decided to add one additional hall. Each hall will have a ‘focal point’ represented by one or more industry ‘giants’. In hall 1 this role will be played by Biesse and Barberan, in hall 2 it will be Scm Group. Homag and Cefla will be the focus in hall 3; Ima and Weinig in hall 4.

A big deal at Xylexpo is always the innovation awards. The success of the last two shows convinced the organizers to repeat the initiative, exclusively for exhibitors and based on innovation in the technical sense. This year, Xylexpo 2018 will reach a milestone boasted by few trade fairs: 50 years of history. Xylexpo isn’t as big as Ligna and attracts fewer visitors than both Ligna and Holz-Handwerk, but if you use Italian machinery it’s certainly a show you should consider. The reduced number of visitors will make the trip more comfortable and much more profitable; and hotels will be easier to find. You will be able to spend some quality time with your suppliers, something that’s often difficult to achieve at Ligna.

The signs are good and World GDP should grow by 3% in 2018, the best market outcome since 2012. Even Italy, having overcome significant difficulties in recent years is forecasting an estimated GDP growth of 1.5% With regard to woodworking technology, the dynamics are even more positive. In Europe, revenue growth is averaging 10% annually, with the Italian industry also showing similar trends. According to estimates by the Italian Association of Woodworking Machinery and Accessories (ACIMALL), the national consumption of technology will reach 900 million euros in 2018, bringing the market to its pre-crisis size. There’s a lot of good news in this ‘bumper year’ so get out there and don’t forget AWISA; it should be a ripper.