From 21st to 24th March a very, very cold Nuremberg hosted the latest Holz-Handwerk exhibition for the wood and furniture trades. Often viewed as more relevant to Australia than the Ligna fair in Hannover, 2018 lifted the bar with exhibitors and visitors alike.

Once again the World’s suppliers to the woodworking trades came together in Nuremberg to put on a trade show that according to suppliers and visitors alike, just keeps getting better and better. Full halls, enthusiastic visitors and very satisfied exhibitors; that sums up HOLZ-HANDWERK and FENSTERBAU FRONTALE 2018. The events were impressive in every respect, with an excellent range of products and information, and top quality and numbers for both exhibitors and visitors. The halls at HOLZ-HANDWERK were alive with more than just the buzz of machines; business was also booming. With 515 exhibitors (2016: 494) from 19 countries, this exhibition for machine technology and manufacturing requirements was once again the go-to event for cabinet-makers, joiners and carpenters from all over Europe with many visitors from Australia making the trip. Stefan Dittrich, Exhibition Director for HOLZ-HANDWERK, sums up, “With the impetus provided by this successful event, we are highly motivated to prepare for our 20th anniversary exhibition in 2020.” Exhibitors and visitors have their sights set on the next event, and numbers intending to participate again are high on both sides.

Industry giants had only good things to say about the show. SCM’s Director Luigi DeVito said there was “An incredible participation of customers; it’s so important for us to be here.” Gregor Baumbusch is marketing manager of Weinig Group and said “For us, digitalisation is the main topic at Nuremberg and this show is the perfect platform to show our customers what this is all about.” Joerg Mayer of Altendorf said “Germany is still our strongest European market but there are other key markets in Southern Europe and Scandinavia. Other emerging markets are Russia, the Middle East and China.” Altendorf’s stand at Holz-Handwerk displayed mostly the F45 panel saw and a host of F45 accessories as Altendorf sees this machine as the most important to the European market. Juergen Koppell, CEO Leitz group said “the show started with an avalanche of customers; it was a great start for us.” Mr. Koppell spoke about the Leitz product adding value for the customer. This could be quality, flexibility or productivity and that this value is Global, even as far away as Australia.

Some of the new releases at the show included the Biesse Selco WN2, a new sectioning centre aimed at the artisan who decides to make an initial investment to improve production and machining quality. This step from a classic manual machine to the first real beam-saw cutting technology is reliable, user-friendly and affordable. Biesse also featured their new Winline 16 multi-centre designed for artisans and small firms that want to increase their production, and medium-large factories that produce small irregular shaped batches or variations. Also from Biesse was the SOPHIA software platform created by Biesse that enables customers to access a wide range of services to streamline and rationalise their work management processes.

From Felder we saw the new Tempora F400 edge-bander models that bring state-of-the-art premium edge finishing to the medium segments of budget, size and performance. Industry 4.0, the self-organized production is currently what everyone talks about, but far from the practice in craft workshops so far was also a Felder topic in Nuremberg. With F4®Solutions the Format-4 presents the intelligent complete solution for all craft businesses that means 4.0 for everyone. F4®Solutions delivers the production data to the existing machines and connects procedures with each other. From the idea and planning with visualization, to cutting, design processing and finally to the finished product with full integration of warehouse management and control.

Häfele presented their PurePlasma fans for uncompromisingly clean air. The PurePlasma fan is different than any other currently available so-called plasma filters on the market because it generates free atmospheric low pressure plasma, safely and without measurable emissions. All this creates far greater efficiency than conventional exhaust and recirculation systems. The air cleans itself with the open system in the entire room itself. The system is maintenance free and economical in energy consumption with only a fine dust filter that can be simply vacuumed off. Also from Häfele comes the multifunctional Häfele bathroom mirror that combines the themes of make-up light, room lighting, mood lighting, mirror heating and sound system in a high-quality product. The headlight is adjustable from cold to warm white, dimmed to daylight with a memory function for different users. While the sound system is operated via Bluetooth with a smartphone or tablet, the user controls the light settings and the mirror heater via back-lit tip-on switches integrated in the mirror front.

From Hettich was the ‘Push to open Silent’ drawer opening system with numerous new features added to the second product generation. As a result, Push to open Silent provides the same convenience as electromechanical opening systems. Drawers open entirely mechanically in response to a light press on the front panel. On shutting; they un-noticeably load the opening mechanism and close in a gently cushioned movement. Even small; lightweight drawers that up until now lacked momentum, close reliably and gently. Using special runners and Push to open Silent units, Hettich has managed to develop an end to end solution for all drawer formats. In the hinge segment, Hettich’s new Sensys hinge in obsidian black retreats into the background on dark materials, remaining conspicuously inconspicuous. The range provides a key to upgrading into the luxury segment and gives manufacturers new distinguishing options.

Last year the HOMAG Group combined almost all of its existing brands under the single HOMAG name. At Holz-Handwerk all of the machines were presented in a new, modern machine design across all products as well as new, consistent and coordinated product names such as EDGETEQ for edge banders and SAWTEQ for panel cutting machines. Live in action at the Holz-Handwerk trade fair was the first fully-autonomous workshop consisting of two automated cells connected by an autonomous, Driverless Transport Vehicle or DTV. Put simply, a robot vehicle moves parts from one machine in the cell to another. The “autonomous cell” is able to take full advantage of its flexibility in trade as well as in the industry, and opens up new options for production.

From SCM Group we saw the Maestro Smartech, a revolutionary remote assistance and maintenance system which employs augmented reality glasses. For users, it’s just like having an SCM technician always at their side as they experiment with wearable technology. Eye-M is SCM’s next-generation multifunction and multi-touch operator panel with a 21.5-inch screen, which introduces the mobile-device feel and approach to the industrial production environment. SCM’s accord 42 fx CNC router is a machining centre equipped with the new operating group consisting of 2 independent routing units (3+5 axes) designed to efficiently combine heavy duty profiling at high power with production creativity and flexibility, according to the demands of a market where the focus is increasingly shifting towards customized products.

Finally, from Weinig the new Unimat 217; the compact craftsman’s machine for four-sided solid wood processing celebrated its world premiere. The new WMC (Weinig machine control) also celebrated its premiere in Nuremberg. Weinig presented a further innovation in the area of gluing. The ProfiPress L B combines all of Weinig know-how in high-frequency gluing and press technology in a single machine and significantly simplifies the production of window scantlings, beams and panels. Also from the Weinig Group was the new Nextec technology from Holz-Her that can produce made-to-measure furniture in just three steps. At AWISA Weinig promises a warehouse system feeding a beam saw and CNC router; an optimising system with a new live fence, and some new product from Holz-Her.