Read on for other news including: Italian Technology back to pre-crisis levels; Brexit; Wilsonart acquires Kara Board; IKEA steps up quality; vocational (trade) student numbers plummet; wood machining papers published; Holz-Her finalist at IWF Challengers Award competition; Kayne West  to design for IKEA?

Xylexpo brings Italian technology back to pre-crisis levels

The wood machinery industry has clearly improved. In 2015, the turnover of Italian woodworking technology amounted to 1,864 million Euro and the economic survey for the first quarter 2016 showed further positive signals, with a 22.7% growth driven by sustained business both in Italy and across the borders.

If this increase continues at 10% on an annual basis, total 2016 turnover would exceed two thousand billion Euro, getting very close to 2.1 billion, the industry’s all-time record. “We can say with confidence that a great contribution to this result was given by Xylexpo, our biennial exhibition that closed a few weeks ago,” said Lorenzo Primultini, President of Acimall and of the exhibition.

Brexit funnies

Brexit is over and despite initial concerns, the stock market has settled. After all, it’s going to take a while before it’s all done and dusted. A few internet wags have proposed titles for EU countries that may be the next to exit. We thought it was funny so here’s a few to start you off. Dumpmark (or Donemark) for Denmark and Noraway for Norway should be enough.

Have a guess at these: Beljump; Byeprus; Departugal; Czechout; Quitaly; Finish; Grexit; Donegary; Nethermind; Latervia; Fruckoff; Splitzerland; Germanacled; Austria La Vista (thank Arnie for that one); Polend; Luxembye; Noatia; Noland; Slovakout; Leavuania; Exitonia; Lithawaynia.
Of course Norway and Switzerland aren’t in the EU but it’s funny anyway. And outside of Europe, what about Americant; Mexigo; Iranaway; Canadios; Indoneseeya  and, if a country wants to stay, Remainia.

Wilsonart acquires Kara Board

Wilsonart Australia Pty Ltd, part of the Wilsonart Engineered Surfaces organisation, announced an agreement to acquire Kara Board. Kara Board is the manufacturer and seller of Karaboard brand decorative melamine boards, nuform high pressure laminates and Nu Door thermo-laminated doors and panels.

“Kara Board fits very well into Wilsonart Engineered Surfaces strategy, providing more choice to the marketplace,” said Dale Alexander, president of Wilsonart’s Asia Pacific business unit. “Our customers demand a range of decorative surfaces that offer both design integration and performance according to a project’s needs. Bringing Kara Board into the Wilsonart mix enables us to serve our customers with many more options.”

The announcement was made during AWISA in Melbourne.

IKEA steps up quality

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, budget furniture giant IKEA is stepping up efforts to improve the quality of its products and streamline manufacturing. IKEA’s Peter Agnefjall said this was due to customers increasingly demanding more durable products. IKEA is one of the world’s strongest brands but risks losing market share to (mostly) online furniture stores. Online retailers Amazon and Alibaba and fashion brands Next, Zara and H&M are also adding home furnishing to their offerings.
IKEA Group, which owns most IKEA stores, is on track for a 2020 sales target of €50 billion ($74 billion). But many associate it with disposable quality and complex self-assembly. Shedding the image could attract shoppers after they’ve grown older, wealthier and more critical of quality and durability. To offer better products while keeping prices low, IKEA now copies the auto industry, developing platforms for five product groups for economies of scale.

Vocational (trade) student numbers plummet

The number of students enrolled in government-funded vocational education in NSW has plummeted by 86,300 in the past year, new research from the National Centre for Vocational Education Research has revealed. NCVER found that nationwide about 200,000 fewer people had participated in government-funded skills training in 2015, with the largest decline in students aged 15-19. The dive in participation could entrench a national shortage of apprentices, as unions warn of a skills shortage in core trades that could drive up costs for businesses and home owners. At the same time, thousands more students are flocking to university training under the demand-driven system, with university enrolments rising 43%in the last 10 years.

Wood machining papers published

Two papers produced by Dr Barbara Ozarska and Benoit Bellville of the University of Melbourne and Supplier’s technology editor Philip Ashley have been published in Maderas. Ciencia y technologia (Chile). The work looks at the planing and wood machining properties of seven Australian plantation-grown Eucalypts, evaluated to provide recommendations on how these species should be machined and considered for the manufacture of high quality furniture and furnishings.
The surface quality produced for each species was evaluated using eight planing conditions. The wood machining properties were evaluated and included CNC machining, drilling, sanding, sawing and moulding. The trials were performed at Leitz in Germany over a week-long program; in Industry here in Australia and at Holmesglen TAFE. All species performed well producing equivalent or better results than mature traditional furniture species, and could be used for high value furniture manufacturing.
For more information contact bo@unimelb.edu.au

Holz-Her finalist at IWF Challengers Award Competition

Holz-Her was announced as one of 21 finalists for the Challengers Award 2016 for the LTRONIC and Multi-Tool technologies. The new edge-banding technology LTRONIC provides a fully integrated solution for processing laser edging. The Multi-Tool technology allows profiles to be changed in seconds without opening the machine’s cover and was developed in conjunction with the Leitz company. Twenty one finalists were announced in the 2016 International Woodworking Fair Challengers Award, which promotes the development of innovative new technology in woodworking machinery, supplies, and services for the wood product industries. The 2016 Challengers Award culminates with a presentation of the distinctive bronze sculpture at the IWF fair in Atlanta in August.

Kayne West to design for IKEA?

Kayne West was spotted visiting IKEA’s head office in Almhult, Sweden early this year, raising speculation that the rapper would soon be collaborating with the Swedish giant. The speculation increased when Kayne said on BBC Radio 1 that: “I have to work with IKEA, make furniture for interior design, for architecture, to furnish a minimalist design for a college dorm”. The good news is that, despite Kayne’s enthusiasm, he is yet to sell the idea to IKEA. The company said in a statement to CNBC: “Although we are flattered by Kayne West’s high interest in IKEA, we have no plans to collaborate at this point in time.” IKEA Australia offered Kayne a suggestion; several beds joined together, a reference to Kayne’s controversial Famous video.