There are other woodworking trade shows around the World, but none encompass the depth of innovation, design and technology Ligna offers. Smart, futureproof solutions were at the top of the agenda, and LIGNA 2019 made it clear that technology users are now “getting smart” with regard to digitization and automation.

Most of the other shows are locally oriented, like AWISA in Australia, the ‘W’ exhibition in Birmingham (UK) and the woodworking fair Atlanta in the USA. There are two other shows; Xylexpo in Milan and Holz Handwerk in Nuremberg held in alternate years and of the two of these, the Nuremberg fair is by far the best value, although the Zylexpo organisers are working hard to lift the profile of the Italian fair.

The five-day LIGNA 2019 closed on an impressive note. The world’s leading trade fair for woodworking and wood processing plant, machinery and tools gave a considerable boost to the wood industry, paving the way for future investment. Major emphasis was placed on integrated solutions enabling companies of all sizes, from niche woodworking firms to large-scale manufacturers to meet current market demands and prepare for future challenges.

A total of 1,500 exhibitors from 50 nations presented their impressive solutions for the future, making innovations tangible and easy to grasp for users from every sector of the industry, on a scale unrivalled throughout the world. Technologies considered to be visionary at the previous LIGNA have now become reality. Pekka Paasivaara, President of the German Woodworking Machinery Manufacturers’ Association said “LIGNA 2019 demonstrated that we have taken a big leap forward in the direction of digital wood processing, and that interest in advanced technology is running high throughout the world. This gives us all good cause for optimism.”

Over 90,000 visitors from over 100 countries went to Hannover to check out the industry’s latest advances and find exactly the right technologies and approaches to help them stay competitive and grow their businesses. Over 40,000 trade visitors came from abroad, an indication of the show’s international appeal, and an achievement unmatched by any competing tradeshow worldwide. The organisers were also particularly pleased to note increases in the number of attendees from North America and Southeast Asia, including Australia where Mr. Paasivaara said, “hundreds of Australian companies attended.”

Over 50 percent of LIGNA visitors rated the importance of Industry 4.0 (the internet of things) as being high to very high. Some 40 percent of them were either upgrading their existing machinery or considering the purchase of new machines to reap the benefits of Industry 4.0 technology that includes robotics; automated transport vehicles (transbots) and fully integrated and automated storage and manufacturing solutions. The approach here is one of end-to-end digitization with concepts spanning everything from planning and design to production and monitoring, as opposed to island solutions. The next issue of Supplier magazine will feature all the latest Ligna trends and equipment.

Pictured: SCM tooling at Ligna 2019