In alternate years to Ligna and in the same year as AWISA, the Fensterbau and Holz-Handwerk shows are held jointly in Nuremberg 16 to 19 March. The best window and door design and technology AND possibly the best display of machines and woodworking equipment for high-end and hand woodworking in the world are displayed.

Fensterbau and Holz-Handwerk are not high on the agenda for Australian manufacturers but the number of visitors from Down Under is increasing. Ligna, held in alternate years to our own AWISA show, is the one fair that most go to for the absolute latest and greatest in new technology. Ligna, however, is seen by some as more of a panel show while the Nuremberg exhibitions are centred squarely on solid wood. If you’re a joinery manufacturer it’s a must-see and as for solid timber wood working, well, it’s just about the best you will see anywhere in the world. We’ll cover all the innovations in the next print edition of Supplier Magazine.

Fensterbau is where you will see the ‘grand designs’ of the window and door industries. European manufacturers wow with designs and features most only dream of. Single-glazed windows don’t really exist in the European world; it’s all double and triple glazed. The Australian Government makes a big deal of its efforts in energy savings but completely ignores the millions of dwellings where energy savings don’t exist. It’s about time something was done to get some decent window and door standards in this country. European manufacturers are amazed Australia is virtually a third-world country when it comes to window and door design. There are some companies producing a decent window here but it’s tough when there are no incentives and it all comes down to cost.

Holz-Handwerk is the fair for the small and large manufacturer and craftsman using mainly solid wood. If you’ve been to Ligna and were disappointed it looked like a flat panel show, then Holz-Handwerk is where you should be. It’s a fact that the show is sold out years in advance and there’s a waiting list to get in. The big suppliers cannot get any more room and their floor allocation is a fraction of Ligna’s.

Hand woodworkers love this fair because it has absolutely everything you can imagine. The suppliers of static machines are ecstatic as their customers literally fill the aisles. SCM (Gabbett) and Felder stand out as two well-known suppliers and, with their range of quality static machines, they are in their element here.

SCM and Felder were joined by Biesse, Homag, IMA and Weinig presenting their range of high-tech machines. Their space here is smaller than Ligna and larger than AWISA but they all want more. It’s not going to happen because that will be at the expense of the smaller suppliers as there is no space left to expand. Biesse, for example, could only squeeze in a dozen machines even though they had 30% more space than the last show. Homag was half the size of their Ligna stand but double that of Biesse (because it’s a German show, it would be the other way around in Milan). SCM and Felder were the only two exhibitors that looked similar to what you could expect at the Ligna show. That being said, all the important machine types were there so the exhibits lacked nothing in terms of quality.

Biesse is pushing their Think4ward core concept as they did in Sydney in March. It’s designed to help their customers leverage the 4th Industrial revolution (Industry 4.0). Federico Broccoli (wood division director) said: “4.0 is not just a number to us, it’s a real commitment to our customers to be more competitive in a global market”. Biesse exhibited a Rover 5-axis machine; Rover “C” for door, window, staircase and furniture production; Winstore automatic panel system and Selco SK-4 panel saw; Stream and Akron edge banders with the Airforce zero-join technology; Opera and Viet sanders and some vertical CNC processing machines.

Homag displayed 30 machines at Holz-Handwerk but no production line as there was no space. Homag usually present new technologies at their shows and Nuremberg was no exception. The new Holzma HPP130 can now make additional cuts in the material to relieve stress cuts and the Holzma HPP300 can handle profiled surfaces. Their Brandt edge banders now have a belt instead of rollers on the top pressure to more evenly distribute the pressure. Weeke CNC machines are now available with 5-axes and the Homag CNC with edge banding on-board has the glue pot at the front for easy access while other brands have theirs at the rear of the machine. Their new automated cardboard box machine scans the assembled cabinet on the outfeed belt and instantly cuts a cardboard box to exactly fit that one cabinet.

SCM (Gabbett) now provides the zero-join technology on its smaller edge banders starting with the 560 model. The corner rounding system (X-round) has a two-motor unit, now occupying the same space as the previous single unit did. The new Startech 21 and 27 NC boring machines are suitable for the smaller manufacturer and for those companies who need additional (drilling only) capacity. The Morbidelli Cyflex hp boring centre has significantly reduced overall dimensions, and carries out all boring, blade-grooving and routing operations. The machine has the most reduced working cycle, due to two independent drilling heads that optimise any boring pattern.

In the Fensterbau part of this two show event, FOM (Gabbett) presented a wide range of aluminium and PCV processing equipment where new software integration is making the investment more viable. The use of European-style windows in Australia is small but the benefits will see the market change over the next decade.

Felder presented its H50 CNC machine and will have one at the AWISA show later this year. Stefan Kremer tells me: “It will be fully operational and running some pretty cool products including Australian-style joinery and furniture components. Leitz has developed some specialised tooling for Felder that will also be on display. Felder Australia is also associated with the Urban brand of aluminium processing equipment and reports that the first Australian produced profiles will soon be available in this country. We’ll report more on this soon.

Weinig continued to consolidate all its brands under the Weinig name. Neil Forbes reports excellent results in Australia with sales of Holz-Her edge banders equaling that of other major suppliers. Accura edge banders can be fitted with automated servo-axis controlled (revolving) tool change units for both cutting and scraping. The Lumina edge banders can be fitted with the Ltronic zero-join unit and this can be changed within a minute or two with no heat-up time required.

In the moulding sector, the flexible Powermat 1500 fills the gap between the successful Powermat 700 and the Powermat 2400. The outstanding feature of the new Powermat 1500 is the ComfortSet concept bringing significant simplifications and results in considerably increased efficiency for customers. Numerous settings can be applied tool-free. At this year’s show Weinig sold double the number of machines it did at the last show.

Every last square metre of exhibition space was booked for the Fensterbau and Holz-Handwerk trade fairs held jointly at the Exhibition Centre Nuremberg, Germany. Every two years, the fair sets new benchmarks for the woodworking and wood processing sector and the window and door manufacturing industries. In 2016 these combined shows delivered in spades.