Find Wood Processing & Woodworking’s Digital Future at LIGNA 2015


2015 is just around the corner. The international wood industry showcase, which runs from 11 to 15 May in Hannover, Germany, will put the spotlight on the growing Industry 4.0 trend of production process digitization and the shift towards intelligent, fully integrated woodworking and wood processing machines.

The worldwide market for woodworking and wood processing machinery is worth an estimated nine billion euros and it’s on show in Hannover in just a few days’ time. Whether it’s kitchen cabinets, doors, windows or roof trusses – if it’s made of wood, it’s made using machines of the kind on show in Hannover at LIGNA 2015.

“Process optimization. Automation. Product individualization. They’re the big themes at LIGNA 2015,” said Dr. Jochen Köckler, a member of the Managing Board of Deutsche Messe, the company that organizes LIGNA. “Companies that work with wood are working smarter as they embrace the automated, connected world of Industry 4.0. They are looking for ways of making their production processes more efficient, and LIGNA is where they will find the innovative, highly versatile technologies they need in order to achieve this. LIGNA mobilizes visitors from all around the world by offering them what they need the most in order to stay competitive. And what they need most right now is automation and integrated production,” he said.

“Making the right choices in terms of Industry 4.0 can make all the difference in today’s highly competitive international markets, particularly for businesses engaged in highly specialized wood processing and woodworking operations,” Köckler added. “Greater integration benefits all players, whether they’re big industrials or joiners and cabinetmakers.”

With a close eye on the market, Deutsche Messe has carefully developed and refined the LIGNA exhibition program. As a result, this year’s show will present machinery and equipment for all stages of the wood value chain, from forestry, sawmilling and wood energy to solid woodworking, wood panel and veneer production, right through to industrial furniture manufacturing and the woodworking trades.

Home to over 1,500 exhibitors from 48 nations, LIGNA 2015 spans 120,000 square meters (just on 1.3 million sq. ft.) of display area spread across ten exhibition halls and an extensive open-air site. Among several new features, this year’s LIGNA will include a dedicated showcase on automation and integrated production.

“The entire wood industry is primed and ready for LIGNA to start. All the market leaders will be there, ready and eager to unveil their innovations to the world. The wood industry likes to keep its new innovations and developments under wraps so they can premiere at LIGNA. It’s going to be an exciting week, that’s for sure,” Dr. Köckler said.

More than half of LIGNA’s exhibitors will come from nations other than Germany – primarily Italy, Austria and China, but also Sweden, the USA, Switzerland, Taiwan, Turkey, Spain and France. LIGNA is also impressively international on the visitor side of the market equation, with more than a third of the entire turnout this year once again hailing from beyond Germany.

Focus theme: integrated production

The wood industry is one of the leading users of Industry 4.0 technology. Smart, production systems that can organize, configure and optimize themselves are already taking shape in the wood processing and woodworking applications, as will be made abundantly clear at this year’s LIGNA. The show will feature entire production lines in action – living, tangible examples of digitally integrated production as an enabler of Industry 4.0. The various aspects of integrated production touched on at the exhibition stands will be explored in greater detail in the course of guided tours and a special speaking event held on site at the Robotation Academy.

LIGNA will also show that digital integration and automation are not the exclusive preserve of big furniture manufacturers; they are also opening up whole new ways for wood craftsmen to boost their efficiency and remain competitive. Cabinetmakers and joiners are increasingly turning to CNC systems in order to be able to deliver on the most exacting customer specifications and produce custom furniture and joinery quickly and at highly competitive rates.

CNC technology will soon be the norm in joinery and cabinetmaking workshops – just as circular saws are now. At LIGNA, the world’s leading machinery manufacturers will demonstrate this fact with a comprehensive and highly tailored showcase that will give wood craftsmen all the information they need in order to make the right investment choices.

Focus theme: non-wood materials

This year, LIGNA is adding an exciting new string to its bow with a new special display in Hall 16 themed “Surprisingly versatile.” There, visitors will be able to learn about the kinds of products they can make from materials other than solid and engineered wood using standard wood processing machines.

The aim of the special display is to demonstrate that the machines and tool systems on show at LIGNA can process much more than just wood; they can be used to machine plastics, composite panels and materials, insulation and construction materials as well. Visitors will discover that wood processing machines can process non-wood materials that have applications in a whole range of areas, including kitchen systems production, plastics fabrication and specialized solutions for the automotive and aircraft industries. The “Surprisingly versatile” display will feature several eye-popping examples of this, including a wash basin made of glass and a Lamborghini engine hood made of RTM composites.

Premiere of the Wood Industry Summit

Premiering this year in Hall 13 at LIGNA, the Wood Industry Summit is a combined exhibition, matchmaking platform and dialogue forum that is designed to facilitate access to emerging markets for the world’s providers of forestry and primary wood processing technologies. At the heart of the Summit is an international forum featuring speakers from industry, science and government, not to mention delegates from the most important target markets for forestry and wood processing machinery, including, most notably, the timber-rich regions of Asia, America, Eastern Europe and Russia.

The machinery manufacturers will also present their solutions in the Summit’s exhibition area. The program is rounded out by a solid line-up of discussion panels and technical presentations. The Wood Industry Summit is organized by Deutsche Messe in association with the German Forestry Council (KWF), a long-standing and trusted partner that organized a highly successful international matchmaking event at the last LIGNA show in 2013.

This year, the forestry technology displays on the open-air site and in the pavilions clustered beneath the EXPO canopy are more diverse and international than ever before. All the key timber harvesting and wood-based energy technologies will be there. The exhibits of forestry and primary wood processing machines will feature a number of additional attractions this year, thanks to the premiere of the Wood Industry Summit.

Leading forestry specialists will, for example, be presenting the latest generation of harvesters, which are equipped with a whole range of new systems to help forestry companies and forest contractors meet increasingly stringent standards and requirements both in their industry and further down stream. Faced with tighter forestry-industry regulations and the various certification systems to which most forestry operations now subscribe, machinery manufacturers are now developing solutions that are more eco-friendly. They are under pressure to provide machines that are cheaper, more efficient and less labor-intensive to operate and which allow their owners to meet more stringent soil protection standards.

Other exciting growth areas of the wood industry on show at LIGNA include the timber construction sector, the surface technology sector with its innovative solutions for seamless jointing, and the wood energy sector. Wood energy is gaining ground on fossil fuels like oil and gas and is an increasingly important and lucrative re-use option for waste wood generated by the wood processing industry.

Another big attraction at the upcoming LIGNA show is the Fibers in Process@LIGNA marketplace – a new group pavilion that will provide a wood industry perspective on the various processes and technologies used in the pulp and paper industry.

LIGNA is also home to the most important new technologies in sawmilling, wood panel and veneer production and solid woodworking. It is known and respected around the world as a platform for high-quality dialogue, networking and knowledge-sharing among wood industry professionals. And it is the world’s No. technology showcase for the wood industry. “All the market leaders will be there with their latest product releases, which they’ve carefully timed to coincide with LIGNA,” Dr. Köckler said.

Deutsche Messe AG

With revenue of 280 million euros (2014), Deutsche Messe AG ranks among the world’s ten largest trade fair companies and operates the world’s largest exhibition center. In 2014, Deutsche Messe planned and staged 134 trade fairs and congresses around the world – events which hosted a total of over 41,000 exhibitors and some 3.6 million visitors. The company’s event portfolio includes such world-leading trade fairs as CeBIT (IT and telecommunications), HANNOVER MESSE (industrial technology), BIOTECHNICA (biotechnology), CeMAT (intralogistics), didacta (education), DOMOTEX (floor coverings), INTERSCHUTZ (fire prevention and rescue), and LIGNA (wood processing and forestry). With approx. 1,200 employees and a network of 66 representatives, subsidiaries and branch offices, Deutsche Messe is present in more than 100 countries worldwide.

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