Global players and companies from all over the world come together to showcase tools, machinery and equipment as well as smart solutions and new technologies.
In addition to companies from Germany, firms from Italy, Austria, Turkey, Spain, China, Sweden, Slovenia, Denmark and the Netherlands account for the largest proportion of exhibitors by area.
In the process, the trade show has even been able to expand its exhibitor portfolio: this year, more than 180 first-time exhibitors intend to take advantage of the opportunities for business initiation and networking.
"LIGNA offers a unique overview of the entire value chain of the woodworking and wood processing industry. It is the international showcase for innovations and THE stage for world firsts. We have been receiving a wave of euphoria from the community ever since planning began. The industry is looking forward to the face-to-face experience in Hannover," said Dr. Jochen Köckler, CEO of Deutsche Messe AG, highlighting the importance of the event at the LIGNA.Preview on February 16 in Hannover. "At LIGNA 2023, visitors will meet exhibitors from 44 countries. This is where trends are set and discussed that shape the industry and point the way to the future."
LIGNA focus topics move the industry
LIGNA 2023 will also live up to its role as a trendsetter in its choice of focus topics. The topic of digitisation is shaping the development of the industry and is a prerequisite for production that is as resource-efficient as it is flexible.
Under the title ‘Woodworking Transformation’, it is also receiving a great deal of attention at the show. Exhibitors will show how far the networking of machines, tools, components and materials has already gone and will present innovations in the fields of robotics, automation and software.
The buzzwords Smart or Connected Factory, Industry 4.0 or Internet of Things and IoT platforms will continue to become tangible at the exhibition with concrete examples.
On the way to an economy based on renewable resources, wood as the most important renewable raw material forms a central foundation. The wood-based bioeconomy is considered an innovative technology driver.
The framework conditions for expanding resource-efficient wood use are part of the European Green Deal and pillars of a circular bioeconomy. This is a development that will rightly be the focus of attention at LIGNA 2023.
On display will be development lines of the wood-based bioeconomy and technological innovations for responsible use of natural resources, as well as process technologies for shaping chemically digested wood fibres.
Wood is also steadily gaining importance as a recyclable building material in the construction industry. The share of total construction volume accounted for by purely timber buildings and timber-mixed structures is growing continuously both nationally and globally.
The show reflects this industry trend in the focus topic ‘Prefab Building Processes’: Because the increasing importance of timber construction also results in new requirements for technology and equipment.
At LIGNA.Preview, Bernd Oswald (GROPYUS) and Professor Achim Menges (University of Stuttgart) therefore spoke on this topic. Conclusion: The construction industry needs a technology boost to produce in a contemporary and efficient manner—in prefabrication as well as on the construction site.
At the show, interested parties can discover suitable solutions and approaches that will determine the future of timber construction.
On-site and digital: LIGNA.Stage, Guided Tours, LIGNA.Recruiting & LIGNA.Campus
The focus topics are also a common thread running through the show's additional formats.
The LIGNA.Stage presents the live audience in Hall 12 with a varied forum program of solution- and user-oriented presentations and panel discussions along the focus topics as well as recruiting and sustainability.
For those who cannot be present on site, the various program items will also be available as a stream live and on demand on the show’s website.
Visitors can also look forward to the Guided Tours again—this year in a hybrid format. The tours offer a tailored overview of various topics. In groups of up to 25 participants, interested parties will be guided to selected exhibitors and given exclusive presentations and live demonstrations directly at their stands.
Like the LIGNA.Stage program, the Hybrid Guided Tours are available live and on-demand in streaming in English and German on the show’s website.
"By streaming our additional formats, we want to make LIGNA and relevant industry developments accessible to those who can't be there on site," says Stephanie Wagner, LIGNA Project Manager. "Independent of location and time, we can thus extend LIGNA's appeal far beyond the event period."
In view of the shortage of skilled workers and concerns about young talent, LIGNA also provides an overview of research, education and career opportunities in the woodworking and wood processing industry.
The LIGNA.Campus provides information on education and training courses offered by universities, technical colleges and technical schools. Teaching also presents current research projects.
At LIGNA.Recruiting, potential employers meet interested skilled personnel. A digital job wall allows companies - whether exhibitors or visitors—to post attractive job offers.
This offer can not only be viewed and accessed digitally at the recruiting area at the showA, but is supplemented by on-site opportunities for personal matchmaking between human resources and interested parties and by company pitches from participating companies.
In addition to a VDMA lounge, the LIGNA.Future Square powered by VDMA will present start-ups with lean solutions and new ideas.
Main focus of LIGNA 2023
LIGNA encompasses the entire value chain of the woodworking and wood processing industry and presents itself in a total of seven product segments:
• Tools & Machinery for Custom & Mass Production (Halls 11–15, 27)
Whether for batch-size one production or mass production runs, tools and machinery for processing all types of wood products are on display here.
Visitors can find out all they need to know about working with solid wood, panel products, plastics and composites.
The show will again focus on the breakdown of the technology divide between woodworking shops and industrial manufacturers.
• Surface Technology (Halls 16, 17)
Advanced technologies, digitisation, integration and automation are key trends in woodworking and timber processing and hence keynote themes at the show.
• Wood Based Panel Production (Hall 26)
Machinery, plant and auxiliary materials for the production of wood-based panel products, wood-like materials and composites: chipboard, MDF, OSB, CPL, HPL and veneer production.
• Sawmill Technology (Hall 25)
The complete range of sawmill technology will be showcased from log yard and initial rip sawing to sorting, drying and generation of the required energy input.
• Energy from Wood (Halls 25, 26, open-air site)
Decentralised energy generation and utilisation: from the recovery of process energy in the timber industry to its utilisation for heating purposes or conversion to electric power.
• Machine Components and Automation Technology (Hall 16)
With Industry 4.0 now in full swing, machine components and automation technology today play a major role.
Exhibits here include efficient drive solutions, control systems for CNC machines, efficient and energy-saving transport and handling solutions, as well as high-performance industrial robots.
• Machinery for Forestry, Roundwood & Sawntimber Production (open-air site, P32–35)
The focus here is on state-of-the-art forestry technology and optimised timber harvesting systems, the utilisation of wood as a material and an energy source, mobile sawmills, logistics and transport, as well as large forestry machines and accessories.
What Planes For A Long Time Finally Becomes A Saw!
When someone is good at what they do, they are often trusted with a lot in other areas as well. REX Maschinenfabrik from Pinneberg in northern Germany, for example, is a recognised and renowned manufacturer of planing machines. And especially when it comes to their automation, Pinneberg is at the forefront. This has not stopped many customers from encouraging the planing specialists to try their hand at other machines.
"Time and time again we were asked if we could build a sawing machine. Our customers said that they knew we could do it. We would prove it to them with our planing machines," recalls Joachim Schwarzbeck, Managing Director at REX, explaining, "We were always well utilised in our company. Such a product development would not have been so easy in terms of time."
The fact that it finally came about is thanks to a nasty freak of nature, i.e. the Covid-19 virus. Like so many others, REX also felt the negative effects of the pandemic—but saw no reason to mope about it: "Every crisis also offers opportunities. And we took advantage of them. The saw idea has become a machine," explains Schwarzbeck, not without pride.
More precisely, a cross-cut saw that REX developed together with a northern German sawmill company. "We have been working with this customer for many years. Now we are implementing his wish in modern technology," says Schwarzbeck, praising the good relationship of trust: "That's important to get something like this up and running."
"There have been saws like this built before, but we've brought it into the 21st century," answers the REX managing director when asked why it became a crosscut saw.
Almost nothing is done manually on the fully automated innovation; control is largely online. "The machine is stable and robust. It corresponds to the state of our technology," emphasises Schwarzbeck, referring to the extensive equipment. The new saw prefers to process beams into boards or cross-cut them into battens, with a maximum possible beam cross-section of 220 by 200 mm.
The saw blades, which are driven with 90 kilowatts, are expected to achieve around 50 meters per minute. The final design details are currently being worked out, for example the optimisation of chip guidance or the positioning of the cover plates.
Dowel Insertion For Experts
Behind many an innovation are not infrequently resourceful minds who, in the event of success, are usually standing in the second row and enjoying the applause that erupts for the invention.
Aggregatetechnologie und Manufaktur AG, or ATEMAG for short, from Hofstetten is one such supplier of well-made innovations. One of the reasons for this is the way in which the experienced team of technicians from the Black Forest company develops customised aggregates: from the initial idea to the finished product, and always in consultation with the customer. By the way, this also applies to one-offs, because the word ‘Manufaktur’ is not in the company name for nothing.
A current example of a convincing commissioned work is the dowel insertion unit developed at the request of a leading machine manufacturer.
The task was to integrate a mechanical assembly into the mimic of a CNC machine, which automatically realises dowel driving into both faces of a wooden panel.
No sooner said than done: The system, which has since been successfully launched on the market, uses pre-glued wooden dowels for this operation, so that dowel glue is completely dispensed with here and a gluing system is unnecessary. Instead, the dowels are fed into the assembly unit of the CNC machine via a separate feed system.
The actual dowel insertion unit called PINJET has its big moment after the dowel holes have been inserted into the face of the workpiece in a preceding operation in the CNC machining centre.
One of the advantages of this is that the panel does not have to be clamped again separately. In the first step of dowel insertion, the unit sprays a precisely metered quantity of water into the dowel hole and then presses the pre-glued dowel into the dowel hole by means of a pneumatic cylinder.
The previously sprayed water then immediately activates the gluing action and the dowel is firmly glued into the workpiece after just a few moments—completely automatically. And since the unit is designed to swivel, both faces of a wooden panel can be fitted with dowels in just one operation. According to ATEMAG, the entire process takes just three seconds per dowel.
Wood Can Do More
The Fraunhofer Wilhelm-Klauditz-Institut (WKI), headquartered in Braunschweig, Germany, has been dedicated to wood research and sustainability through the use of renewable raw materials for more than 75 years.
One of the most pressing questions at present—given that eight percent of global greenhouse gas emissions are caused by cement production—is how to build in a way that is as resource-efficient, cost-effective and aesthetically pleasing as possible.
To find out, researchers at the Fraunhofer WKI are combining different materials to create high-performance building elements using minimal materials and energy.
Basically, the research is based on the properties of the wood. In relation to its weight, it has high strength and also offers high adaptability and workability. This is contrasted by the rather variable properties of wood in terms of tensile and compressive strength, which means that its use in load-bearing structures in particular has been limited to date.
To compensate for this drawback, the WKI is developing both suitable fibre composite plastics and the appropriate manufacturing processes for wood-fibre composite plastic systems (wood-FRP systems).
One approach, for example, is to incorporate multiple layers of polymer matrix and reinforcing fabric into a wooden structure as a tensile component. Several processes are available for implementing this technology.
For example, a particularly high quality and reproducibility can be achieved by vacuum infusion. The hand lay-up process, on the other hand, allows in-situ applications, whereby the fibre composite plastic can even be used to reinforce existing wooden structures, provided the wooden components are accessible.
Another approach is wood-concrete composite systems (HBV systems), intended as an alternative to reinforced concrete. According to the WKI, they are particularly suitable for use under bending loads, in which high tensile stresses can occur on the underside of the composite system, for example in beams or ceiling slabs.
To absorb these tensile forces, the Braunschweig researchers replace the steel with suitable wood. In this way, ceiling slabs are created, for example, in which a beam structure is first installed with a top layer of wood-based panels.
The top layer is an integral part of the construction and also serves as formwork and possible support for the ceiling. It is coated with an adhesive and then filled with fresh concrete. While the concrete layer ensures high strength in the compression zone, the wood takes over the tensile forces that occur.
In the composite, this not only results in high flexural strength, but also saves a large proportion of tensile reinforcement and concrete compared with reinforced concrete floors. In addition, HBV-Systems facilitate processing on the construction site, because in contrast to conventional construction methods, the formwork no longer has to be removed after the concrete has cured.
Cutting The Curve
LEUCO, headquartered in Horb am Neckar, is one of the leading international suppliers of integrated tool solutions and intelligent services for the woodworking industry.
In permanent exchange with the industry, the Black Forest company has been developing ever more advanced carbide and diamond-tipped circular saw blades, hoggers, drilling and shank tools, drills, inserts and clamping devices for almost 70 years.
The goal has always remained the same: To optimise the processes of customers in the construction, furniture and panel industries, in sawmills and interior design companies, as well as to open up new opportunities in dealing with the ever-growing variety of materials.
However, the company only becomes an all-round carefree partner with its comprehensive range of consulting services, its sharpening service in manufacturer quality and its future-oriented tool management solutions.
In the run-up to LIGNA 2023 in Hannover, the company is now surprising visitors with a DP nesting end mill designed from scratch, the LEUCO DiaCurve end mill.
Even at first glance, the special feature of this new type of milling cutter can be recognised: its arc-shaped or curved cutting edge shape and the unusual design of the diamond tablets. The design of the LEUCO DiaCurve cutters thus represents a completely new manufacturing and milling concept.
Each individual DP cutting edge has alternating axis angles, which are intended to ensure perfect cutting quality in the surface layers. In contrast to many small individual cutting edges, the continuous cutting edges and the large, continuous chip spaces enable a very good chip flow without large chip compression. Clogging of the peripheral cutting edges can thus be effectively prevented.
Currently, the company offers the new DiaCurve nesting cutters in five different dimensions, which are said to be suitable for the most common wood materials. However, it should be noted that each tool is designed for a specific panel thickness range and that low groove or rebate milling cannot be performed with the tools due to the continuous cutting-edge shape.
On the other hand, the patent-pending design allows more cutting edges on small diameters. For example, three cutting edges are possible with a diameter of nine and a half mm, and even four cutting edges with a diameter of twelve mm. The tools are also designed as inexpensive disposable cutters, which means that sharpening with all its adversities is no longer necessary.
How A Machine Grows Into A System
The still fresh EDGETEQ S-500 series from the HOMAG Group impressed right from the start with its high flexibility in edgebanding and feed rates of 20 and 25 m per minute.
On the occasion of the last LIGNA, Homag added the MS40 multi-stage trimming unit, the MF60 Servotrim multi-function trimming unit, the BF40 fine trimming unit and the MZ40 multi-stage scraper unit to the EDGETEQ S-500, further enhancing the machine's utility value.
Another special feature was added: the new AG12 gluing unit for optional use with EVA or PUR glue now allowed processing of individual strips up to twelve mm as standard and also required less space in the basic version.
Handling of the application unit during adhesive and ink changes has been simplified and now offers the option of emptying the application unit inside the machine. The fluid supply, in turn, has been moved to the outside, which means it takes up less space and is easier to access.
However, all these measures are by no means the end of the evolution of the EDGETEQ S-500. In the run-up to LIGNA 2023, word from Schopfloch is that the precise WZ14 workpiece feed system, which was previously only available for higher series, is now also available for the EDGETEQ S-500 series edge banders.
Thus, the extended sliding pawls of the WZ14 now safely guide the workpieces under the top pressure, supported by the format delivery, which is responsible for the exact parallel cuts as a prerequisite for correct angles. In this way, even coarsely formatted workpieces should be able to be processed perfectly.
A further addition to the optimisation of the EDGETEQ S-500 is the LOOPTEQ O-600 gantry return. This intelligent multi-talent is used for automated workpiece return and stacking and thus forms the basis for an interlinked material flow with high performance. A defined rotation during transfer of the workpieces ensures process-oriented return and finished workpieces can be both discharged and stacked.
Smart High Stackers
Despite the increasing individualisation in furniture production, the need for automated processes is growing. Robots in particular have the potential to relieve staff and harmonise parts handling.
In the case of IMA Schelling, a specialist for sophisticated plant solutions for the woodworking industry, robots perfectly matched to the in-house panel-sizing saws are to ensure that the strips are first buffered and then independently fed back to the saw.
But that's not all: after cutting, they also stack the material on up to three floor spaces. In this way, non-productive times can be reduced and the availability and profitability of the systems can be increased.
"Robots classically perform three types of tasks," explains David Schelling, Product Manager Cut-to-size at IMA Schelling, "dangerous, unergonomic and monotonous."
A definition that absolutely applies to strip and part handling in cutting. IMA Schelling's robots are optimised in particular for working with the fh 4 and fh 5 panel-sizing saws, with which automated cutting of parts with a length of up to 3,200 mm, a width of up to 1,300 mm and a weight of up to 150 kg is successful.
"Our sawing robot solutions are also suitable for even smaller performance classes of 500 to 800 parts per shift," explains Schelling. "They can be implemented as a stand-alone solution with destacking or in direct interlinking."
For destacking, there is a choice of different variants; depending on the customer's requirements, the panels land on pallets, on lifting tables or directly on the floor—or in special racks with additional stacking destinations.
There is also a choice of stacking patterns: from single layers to chaotic. Even waste disposal is customisable, either automated via waste flap, vibrating chute and chipper or it simply goes into the waste bin.
The company has placed great emphasis on the integration possibilities of the robots. They should also be able to be integrated into existing production processes at a later date without any problems.
"Some customers appreciate setting up the plant first and then integrating the robot solution later. This is no problem with our systems," says Schelling, who also points out that so far only his company has made this option possible.
The system also shows flexibility with regard to changing panel formats, thicknesses, weights and materials. Equipped with a vacuum load pick-up, the robots should also be able to pick up very thin metal and plastic sheets—if the load pick-ups are adapted.
Ten Beers For The Men From The Sawmill!
As it says so well in a whimsical acapella hit by the Wise Guys: "The Bad Segeberg sawmill is the total bringer—nobody has ten fingers in the Bad Segeberg sawmill anymore!"
Many a woodworking machinery company is currently working on making such clichés a thing of the past as soon as possible. The Italian-based SCM Group has now presented a current solution—and was promptly awarded the Xylexpo Innovation Award in the category ‘panel processing’ at the presentation of its Blade-Off technology at a trade fair in Milan.
This is because the new, anticipatory safety system for circular saws from SCM is designed to rule out any accidental contact between the operator's hand and the saw blade from the outset.
To ensure this, the new Blade-Off system for circular saws from the company intervenes even before the saw blade is accidentally touched or dangerously approached by the operator, activating a barrier that protects the entire danger zone around the saw blade.
The mechanism is triggered by intelligent sensors that can detect parts of the human body and distinguish them from actual materials. Unlike other systems on the market, the detection is based neither on predictions by algorithms nor on purely optical sensors, where, according to the company, calculation errors or limited camera vision could impair the protective function.
The detection area of the blade-off technology extends over three sides of the machine, i.e. to all areas except the rear part of the saw blade. This is to prevent any possible contact, including possible incorrect or accidental movements.
If the system detects the danger of possible contact, the saw blade is lowered in a flash and automatically stopped without damaging individual components of the machine.
The whole thing is supposed to work even at high feed rates or fast movements without slowing down the machining process. The cutting precision and the general performance of the machine are therefore not affected, regardless of how often the system is triggered.
The beautiful Appearance
IVM Chemicals, headquartered in Italy, is one of the leading suppliers of wood coatings in Europe, represented by subsidiaries in France, Spain, Greece, Poland and, of course, Germany.
The local branch of the group is located in Herrenberg, Swabia. Here, under the long-established brand name CROMA LACKE, the high-quality products of the IVM Group are packaged and distributed throughout Germany.
But the German branch has even more to offer: since 2018, experts from industry and trade have been meeting in Herrenberg in search of optimal results in furniture and wood varnishing - because this is also the home of the so-called Surface Competence Centre of CROMA LACKE. And this Surface Competence Centre has recently undergone a further upgrade.
In the course of the new, close cooperation with the Italian painting machine manufacturer Makor, the centre was supplemented with further new system technologies.
For example, the latest S-One automatic surface spraying machine from Makor can now be marvelled at in full equipment for application-oriented live presentations. Among other things, it is equipped with glass detection, small-volume containers, gun sets in the variants air-atomising, airless and airmix as well as Kremlin pumps and application technology.
In combination with the Makor Fastdry drying channel and the Makor Ultradry UV dryer, the S-One automatic surface spraying machine can apply all commercially available coating systems from water-thinnable 1K, 2K and UV coatings, as well as solvent-based systems.
In addition, further application machines are available in the technical centre for simulating a wide variety of surfaces. These include a 2-belt cylinder sanding machine from SCM, a roller application machine with smooth and grooved rollers, a filler machine and Floory oil line with a distributor unit for brushing and padding, as well as a UV dryer from Makor.
In addition, there are two roller applicators, optionally with textured or sponge rubber rollers and distributor brushes for pickling, as well as a gravure printing unit with two printing rollers from Bürkle. This extensive equipment should enable IVM Chemicals to reproduce almost any application form for wood finishing in real life under the guidance of experienced specialists.
All-Rounder Can Now Do Even More
HOLZ-HER GmbH from Nürtingen near Stuttgart, part of the Weinig Group, has stood for innovative woodworking machines for more than 100 years.
Among other things, the vertical CNC machines of the EVOLUTION series offer unique, patent-pending solutions for the complete machining of workpieces. One of the latest examples of Swabian engineering is the EVOLUTION 7405 CNC machining centre, which can be recognised by the ‘PinJet’ extension to its name.
According to the Nürtingen-based company, the EVOLUTION 7405 PinJet not only enables absolutely precise milling of all four workpiece edges and thus the complete formatting of panel material on less than five square meters of floor space.
As of now, a very special functional extension also provides another unique selling point: the two-sided insertion of pre-coated wooden dowels (eight mm diameter and 30 to 40 mm length) through the drilling unit into the panel.
All that needs to be done is to select the ‘Insert dowel’ option in the control system, and the steps of drilling, pre-treating the hole and driving in the dowel are carried out fully automatically.
The following key data for the EVOLUTION series also make promising reading: With a clearance dimension of 1,200 mm in height and unlimited machining in length while requiring the least amount of space, as well as machinable material thicknesses of eight to 70 mm, the vertical CNC machining centres from HOLZ-HER become true all-rounders that can handle complete machining in furniture construction, from drawers to carcase parts, furniture fronts and rear panels.
A Grinder That Only Needs One Sqm To Finish
The Felder Group, headquartered in Hall in Tyrol, is one of the world's leading mechanical engineering and technology companies in the field of wood and composite material processing.
The Felder Group's model range currently includes well over 180 machines—from combined standard woodworking machines to high-end 5-axis CNC machining centres, as well as smart software and fully automated robotics solutions.
The Tyrolean company's latest achievements also include the new FW 850 classic wide belt sander, which, thanks to a footprint of only around one square meter, should find a place even in the most cramped workshops in the world.
With the wide belt sanding machines of the FW series, Felder provides independent carpenters and joiners with targeted solutions for staying competitive—because the furniture industry, with its modern processing techniques, is setting the bar ever higher for the craft.
In order to remain competitive, the results of manual production must also appear professional and as perfect as possible in all work steps. Thanks to fair conditions, the Felder wide belt sanders of the FW series are intended to facilitate the entry into professional woodworking and impress with high-quality system solutions even in the standard equipment.
The FW 850 classic, the latest addition to the FW family, not only combines all the advantages of a full-blown wide belt sander—despite its compact dimensions - but also adds one or two special features.
For example, the clearly structured control panels virtually invite intuitive control of the machine and thus increase productivity. In addition to the basic functions, the control system also allows settings and fine adjustments down to the tenth of a mm.
During operation, the intelligent sanding belt system permanently scans the belt run and activates the electro-pneumatic sanding belt control, which oscillates the sanding belt back and forth. If the sanding belt runs out, the belt run control reacts immediately and stops the sanding belt motor.
The precise combination sanding unit has a drum diameter of 90 mm and is used in solid wood processing primarily for calibration work. The electro-pneumatic sanding pad presses gently and evenly on the workpiece surface, so that even veneered workpieces can be processed without the risk of being ‘sanded through’.