LIGNA is named the world’s leading trade fair for woodworking and wood processing plant, machinery, and tools for good reason. Every two years, nearly 100,000 visitors gather from all over the world to attend the globally renowned event in Hannover, Germany. This year we are more than excited to have the opportunity to attend for the very first time in hopes of finding new automation solutions from the biggest players in the industry to support our growing manufacturing capacity.
Although this will be our first time attending LIGNA, we are no strangers to woodworking shows. In fact, we attended IWF in Atlanta just this past year. Our primary goal in attending was to see what machinery was out there to help support our long-term growth. If you missed that blog post, you can read it here. After taking what we saw at IWF, we made a large capital investment in our capabilities by purchasing specialized machines including a Burkle PUR line, IMA laser edgebander, and Biesse vertical boring machine (watch the video here).
Our new, state-of-the-art machinery, coupled with the automation technology it features, will end up doubling our already robust manufacturing capacity. However, we want to leverage this new and improved capacity by integrating additional automation technology with our older machines to keep production moving as efficiently as possible. That brings us to our goal for LIGNA: explore what automation options are available to connect our manufacturing centers to move parts through our facility, to packaging, and, ultimately, out the door to our customers.
We spoke with a few of our manufacturing partners at IMA Schelling, Burkle, and Biesse to find out what we might expect to see in looking for automation solutions at LIGNA. From what we heard from them, terms like “IoT” and “Industry 4.0” will be very prominent all over the show. No longer is automation limited to robotics in the physical, traditional sense. Now, we have software telling machines what to do and when to do it. Machines are getting smarter and will soon be capable of not only maintaining themselves but will utilize technology by creating a streamline process for breaking down orders, ordering material, programming machines to run the parts, invoicing, and finally shipping.
Our partners shared with us key capabilities to look out for to achieve our goal in finding automation solutions for packaging and moving orders throughout the facility. We are looking forward to learning more about the automated guided vehicles (AGV) that allow for flexibility and efficiency in production flow, as well as packaging automation using robotics to wrap stacks of finished parts to then be shipped to our customers. However, we know this barely scrapes the surface of what we will see from the 1,500 exhibitors over the three days we will be attending the show. We are eager to learn more and bring new ideas back to advance our capabilities and better serve our customers.