Volume 7, Issue 9 - October 2006

IWF 2006
Bursting at the Seams—Again
by Drew Vass

The International Wood-working Machinery & Furniture Supply Fair (IWF) has grown to new proportions. Since the completion of the Georgia World Congress Center’s phase IV expansion in 2002, IWF officials say the event has once again begun to utilize every available square inch. At its opening August 23rd, IWF had three exhibit halls of the Atlanta, Ga.-based facility bursting at the seams.

Those who had attended the event in the past expected its gargantuan size, but this year discovered a little more with a record-high attendance of more than 24,000. IWF officials reported this was the highest in 20 years.

Is Bigger Better?
With 1,384 exhibitors spread out in 851,000 net square feet and some machinery displays the size of a city block, this event can feel more like an independent country than a trade show. At these proportions it can take an entire day to cover one exhibit hall, but Amanda Dombek, information and communications specialist for Stiles Machinery, a CNC equipment provider in Grand Rapids, Mich., said it’s worth the effort because it’s “always interesting to see what all the other companies are offering.” 

While a few attendees and exhibitors expressed concern for the enormity of this event, others discovered the advantages. Dave Schmucker, president of Global Sales Group LLC, a distributor of pre-hung door and specialty woodworking machinery, reported selling half of the equipment in his booth. 

“I’ve been attending for more than 15 years now,” he said, “and I could definitely tell a difference [in size].” 
With companies from more than 79 countries, it’s not surprising that Schmucker found many of his leads were international.

Favorite Oldies, But New Hits?
Attendees this year found the same world-class events: IWF 2006 Challengers Distinguished Achievement Awards®, the new product showcase and the technical conference program.

Besides a bigger exhibit hall, IWF also introduced Exhibinars. These technical seminars were presented by exhibitors, each in their respective area of expertise. While technical conferences incorporate multiple speakers and presenters, Exhibinars are put on by individual exhibitors and are intended to provide a more hands-on demonstration.

While there was certainly plenty to look at, not everyone found something new. 

“We were a bit disappointed, because we didn’t really find any new technology this year,” says Dombek.

But Steve Beatty, marketing director for Foley Belsaw, a wholesale distributor of sharpening supplies and equipment based out of River Falls, Wis., still praised IWF as “the most informative annual event for labor-saving machinery and cutting-edge technology.”

Steve Akram works in Madras, Ore.-based Bright Wood Corp.’s research and development department. Bright Wood is a manufacturer of standard and custom millwork components. 

Akram, who has attend the show for four years, agrees that there was cutting-edge technology at IWF.

“There seemed to be some pretty good advancements in the CNC technology, and that was show wide,” he said. “When I go there … I’m looking for new equipment and new processes, adhesives applications and paint applications, just the whole gamut.”

Adan Mata is owner of La Loma Doors, a door and window manufacturer based in Tucson, Ariz. He’s been attending IWF for two years.

Mata says that he was looking for door sanders and CNC machinery at this year’s fair, but the CNC technology was the coolest part of the show.

He says that at the next show, he would like to see more door hardware.

And the Award Goes To …
This year’s Challenger’s Distinguished Achievement Awards went to: Biesse, Pesaro, Italy; Dubois Equipment Co. Inc., Jasper, Ind.; ETemplate Systems, Raleigh, N.C.; Holz-Her U.S. Inc., Charlotte, N.C.; Navy Island Plywood Inc., Saint Paul, Minn.; Stiles Machinery Inc./Climate Technologies Corp., Grand Rapids, Mich.; and Weinig Group/Michael Weinig Inc., Mooresville, N.C.
This year’s IWF survey question: “What new manufacturing methods will you implement in 2006?” showed 41 percent of attendees agreed on CNC technology.

IWF Product Extravaganza
Many companies introduced new products at IWF. Following are some of interest to door and window manufacturers.

Get a Consistent Finish
Saint-Gobain Abrasives of Worcester Mass., has added the SG H968 to its Norton brand product line. The belt offers a consistent scratch pattern and finish and features a proprietary ceramic seeded gel abrasive and a new heavy backing with anti-static properties. A bond and grain coating system is designed to produce high productivity in terms of performance life and low total sanding costs for all wide-belt applications.

The company reports the SG H968 is available in widths up to 52 inches and grit sizes P80 through P220.

Automation That’s Smart
Stiles Machinery Inc., a supplier of advanced CNC equipment based in Grand Rapids, Mich., has announced the integration of software, robotics and project engineering into a single vision that it’s calling: “Intelligent Automation.” The company says it’s combining these disciplines, because customers want a high level of cooperation between all automated needs.

Stiles reports that Intelligent Automation is a part of its Total Production SolutionsSM that provides customers with a successful production solution.

AGE Adds to Glass Offerings
Architectural Glass Effects (AGE), a Clifton, N.J.-based supplier of decorative glass, has added 19 new types of decorative glass to its list of offerings. The company reports its increasing line is a direct result of the diversity of its clients’ needs.

In addition to added textures, AGE officials say the company is now frosting textures, nearly doubling customers’ available options. A total of up to 120 unique glass types are designed to add elegance, privacy, design and texture to any room. The company also offers special shape cutting, laminated glass, tempered glass and leaded panels.

Less Maintenance, Less Downtime 
with New 3M Adhesive System
The Scotch-Weld™ Polyurethane Reactive (PUR) Easy Adhesive Applicator and moisture-curing polyurethane adhesives from 3M of St. Paul, Minn., puts powerful production capability in the hands of assembly operators. The company says its hand-held system provides the production benefits of hot melt technology with the performance benefits of structural adhesive technology. 

The adhesive dispenses through a newly designed applicator at 180 degrees Fahrenheit and can remain in the applicator at dispensing temperature for up to 40 hours. The easy-to-load cartridge with plastic disposable nozzle allows quick, easy changeover and minimal maintenance, according to the company. Thin, flexible bond lines help improve the fit, appearance and performance of the product. 

Versatile chemistry bonds a wide variety of substrates, including wood, plastics, rubber, dissimilar materials and plasticized vinyls. A choice of four adhesives is available, offering varying set times and tensile strength.

A Vacuum to the Rescue
Schmalz Inc. of Raleigh, N.C., a dealer of vacuum components and gripping systems, has introduced the SBX – a vacuum designed specifically for wood handling. Created to handle rough-sawn wood, building timber, warped beams and planks, the SBX is suitable for handling pallets. The intended applications range from material flow, storeroom technology, commissioning and packing and anywhere pallets need to be changed, positioned and loaded with the aid of industrial robots.

This system is available in four sizes and, according to Schmalz, is compact and lightweight enough to be integrated into existing work spaces. Several vacuums can be mounted on a crossbeam to form a system for handling wooden work pieces of various sizes and shapes, and can handle single pieces along with complete layers.

Liberty Hardware Introduces New Products
Liberty Hardware, of Winston-Salem, N.C., has introduced new hardware collections the company describes as ranging from European-inspired to American Southwest. The Southwestern line employs simple, rustic and casual looks, while the Bellini™ line offers the look of age-old materials in distressed finishes. There is also an Urban Metals™ line that incorporates geometric shapes finished in matte nickel or polished chrome. 

New hardware types include table and furniture legs, European hinges, ball bearing drawer slides and drawer inserts. The company offers a variety of other home collections ranging from traditional to contemporary styles, all available in a variety of finishes and materials.

New to the Market: SDF
Sierra Pine, a Roseville, Calif.-based manufacturer of sustainable medium-density fiberboard (MDF) panels and mouldings, has announced its latest innovation, Arreis™ SDF. Arreis is an MDF panel that contains no added formaldehyde. It will be produced under the category name Sustainable Design Fiberboard, or SDF. SDF contains 100-percent recycled wood fiber and boasts third-party certifications of: SCS, EPP, ChiPS section 01350 and LEED credit support for materials and resources and indoor environmental quality.

Arreis™ is designed to work as standard MDF products do and can be used for cabinetry, wall paneling, furniture, shelving, architectural woodwork, casework and anywhere sustainable products are mandated. The new product designation is intended to make sustainable wood products easier to identify.

Membrane Pressed with a Finished Cabinetry Look
Suwanee, Ga.-based U.S. Customized Finishes Inc. (USCF), a manufacturer of custom doors, mouldings and trim, has added a glaze and topcoat process to its membrane pressed doors and components. The glaze simulates a process used on real wood. 

For this technique, the usual 3-D laminate is used and once the components are membrane pressed, a mixture of colorants are applied in a liquid. Once dried, the glaze is sanded, sealed, then top-coated much like finishing real wood. According to USCF, the end result is an enhanced look that mimics that of finished cabinetry. This new product is intended to meet rising consumer demands for custom cabinetry.

3-in-1 at the Touch of a Button
Diehl Machines, of Wabash, Ind., a machinery and tooling provider for the woodworking industry, recently introduced a new generation of Challoner double end tenoners. The new Challoner 850 three-in-one door rail machine bores, glues and inserts dowels into pre-coped and profiled door rails for custom producers. The new 850 offers set-up features that allow the operator to control most functions from a color touch-screen panel. The double-end operation can process from one to 12 dowels on each end of the rail at the touch of a button.

Breathe Easy and Save
Dustvent Inc. of Addison, Ill., a manufacturer of dust, smoke, fume and mist collectors for industrial use, has introduced a new line of collectors aimed at collecting medium to fine dust and smoke while circulating clean air back into the building, thereby saving on the cost of heating and cooling.

The collectors come in a variety of sizes ranging from .75 to 5 horsepower and the filters can be changed using no tools.

Assessing the Show
Representatives from Dux of Seattle visited DWM’s booth and explained the latest technology that can be used in spraying paints and adhesives in the door and window manufacturing process.

After more than five years of research and development, Dux of Seattle says it has reinvented the pressure-feed spray gun. By incorporating the company’s airflow technology, originally used in Formula Three race car engines, the company says it has developed an innovative spray gun.

Most pressure-feed spray guns incorporate front-heavy body design with fluid hose connections near the tip of the gun. The Dux gun is designed with much shorter air passages, an upright handle and fluid and air connections located at the base of the gun. According to company information, this creates a lighter, more compact and balanced gun that’s easy to maneuver.

Drew Vass is a contributing editor for DWM magazine. 

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