Volume 9, Issue 9 - October 2008

More Than
Holding Its Own

International Woodworking Fair Proves That Wood is Still Very Much Alive and Well

While vinyl may be edging farther ahead of wood in terms of market share, the material definitely has its place in many applications. And wood was front and center at The International Woodworking Fair® (IWF), which took place August 20-23 in Atlanta. More than 1,300 exhibitors showcased products for the woodworking industry, including those for door and window manufacturers. The exhibits spanned three halls filling 811,000 square feet of space. Show organizers say 40,000 individuals attended the show, 19,000 of which qualified as buyers.

Exhibitor Offerings
Stiles Machinery, who had a huge presence, offered equipment for all facets of the woodworking industry including door and window manufacturers. The company had numerous representatives available to speak to attendees including representation from ten countries.

Stiles prides itself on proving “Total Production Solutions” to its customers, and this year it unveiled a new section at the show, “Total Shop Solutions,” which targets the smallto medium-sized manufacturer. But no matter what the size of your company, Stephan Waltman, vice president of sales and marketing, says the company wanted to find a way to help manufacturers make its production waste more manageable.

To do this, the company partnered with C.F. Nielsen, a leading Danish manufacturer of briquetting equipment. “We’re helping manufacturers go for the green,” adds Amanda Dombek, communications specialist. “We’re getting people to turn their dust into profit.”

And for door and window manufacturers specifically, the company has partnered with Stegherr, of Germany, to offer two machines, one of which is the KSF-2E Cross Joint Milling Machine. It is fully automated for producing cross joints from wood, plastic or aluminum materials. It also offers an automatic CNC feeding system for fast and accurate positioning. “To [produce muntins] by hand would be extremely time-consuming,” says Stiles Doug Maat.

Another manufacturer with a large presence at IWF was Biesse America. The company showcased a variety of machines, one of which was the Rover A machining center, designed to process door and window components. The company offers it as an ideal solution for small to mid-sized shops that are ready to evolve their processes. It features the same high-end technology of larger machines in a more compact frame. These include a large guide system, 12-kW electrospindle. Additionally, the worktable system makes machine setup fast and easy, eliminating the need for custom fixtures typically required in millwork applications, according to the company.

As an option, the Rover A can be equipped with a dedicated horizontal router for deep mortising machining in high-production environments and around-theclock operations.

Carlson Systems Engineering was another company to offer a new machine for the fenestration industry, as it launched the ProMax Frame and Sash Clamp. Matt Sell, national account manager, describes it as an affordable, entrylevel wood window assembly and fastening machine which increases productivity, decreases labor, increases profits and improves safety.

The machine squares, clamps and fastens a variety of wood window frames or sash, and is designed for fast material placement and finished product removal. It is capable of producing more than 400 frames or sash per eight-hour shift, and features a programmable controller.

At the Graco booth, the company promoted a new product that will be launched officially in October. Graco’s Wendy Hartley says its new line of spray packages can work for small to large companies, and points out that the product uses low air consumption and stands up to the elements well. “Door and window manufacturers have many custom orders so this works well,” she adds. “They can make a color changes in less than a minute.”

Also new to the equipment side is the Automated Stop/Gauge and Pusher System from Tigerstop of Vancouver, Wash. The system can be added to new or existing equipment to simplify processes and minimize wasted time and materials. With TigerStop, you can push material automatically or use it in place of a manual stop, according to the company.

An operator enters a desired dimension and the TigerStop moves to that position. The operato
can make his cut without measuring again and again or setting and re-setting a manual stop. This reduces operator error that results in wasted material and rework. TigerStop maintains repeatable accuracy of +/- 0.004 inches, according to the company. While many people may think of IWF as a show geared toward just cabinet or furniture manufacturers, this is not the case.

“There is a lot of interest here from the architectural wood industry,” says Robert McElroy, marketing communications manager for Sherwin Williams.

The company’s coatings division introduced its SHER-WOOD® ULTRA-CURE® UV WATERBORNE clear low-sheen and clear matte finishes and SHER-WOOD® ULTRACURE ® PIGMENTED WATERBORNE opaque topcoats. The company says this gives manufacturers a wide range of waterborne UV options for their wood finishing operations. These waterborne UVcurable finishes bear Sherwin- Williams GreenSure™ designation, reserved only for coatings that meet the highest environmental standards without compromising performance, aesthetics or productivity.

coatings are formulated with very low VOCs, no reportable HAPS and without formaldehyde or heavy metals. These clear finishes resist abrasion, impact, chemical spills and scratches and are completely customizable for each finisher’s facility to improve efficiency and productivity.

WATERBORNE UV coatings are idealfor use with UV-spray application for various wood profiles, providing a high performance, non-yellowing finish with no toxicity, according to the company. These opaque topcoats provide resistance to abrasion, impact, chemicals and scratches and are available in a variety of colors. What Attendees Want So from equipment to coatings, IWF offers an array of products for attendees involved in wood manufacturing. Jay Streu, president and chief executive officer for door manufacturer Eggers Industries, believes the show is so important that he brought a total of seven representatives to Atlanta.

“We’re here to see what’s new from the technology standpoint," says Streu. “We all have specific things we are looking for, such as the integration of robotics.” Others, such as Bob Dimke, president f Lexington Manufacturing, were looking for new technologies. He says companyrepresentatives have attended IWF for more than 20 years. This year the company was there to look for new laminates, finishes and adhesives.

“We intend to more deeply penetrate the markets we serve with high-performance window, patio door and flush door components,” says Dimke. “IWF has all the materials, applications and equipment resources available in one location.” He added that compared to recent years, attendance was sparse but from the attendee perspective this wasn’t a negative.

“This provided a good opportunity for us as attendees to have more meaningful vendor conversations, without feeling rushed through their booths,” says Dimke. One exhibitor representative, Dave Harris from American Renolit, concurred and says it’s the quality of leads that matters, not necessarily the quantity of attendees. He reports that the company did have interest in its specialty films for doors and windows. IWF is held every two years in Atlanta. The next show will be held August 25-28, 2010.


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