Tuesday – Friday | August 25-28, 2020

Georgia World Congress Center | Atlanta, GA | USA

Think Light - Benefits and Opportunities of Lightweight Materials

Date: Thursday, August 23rd from 3:00 PM - 5:00 PM

Session Code: MFG3

Location: B311

Presented by: Virginia Tech

•  Urs Buehlmann, Professor: Virginia Tech Department of Sustainable Biomaterials

Michael Zimmerman, Laboratory Manager: Sauder Woodworking Co.
•  Robert Boerrigter, CEO: Axxor N.A., LLC
•  Steven Boerrigter, Sales Engineer: Axxor N.A., LLC
•  Mark Joel, Regional Sales Manager: Bürkle North America, Inc.
•  Jim Trainor, Business Development Manager: Jowat, Corp.
•  Marcel Strobel, Former Head of Prodcut Managment: MKT Fastening (formerly Adolf Wuerth GmbH & Co. KG)

Weight restrictions on products exist for a variety of reasons, such as for health reasons to allow customers lifting the product, or for safety reasons when a table top cannot be too heavy, or due to construction restrictions when a remodeling project in an existing building cannot add weight to the structure.  Lightweight materials also help reduce transportation costs as more products can be packed into the back of a truck without exceeding weight limits.  Indeed, today's lightweight materials offer good value as an environmentally friendly, strong, and versatile material that provides ergonomic benefits and offers a competitive advantage.

Experts from industry provide insights on lightweight materials, how they are made, how to work with them, what they can be used for, and what is particularly challenging.  M. Zimmerman from Sauder Woodworking Co. will talk about what the company is doing with lightweight materials, why they use lightweight materials, and how they see the material to evolve in their line of products.  Steven and Robert Boerrigter from Axxor North America, LLC, a producer of cores for lightweight panels will provide insights into the diverse uses of lightweight panels and how the core can be adapted to fit the required properties of a panel.  Jim Trainor from Jowat Corp. will explain adhesives used for lightweight materials while Mark Joel from Bürkle North America, Inc. will talk about equipment solutions for processing lightweight materials.  Connecting and fastening lightweight materials require special care and, often, special hardware.  Marcel Strobel, formerly with Adolf Wuerth GmbH & Co. KG and now with MKT Fastening will talk about connecting lightweight materials and show solutions for this challenge.  The session will conclude with Key Take Aways and a Q & A session.

Workshop attendees will learn about lightweight panel materials, the different types of lightweight panels, how they can be processed, what can be made with them, and the benefits and challenges that exist with lightweight technology.
Who should attend: All management and production personnel from small, medium, and large manufacturing companies, trade associations, consultants, research and training specialists, and government representatives involved in the wood products and related industries.

Agenda:      Min.
 1. Introduction     5
 2.  Definition     10
 3.  The enlightening of Sauder Woodworking- the good, the bad, and the unintended  25
 4.  Lightweight materials and applications  15
 5.  Equipment solutions for lightweight products  15
 6.  Adhesives for lightweight materials   15
 7.  Innovative fastening solutions for lightweight constructions  15
 8.  Key Take Away     5
 9.  Questions & Discussion   15

About the Speakers: 



As a Professor for the Virginia Tech Department of Sustainable Biomaterials,Urs Buehlmannfocuses on manufacturing systems and on assessing industry competitiveness. Urs has given special focus to the impact of foreign competition on the wood products industry and its relationship with the U.S. housing market. He practices and promotes Lean Principles as a way to improve business results.

Urs has more than 15 years of experience working in industry, including serving as General Manager of Enkeboll Designs, Carson CA.






Michael Zimmermanis the Laboratory Manager for Sauder Woodworking Co., which includes the specification of the materials.  He has spent the last 19 years working to improve the performance, cost and sustainability of Sauder Woodworking furniture.





Robert Boerrigteris the CEO of Axxor North America and the Netherlands. Started as a partner in Axxor in 2009 setting up North America and added the European business in 2017.  Axxor has 25 years of “Lightweighting” experience and seeing both Europe and North America helps us apply lessons from a wide variety of experiences, implementations and applications.




As a Sales Engineer for Axxor, a manufacturer of paper honeycomb,Steven Boerrigterfocuses on working with customers and prospects to bring the advantages of paper honeycomb into their applications. This includes transitioning traditional processes and products as well as developing new applications. His time is spent across the Furniture, Door, Packaging, and Automotive segments, allowing for an exchange of best practices from both product and process perspectives.

Steven has 8 years of experience working in industry in a variety of Operations and Engineering roles, allowing him to see the entire lifecycle of a product and how proper material selection can bring success to your application



Jim Trainor, Business Development Manager, Jowat Corporation, has been involved with PURHM adhesives for 25+ years, with specific expertise in flat lamination and profile wrapping.  Jim's adhesives experience includes packaging, automotive, PVC and other composite materials, as well as the traditional wood based applications.  Jim has been engaged in direct sales, OEM process partnership with emerging application systems, as well as an extensive history of using my knowledge to assist chemists in product development.




Mark Joelis Regional Sales Manager of Bürkle North America, Inc., based in Greensboro, NC.





As the former head of Product Management of Adolf Wuerth GmbH & Co. KG,Marcel Strobelaccompanied the development of the COLDMELT®-Technology from the beginning.  He develops and promotes fastening solutions for steel, concrete, masonry and lightweight materials.  Marcel has more than 20 years of experience working in industry, including serving as General Manager of MKT Fastening, Lonoke AR.


Other Sessions from Virginia Tech:
BMG4 - Apprenticeships Explained

MFG1 - Industry 4.0 - Industry Status and Examples

MFG2 - Lean in the Automotive Supplier Industry - What We Can Learn from Them