The Challengers Award winners are vitally important. But there are exhibitors with fresh takes on production who also are worth a look. Here are two areas that stand out.
Stiles Machinery is an anchor for the industry, with a wide scope of technologies and depth of offerings that spans solid wood machining, panel processing, and digital solutions that benefit woodshops of all sizes.
Toward the back end of one side of its 29,000 sq.-ft. Booth B5034 Stiles is showing the Centateq E-319/V, a pod-and-rail CNC outer integrated to an edgebander dedicated to banding contoured workpieces—round tabletops, curved countertops, etc.—all in one pass. After cutting the workpiece, it moves it into the banding chamber, a vertical device that features Homag Pro Duo gluing technology.
The cables controlling the edgebander are wound on circular reels allowing the device to navigate around any contour geometry.
Robots and Cobots
Robots are plentiful at IWF 2022, but you’ll also find their smaller sibling cobots sprinkled through the equipment offerings. What’s the difference?
A robot must be cordoned off from human workers, as their programmed movements could harm anyone straying too close. Cobots, on the other hand, are designed to work close at hand with human colleagues. Usually smaller, their exterior skin detects touch, and will pause any movement if they bump into anything or anyone.
Both robots and cobots can sand surfaces effectively. At Timesavers, a cobot made by Kuka is shown sanding a molded plywood workpiece. At Kuka, robots and cobots are on display assembling, and one robot can be seen simulating spray painting a wood product. Kuka also makes components for CNC routers, from three axes on up to countless axes.
We asked if a robot equipped with a motorized router tool could replace a multi-axis CNC? No, says a Kuka expert. Robots aren’t stable enough for consistent machining. You need a stable CNC platform for repeatability and uniformity.
Learn more about new product introductions at IWF 2022 at the Newsmakers channel.