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IWF Newsmakers

IWF 2022: Approaches to Computer Automation Vary by Plant Size and Product


February 11, 2022 | Bill Esler

With more than 750 exhibitors booked and hundreds more to come, IWF 2022 is on track to deliver more woodworking technology and design innovations.

Woodworking machinery makers have continuously improved the operation of equipment, with electronics simplifying set-up and operation. From freestanding floor machinery to highly sophisticated, high volume CNC production systems, visitors to IWF 2022 will find technology has improved in leaps and bounds in the four years since the last IWF.

This is facilitated by advances in electronics that permeate everything we use in our daily lives—cars, phones, smart TVs—and the same goes for the shop floor. The desire for easier-to-operate equipment was building prior to the pandemic, owing to labor shortages that are a constant fact of life for wood manufacturers.

The pandemic, which further cut into labor availability, also sparked interest in equipment that could reduce the manual aspects of off-load and infeed, and take over, when posssible, the routine transfers between one workstation and another. From single machines to fully integrated production lines, we are seeing the arrival of systems that do more of the routine takes.

All this is thanks to computerized automation—a term which means something different depending on your plant size, and your core product. Exhibitors at IWF 2022 with descriptors more meaningful to plants of any size.

Digitalization now allows individual freestanding machines, from clamping stations, to cut-off saws, to edgebanders, and infeed and offload systems, are moving from manual mechanical set-up to electronic controllers, often able to recall frequent jobs at the touch of a button.

Industry 4.0 and the Industrial Intertnet of Things (IIoT) can link a mix of manual and equipment-focused work centers, or entire plant floors.

“In the industrial machinery global market, new production technologies are based on digital developments and Industry 4.0 concepts and becoming more and more strategic,” says Giuseppe Riva, CEO of SCM Group North America (occupying five booths in the B Hall at IWF 2022) “This is the reason why SCM Group has developed innovative solutions in order to improve and strengthen our services to customers by making every production phase more customizable.”

An example of a customized and very specific work center has been developed by Barberán (IWF Booth B8188) has devised an optimized solution for door assembling, tailoring machinery to a specific production requirement. In this case, the line was optimized with two independent but connected transporting tables, in which door cores are coated with PUR glues, picked up by two clamps that lay it over the panel the operator has prepared. It goes directly onto the next table, where the operator can fit the upper panel manually, and go into a press to for finishing.

Key areas of computerized automation will be seen at IWF 2022. Preview them at the following links:


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International Woodworking Fair
August 6–9, 2024

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