Automation: Big Plans for IWF

Bill Esler

There is no doubt that automation is the future of our industry, which is why the International Woodworking Fair (IWF) is putting such a strong emphasis on woodworking robots this year. IWF is known to deliver the latest solutions in architectural woodwork, cabinetry, furniture manufacturing, engineered products, doors, windows, machinery, tools, and more. The show highlights the largest collection of the woodworking industry’s newest technologies available anywhere, including hundreds of product introductions. From raw materials, supplies, and finishing accessories to woodworking and material processing machinery. Attendees will find more new products, from more sources, in more selection and variety.

In short, IWF is where the woodworking business does business. The 2022 show will highlight ways to harness the power of new technologies to increase production efficiencies, new products to drive sales, and new connections to tap emerging markets.

The show floor promises to be full of the latest innovations in automation, including robots integrated into vertical machining centers from Stiles, dowel drilling and insertion from CNC Factory, and operating beam saws from Biesse. Alongside long-standing exhibitors such as IMA Schelling and Weinig Holz-Her USA, attendees will also see new exhibitors such as AutomaTech Robotik, Robotic Solutions, ABB Robotics, 7robotics, and Con-Vey. But the benefits of automation aren’t exclusively on the show floor. 

Day one is scheduled to start with a full-day Process Automation Symposium, presented by 2020. This educational session will discuss how to automate sales, purchasing, engineering, production, and finance processes within a modern woodworking company. Led by industry thought leaders, practitioners, and machinery experts, the goal is to discover best practices and gather ideas on how to apply these practices in your company. The session will cover process automation, increasing production, key performance indicators, and streamlining product engineering. It will also include breakout rooms devoted to architectural millwork, kitchen design, and residential furniture.

Another session, Robotic Evolution in the Wood Factory, promises to cover product delivery systems, automated spraying robots, machine tending, sanding, curing technologies, equipment integration issues, and programming. This session, delivered by Robotic Solutions, LLC, is all about understanding the advantages and disadvantages of new technology is critical when building a continuing success strategy, and understanding total operating costs and the return on investment associated with purchasing robots.

It isn’t all about the flashy machines, the ones that look so impressive on the showroom floor. Robots are becoming less visible as they pick up critical roles in finishing, directing spray heads, and sanding tools over varying shaped workpieces with a consistency of control and diligence that alleviates another woodworking industry constant—the shortage of skilled workers. Robotically enhanced finishing systems from SCM, Biesse, Cefla, and others will be plentiful at IWF.

This year’s show promises hundreds of exhibitors and tens of thousands of attendees from across the globe, with a strong North American representation. Thousands of innovative products, services, and technologies will be showcased by the world’s top manufacturers and emerging brands with cutting-edge demonstrations of machinery, tools, and other products live on the show floor. 

The show will take place August 23-26, 2022, at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, GA.

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