To Ligna! Woodworking community meets in Hannover

Keynote speakers at Ligna Preview (L-R) Mr Bernd Oswald of Gropyus Group; Mr Markus Hüllmann, Chairman of VDMA Woodworking Group; Ms Stefanie Wagner; Prof. Achim Menges from the University of Stuttgart; and Dr. Jochen Köckler, CEO of Deutsche Messe, organiser of Ligna.

With more than 1,05,000 square metres of exhibition space and more than 1,100 exhibitors, Ligna 2023 (May 15-19,  2023) celebrates its return to presence with a comprehensive overview of the woodworking and wood processing industry.

Despite the tense global political situation, the positive booking status confirms Ligna‘s status as the world‘s leading trade show.

Global players and renowned companies from all over the world come together to showcase tools, machinery and equipment as well as smart solutions and new technologies.

In addition to companies from Germany, firms from Italy, Austria, Turkey, Spain, China, Sweden, Slovenia, Denmark and the Netherlands account for the largest proportion of exhibitors by area.

In the process, the world’s leading trade show has even been able to expand its exhibitor portfolio: this year, more than 180 first-time exhibitors are taking advantage of the opportunities for business initiation and networking.

“Ligna offers a unique overview of the entire value chain of the woodworking and wood processing industry. The global woodworking community is looking forward to the face-to-face experience in Hannover, “ said Dr. Jochen Köckler, CEO of Deutsche Messe AG, highlighting the importance of the event at the Ligna Preview on February 16, 2023.

Focus topics

Ligna 2023 will also live up to its role as a trendsetter in its choice of focus topics. The topic of digitisation is shaping the development of the industry and is a prerequisite for production that is as resource-efficient as it is flexible.

Under the title “Woodworking Transformation,” it is also receiving a great deal of attention at Ligna. Exhibitors will show how far the networking of machines, tools, components and materials has already gone and will present innovations in the fields of robotics, automation and software.

The wood-based bio-economy is considered an innovative technology driver. The framework conditions for expanding resource-efficient wood use are part of the European Green Deal and pillars of a circular bio-economy.

The buzzwords Smart or Connected Factory, Industry 4.0 or Internet of Things and IoT platforms will continue to become tangible at Ligna with concrete examples.

Wood is also steadily gaining importance as a recyclable building material in the construction industry. The share of total construction volume accounted for by purely timber buildings and timber-mixed structures is growing continuously globally.

Ligna reflects this industry trend in the focus topic “Prefab Building Processes”. At Ligna preview, Bernd Oswald (Gropyus) and Prof. Achim Menges (University of Stuttgart) spoke on this topic.

The construction industry needs a technology boost to produce in a contemporary and efficient manner, in prefabrication as well as on the construction site. At Ligna, interested parties can discover suitable solutions and approaches that will determine the future of timber construction.

Tours, matchmaking

The Ligna.Stage presents the live audience in Hall 12 with a varied forum program of solution- and user-oriented presentations and panel discussions along the focus topics. For those who cannot be on site, the various programme items will also be available as a stream live and on demand on the Ligna website.

Visitors can look forward to guided tours again in groups of up to 25 participants for exclusive presentations and live demonstrations. Hybrid guided tours are also available live and on-demand in streaming in English and German on the Ligna website.

Because of the shortage of skilled workers and concerns about young talent, Ligna also provides an overview of research, education and career opportunities in the woodworking and wood processing industry.

The Ligna.Campus provides information on education and training courses offered by universities, technical colleges and technical schools. Teaching also presents current research projects.

At Ligna.Recruiting, potential employers meet interested skilled personnel. A digital job wall allows companies, whether exhibitors or visitors, to post attractive job offers. This offer is supplemented by on-site opportunities for personal matchmaking between human resources and interested parties and by company pitches.

Optimistic outlook

The VDMA (Woodworking Machinery Association of Germany) sees more opportunities than risks for the industry. “After an extremely high order intake in the past 2 years, there were considerable difficulties on the production side. But now business is visibly returning to normal and many exhibitors are working off a high backlog of orders, some of which extend into the year 2024,“ said Markus Hüllmann, Chairman of VDMA (Woodworking Machinery).

According to preliminary calculations, turnover reached a record level of around 3.5 billion Euros. Despite the late effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, the enormous problems in the supply chains, and the war in Europe, the industry is well utilised and looks ahead with confidence, he added.

In the year 2022, the export value of German manufacturers of woodworking machinery increased by 5% to 2.4 billion Euros, compared to the previous year. The largest individual markets were again the US, China, France Poland and Austria.

A striking and pleasing development was a near quadrupling of exports to India to 46 million Euros. Indian wood processing is finally establishing itself as a serious customer for European manufacturers of woodworking machines and tools.



Exhibitor highlights

Numerous companies represented at Ligna 2023 are contributing to the “woodworking transformation” with their developments, from the hidden champions of the mechanical engineering sector to global players.

From Austria, for example, the Felder Group, one of the leading suppliers of woodworking machinery, will be there with fully automated robotics solutions. As one of the many German companies, Dieffenbacher Holding GmbH will be showing how energy recovery solutions and measures to improve operational excellence and promote the sustainability of wood-based panel plants are transforming conventional production facilities into smart plants.

IMA Schelling exhibits will include an edging machine with automatic edge handling, a through-feed drilling machine for Batch Size-1 production, an automated panel-sizing saw with robotic handling for high productivity, and its end-to-end “aimi” software.

More than 250 exhibitors are coming to Hannover from Italy, such as Biesse Group, SCM Group and Cefla Finishing. While Cefla Finishing is using advanced technology to optimise processes such as painting and surface coating, SCM is helping woodworking companies transform by integrating digital tools such as computer-aided manufacturing and a wide range of CNC machines.

Biesse is presenting high-tech solutions, integrated systems and plants that are specifically tailored to the needs of manufacturing companies looking to significantly improve and enhance their production performance.

The Homag Group is also developing digital solutions for product configuration and data creation, through to material flow control and shipping and assembly planning.

Most importantly, the transformation must also be understood as a cultural change in which spaces for creative processes continue to open up for people, and this will also be a topic at Ligna 2023.




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