Over its five-day run, from 15 to 19 May, LIGNA 2023, the world’s leading trade fair for woodworking and wood processing featured a plethora of innovations, inspiration and networking. 1,300 companies from 50 different countries presented their solutions for the wood industry, the furniture-making industry, the woodworking trades and the primary sector.
The focus was on the two megatrends of sustainability and digitization. The response from Germany and all over the world was commensurately high. 80,000 visitors from 160 countries took advantage of the opportunity to inform themselves about smart machines and resource-saving production processes.
Anticipation during the run-up to the trade fair was high. Exhibitors and visitors were thrilled to finally be able to assemble again in person after a four-year hiatus and witness first-hand the concentrated innovative power of the woodworking and wood processing industry. “LIGNA 2023 exceeded the high expectations of both our exhibiting companies and our visitors, demonstrating that the machinery, equipment and solutions presented at the show are paving the way for a sustainable and digitized wood, furniture and construction industry,” said Dr. Jochen Köckler, Managing Board Chairman of the Deutsche Messe group of companies. “An impressive 60 percent of visitors came from abroad. LIGNA has further strengthened its position as the world’s leading woodworking tradeshow.”
Status as a Source of Momentum
“LIGNA 2023 was not only a platform for presenting new technologies, but also a venue for knowledge transfer and networking,” said Dr. Bernhard Dirr, Managing Director of VDMA Woodworking Machinery. “The show demonstrated that the woodworking and wood processing industry offers its customers the necessary technologies for competitive, and at the same time, sustainable production. In view of the uncertain situation currently confronting the woodworking and wood processing industry, the success of LIGNA 2023 speaks volumes for its status as a source of momentum. Not only is it a driver for the industry in good times, but above all, it delivers solutions for the challenges ahead.”
Transformation of Industry
As a result, smart, connected machines, systems and processes that make costs and production more efficient were particularly popular with the community. There was also strong demand for automation and process-optimizing solutions to cushion the impact of the shortage of skilled workers.
“Visitors were able to experience the transformation of industry live in our exhibition halls,” Köckler continued. The entire range of the value chain was on display, from woodworking machinery and equipment to tools and work processes, industrial robots and even exoskeletons to support experts from the skilled trades and forestry. The machines on display are often no longer exclusively limited to processing wood, but are also usable for glass, plastics and composite materials. According to Köckler: “Furniture or even construction elements, for example, are made from a wide variety of materials. So it’s only logical that LIGNA exhibitors are expanding their product portfolios and offering their customers a wide range of options.”
Increasing importance of wood as a renewable resource
A key theme at the show consisted of the importance of wood as a renewable resource and its role in the overall decarbonization process. In the wake of this, timber construction is becoming increasingly important and opening up new market opportunities for mechanical engineering.
Exhibitors at LIGNA 2023 presented solutions that significantly optimize all of the process steps involved in timber construction. Not only does this save on costs, but the use of this precious raw material can also be designed to be as resource-friendly as possible. The flooring sector and the furniture industry are also increasingly turning to wood as their preferred raw material, as sustainability is becoming increasingly important to end consumers. For example, innovative adhesives based on renewable raw materials also help to reduce CO2 emissions.
LIGNA 2023 offered visitors a wide-ranging supporting program featuring conferences, live presentations, special displays and awards ceremonies. At the LIGNA.Stage in Hall 12, around 90 speakers presented the latest market developments and trends. The shortage of skilled workers and issues of recruiting were also addressed in a dedicated area promoting networking between skilled workers and potential future employers.
As Köckler sees it: “LIGNA 2023 has once again demonstrated that it is an indispensable platform for the woodworking industry. The show not only promoted the exchange of knowledge and experience, but also set the course for future-proof and sustainable woodworking and wood processing.”