Going to machinery heaven

21 April 2017

Our front page in this issue is given over to the Ligna exhibition in Hanover.

Next month thousands will stream to the show at the Hanover fairgrounds in what will be the undisputed world-leading fair for woodworking machinery.

It’s very big. Having been there about seven times, my feet can readily testify to its size.

People come from all over the world to assess the latest innovations in machinery and software, whether it’s joinery and furniture technology, sawmilling equipment, timber construction machinery, surfacing equipment, materials handling vehicles or wood-based panels production technology.

On my return trip to London two years ago, one UK woodworking machinery supplier on the plane commented that those on the flight read like a “who’s who” of the UK timber industry.

If you haven’t decided yet to go, it’s certainly worth it. Digitalisation and Industry 4.0 – basically the next generation of production technologies involving a higher degree of networking and communication will again be big themes.

When we went to the Preview event in Germany in February, the organisers said this year’s show would be bigger than the 2015 one and it would have a different thematic layout to help you find your way around.

And of course, in between the machinery showcases there is sauerkraut and Weiss beer!

Another important development in this issue is a collaboration between the Timber Trade Federation and the Wood Protection Association on a treated wood survey.

Timber treatment is a big area of focus for the TTF now and the results of the survey – revealed at the excellent WPA conference in Derby earlier this month – show that treated wood quality remains top of the agenda for members of both organisations.

Correct specification of treated wood for each end use and access to supply chain product knowledge and education are closely related issues.

Significant concern was raised about wood treated for a low risk application finding its way into inappropriate, higher hazard end-use applications, such as an internal UC2 joist being used in an exterior deck.

“The assumption seems to be that if its ‘green treated’ it can be used anywhere, indoors or outdoors and the consequences of premature failure are a real concern,” said WPA technical director Gordon Ewbank.

When it was mentioned that it was often imported timber that was the cause of focus, one representative of the Swedish treatment industry pointed out that UK customers were not always prepared to pay the extra cost for fit-for-purpose treated timber. The WPA is upping its game by now looking at providing treaters who produce treated wood under the WPA Benchmark QA scheme with the added benefit of ‘performance assurance’ - a de facto national warranty.