"We’ve had a fantastic start to the year in the UK," said Weinig UK managing director Malcolm Cuthbertson. "2012 was better than 2011 and the signs are that 2013 will show further significant improvement. The charge is being led by the bigger companies, which are investing now for the predicted strengthening of the upturn, but there’s growing interest across the market."

The company’s upbeat outlook was underlined by several new developments at the show. These included the latest incarnation of the compact four-side planer the Cube. The £29,000 machine was also shown, in distinctive chequered flag livery, with its new optional £10,000 mini OptiCut P stacker which can stack fixed lengths into packages.

"Essentially this transforms the Cube into a one-man operation," said Mr Cuthbertson.

Another key development was the latest in Weinig’s AlphaCam CAD 3D moulding software system, used on its Powermat 2400. This gives precise, automated control over the machine’s floating spindles which can work across the working width to create a myriad of timber surface effects for panelling, flooring, furniture components and a range of other products.

"This can create virtually any customised finish; we see great potential," said Mr Cuthbertson. "We’re optimistic we’ll have our first UK customer soon."

The latest version of Weinig’s MillVision integrated plant management software was also demonstrated in its latest variant for the mouldings sector, highlighting its ability to schedule and monitor production from a bespoke moulding enquiry, through costing and toolroom instruction to production.

Profit from waste
Briquetters and shredders were selling in their dozens at Weima’s stand. Briquetter highlights included the TH1500 and new HD series, which is able to process difficult waste material, including MDF. The HD series is capable of producing up to 12 briquettes a minute.

Leadermac powers up
Leadermac launched the uPower four-sided moulder with HSK tool holder system. The uPower, with fast tool-changing capabilities, enables automatic positioning of tools, while Leadermac says the quality of cut means no sanding is necessary. Other technology on show included a 10-tonne LMC623 Speedmac for highcapacity operations and a G320P profile grinder.

Bulmor by four
The star of the Bulmor stand was the compact EFYco 30-45, the company’s new venture into four-way, narrow aisle lift trucks. The new electric model is capable of lifting loads up to 4 tonnes to heights of 9m.

Lohmeyer makes debut
A new name in panel processing machinery made a successful debut.

Lohmeyer Smart Wood Working is a collaboration between Wood IQ, the engineering company set up by ex-Weinig marketing director Peter Lohmeyer, and Nanxing Machinery, one of China’s biggest woodworking and furniture-making technology companies. The new range comprises sliding tablesaws, edgebanders, horizontal panel saws and CNC machining centres.

The aim, said Mr Lohmeyer, is to combine the best capabilities of the two partners. "Germany is still a great engineering country, China is now the great manufacturer; we bring the two together in a standard machine range that is well built, designed and engineered, but also very competitive," he said. "Our aim is to be 30-40% less expensive than equivalents, but with an excellent price/value ratio."

Lohmeyer machines are not adapted to customer requirements, but the aim is to hit a design ‘sweet spot’ that meets their needs.

"If anything, we over-specify to give the company more than they need," said Mr Lohmeyer.

An example, he said, was the company’s 15kW IQ KAM panel saw. "It has carriage travel of 9- 50m/min, return of 100m/min and 3280x3280mm working," he said. "And our €25,000 FKS 325 IQ sliding table saw is heavy duty for handling thick hard wood, with a hollow multi-chamber body for minimum distortion."

Following interest at Ligna, the company is now talking to potential UK agents or distributors.

Tailored feed speed
Latest developments in Martin’s T27 spindle moulder were driven by the fact that different jobs need to be processed at different speeds for maximum quality and accuracy.

The company has therefore allowed for greater integration of key workpiece parameters into the machine’s controller.

"The sensor-supported speed control guarantees perfect interaction of machine and material so each individual process is performed at the appropriate feed rate," said marketing director Michael Mühldorfer.

The T27’s combination of electronic adjustability and mechanical transmission also ensure consistently high torque over a wide speed range, to minimise tear out and splintering.

Cutting to a fourth dimension
Striebig billed the highlight of its stand, a 4D vertical panel saw, as a "revolution".

"It’s a quantum leap, representing a whole new performance spectrum for vertical panel cutting," said managing director Marcel Brunner. "It offers optimised, accurate continuous processing, with a single operator."

"It provides the level of automation of a horizontal machine, but in space-saving vertical format," added Pius Limacher of Striebig sales support. "This control and accuracy in automated panel positioning and handling has not been offered before. It can run four times faster than existing equivalents and we believe it will make a major impact."

The 4D’s touch screen control software has optional integral panel optimisation programming, which positions both the PPS panel feeder and PAV lowering device to provide optimum material yield.

"The PAV’s coated clamps grip the workpiece at the upper edge and each one can hold up to 130kg, which means the 4D can handle the heaviest boards," said Mr Limacher.

The PPS, he added, positions the board on the machine with 0.1mm accuracy. The cutting head undertakes the bottom trimming cut and strip cutting automatically according to the pre-programmed parameters, with a trimming dimension of 2100mm and strip width of 200mm.

Striebig see the new saw being taken up by both industrial panel processors, but also bigger merchanting and DIY outlets.