LIGNA 2017 will go down as a milestone in the digitalization of the wood industry


“LIGNA 2017 will go down as a milestone in the digitalization of the wood industry.”

Dr Andreas Gruchow, the Deutsche Messe Managing Board member in charge of LIGNA.

Ligna 2017 delivered a fresh new layout and modernised stand designs to reflect the new perspectives and impact that digitalisation is having on the industry. Almost half of the 93,000 visitors travelled from abroad to keep up with the latest trends, signifying the importance of these digital advancements for global competitiveness.


The event was packed with exhibitors presenting their latest offerings to help advance the industry and bring the realities of Industry 4.0 forward. Luckily for us, our software partners are well ahead of the curve when it comes to the solutions needed to succeed in this new era of manufacturing.

“Digitalization and integrated production are the new keys to success for our customers.”

No one does digitalization and integrated production solutions quite like our partners COBUS ConCept.

They took the event by storm with their powerfully automated and integrated software solutions for furniture, door, and window manufacturing. This is a company that consistently push the boundaries of what is thought to be possible in manufacturing software, making significant advances for the woodworking industry.


Their latest improvements to COBUS NCAD, COBUS Windows and Doors, ERP 3 and ADULO are automated and intuitive solutions to significantly streamline the manufacturing process, and they’re making their way to Australia soon, through IdacsPLUS.

A further Key trend at LIGNA consisted of ways of significantly boosting production efficiency with minimal demands on the operator’

Palette CAD captivated visitors with their intuitive CAD software, with more speed, ease, and advanced capability than they knew was possible.

Introducing their state of the art Virtual Reality experience, they transported guests into an abandoned apartment, to then bring it to life through the powerful building and design capabilities.  Floorplans, samples, and colour swatches are giving way to the power of 3D photorealistic visualisations which are fast becoming an expectation within the woodworking and building industries.

Though the visual representations are impressive, it is once they experience the extensive drawing and manufacturing capabilities that people are taken by surprise. There are few who try PaletteCAD and are not impressed by its complete offering from design to production.

This is the CAD/CAM solution making waves in the industry , with even more improvements being applied specifically for the Australian market, including:

  • Extension of the Australian product library
  • Incorporating cabinet numbering
  • Virtual Reality capability

With all the incredible and awe-inspiring advancements displayed during this year’s event, we can’t help but look forward to Ligna 2019, and anticipate the results of the innovation and evolution we have already witnessed.

*Quotes from End – of – show report for Ligna 2017

Top 5 Digital Transformation Trends In Manufacturing –

Written by: Daniel Newman 

Like the Industrial Revolution impacted manufacturing, digital transformation is now responsible for changing the industry. Finally, industrial manufacturers are joining their counterparts — as I’ve previously discussed — and are moving to a digital world. Not since Henry Ford introduced mass production has there been a revolution to this scale. Now, manufacturing companies are using technology to move from mass production to customized production, and it’s happening at a rapid pace.

Consumer expectations and the advent of connected devices and platforms are driving the persistent digitization of the manufacturing. While the majority of manufacturing executives acknowledge the importance of this transformation, only 5% of them are satisfied with their current digital strategies. The industry continues to evolve in response to the challenge of ensuring the right products are delivered at the right price to the right person through a process of improved sophistication.

IoT And Industry 4.0

At the center of industrial transformation is IoT, accounting for more than $178 billion in 2016 and proving critical to providing companies with a competitive edge. The manufacturing industry is leading in the IoT because of the revolutionary ways this connected technology has streamlined and simplified various manufacturing processes. For instance, IoT can provide real-time feedback and alerts companies of defects or damaged goods. These simple yet critical implementations of IoT reduce cost and waste. Further incorporation of IoT, Industry 4.0 “represents the vision of the interconnected factory where equipment is online, and in some way is also intelligent and capable of making its own decisions.” Responsible for the rise of smart machinery, Industry 4.0 also introduced a hybrid approach of virtual and actual content warehouses that has freed up manpower on the production and collaboration side of the industry. The trend of mass customization has allowed manufacturers to more efficiently react to consumer demand. Because customers expect the products they use to be intuitive and easy to interact with, mobilization and connectedness continue to drive manufacturers to innovate faster and create software-enabled products. IoT and Industry 4.0 capabilities are also changing how post-sale service is provided, offering immediate and consistent online support.

AI And Machine Learning 

 A machine’s ability to learn and adopt intelligent human behavior is not a new advancement. It has been a decade since IBM’s supercomputer beat the greatest chess player in the world, forever changing the relationship between man and machine. Today, these advanced algorithms are transforming the way the manufacturing industry collects information, performs skilled labor, and predicts consumer behavior. Smart factories with integrated IT systems provide relevant data to both sides of the supply chain more easily, increasing production capacity by 20%. Quality is no longer sacrificed for efficiency, as machine learning algorithms determine which factors impact service and production quality. Sensors have replaced human hands, resulting in less wasted time and materials, as well as optimal accuracy and workflow. Digitizing the industry means lower cost of production, quicker turnarounds, and more efficiently meeting customer demand.


Traditionally, robots have been used to perform tedious, repetitive tasks on the assembly line. Today, however, robots are capable of mimicking more human traits such as dexterity and memory, which makes them more useful in industries like manufacturing. Highly trainable and collaborative, robots are also providing safer working environments for humans by switching places with them in dangerous or unsuitable situations. For instance, autonomous dump trucksused at mining sites can be remotely controlled by operators, eliminating the need for human drivers. In addition, robots equipped with sensors also provide valuable feedback and data. Sensors are these smart machines “talk” to the control board, quickly identifying and fixing mechanical issues, allowing companies to make necessary adjustments more accurately. Robots increase efficiency and minimize delays.

Improved Speed And Efficiency

Robots and other automated technology are also integral in improving speed and efficiency, allowing manufacturing companies to “optimize production workflows, inventory, Work in Progress, and value chain decisions.” By integrating their IT systems, teams across the platform in various geographical locations can access relevant data, facilitating quicker, more collaborative and transparent communication. As cloud computing grows more stable, manufacturers are beginning to implement its software with more confidence. With this new level of predictive accuracy comes an improvement in condition monitoring processes, providing manufacturers“with the scale to manage Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) at the plant level increasing OEE performance from 65% to 85%.” The California-based cherry company, Prima Frutta, knows a thing or two about improving efficiency. In the last year, Prima Frutta installed automated equipment without a single additional hire and increased production by 50 percent. This connected technology provides real-time feedback to 900 employees, allowing them the information necessary to make quick decisions and act accordingly. As a result, the company now has the largest cherry production line in the world. Just ask Prima Frutta: Improving speed and efficiency translates into lower costs and better quality control.

Data and analytics  

It is predicted that by 2020, there will be 50 times the digital content compared to what exists today. Big data analysis becomes increasingly difficult and time-consuming as the digitized manufacturer struggles to manage, update, and analyze product and consumer information. As such, many businesses are opting to move content to the cloud as well as house on-site for a blended approach to their storing, managing, and processing needs. Information about things like supply, delivery, customer support used to be difficult to find or cumbersome to work with. In the digital era, that data is streamlined and collaboration-friendly, increasing accessibility for all stakeholders. Because production teams and consumers alike have grown accustomed to the immediacy and intuitiveness of IoT, they now expect the same from their processes and products, requiring faster innovation from manufacturers. To keep up with these expectations, digital transformation changes the way businesses manage and share product information across the enterprise, increasing production and transparency and decreasing cost and down time.

There has never been a more intense or focused need for highly skilled workers with STEM talents. The businesses that hire accordingly and who continue to use technological advancements to move their companies forward are the ones that will thrive and remain current and competitive.

Daniel Newman is CEO of Broadsuite Media Group, principal analyst at Futurum and author of Futureproof.

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