Automation, robotics and digitization in wood processing and furniture manufacturing – these are the main trends introduced by the 15th edition of the WOOD-TEC International Fair for Wood Processing and Furniture Industry, which is supported by the world association EUMABOIS. In particular, the focus on Industry 4.0 reflects the demand of woodworkers and furniture makers who struggle to handle orders with the current shortage of skilled workforce.
In completely filled Halls A2 and V, 319 companies and 210 brands from 18 countries presented themselves. Especially the number of brands presented increased compared with the last year. Also the number of visitors coming to the Exhibition Centre, which in the course of four days exceeded 11 thousand, grew significantly. The number of international visitors, especially from Slovakia, increased in comparison with previous years. On the first day of the fair, at the invitation of the Union of Manufacturers of Woodworking Machinery and Equipment, trade missions from Slovakia, Hungary and Bosnia and Herzegovina visited the fair, as well as a large group of representatives of Thai furniture manufacturers. Thanks to the breakdown of the accompanying programme into thematic days, it was also possible to schedule visits by lecturing experts. This structure was also suitable for visitors to the fair.
A new feature of this year was the accompanying programme thematically divided into individual days, a new organization of trade missions and discussions that saw the top of the woodworking and furniture manufacturing industry from the Czech Republic.
For the first time was staged the WOOD-TEC Award exhibit competition; in its two categories, 8 exhibits were awarded. WOOD-TEC thus strengthened its position as the most important business and social event in the wood processing and furniture manufacturing sector in the Czech Republic and Slovakia.
Throughout the fair, the accompanying programme ran at the WOOD-TEC Arena in Hall A2. On the first day there were purchasing workshops of the Association of Czech Furniture Manufacturers and the Cluster of Czech Furniture Makers, trade missions’ programme and an introductory discussion, which focused on current problems in wood processing and furniture production. The main programme of the Technology Day was a block of lectures about automation and robotics, while the Furniture Day focused on outsourcing for small and medium-sized furniture manufacturers. On both days were also presented companies offering specific solutions for wood processing and manufacturing; this concept was successful both for visitors and for the presenting companies. The last day was dedicated to students of secondary vocational schools, who were presented offers by higher education institutions for studies, and by companies for possible professional career.
The trade fair and the accompanying programme were prepared in cooperation with sectoral professional associations and universities.
The next edition of the WOOD-TEC International Fair for Wood Processing and Furniture Industry will be held from 29 October to 1 November 2019.
What was said about the fair
Zdeněk Bezděk, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Union of Manufacturers of Woodworking Machinery and Equipment:
This year, we chose a new format for incoming missions and invited directly the owners, executives or directors of companies and professional associations. Nearly 20 representatives from Slovakia, 12 from Bosnia, and 8 of Hungary came to Brno. I expect that the mission will benefit both them and the Czech companies of our Union and other exhibitors, who can acquire new contacts with foreign companies interested in woodworking machines and timber processing industry. We consider WOOD-TEC an important and traditional fair in our industry in Central and Eastern Europe. It may be not as big as the fairs in Hannover or Milan, but with its importance belongs in this category of trade fairs.
Petr Pražan, Director of the Community of Woodworking Enterprises:
This fair is above all a meeting place; indeed, over fifty representatives of companies participated in the meeting of our Community. It clearly shows that people are interested in this issue. Here we are introduced to new technologies and I personally hope that one day somebody will produce devices to replace people that we are short of in our production.
Jiří Kuliš, CEO, Trade Fairs Brno:
WOOD-TEC is an evergreen among our trade fairs. The natural wealth of the Czech Republic is wood and WOOD-TEC is a platform for effective wood processing and the use of this wealth.
Martin Čudka, President of the Association of Czech Furniture Manufacturers:
From every trade fair I try to take some inspiration rather than specific information that I can get later. But inspiration, meeting with specific people, exchanging experience and ideas – these are the things that the trade fair platform offers and that are expected from the fair both by exhibitors and visitors.
Lucia Haraslínová, Chairperson of the Cluster of Czech Furniture Manufacturers:
Our cluster is a traditional exhibitor, and the trade fair means inspiration and cooperation for us. We expect from our participation mainly meetings and discussions, in which we will find new intersections for further cooperation. We also perceive the fair as a platform for education, both for people from the industry and end customers to recognize and prefer quality products. This is why we prepared an advisory centre of the Cluster of Czech Furniture Manufacturers this year.
Karel Krontorád, Head of the Department of Woodworking Technology and Head of the Department of Manufacturing Applications and Industrial Engineering at the Faculty of Forestry and Wood Technology at the Mendel University in Brno, Chairman of the evaluation committee of the competition WOOD-TEC Award 2017
I would like to thank the Trade Fairs Brno team, which has succeeded to organize at this beautiful exhibition centre a trade fair of this orientation in such a range and quality. The competition of exhibitors is great here, which makes me personally happy, especially the view of the Czech manufacturers of woodworking machines and equipment, who are getting a level higher from one year to another. I dare say that many Czech companies exhibit machinery and equipment here, which is at least at European level, hence also at world level.
Jaroslav Svoboda, Vice-Dean of the Faculty of Forestry and Wood Technology, Mendel University in Brno
I consider our four-day presentation successful. We have seen abundant participation in our modular and airy stand, which was placed in the inner area of Hall A2 and which was created according to the design by students of the Studio of Furniture Design. Great interest was noticed mainly at the exhibition of functional prototypes of seating furniture and a 3D printer. Some students came to see us because of the fact that the same exhibition centre hosts the Gaudeamus education fair, and so they got additional information about studies at our faculty here.
Jiří Holický, Office of the Government Commissioner:
The fair is about meeting people, which is always very uplifting, because you can learn a lot of information. I wish the visitors to the WOOD-TEC fair to get enriched with a lot of new information and new contacts that will help them do more in their future activities.
Tomáš Vystyd, Executive Manager at FELDER KG
We rate our participation positively; visitors are showing their will to buy new, more powerful and more productive machines. The fair is for us a matter of prestige, where we can show our position on the Czech and hence the global market.
Stefano Morselli, Commercial Director of F.I.MA.L srl, Italy:
I attend exhibition displays of all the companies we work with, in order to get direct contact with customers in various countries. The Czech market‘s response to our machine Concept 350 was excellent. I like the WOOD-TEC fair very much and I think it is going up again. Its organization is very professional and it can be seen that the organizers are no newcomers to the exhibition business. It's definitely one of the best industry fairs in Europe.
Jozef Kmetík, Executive Manager at Braz Technologie, s.r.o.:
This year I am very satisfied, in my opinion there were visitors than previous times. I was afraid of the date, because in Slovakia there was a national holiday on Wednesday, but the opposite was true, our customers used the holiday to come to Brno, and on Wednesday there were an enormous lot of Slovaks. We have sold virtually all of our displayed machines on the spot.
Jaromír Brychta, Head of Service and Sales of Machines, Italcomma Moravia
The machines we exhibit represent a cross-section of our portfolio. They are exclusively CNC controlled machines, whether they are milling machines, drilling centres, machines for surface treatment, handling and packaging. After the past slower years, the market is rising, so we have also chosen a higher display than usual, exhibiting more machines on a larger area, and we filled both the exhibition area and the meeting space, so there is satisfaction on this. In particular, we never paused on the second and third days of the fair – almost all the customers with whom we are in touch came to see us.
David Elis, Sales Manager, IGM
IGM introduces woodworking machines, tools and implement of the brands, which it represents on the Czech market. At the fair we have a premiere with the American brand Powermatic, mainly for small carpentry workshops, and it seems to be very attractive for customers; people are placing orders and we are satisfied. I feel that the exhibition centre did more to promote the fair, I noticed it on the Internet, the Web and on Facebook, and I think that's reflected in this year’s visitor numbers.
Stanislav Beran, Sales Representative, TEKMA
With our exhibition display sized almost 450 square meters, we are one of the biggest exhibitors this year. We have tried to present a cross section of the entire portfolio of our machines and technologies from various manufacturers we trade with. In comparison with last year we seem to have a slightly higher attendance and we notice a revival of the Czech economy. It is clear that companies are investing more without waiting for European subsidy programs.
David Dvořáček, Executive Manager, PILART
We have existed on the market since 2003, and this is our third time at WOOD-TEC. We are trying to gradually increase the exhibition area, because above all the bigger technologies from our Industry series will take up more space. This year we are exhibiting on an area of 420 square meters and we have a lot here to show to our customers: novelties such as Smart Workshop, which is CNC centre of the company HOLZ-HER, which enables to make corpus furniture sets in easy steps in about 30 minutes‘ time.
Peter Šelep, Head of Sales in Poland, HOUFEK
Our flagships at the WOOD-TEC fair are computer-controlled woodworking centres. As a Czech producer, we have a great understanding for Czech customers, and here in Brno we always want to show them that we are able to offer tailored solutions, interesting both technically and financially. Here we have a chance to literally interview the customers and find out what they really need. And they can see "first hand" see what the Houfek machines are about.
Luděk Luňák, Sales Specialist, ROJEK prodej
At this fair we present several novelties, whether they are milling machines, formatting saws or other products. It looks like this year's fair will be better than the previous one. I have a feeling that revival is happening, machines sell better; customers are more interested and are trying to innovate. We have prepared a special "New for Old" campaign and special trade fair discounts; hence so far we are satisfied.
Petr Novák, Managing Director, PREBENA CZ
Our company deals in fastening technology. We are very satisfied with participating in the fair. We managed to exceed our plans already on the first day; everything else is just a cherry on the cake. When I compare the current visitor traffic with the past, say ten years ago, a smaller number of people are coming in, but these are precisely those "selected" visitors who have professional questions, the demand, place orders, and are beneficial for us.
Pavel Hošmánek, marketing, FESTOOL
We are very satisfied on the business side; the number of visitors surpassed our expectations. Mainly professionals came to our stand, who knew what they wanted and had a lot of specific queries. The greatest interest was recorded on the removable pin connections for which we also received the main prize, which helped gain increased interest in this product. If I had to rate our participation with points, I would give ten out of ten.
Elizabeth Asamer, owner, ASAMER
Our participation was particularly beneficial in terms of communicating with our regular customers who visited our stand. From my point of view, it would be a good idea to move the period of the WOOD-TEC fair by a year, in order to not compete with the LIGNA fair in Hanover.
Jaroslav Soukup, SOUKUP s.r.o.
We perceive this fair very positively, not only our success with our award-winning machines, but also good visitor traffic and new contacts. We will certainly have a lot to work on in the coming months and we will look forward to the next season.
Adam Kořený, Sales Representative, Wood Software, s. r. o.:
We are exhibiting here for the fourth or fifth time, practically throughout the life of the company, and we always come up with a new version of our software. I am satisfied with this year's participation; it is similar to the previous year. We meet existing customers here, demonstrating them new capabilities of our software, as well as new customers who do not know us yet. We are very happy with their interest in our offer.
Július Čurgali, owner of the company Mgr. Július Čurgali – JCC:
We are exhibiting at WOOD-TEC for the second time and after our first attendance, our sales in the Czech Republic grew by 40 percent. This year we also have a competition here and we hear from the carpenters that our system is better, so we expect an increase by 70 percent. The visitor traffic is even slightly higher this year than I expected, so I am satisfied with our participation.
Črt Ristič, dealer, company Kolpa, d.d. Metlika, Slovenia:
We are exhibiting for the first time at WOOD-TEC and we are very pleased. Our stand was visited by a lot of people and they were interested in our offer. As manufacturers of the material called Kerrock we arrived with the main goal of finding a distributor for the Czech market, in which we have succeeded.
Jarek Hudec, co-owner of Pilous – pásové pily, spol. s r. o.:
We are always on the outdoor area, where we can cut and show our saws in operation. Our stand is visited not only by our customers who already know our machines, but also other buyers, and some of them sign orders straight on the spot. We already sold a lot of machines here, so we are very satisfied with our participation.
Petr Husenica, Executive Manager, Leitz – nástroje
Our participation in the Woodtec 2017 exhibition complemented very well our commercial marketing activities. We managed to reach out to Czech and Slovak customers and to inform them about technical innovations and current sales events of our products. The greatest interest was shown by customers in new types of saw blades and different types of diamond tools. From this point of view, the fair met our expectations.
Ján Kmeťo, member of an incoming mission, Executive Manager at PAVKAS, Slovakia
We worked together with Polish companies and we want to expand our activities to the Czech Republic, too. We came here to gain knowledge or to establish contacts for the delivery of a pallet line for the production of EUR wooden pallets.
Jaroslav Studenský, Sales Representative, ELBH-CZ
We are always satisfied in Brno. We are exhibiting here especially for the reason to make know that we are functioning, the company is running and that our customers have a guarantee of quality, service and assistance. The number of manufacturing companies operating in the Czech market in of our sector, i.e. in the field of suction and filtering equipment for woodworkers is relatively stable and not many new firms are emerging, but nevertheless, our old customers are coming back who are innovating and expanding their production.
Stanislav Telec, Director of Woodworking Machines Division, TOS Svitavy
TOS Svitavy has traditionally brought sawing machines and newly the handling equipment to this year's WOOD-TEC. The fair was very well prepared this year, it enabled us to contact new customers, deepen cooperation with the existing customers, and it provides a good basis for the development of our business next year and in the years going forward. A bit of a problem for us was the period of holding of the fair, because it hit the All Souls Day, hence some customers from Poland or Hungary did not arrive, however, those who did, showed a considerable interest, for example, in our new PWO 500 multi rip saw, which we are showing for the very first time at this fair.
Milan Holášek, Executive Manager, AXIMA MORAVA
This year, we focused on machines that we think are also affordable for small and medium-size businesses. This fair is an opportunity to meet up with customers, move forward the unfinalized orders, or receive demands. Companies are faced with new challenges or orders when they need to restore or improve their technology. We have a chance to meet with them all here in a short time period and in one place.
Václav Skopec, Head of Domestic Sales, BeA CS
The company BeA ranks among the world's leading manufacturers of pneumatic tools and fasteners. Due to the fact that at present there is a great deal of pressure from our customers to modernize their operations, we are mainly presenting new technologies at this trade fair. Experience, including trade fairs, shows us that the structure of our customers has changed significantly over the last fifteen years. We are far more visited by those who are interested in industrial solutions.
Kateřina Čapáková, Project Manager, Dudr Tools
It is typical for our company to cooperate with our customers practically exclusively in person. If we get a new or a potential client, we always go to visit them, even if it should be on the other end of the world. This fair means for us an opportunity for personal meetings and presentation of novelties; this year, for example, Shark saw grinders of German quality by the company Kohlbacher.