Having covered in excess of ten ASFI-Woodmex-W events for this magazine, I have become used to differing opinions from various individuals and companies – with W14 I can recall hardly a negative opinion from any quarter, testament to a  quite outstanding achievement from all participants.

Those four October days and nights marked a sea-change in this industry, and a welcome return of confidence and ambition. If anything, numerous exhibitors underplayed their hands, and in hindsight, would have been bolder with their commitment – and it looks as though intentions towards W16 are already running at a high level.

The Sunday began slowly, as all events do, and then the floodgates opened with a  strong attendance quickly filling the halls and this ran for the duration. Although the show at times looked sparsely attended, looking at the stands confirmed that visitors were not merely browsing in the aisles, they were actively engaged with exhibitors, agents and sales people. There also seemed to be a modest boost of attendance from the Timber Show on the two days that was open for business.

Indeed, in a statement, the organiser reports that, pre-audit, the attendance figures were up more than 20% compared to the 2012 event. Some 9,667 visitors made W14 the highlight of the year, and plans are under way for a bigger and even better W16. As always, the industry’s leading publication, website and App will be in the vanguard of information regarding the industry’s leading live event.

Our now traditional stand in hall 6 proved to be its usual draw for visitors keen to catch up with the team and enjoy a refreshing pit-stop.

Out in the halls, what was quickly evident to myself and my editorial and advertising team colleagues was the volume and quality of the exhibition stands at this year’s event. Companies had clearly prepared themselves for an engaging event, and visitors commented how well prepared and accommodating the overwhelming majority of exhibitors were. A large event which still had a friendly buzz is not easily pulled off, and event organiser Angela McGowan and her team deserves much credit for an upbeat atmosphere.

The materials and components side of the event was a more fulsome offer than had been the case for a decade or more. Stalwarts such as Salice, Movac, David Clouting, Ostermann and Rehau and others were joined this year by global fittings powerhouse, Blum, Chinese fittings brand King Slide, edging firms Döllken and Proadec, software brands 2020, Joinery Soft, MagiCut, CNC Software Solutions and others.

Elsewhere, the machinery and equipment side of things was burgeoning with Biesse rejoining the fray and a host of fresh faces to be seen. Many of the industry’s well-known brands, such as Felder, Daltons Wadkin, Advanced Machinery Services, RW Machines-IWM, JJ Smith, Homag and SCM had more impressive presentations this year too.

If visitors hadn’t already heard  of the likes of Soukup, Bala, Ovvo, Duin, Quaytech, SMI, Kimla, Slavador, Warwick Edging, Wintech and dozens more – W14 was the place to experience offerings from these companies. Over the coming months, we will be catching up with many of the new exhibitors and new brands we met at the show to create exclusive reports for the magazine, website and tablet-mobile App.

If exhibitors haven’t yet submitted your news, you still have time –  contact myself or Paul Field for details.