With the biggest footprint and the largest number of exhibitors to date, this year’s W Exhibition and sister show, Elements, have been hailed a huge success by visitors and exhibitors alike.

With 9200 people attending the UK’s only woodworking machinery and materials exhibition and dedicated furniture components show, organisers have seen a 4% increase in visitor numbers this year. This, along with a large number of overseas visitors from Europe and further afield, has confirmed the show’s status as being a must-attend event for the furniture design and manufacturing industry.

The four-day event, which will move to halls 18, 19 and 20 in 2020, due to increased demand in stand space, saw a plethora of new products being introduced at the show, including the UK debut of Homag’s intuitive Mouldteq M-300 planer moulder, Daltons Wadkin’s new generation Kimla BPF2131 CNC, Advanced Machinery Services’ new Wadkin Bursgreen WB 600 AngleX automatic crosscutting machine and Intelligent Fixing’s unique self-clamping component connector.

This year, there was a distinct shift towards intelligent machinery, with new concepts being introduced for today’s furniture manufacturing industry. SCM UK’s Digital Hub and Maestro Digital Systems – which have been created in response to the latest industry 4.0 requirements – drew in the crowds as it showed a new, smart approach to manufacturing. Whilst Italian machinery manufacturer, Biesse, focused on its automated, interconnected production concept Automaction. The Viet Opera R sanding system – one of several machines in the range designed to increase automation and overall equipment efficiency (OEE) – also won an Elements of Innovation Gold Award at the show. 

Felder’s very latest H80 CNC nesting machine with fully automatic loading and unloading of up to 100 boards at a time and full nesting capabilities in three and four axes, made its debut at the show and proved popular with small- to medium-sized manufacturers, while TM Machinery’s new retrofitable Striebig optimisation programme, which cleverly connects to your Wi-Fi, has been designed to increase productivity and reduce waste when cutting panels to size.

Live machinery demonstrations, interactive spray booths and virtual reality tours were also in abundance at the show, with stands finding unique ways to promote their latest product offering. Competitions and daily challenges were also order of the day for many with Quin Global UK’s nail-biting L12 Curve Challenge proving a huge hit with visitors, as they attempted to make the tightest curve possible using its L12 adhesive on bendy plywood. 

There was also a number of interactive stands this year, as exhibitors set out to entice visitors to explore the latest innovations for themselves. From Blum’s very own Blum Cinema – complete with popcorn – which featured a movie on the company’s training services, support software and assembly devices, to ArtiCAD’s unique virtual reality tour, that transported you into a fully-equipped 3D kitchen. In a bid to educate users on everything from the initial design to construction of a kitchen, visitors were offered new and exciting ways to learn about the products on offer. Daltons Wadkin’s stand also stood out with its back-to-nature theme and machine wrapping.

Visitors were also free to explore the exhibition’s growing number of interactive zones. The Education Zone, which was introduced for the first time at the show, offered visitors a unique opportunity to join group workshops and book one-on-one sessions with industry experts. The Elements of Innovation Awards, gave visitors an opportunity to see the most ground-breaking products to enter the UK market up close – and gave their manufacturers the recognition they deserved.  

The show’s official charity, Help for Heroes, also had its most successful show to date. With help from the Help for Heroes bear and exhibitors at the show – including Masterwood, which provided one of the dinosaurs made on a Masterwood nesting machine as a raffle prize – the charity raised over £1200, which will help to fund much needed woodworking shops and recovery centres around the UK. 

Lisa Campagnola, event director for Elements and the W Exhibition says: “We are very pleased with the success our exhibitors have had at this year’s shows. It’s also been great to see increased visitor numbers and a wider visitor audience, as we’ve been committed to creating two shows that truly benefit the UK’s furniture design and manufacturing industries. 

“We’ve also welcomed a larger number of overseas visitors, which is due in part to the number of European companies we’ve had join the exhibitor line-up this year. The new interactive visitor features have been a great addition and the support for the brand new Education Zone has been overwhelming, as we – and our industry partners - continue to champion the industry’s future.

“We’re also pleased to announce that both the W Exhibition and Elements will be moving to halls 18, 19 and 20 in 2020 to make room for even more exhibitors. Re-booking has been phenomenal, with many companies increasing their stand size and many new companies wishing to exhibit. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank everyone involved in the W Exhibition and Elements and I look forward to welcoming the industry again to the Birmingham NEC in 2020.” 

The W Exhibition and Elements 2020 will be taking place from the 27th-30th September at the NEC, Birmingham.