Lectra bolstered its position as a thought partner for the upholstered furniture industry with its latest event, Building a Digital Future for Furniture.

Held over two days, with more than 70 attendees from 14 countries, Lectra delved into the manufacturing and consumer landscape shifts disrupting the global furniture industry, in particular, higher expectations for product customisation. 

These analyses set the stage for discussions, presentations and workshops on the need for adopting Industry 4.0 principles, critical for the future of upholstered furniture manufacturing, and how to begin implementing them.

Demonstrations of Lectra’s Cutting Room 4.0 for Made to Order, along with workshops on made-to-order process optimisation and digitalisation of data flow, underscored how technology like the cloud, the Internet of Things, and data analytics will help companies overcome the complexity of producing customised products. 

For Ovidijus Jalonskis, CEO, Vilmers –one of the first adopters of the Cutting Room 4.0 – “The Lectra MTO solution will help us implement Industry 4.0 processes that enable us to provide quicker deliveries and more customisation. It will also allow our planning department to work much faster, more efficiently and avoid a lot of mistakes in the future.”

In addition to leather expert Dr Mike Redwood’s discussion of Industry 4.0 for leather tanneries, Ernst Esslinger, head of IT engineering at Homag, stressed that this new approach to manufacturing is about more than just automation. “Industry 4.0 is not just about networked production; it is what you do with the data generated from your machines that determines your company’s success.”

The value of leveraging manufacturing data for company growth was a recurring theme throughout the presentations, and one that resonated with many participants, including Dale Schiller, director engineering systems at Ashley Furniture. “The presentation on Industry 4.0 in the furniture industry spoke clearly to how companies are looking forward, how they are going to leverage data, and continue to grow in this area,” he said.

Lectra also presented its vision for enabling mass-production companies to capture real-time data generated by connected cutting solutions in order to monitor shop floor and cutting line performance, worker productivity and changeover times, as well as the use of augmented reality for maintenance assistance.

The creation of three ottomans over the course of one day also made a major impact on attendees. They observed in real time the design, development and production of the three ottomans using only Lectra solutions, as well as the assembly by a prototype maker and a seamstress.

“As the furniture industry continues moving at breakneck speed, the Lectra furniture event provides an avenue for upholstered furniture professionals to stay up-to-the-minute on trends and changes, examine paths forward, and discuss with peers how to manage industry challenges. Participants leave with the inspiration to turn innovation into strategy,” said Celine Choussy Bedouet, Lectra's chief marketing and communications officer.