After a career that has spanned almost 50 years in woodworking manufacturing, I’m sill amazed at he progress we’ve made without he impact of a world war, as was the case with significant develop- ments in technology and mate- rial usage in the 1940s and 50s, particularly in the cabinet industry.
After a period of “prosperity” that
almost ruined the wood products
industries forever in the 1960s,
our collective industries eventually
woke up to the necessity to compete globally using the tools and
materials available worldwide.
I was a plant manager at a large
office furniture manufacturer in
Grand Rapids, Michigan, in the
70s when we began to experiment
with several introductions that
have become commonplace today;
flakeboard (composite panels),
edgebanders, and widebelt sand-
ers, among others.
In the 80s, I witnessed the introduction of CNC for woodworking
along with flat line finishing, European hardware and MDF. And for
the last 25 years, I’ve had the privilege of being engaged in practically
every significant new development
in our industry. And here is my
point: These developments have
been generally incremental!
Looking back I’m in awe of the
incredible creativity of industry
pioneers with their vision of truly
inventing a new material, hardware
and process. But with some excep-
tion, the majority of “inventions” to-
day have been merely the improve-
ments on a recognized process or
the adaptation of new technology
on an existing product. It’s not my
intent to devalue a bigger, better,
faster projector, but where’s the
next disruptive breakthrough?
For all kinds of reasons, I predict
that material handling devices will
lead the way in the discussion of
trends: from simple storage and
retrieval systems to intelligent
systems that significantly improve
inventory control and production
management in coordination with
other machines in the process.
Machines coordinating with
Looking back toward
Technology and the woodworking industry
By Stephan Waltman
What to know before buying a CNC.........
Panel saw scoop ....................................
Product news .........................................
Find more tips & trends
Boring Machines Chart
CNC Routers Chart
Panel Saws Chart
Board & panel sizing equipment,
boring machines, CNC machining centers, CNC
routers, edgebanders, edgebanding materials,
hinge insertion machines, horizontal beam saws/
panels saws, pocket mortisers, router templates,
sliding table saws, tenoners for sizing panels,
vacuum pods and machine hold-down systems,
vertical panel saws