COVID-19 changed everyone’s business plans and operations, almost overnight. Worldwide, industry events, trade shows and exhibitions planned for 2020 were impacted by the virus. Social distancing, tightening of travel and border controls and restrictions on meetings had meant that WoodTECH 2020, which was initially scheduled for mid-late August 2020 in New Zealand and Australia, had to be redesigned.
With no in-person event possible, we created an exciting new online format for dry-mill and wood manufacturing operations – running a series of six webinars in July 2020. Like the original event, this series showcased local and international leaders and early adopters of new and emerging technologies best suited for local wood manufacturing operations.
We had a brilliant turnout, with over 250 registering for the WoodTECH 2020.
A key highlight were the presentations from Australia’s Hyne Timber and New Zealand’s Wood Engineering Technology. These mills had just completed large scale operational deployments of robotics – a first for both countries. There was a lot to take in and the insights gained should go a long way in improving the performance of our sector.
Disruptive technologies continue to be a major theme within the manufacturing industry. While robotics (and cobots) are now more accessible than ever, employees are still essential. Innovations in augmented reality, wearable technologies and the use of exoskeletons for manual tasks around the mill were also hot topics.
To round out the series, we covered the creation of in-mill dashboards for better utilising collected machine data, a troubleshooting workshop for local timber machining and planing operations and an inspirational case study of a mill that has turned their timber manufacturing business on its head by focussing in on the culture of the business – with outstanding results.
Where to from here?
Planning is already well underway for the WoodTECH 2021 series (with a sawing, scanning and saw-doctoring focus), which will run in mid-2021 in both New Zealand and Australia.
At this stage, if interested in presenting or exhibiting at WoodTECH 2021 (in either New Zealand or Australia), please get in touch with us. If planning to exhibit, best to get in early as spaces will go very quickly. Further details will follow shortly.