It was not all ‘doom and gloom’ at the Hannover fair grounds in May as many had expected it to be. The quality of visitors was generally reported to be high – the time-wasters stayed away – and some new projects were discussed and contracts confirmed.
Takeovers also took centre stage at Ligna. On the Friday before the show opened, Dieffenbacher announced its purchase of Shanghai Wood Based Panel Machinery Co Ltd.
On May 20, the third day of the show, Siempelkamp announced it had purchased German ‘front-end’ machinery maker Hombak.
On the same day, Vits Systems became Vits Technology as former owner Werner Deuring bought the company out of receivership.

All these stories are covered in more detail in our news pages.
“But”, I hear you say, “Ligna is supposed to be about new technology.And so it was.
Siempelkamp’s latest development towered above its stand in the ‘panel industry zone’ of Hall 27.
Called Direct Drive, it is a completely new drive system for the main rollers of the ContiRoll continuous press. It is described as a linear motor in the round and is thus a magnetic motor. It can be retro-fitted, has less moving parts than conventional electric motors and a press only requires four Direct Drive motors instead of eight of the old type.
Siempelkamp also announced several retro-fit packages to save cost: ecoline consists of five modification packages which save up to 20% in raw material costs while maintaining a consistent quality; ecochanger makes sequential product changeovers possible without interrupting the production; ecoscalper can level out forming differences in older lines; ecopilot, software which increases the performance of existing plants by improving the thickness tolerances; ecocalibrator gives even pressure distribution in the press, with improved thickness tolerance and material savings of up to 20% in glue usage or reduced wood consumption; finally ProdIQ-quality lowers the
operating costs of plants with online quality forecasting with 95% accuracy, claims the company.
CMC Texpan shared the Siempelkamp stand and is still doing good business in its forming systems as well as its newer competence in laminating presses.
Another Siempelkamp associate, Büttner, exhibited its dryer systems on this large stand.
Staying with Germany as the host country of Ligna, GreCon’s managing director Uwe Kahmann said the company was offering updates to improve efficiency across most of its systems designated GreCon 5000.
From this range, new on the stand was the HPS 5000 high resolution board scale. The DML 5000 thickness gauge offers improved accuracy, while the upgraded moisture analyser IR 5000 offers quicker calibration. The BS7 spark detection/extinguishing in ducting, and press protection systems, were also promoted, among many new/improved offerings and its three-level service package.
Dieffenbacher displayed its direct
digital printing system for the first time and had an example on its stand of its EVOjet Resinator for dry resination, claimed to save up to 50% in resin
consumption. Also, the PROjet
resination system is claimed to offer
optimised blowline resination, also with resin savings.
Since its takeover of part of Metso Panelboard, Dieffenbacher also promoted the new ClassiCleaner and ClassiFormer from Dieffenbacher Panelboard OY of Finland and doorskin plants from Sunds MDF Technologies.
A major display was the new visualisation concept for control rooms in continuous plants, Proguide Commander, with eight flat screens mounted on the wall, offering monitoring of the entire plant without switching screens.
The company also announced the first OSB line in Asia, for Hubei Baoyuan Group in China. It will have a CPS continuous press (see news pages).
Schenkmann-Piel-Engineering’s drying systems were very much in evidence, with its Omega interior structure for drum dryers particularly prominent.
Saw maker Holzma promoted ecoLine technologies said to save up to 20% energy by increased saw efficiency and to save raw material. It also offered a brand new moveable angular fence and a sliding, fully automatic, turning air table for large books.
Binos of Germany featured its oriented particleboard (OPB) line, offering a panel to meet OSB3 standards on converted particleboard lines. The strands however, are not in fact oriented and are wider, shorter and thinner than in OSB.
Binos also promoted its Active Density Control, using its lifting units to raise the forming belt towards the scalper, with resultant material savings.
Pallmann had its usual large display of size-reduction machinery and announced its contract with Hubei Baoyuan Group to supply engineering, electrical control systems and service for the green end of the OSB line mentioned earlier.
Pallmann also exhibited its new line for processing wet chips up to 170% moisture content at up to 15 tons per hour, which would normally block
most mills.
In the open area of the show, Sennebogen exhibited its range of cranes for wood and log handling. The company’s Bernhard Kirst said it currently has more orders for its larger machines.
Modul Systeme’s chief executive Hajo Binder reported recent orders for single-opening particleboard lines from Peru and Ethiopia for this supplier of new and refurbished machinery. Modul has also supplied two Siempelkamp ContiRoll continuous press lines – one to Uruguay and one to South Korea. These were both secondhand, relocated and refurbished lines for MDF.
Wemhöner Surface Technologies in Hall 26 was promoting its digital printing line at Ligna for the first time and Heiner Wemhöner reported that the company had made improvements to the Variopress 3D press to save energy and improve performance – this was in line with Ligna’s declared theme.
Saw maker Anthon presented its latest developments in angular panel saws for the panel industry, with the emphasis on increased efficiency.
Electronic Wood Systems of Hameln was visited by the Pied Piper of the childrens’ story, with his rats (actually small children dressed as rats). On the serious side, EWS highlighted its continuous non-contact panel weight scale Conti-Scale and its new delamination/blow detection system Ultra-Scan LD, now attuned to low-density panel products.
The company’s SicoScan system, marketed jointly with Siempelkamp, has been very successful, said director Hauke Kleinschmidt, adding that EWS had secured some orders at the show.
The very newly-named but long-established Vits Technology received two orders for impregnation lines at Ligna, one of which was anticipated but the other was not.
Vits launched Microflex Impregnation at the show, for short runs with “virtually no wastage”.
It also launched its powder coating system POWTEC for MDF – a new product area for the company.
Tooling company Leitz took stands in Halls 12 and 26 to promote “improvement in efficiency, increased profitability and resource efficiencyas applied to its cutters and saw blades.
Size reduction machinery maker Maier offered hydrothermal treatment of OSB chips to process bamboo and frozen wood, producing more large surface strands with a more smooth surface structure and less energy consumption.
Austrian Stainless steel belt supplier Berndorf Band offered new service tools. Brand new was the Bernfixx name to cover all service and training aspects. The Magnetic Clamping Device for belt joins is now modular in length for different width belts. The Bernfixx Patching Tool is the fourth generation and is lightweight for one-man operation. The Berndorf factory now has a new production hall for long belts.
Andritz offered its complete front-end packages including debarking, chipping, raw material handling, screening and chip washing systems as well as its famous pressurised fibre refiners, where it is offering reduced energy consumption.
Schelling went for a red balloon motif to promote its improvements to its
established saws, mainly in terms of resource efficiency and unique dust removal systems.
Scheuch took the Ligna theme to heart with its own motto: ‘Focus on efficiency’ for its clean air systems. It reported that it has continued to invest in people and R&D, even during the financial crisis. For example, its SEPAS extraction system is said to offer 23% lower energy costs for the single-pipe system compared to multi-pipe ones and 90% reduction in energy costs through the IMPULS Cleaning System. A further claim of 88% saving in energy costs for transporting materials from filter bunker to silo was also made.
Sander maker Steinemann launched its Satos Plus development, which director Hanzjörg Fritsch said had undergone 35,000 hours of development. Eight major innovations are: easy belt change; hydrostatic bearing housing; Smart Drive; integrated thickness gauge; improved dust extraction; touch screen control; automated belt tracking; and Servo Move for the rise and fall sanding platen system.
Sia Abrasives was concentrating on its TopTec generation of abrasive belts,
optimised for their particular applications in terms of coating, jointing and anti-static properties.
Sandvik is now known as Sandvik Surface Solutions, a division of Sandvik Materials Technology Deutschland GmbH. At its smooth and textured press plate division in Ennepetal, it has a new 300m2 design centre. It won a design award at Interzum 2009, preceding Ligna, for its Sparkling Stone surface texture. In Ligna, the company and its very tame elk invited visitors to “Ride the steel wave”.
Fire protection system specialist Firefly AB of Sweden reported a very busy show with many good contacts. The company has been hiring staff for 18 months to cope with demand – even in a financial crisis a fire would of course be a disaster, pointed out Firefly.
Norwegian firm Argos Control AS received a lot of interest in its surface inspection systems, perhaps because board quality is even more important in tough trading times.
Newly slimmed-down Metso was at Ligna to emphasise that it is still very active in supplying systems for wood
handling, chip washing and fibre
preparation with pressurised refiners.
From Spain came Biele, promoting its handling solutions for all kinds of fully-automated production lines, with turnkey management available, and its new EVO Generation of feeders and stackers, which can handle pieces at up to 120m per minute.
Carrier Europe is well-known for its vibrating conveyors and is finding increasing business in recycling and the pellet industry where it supplies a fluid-bed processor for drying.
Italy was well-represented at Ligna by suppliers to the panel industry. Instalmec, now 30% owned by Dieffenbacher, presented its new drum blender lined with octagonal ceramic tiles which do not wear out like stainless steel. One example was actually sold at the show.
Sharing the stand was Mist-Air Systems of the UK, which presented its dust reduction system for buildings, employing a fine water mist.
Impregnation line maker Tocchio showcased its new laser cross-cut, situated at the end of the impregnation line to cut the cooled impregnated paper. No mechanical contact equals no blade to replace, pointed out Emiliano Tocchio.
Pal presented its de-sander, Metal Killer and Air Chip Cleaner on the stand and Alessandro Marcolin said the
company had received some good orders this year in the panel and biomass
New on the Imal stand was the FiberCam – an optic sifter for MDF fibre, working with dry fibre. This measures the dimensions of the fibre even if it is curved. ScreenCam for particleboard was also on display, as was the laboratory formaldehyde tester which gives a value in five hours.
Fabio Paron, ceo of Globus presented his “four aces”: The company’s most updated and innovative knife ring flaker (Ace of Hearts); the drum chipper (Diamonds); mill refiner (Clubs); and hammermill (Spades). “Poker is very fashionable and these are four winning cards for our customers to have in their hands,said Mr Paron.
Globus shared an Italian piazza-themed exhibition area with Trasmec and EMG, representing a new cooperation between the three companies. Trasmec
is a well-established specialist in
complete conveying systems, including
the famous Cobra.
EMG was particularly proud to have recently supplied a high-speed feeding line to MDF maker Nelson Pine of New Zealand for its Steinemann 14-head sander, running at 150m/minute.
Wide belt sander manufacturer Imeas displayed its latest Full Control System. This offers full remote control of the sander as for a continuous press, so that the sander can be integrated into the control system using dedicated software. It can also be integrated with thickness measuring systems to give direct control.
Saw maker Giben’s projects director Lorenzo Galletti said the show had
been much better than expected, with orders finalised with Chinese and Australian clients.
Longoni, supplier of paper
impregnation lines from China, reported two unexpected orders from Pakistan and a lot of interest at the show.
Italian size-reduction machinery maker Pessa has found new markets for its chippers and flakers in animal bedding production as well as in the panel industry.
Vyncke of Belgium makes energy generation plants and announced five new orders in Brazil recently and several in Europe since the last Ligna.
Resin manufacturer Dynea concentrated on its AsWood range (with formaldehyde levels similar to natural wood) of low-emission resins and adhesives and its Anypress phenolic surface films for use in single- or multi-daylight presses.
Stora Enso’s subsidiary Laminating Papers exhibited an impressive digitally printed plywood panel, with Novox printed film on the surface, as a wall of its stand. It also promoted Absorbex saturating base Kraft paper and Imprex core stock for laminates.
Fezer of Brazil promoted its veneer and plywood manufacturing machinery and reported some serious interest at
the show.
Several exhibitors came from North America, among them Merritt Machinery, which promoted its veneer slicers, rotary clippers and rebuilt stay-log lathes. The latter may be lathes originally made by other manufacturers and retro-fitted with Merritt controls.
Hexion Specialty Chemicals’ head of Global Marketing Communications Bill Klosterman announced during the show a joint venture, in Russia with OAO Shchekinoazot, a large industrial chemicals producer, which has begun manufacturing resins for the forest products and construction markets. Hexion-Shchekinoazot, is producing a wide range of resin systems used in mineral wool insulation, plywood, OSB and laminate products in the Tula region of Russia.
Hexion also announced that its new plant in Montenegro, Brazil will start up in late August. It will be capable of producing 150,000 tons/year of formaldehyde and 300,000 tons/year of resins for the Latin American market.
It also announced its next-generation, ultra-low-emitting resins to help
hardwood plywood manufacturers
comply with CARB Phase II, LEED requirements.
Globe Machine Manufacturing of Tacoma Washington emphasised its doorskin lines and I-beams with OSB or hardboard webs and Globe’s Mike Tart reported some interesting meetings
during Ligna.
Next door, M-E-C promoted its
drying systems, especially its TherMec Dry Wood fuel suspension systems. It makes single- and triple-pass and flash-tube dryers.
Brazilian firm Omeco offers machinery for veneer and plywood production as well as automated short-cycle press lines.
Back to Europe and Finnish-based firm Raute announced a contract worth about e8m with Chinese investors to deliver machinery for a new veneer mill in the Tomsk region of Russia, though this contract has subsequently been delayed.
Fusoni had its own stand to promote its release agents and additives for paper impregnation.
Dutch company Eltomation, which produces systems for the production of wood wool and wood particle cement boards, showed a new concept for housebuilding. These are prefabricated one-piece wall units with rendered surfaces made of wood wool cement board.
From Japan came Meinan with its Aristo rotary veneer peeling lathe. The company had a lathe on its stand which can peel cold (unsteamed/boiled) logs; it drives the circumference of the log rather than having a central spindle in each end.
Meinan’s latest concept is a machine to split MDF in its thickness to produce
thin board.
Taihei is another Japanese company and traditional plywood machinery maker, offering lathes, dryers, reeling systems and presses.
Most exhibitors said they had come to Ligna 2009 expecting very little, given the global economic crisis.
However, it seems most left Ligna 2009 very glad they came and pleasantly surprised at the contacts they had made and the serious discussions they had had with potential customers worldwide.
The universal happiness of 2007 was missing, but at least the new reality was not as bad as many had feared before they set off for Hannover.