• Over 9,200 visitors attended in 2018
  • A 4% increase in visitors since 2016
  • Over 250 exhibitors at the W Exhibition and Elements in 2018
  • 2018’s co-located shows saw a footprint of over 20,500 square metres
  • Increased number of overseas visitors since 2016

With the biggest footprint and the largest number of exhibitors to date, this year’s the W Exhibition and sister show, Elements, have been hailed a huge success by visitors and exhibitors alike. With 9,200 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 showcased 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 retrofittable Striebig optimisation progamme, 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 their L12 adhesive on bendy plywood.

There were 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, who 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.

Here’s what the W Exhibition and Elements exhibitors and visitors thought of the show:

What our exhibitors said:

Luke Thomson, Managing Director, Intelligent Fixings:

The W Exhibition been completely off the scale for us. It’s surpassed any expectations we had. We’re a very new fixings company and we had originally decided to make 10 million components to start with but we’re now looking at producing between 50 to 80 million components because of the interest we’ve had at this show alone. It’s been unbelievable.”

Matthew Applegarth, Managing Director, Felder UK Ltd:

The show has been brilliant for us. We’ve sold almost every machine on our stand and at least two thirds of our showroom. We still have orders to work though and we’ve made some fantastic leads - this is what we have come to expect from exhibiting at the W Exhibition. Every year our stand is getting bigger because the return is there for us. In 2016 our stand was 600 square metres. We increased this number to 900 square metres for 2018 and we have already provisionally booked over 1000 square metres for 2020.

Matthew Glanfield, Technical Team Manager, Blum UK:

There’s been a real buzz surrounding the show and the volume of visitors has been very satisfying. The Blum cinema was a rather abstract concept and one that was new to us but the whole concept has been really well received. It’s been a great way of getting visitors to learn about Blum and what we offer and, after watching our film, it has has led to people talking openly with us about our products and how we can work together. It’s been a great success.

Andy Walsh, Sales Director, Daltons Wadkin:

This year the show was been reassuringly profitable for us when Brexit is looming. We’ve taken a new slant on stand design for 2018. We wanted to create a really eye-catching stand and visually it’s very appealing when faced with a sea of machines. The light open space, trees, artwork and greenery on the stand have proven very welcoming and we’ve engaged with more people because of it. It’s been a superb show and we’re looking forward to 2020.

Steve Bulmer, Managing Director of Biesse UK:

The show has been a great success for us this year and our decision to invest in a larger stand has been a good one. It’s been our best show ever. We were also immensely proud to win the Elements of Innovation Award for our VIET Opera R Robotised Sanding Machine. We are also celebrating our 25th anniversary in the UK, so it’s been great to see both new customers as well as those that we have been working with since the UK subsidiary was founded.

Martina Schwarz, International Sales & Marketing Manager, CAD+T:

We exhibited for the first time in 2016 and we had a great response from the UK market. This year, we have been blown away by the number of leads we’ve had from our latest software solutions for the interior design and furniture manufacturing market. So much so that we’ve booked an even bigger stand for 2020.”

John Wilson, Managing Director, Ferwood UK:

The show has been good for us. We’ve constantly been talking to customers – including some of the biggest names in the UK – so the calibre of visitors has been very high indeed.

David Thompson-Rowlands, Managing Director, RW Machines Ltd:

2018 has been a great show for RW Machines. From the initial build process through to the doors opening on day one, the organisation has been superb. We’ve experienced high quality visitors on our stand every day and as well as sales, we’ve got some fantastic leads. We’re already looking forward to 2020.

Gabrielle De Col, Managing Director, SCM UK:

We’ve been really pleased with this year’s show and the feedback we’ve been given from visitors. Demand to see our latest machines and new digital system in action has been very high. We now have to collate the data and follow up on the success of the show.

Matt Pearce, Managing Director, TM Machinery Sales:

The W Exhibition has always been an important event for us. Footfall on our stand has been continuously high throughout the show and the interest we’ve received on our range of Striebig vertical panel saws and ALKO dust extraction systems has been strong. We’re looking forward to the show being in new halls in 2020 and we’ve already booked our new stand space.

Raffael Gomez, Sales Manager, Lamello AG:

This is the first year we have had a dedicated Lamello stand at the W Exhibition and it’s certainly paid off. Our team have been performing tool demonstrations continuesly throughout the show because of the interest our joining systems have recieved from visitors. Lead generation has also been really strong and we look forward to exhibiting in 2020.

What our visitors said:

David Robinson, Managing Director, Perfair Fragrances:

As a designer, I am visiting the W Exhibition to learn about the latest product offerings available. When it comes to manufacturing my designs, I need to know what I can achieve when using each machine and their limitations. Who better to ask than the machinery manufacturers themselves? Having the Elements show run alongside this has also opened my eyes to new finishes and techniques I haven’t seen before. It’s been a great experience.

Phil Dalton, Group Operations Manager, Decorative Panels Group:

Not only do we get to see some excellent new machinery coming to market but the W Exhibition is a great opportunity for us to network with our customers, suppliers and fellow industry professionals.

Richard Carleton, Creative Event Support Ltd:

We are really enjoying the show. We work in live events and we are looking at CNCs and edgebanders that can help us create live stages and sets. This is our first time here. It was recommended by some carpenters we work with. They suggested that this was the only place to look for new equipment. There are not any shows specific to our industry that give us access to such a large range of machinery and equipment in one area.

Mick Barskyj, Jaguar Land Rover:

We are here with a specific aim and we are looking at products from the Elements side of the show to help with prototype development. The car manufacturing world is continually evolving, not only in the engines but also the aesthetic finish. The show is well laid out and everyone has been really informative.

Appleby Woodturning via Twitter: @ApplebWoodturns

Great day at W18. So good to be able to put names to faces and to make new contacts. To everyone who had a stand, hats off to you. It was a thrilling event full of incredible technology and innovation.

Lawcris Panels via Twitter: @Lawcris1982

Epic is the word to describe the W Exhibition. The W Exhibition didn’t let us down - we are so impressed with the organisation and the impressive machinery we got to feast our eyes on. Great day, great show".

Tool fix Supplies via Twitter: @Toolfixsupplies

Great day here at #W18, immersing ourselves in all of the latest innovations coming to the Joinery industry. New things coming!

The W Exhibition and Elements 2020 will be taking place from the 27th- 30th September at the NEC, Birmingham. For more information please visit www.wexhibition.co.uk.