Hannover, Germany. When the machines and systems are powered up and running again, furniture parts are produced in live demonstrations and innovations come to life – then you know it's LIGNA. The pandemic forced a four-year wait on exhibitors and visitors alike – now the world's leading trade fair for the woodworking and wood processing industry is finally taking place live again, and providing the opportunity for face-to-face contact and networking.

From 15 to 19 May 2023, 1,300 companies from 47 countries will showcase solutions for the wood and furniture industry, the woodworking trade and the primary sector. The spotlight is on the megatrends of sustainability, digitalization, the topic of wood as a renewable raw material as well as on the focus topics of timber construction and bioeconomy.

"Everyone concerned is looking forward to LIGNA with enormous anticipation, and the industry can hardly wait to get back together again at last – live and in person. Especially in the wood industry, touch and feel as well as the possibility of direct experience and feedback play a major role. That is why we are looking forward to five days packed with innovations on the stands, spectacular showcases on the open-air site and concentrated know-how covering all aspects of wood as an in-demand raw material," said Dr. Jochen Köckler, Chairman of the Board of Management of Deutsche Messe AG.

"Even though the current downward trend in new orders suggests a production decline in 2023, the fact is that the woodworking machine manufacturers are looking forward to the upcoming five days of LIGNA full of optimism. After a four-year hiatus, they at last have the opportunity to show the world the concentrated innovative power the industry has to offer," explained Dr. Bernhard Dirr, Managing Director of VDMA Woodworking Machines.

Wood – a versatile raw material

As a natural and renewable raw material, wood is very much part of the solution towards the goal of greater decarbonization – and consequently it is in greater demand than ever before. In recent times, timber construction has gained massive market shares compared to conventional methods in the construction of buildings, for example, which in turn opens up new market opportunities for the machine building sector.

This explains why the flooring and furniture industries are likewise going for wood as the number-one raw material. "The topic of sustainability is becoming increasingly important in our industry as well. On the one hand, customers are increasingly making it a key consideration when purchasing furniture. On the other, the EU Commission is currently working on several legislative projects aimed at the transition to a circular economy," said Jan Kurth, Managing Director of the furniture industry's VDM and VHK associations.

From raw material via production to the final product

Whether it be woodworking machines and systems, new tools and working methods, digital tools and high-performance industrial robots, or exoskeletons as ergonomic work aids – LIGNA provides an all-round look at all industry topics and is the first port of call for everyone working not only with wood but also with other materials such as glass or artificial and composite materials.

it is essentially all about the "transformation of the wood industry" – and thus about the transformation and advancement of processes and techniques for woodworking and wood processing, the use of innovative materials on the way to greater sustainability, the digitalization of processes and the automation of production.

Around 1,300 companies from 47 countries will present their solutions and products to an international audience of trade visitors. Besides numerous well-known LIGNA stalwarts, there will also be many companies and startups taking part in the event this year for the first time.

After Germany, Italy, Austria, Turkey, Spain, China, Slovenia, Denmark and Sweden, the ten biggest exhibitor countries also include the Netherlands.

With more than 114,000 square meters of exhibition space, LIGNA occupies ten halls (11 to 17 and 25 to 27), two pavilions (P33 and P35) and the outdoor area around the wooden Expo Roof.

Extensive visitor program live on-site and digital

Visitors can look forward to a multifaceted program of side events – including conference program, live presentations, special shows and award ceremonies.

Current market developments and trend topics will be highlighted by around 100 speakers at the "LIGNA.Stage" in Hall 12. All presentations will be streamed live and subsequently available on-demand on the LIGNA website.

Likewise in Hall 12, the topic of skills shortage and recruiting will be addressed in the "LIGNA.Recruiting" area. Here, LIGNA becomes a matchmaker: interested skilled workers and young professionals meet potential employers. Exhibiting companies pitch to interested young professionals and skilled workers, and present themselves and what they have to offer. In addition, a digital job wall offers support to those looking for a new challenge.

Young and dynamic offerings are also to be found at the new "LIGNA.FutureSquare powered by VDMA" in Hall 12, with start-ups showcasing their products and solutions, as well as at the "LIGNA.Campus" in Hall 11 where research institutes and universities present their R&D, training and academic programs. Solutions for the world of tomorrow are presented there.

LIGNA also presents tailor-made offerings for the woodworking trades. Representatives from carpentry, cabinetmaking and joinery can look forward to a broad variety of program highlights. For example, on all five days of LIGNA, the popular "Tischlerwissen kompakt" format with presentations and workshops highlights the latest developments in the sphere of energy efficiency. On LIGNA-Tuesday, 16 May and again on LIGNA-Thursday, 18 May, everything will revolve around the carpentry profession on "Carpenters' Day”. Besides an exclusive exhibition tour taking in selected exhibitors from the areas of timber construction and wood processing, participants will be offered an exclusive networking program. Registration for these and other program items can be done online via the LIGNA website.

The Forwarder Championships will be certain to showcase machine control skills at the highest level and exciting entertainment. Forwarders are giant wood harvesting machines capable of loading and transporting entire tree trunks. The Forwarder Women's Cup will also take place on Thursday 18 May at the LIGNA open-air site west of Hall 14/15. The championships are organized and presented by AfL Niedersachsen with the support of Deutsche Messe AG.

A traditional part of LIGNA, the formal tree-planting ceremony, will once again be taking place again on Friday, 19 May. Since 1989, the organizers VDMA and Deutsche Messe AG, together with the Exhibitor Advisory Committee, have planted the "Tree of the Year" at each LIGNA on the grounds of the Hannover Exhibition Center. The tree selected this year is a Moor Birch (Betula pubescens), a species of the birch family that can reach up to 30 meters in height.