Hannover, Germany. Over its five-day run, from 15 to 19 May, LIGNA 2023, the world’s leading trade fair for woodworking and wood processing featured a plethora of innovations, inspiration and networking. 1,300 companies from 50 different countries presented their solutions for the wood industry, the furniture-making industry, the woodworking trades and the primary sector. The focus was on the two megatrends of sustainability and digitization. The response from Germany and all over the world was commensurately high. 80 000 visitors from 160 countries took advantage of the opportunity to inform themselves about smart machines and resource-saving production processes.

Anticipation during the run-up to the trade fair was high. Exhibitors and visitors were thrilled to finally be able to assemble again in person after a four-year hiatus and witness first-hand the concentrated innovative power of the woodworking and wood processing industry. “LIGNA 2023 exceeded the high expectations of both our exhibiting companies and our visitors, demonstrating that the machinery, equipment and solutions presented at the show are paving the way for a sustainable and digitized wood, furniture and construction industry,” said Dr. Jochen Köckler, Managing Board Chairman of the Deutsche Messe group of companies. “An impressive 60 percent of visitors came from abroad. LIGNA has further strengthened its position as the world’s leading woodworking tradeshow.”

“LIGNA 2023 was not only a platform for presenting new technologies, but also a venue for knowledge transfer and networking,” said Dr. Bernhard Dirr, Managing Director of VDMA Woodworking Machinery. “The show demonstrated that the woodworking and wood processing industry offers its customers the necessary technologies for competitive, and at the same time, sustainable production. In view of the uncertain situation currently confronting the woodworking and wood processing industry, the success of LIGNA 2023 speaks volumes for its status as a source of momentum. Not only is it a driver for the industry in good times, but above all, it delivers solutions for the challenges ahead.”

As a result, smart, connected machines, systems and processes that make costs and production more efficient were particularly popular with the community. There was also strong demand for automation and process-optimizing solutions to cushion the impact of the shortage of skilled workers.

“Visitors were able to experience the transformation of industry live in our exhibition halls,” Köckler continued. The entire range of the value chain was on display, from woodworking machinery and equipment to tools and work processes, industrial robots and even exoskeletons to support experts from the skilled trades and forestry. The machines on display are often no longer exclusively limited to processing wood, but are also usable for glass, plastics and composite materials. According to Köckler: “Furniture or even construction elements, for example, are made from a wide variety of materials. So it’s only logical that LIGNA exhibitors are expanding their product portfolios and offering their customers a wide range of options.”

A key theme at the show consisted of the importance of wood as a renewable resource and its role in the overall decarbonization process. In the wake of this, timber construction is becoming increasingly important and opening up new market opportunities for mechanical engineering.

Exhibitors at LIGNA 2023 presented solutions that significantly optimize all of the process steps involved in timber construction. Not only does this save on costs, but the use of this precious raw material can also be designed to be as resource-friendly as possible. The flooring sector and the furniture industry are also increasingly turning to wood as their preferred raw material, as sustainability is becoming increasingly important to end consumers. For example, innovative adhesives based on renewable raw materials also help to reduce CO2 emissions.

LIGNA 2023 offered visitors a wide-ranging supporting program featuring conferences, live presentations, special displays and awards ceremonies. At the LIGNA.Stage in Hall 12, around 90 speakers presented the latest market developments and trends. The shortage of skilled workers and issues of recruiting were also addressed in a dedicated area promoting networking between skilled workers and potential future employers.

As Köckler sees it: "LIGNA 2023 has once again demonstrated that it is an indispensable platform for the woodworking industry. The show not only promoted the exchange of knowledge and experience, but also set the course for future-proof and sustainable woodworking and wood processing."

The next LIGNA runs from 26 to 30 May 2025.

Exhibitor statements on LIGNA 2023

Achim Homeier, Senior Director Global Marketing & Product Management, HOMAG GmbH
“It was surprising how many people came because after four years, nobody knows, what’s really going to happen. But we are very satisfied with the result and I think that most of the customers are really excited to meet our staff in person, to be able to talk to our experts and experience our running plants and new machines.”

Pietro Gheller, Director of Sales & Market Operations Woodworking Division, SCM Group
The visitors had a lot of interest in our innovations. Particularly in the new automated and connected solution, we are offering. Also timber construction has been an area of interest of many customers and partners. We’ve collected a lot of leads and opportunities during LIGNA 2023. So we are really satisfied about that. And most important, we have had the chance of meeting a lot of new customers! So LIGNA remains a very important stage.

Dirk Eisenmann, Marketing Manager Dieffenbacher
"We are all happy to be back here after such a long time. LIGNA 2023 was a great opportunity to celebrate our 150th birthday together with our customers. We were also able to present our new artificial intelligence-based digitalization platform. It helps our customers to run their plants better, save material, reduce emissions and thus reduce their carbon footprint."

Raphaël Prati, Biesse Group Marketing & Communications Director
“We’ve received not only a good response to our products, but a good response to our company. We are at LIGNA presenting a new company, a company that evolved in the past years. We're here with a new visual identity, presenting ourselves as a multi material company providing solutions under one brand for wood, of course, but also glass, stone and the Advanced Materials Sector.”

Oliver Kunzweiler, Director Central Marketing Weinig Group
"It was absolutely crazy to be here at LIGNA 2023. The place was crowded!"

Matthias Picker, Vice President Division Woodworking, Robert Bürkle GmbH
"We received a lot of attention at LIGNA. A particular area of interest for our customers was automation. Because of the shortage of skilled workers, it is difficult to find employees. Automation can help in this case. We are the ideal partner to deliver the high demands on production output with automated solutions around the finishing process."

Urs Affolter, Managing Director, Esterer WD GmbH
“Our highlight of LIGNA 2023 was the digitalization of the sawmills. Most sawmills are still running on paper. We have everything in electronic form.”

Visitor comments on LIGNA 2023

Peter Rockedahl, Chief Technology Officer, Moelven Industrier AB
"Attending LIGNA allowed our team to gain detailed insights into the latest products, services and solutions in the industry. Building direct connections with suppliers is critical to driving our business forward and ensuring that we can continue to provide innovative and sustainable solutions to our customers. We value the environment at LIGNA where industry experts can network, learn and grow."

Michael Bücking, Managing Director Tischler NRW
"Technology and machinery to touch, solutions to the issues of digitization and process optimization, and all this again in one place. You can clearly see how important the analog encounters are for the joinery industry and colleagues. In my opinion, Ligna in Hanover is and remains an important and exciting forum for our trade. I have also gained this impression from many conversations with colleagues who were happy to come to Hannover for LIGNA 2023."

Eero Raun, Estonian Delegation of Wood and Furniture Entrepreneurs
"As part of the Estonian delegation of wood and furniture entrepreneurs, we experienced professional and warm hospitality at LIGNA. I would recommend anytime to all Estonian companies to visit and exhibit at LIGNA. It's worth it!"