LIGNA, the world's leading trade fair for machinery, plant and tools for the woodworking and timber processing industry, is gearing up for its 2017 season (22 to 26 May) with a new, more visitor-centric layout of themes. "LIGNA is the technology trade show for the forestry and wood energy industries. It is where users of woodworking and timber processing technology meet suppliers. As such, it is the only show where users will find technology for the entire wood value chain at one convenient location," commented Christian Pfeiffer, the Director in charge of LIGNA at Deutsche Messe. "The upcoming LIGNA will feature forestry technology more prominently than ever. We've partnered closely with our exhibitors to come up with a new thematic layout that will make it quicker and easier for solution-seekers to find what they are looking for," said Pfeiffer.

The significance of the new layout for the primary timber industry is that the Forestry Technology displays will be located immediately adjacent to the Sawmill Technology, Energy from Wood, and Wood Based Panel Production offerings. They will also be bordered by the new Tools and Machinery for Custom and Mass Production showcase, which includes Hall 27, where the providers of solutions for solid wood processing will be clustered. This new distribution of content in the halls bordering the open-air site will generate powerful synergies for visitors from the primary timber industry and put forestry technology on center stage.

The Forestry Technology section will sport a number of new features. The open-air site will sport various "avenues" addressing key aspects of the production chain. Plus there will be a demonstration site at the heart of the area and an activity zone in front of Pavilion 33.

The themed avenues will be located to the north and south of the demonstration site and will address the following five topics: mobile sawmills - logistics - logistics and transport - large-scale forestry machinery plus forestry tools and energy from wood - firewood production lines and tools. Meanwhile, the demonstration site will showcase solutions across the entire primary timber process chain – everything from felling and transport solutions to chainsaw protective apparel, cable harvesting systems and chippers. All kinds of equipment and machinery, large and small, will be on display on each day of the fair. The demonstration site will be flanked by a grandstand, so visitors will have a clear view of each day's live demonstrations. Organized in partnership with the German Forestry Council (KWF), the site will feature a mix of moderated demonstrations and static displays by participating exhibitors.

The other big highlight of the open-air site is the activity zone in front of Pavilion 33 beneath the EXPO canopy. There, visitors can experience "Forestry from the air – using aircraft to support forestry work" in a series of daily live demonstrations. As the theme suggests, the focus here is on the use of unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones, in forestry. Drone technology offers many exciting applications. For example, multicopters are now widely used both in forestry operations and in forest management. Equipped with high-resolution cameras or sensors, they are an excellent alternative to labor-intensive ground-based inspections and aerial inspections using manned helicopters or fixed-wing aircraft. Other examples of cutting-edge aerial applications in forestry include the use of specialized helicopters in heli-logging, forest liming and forest firefighting. Of course, the demonstrations will also feature plenty of non-helicopter firefighting and fire management technologies. The event area will also feature live demonstrations of cable hauler tests using the latest inspection and testing systems. Regular inspections of cable hauler equipment are vital to workplace safety in the forestry industry. The daily lineup of demonstrations and action in the activity zone is staged in collaboration with the German Forestry Council (KWF).

Another of the big attractions on the open-air site is Pavilion 33, which offers a program of practically oriented forums organized jointly by the KWF, the Lower Saxony School of Forestry and the German Association of Forestry Contractors (AFL). Keynote themes in Pavilion 33 include logistics in all areas of forestry, from harvesting to road haulage, not to mention education and training, and current issues facing forestry companies.

The Wood Industry Summit premiered at LIGNA 2015 and was a major success right from day one. Both exhibitors and trade visitors used the forum – which attracted international participants from industry, research and government – as a valuable source of leads for primary-industry project work in the high growth markets of the world. The Wood Industry Summit at LIGNA 2017 is themed "Access to Resources and Technology". Located in Hall 26, the Summit is closely aligned – both thematically and physically – with the Wood Based Panel Production display area, also in Hall 26. Exhibitor highlights there include the German plant manufacturers Siempelkamp and Dieffenbacher. The Wood Industry Summit is a combined dialogue and exhibition event that attracts large forestry companies and international players from multiple sectors, including the pulp and paper industries. Comprising discussion rounds and speed presentations, a supporting exhibition and showcases by the timber-rich regions of Eastern Europe, Russia and Asia, next year's Wood Industry Summit promises to be another bumper showcase for the primary wood processing industry. Organized by Deutsche Messe in partnership with the German Forestry Council (KWF), the Summit will once again foster business dialogue between manufacturers of large-scale equipment and visiting delegations from around the globe. This was certainly true of last year's Summit, which yielded valuable contacts with delegations from key markets, particularly Ukraine, Russia, China, Malaysia and Brazil.