Dr. Jochen Köckler


Dr. Jochen Köckler, Member of the Managing Board, Deutsche Messe has spoken to us about the most awaited event of the year- LIGNA 2013.


 
woodandpaneleurope What sets LIGNA apart from competing fairs?
  Dr. Köckler: In recent years, more than ever before, LIGNA has lived up to its reputation as the world’s leading trade fair for the forestry and wood processing industries. This reputation is further reinforced by the show’s consistently solid performance, even in times of great uncertainty and market turbulence. Moreover, the leading suppliers tend to synchronize their innovation cycles with the fair’s two-yearly cycle, with the result that LIGNA visitors can expect to see all the key innovations that will shape their industry over the next two years. In addition, Hannover, LIGNA’s home city, is one of the world’s most important trade fair centers, thanks to its strategic location in the heart of Europe and outstanding hospitality and transport infrastructure.
 
woodandpaneleurope How is next year’s fair shaping up? What innovations can visitors look forward to?
  Dr. Köckler: The official motto of LIGNA 2013 will be “Making more out of wood – Innovations ? Solutions ? Efficiency.” Visitors will see new technologies and processes that offer improved flexibility and performance,yet consume fewer resources. Surface finishing technology, in particular, is a rich source of innovation that is revolutionizing the furniture and flooring industries. Another major theme at LIGNA is wood-based bioenergy. German companies rank among the market leaders in this area and will be out in force at next year’s show with a new generation of plants that are even more efficient. Other key themes that should create quite a stir in 2013 include lightweight construction, wood-based construction, process optimization, multi-functional machines and flexible systems for tailored production. A strong focus on sustainability will be a constant in all technological advances across all display categories at the fair.
 
woodandpaneleurope What will LIGNA 2013 deliver to foster R&D and innovation?
  Dr. Köckler:We have joined forces with the German Engineering Federation and created the “Blue Competence” initiative in the run-up to next year’s fair. The purpose of the initiative is to profile the strong R&D expertise of the participating companies in the field of green, sustainable technologies. We will be profiling a number of Blue Competence projects at LIGNA 2013. We will also run a series of supporting events at the fair to provide more in-depth coverage of key, future-defining industry issues. Among these are the “Heating with Wood” conference, the “Think Light – International Conference on Lightweight Construction” and many special presentations, such as the lightweight.network display, and the “Wonders in Wood” exhibition, which will showcase examples of exceptional craftsmanship by young artists.
 
woodandpaneleurope Tell us about the collaboration between LIGNA and interzum. How will this add value to the industry?
  Dr. Köckler: The fact that LIGNA 2013 will end only a few days before the start of interzum is a fantastic opportunity, particularly for our foreign visitors. We expect that many of them will want to take advantage of this favorable timing and attend both fairs, using the intervening weekend for a short tour of Germany’s beautiful countryside and popular tourist attractions. To encourage this, we will be offering a single admission ticket for both fairs as well a travel package that takes in some of Germany’s key tourist hot spots, such as Berlin and Neuschwanstein Castle. Another good reason to visit both fairs is their increasingly complementary range of surface technology exhibits. We expect that exhibitors, too, will benefit enormously from the close timing of the two shows.
 
woodandpaneleurope Do you have any plans to export the LIGNA trade fair brand to new countries?
  Dr. Köckler: I certainly think that Asia would be a good candidate because of the region’s growing focus on innovative, state-of-the-art manufacturing technology and its increasingly attractive domestic markets. However, we know from experience that trade fairs take some time to become established, even in the major commercial centers. Tradition and the success it brings grow organically and require time and nurturing. That‘s simply a law of nature. LIGNA, too, took many years to build its reputation and become an internationally recognized brand. Today, of course, it enjoys a unique position as a world-leading event that attracts a multitude of innovations right across its comprehensive range of display categories and investors from around the globe.
 
woodandpaneleurope Will the Eurozone crisis affect the fair? Will LIGNA be able to inject new momentum into the markets?
  Dr. Köckler: The Eurozone crisis is looking unlikely to affect next year’s show. In fact, we have never had so many exhibitor registrations this early in the planning cycle. All the market leaders will again be in Hannover, and we have not noticed any let-up in the forestry and wood processing industries’ commitment to R&D and innovation. I think most in these industries realize that cutting back on investment will inevitably compromise their competitiveness in today’s fast-changing world. That’s why I am confident we can all look forward to a very lively and well-attended show in 2013 – a show that will feature a comprehensive offering of intelligent, cost-effective solutions that deliver real, quantifiable benefits.

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