AWFS 2015 – Epilog
7/29/2015 6:56:00 PM

To say that AWFS 2015 is all but a memory would be to understate the end result of this conference. Yes, all the booths full of equipment and products have disappeared from the Las Vegas Convention Center. However, the results still linger. Post show sales have been reported by 10 of our clients so far. All good news for AWFS who in some product categories eclipsed IWF 2014.

By now, you probably already know the winners of the AWFS Visionary Awards. We covered many of them in our Show Dailies. Some of the others, well I’m still scratching my head. There was a bit of an undercurrent about the quality of the judging from some contestants. Since I heard them long before the final announcement, I’m sure it wasn’t “sour grapes”. That being said, here are the official results:

  1. Product Innovation in Machinery over $50,000—Holz-Her US for their Evolution Vertical Machinery Center
  2. Product Innovation in Power Tools—SawStop for their Jobsite Saw
  3. Product Innovation in Components—Schenk LTD for their Kitsilano-Smoked Larch
  4. Product Innovation/Productivity in Functional Hardware—Striplox for Striplox
  5. Product Innovation/Productivity in Tooling—Vortex Tool Company, Inc. for their Tool Selection App
  6. Product Innovation/Productivity in Software—RSA Solutions for their Wood CAD/CAM
  7. Product Innovation/Productivity in Sanding Systems—SurfPrep Sanding By Dixon Enterprises for their SurfPrep 3” x 4” Sanding System Kit
  8. Product Innovation/Productivity in Machinery under $50,000—Next Wave Automation for their Piranha FX

While we covered lots of other exciting products in our first five issues, there are a few products I thought needed to be added. So, here are a couple of categories that merit further investigation.

Cabinet Lighting

Just a few years ago, cabinet lighting was often an afterthought. We adapted small florescent fixtures of different sizes and shapes, depending on our need. Well, today, it’s big business and continues to grow in size and innovation.

Häfele displayed a new generation of flexible, LED lighting strips. The Loox Lighting Portfolio focuses on specific applications ranging from subtle ambient to extremely bright task lighting. This line of products is functional, aesthetic, and easy to install. It interfaces with Hafele’s Remote Zone Lighting System that can control up to up to six zones through the use of a wireless remote.

Also from Häfele, new surface mounted area lights boasting a slim, quarter inch profile cast a smooth, even light over large areas.

Tresco by Rev-A-Shelf also presented two offerings. The first, the Infinex Extruded Lighting System, is Tresco’s answer to the age old problem of fixture size. Designed by Tresco’s engineering staff, this LED aluminum extrusion is the ultimate in flexible. Just choose your style, cut to desired length and assemble to create a customized LED fixture.

Also from Tresco, the sleekest 360°Swiveling Puck Light in the market today. The interchangeable ball and socket design gives you incomparable versatility. The built-in glare eliminating CSR (Center Spot Reduction) technology creates a visually appealing fixture whether switched on or off.

Hinges/Lift Systems

As someone who spends lots of time in the kitchen, getting in and out of cabinets in mid-cook always presents a challenge. Thank heaven there are a couple of companies that continue to hone their products to address that need.

Blum continues to be one of the leaders in this area with their new AVENTOS lift system. Focused on the upper cabinets, AVENTOS makes doors lift easily, allowing for complete access while not interfering with work in the kitchen. When closed, doors glide to a soft close through the BLUMOTION soft closing. Only needing a small boost, the new AVENTOS HK-XS is ideal for the above refrigerator cabinets and pantry units for both face frame and panel cabinetry. Installation is virtually tool-free, so it installs in minutes.

Not to be outdone, Häfele’s FREE lift-fittings also break the barrier of traditional cabinetry by lifting cabinet doors up and out of the way. The updated design operates on a coil-spring system, making it more stable than its predecessor. The SOFT&SILENT feature ensures a smooth, silent swing when the door opens and closes.

Organization

One of my greatest challenges in the kitchen has been organizing my drawer boxes. In all my homes I’ve had the cabinet shop create and install custom sections in all my drawer boxes since the standard organizers never quite worked for me. Great idea for eating utensils, but not so for cooking utensils and other items since one’s inventory always changes and expands, eventually leaving that custom job obsolete. Well, at AWFS 2015, we saw some great, new solutions to this age old problem.

Hettich has their InnoTech Atria, which is fantastic for deep drawer storage. With its clear, sharp contours and versatile side elements, it provides the perfect mix for greater individuality. Available in numerous color options, InnoTech Atria leaves consumers wanting for nothing in terms of interior organization.

Blum showed me their AMBIA-LINE of deep drawer frames that can fit any drawer and are easy to reposition. So, as one’s needs change, so does your drawer box. Well thought out details such as a magnet for back-of-drawer attachment, or to the sides of other deep drawer frames make AMBIA-LINE easy to use. The soft touch, coating is available in Orion gray only.

Cool Stuff

I would be remiss if I didn’t list the coolest items, at least from my perspective.

Rev-A-Shelf has always been a solution oriented company, especially when it comes to the kitchen. The Heavy-Duty Soft-Close Mixer Lift is too cool for words. This chrome mixer lift assists you in accessing your appliance instantly. The new Soft-Close dampener allows it to glide back into the cabinet gently and quietly. This ingenious lift is a must have for any kitchen. I’ll take six!!!

Blum has added a new feature to their TIP-ON. Now, users can make tool-free adjustments of the door gap with a single rotation of the unit. TIP-ON comes in two lengths with the option for drilling or using one of a wide range of adapter plates for a sleek and discreet look.

Danvers Stainless Outdoor Kitchens has perfected outdoor living by offering stainless steel cabinetry with painted, powder coated finishes that look like the real thing! Manufactured from 100% 304 grade stainless steel, they can stand up to any weather, including a Wisconsin winter. Best of all, they come with a lifetime warranty. Now, no matter where you live, you can bring the focal point of casual entertaining, the kitchen, to the great outdoors.

Next Wave Automation has gone all out on their CNC Piranha Fx, a small CNC routing system that can also 3D print and laser engrave. Focused more on the small shop and woodworking hobbyist, this versatile piece of equipment is affordable and just too cool for words.

Ten of the Best – Some great videos of 10 top companies that exhibited at AWFS 2015 a can be found right here.

WIN $100!!!

If you’ve managed to make it to the end of this very lengthy blog, opportunity knocks. At the beginning, you may have noticed the unusual photo that accompanies it. Well, one of the exhibitors at the show gave me that great T-Shirt. So, in their honor, the first person to send me an email with the correct company name will receive a check for $100. Here are the rules: you must be a member of the WoodIQ.comFinishingIQ.com or CountertopIQ.com community and you must be a practitioner, no manufacturers or suppliers, please.

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