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Don’t pick this year to skip IWF in Atlanta

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I have my hotel room reserved and a plane ticket bought for Atlanta. How about you?

Listen, I don’t want to get all preachy, but now’s the time to get out of the shop for a few days and experience IWF 2012 in Atlanta, the year’s biggest industry trade show. Your excuses won’t work anymore. And yes, I’m talking to you, owner of the one-man shop, and especially you, the foreman of an eight-man shop. Knock the sawdust off your boots and see what the world has to offer. I promise you the trip will be good for business.

Two years ago, I might have argued against attending the show. The economy was in the dumps and only the most loyal exhibitors showed up. From a personal perspective, it was great: I could hear myself think because the exhibitors who set up a mini-factory on the show floor were mostly absent and everyone had time to talk. But I saw everything there was to see after the second day.

This year will be much better. The big exhibitors are back and, while the economy still struggles to recover, everyone seems to hold out hope that it will continue to improve. From Aug. 22-25 at the Georgia World Congress Center will be your best opportunity to buy new machinery, learn about new technologies, attend seminars to boost your business acumen and network with colleagues.

The IWF is expecting a really big show, reporting a 40 percent increase in advanced registration over 2010.

“We are experiencing growth in all demographic regions,” says Michael Burdis, IWF 2012 chairman and president of James L. Taylor Mfg. Co. “The increase in registrations, exhibits as well as new products sets the stage for an exciting event.”

If you still need convincing, visit www.iwf for a list of exhibitors and seminar information.

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Why does California always try to be first? As the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission continues its lengthy process in consideration of a safety standard that would require manufacturers to a put a SawStop or similar safety device on their table saws, the state’s Senate Judiciary Committee approved a bill that would require all new table saws sold in California after 2015 to include injury-reducing safety technology.

The Table Saw Safety Act (AB 2218), offered by Rep. Das Williams, D-Santa Barbara, was passed in the General Assembly on a 64-4 bipartisan vote. The bill passed 3-2 in the Senate committee, approved by Democrats and opposed by Republicans. In August, the full Senate is expected to vote on the bill.

The bill mandates a safety device that substantially mitigates injury when human skin comes close to or in contact with the blade. According to a release from Williams’ office, the U.S. Patent Office has 37 patents and patent applications for “active injury mitigation systems” owned by saw manufacturing companies. The bill does not mandate a specific technology.

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Finally, congratulations to staff writer Jennifer Hicks for winning an Apex Award of Excellence. Her profile of Custom Cabinets by Jim Bucko, “Back in the Saddle” (September 2011), was recognized in the feature writing category.

This article originally appeared in the August 2012 issue.

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