Skip to main content

Companies with a vision honored at AWFS

Eight exhibiting companies were presented with Visionary Awards at the 2015 AWFS in Las Vegas for product innovation and leadership in the woodworking industry.

The awards recognize creativity and innovation as well as leadership in green/environmental product development. Entries were evaluated on quality, production impact, practicality, innovation and ease of use, according to the AWFS.

Product Innovation in Machinery Over $50,000

Image placeholder title

Holz-Her U.S. for the Evolution

Vertical Machining Center

Available in two models (7403 and 7405 4mat), the Evolution series of CNC machining centers have a very small space requirement, yet deliver a high level of productivity, according to the company.

They feature a vacuum-based clamping system — equipped with software-controlled, fully automatic suction cup positioning with hole recognition — allowing workpieces to be machined on all four sides without reclamping.

They are available with a standard drilling head (nine vertical and six horizontal drills, plus a grooving saw), optional XL head (up to 22 drilling spindles), and router spindle with automatic tool changer.

The Evolution previously won the Challengers Award at IWF 2014.

For information, visit

Product Innovation in Power Tools

Image placeholder title

SawStop for its Jobsite Saw

The saw, introduced in March, features SawStop’s safety technology, which detects contact with skin on the blade and stops and drops the blade in less than 5 milliseconds, according to the company.

The saw was honored for other innovations that include one-turn blade elevation and a T-style fence with the ErgoLock locking mechanism.

“When we debuted our first saw over 10 years ago, we knew that the portable SawStop was not only possible, but essential to protecting saw operators. We also knew that the SawStop reputation demanded the highest quality, most innovative job-site saw possible. I am very proud of our new saw. It’s so much safer than anything else, but also improves the user experience in exciting new ways,” SawStop inventor and founder Stephen Gass said in a statement.

The Jobsite Saw sells for $1,299. For information, visit

Product Innovation in Components

Image placeholder title
Image placeholder title

Schenk Ltd. for Stilje’s Kitsilano, a series of wood and textured panels

Specifically, the award was presented for the Borke (smoked larch) product. The Kitsilano series has 12 offerings.

“Created using real wood veneers, the texture is embossed into the board using high pressure and heat to create a truly unique look,” according to the company.

For information, visit

Product Innovation/Productivity in Functional Hardware

Striplox Rapid Assembly Connectors

The connectors feature interlocking teeth that lock in one action, providing a strong and tight connection every time, according to the manufacturer.

Image placeholder title

“Striplox connectors are a strong and durable joining and fastening solutions for permanent or reversible assembly and reassembly for multiple uses reducing on-site costs, manufacturing costs and transportation costs,” the company said in a statement.

For information, visit

Product Innovation/Productivity in Tooling

Vortex Tool Co. for the Tool Selection Guide App

Image placeholder title

The app simplifies tool selection based on cutting needs. After users input the type of material being cut, the horsepower of the CNC machine, the tool diameter, the thickness of material and the type of cut desired, the app recommends the appropriate tool, according to the company.

The app also includes calculators to determine chip load, feed rate, RPM and metric conversions. There are links to the current Vortex Tool catalog and online ordering. It’s available for iPhone and iPad, and Android Phone or Android Tablet.

For more information, visit

Product Innovation/Productivity in Software

Image placeholder title

Wood CAD/CAM from RSA Solutions

This AutoCAD-based woodworking software system offers efficient and parametric design as well as the generation of part lists and CNC programs, according to the company.

It uses actual manufacturing data to create 2-D and 3-D AutoCAD drawings and these detailed drawings contain all necessary information for the manufacturing processes. With this technology, the data generates the drawings, which reduces the amount of time and money spent on engineering resources, and eliminates the errors typically associated with one-offs, thus increasing profits, the company said.

“We couldn’t be more honored to receive this award from the very distinguished panel of judges. We look forward to seeing all of the positive results that Wood CAD/CAM will bring to the industry for years to come,” spokeswoman Kim O’Sullivan said in a statement.

For information, visit

Product Innovation/Productivity in Sanding Systems

SurfPrep Sanding, by Dixon Enterprises, for the SurfPrep 3” x 4” Sanding System Kit

The kit includes a 3”x4” rectangular orbital sander, 12’ ball swivel air hose, air tool oil for maintenance and a variety of SurfPrep’s hook-and-loop foam-back abrasive pads and film cut sheets.

Image placeholder title

The kit also serves as an introduction to the SurfPrep system, which can be used to prepare any and all surfaces and coatings of any kind, according to the company.

For information, visit

Product Innovation/Productivity in Machinery under $50,000

Image placeholder title

Next Wave Automation for the Piranha Fx

The benchtop CNC routing system converts to a 3D printer and laser engraver.

“We are thrilled that AWFS has recognized the CNC Piranha Fx. It represents the future in woodworking and maker technology,” company founder Tim Owens says. “CNC Piranha Fx is an entirely new generation of machine — a make anything machine that will enable users to 3-D print, laser engrave and carve, all on one machine.”

The CNC Piranha Fx will be available in October.

For information, please see story on Page 22 or visit


• Amazon Canvas for ImagePaint Software, which allows users to “paint” vector shapes from scanned JPEG images.

• Biesse America for the Viet Opera R sander.

• Brown Wood Inc. for the Light Ready Light Rail molding.

• C.R. Onsrud for the InnoAgg Labeling System, a CNC aggregate system for in-process parts labeling.

• Cefla North America for the Mito 2K spray finishing unit.

• CNC Factory for the Easy Cut Machine Center.

• Colonial Saw Co. for the Lamello Tenso P14 and P18 connectors.

• ETemplate Systems for the Elaser Express, portable 3-D laser measuring system.

• Festool USA for the Conturo KA 65 edgebander.

• Global Sales Group for the Frontline Engineering 49” panel clamp.

• Grass America Inc. for the Vionaro Drawer System.

• Hardwoods Specialty Products for Querkus and Shinnoki architectural wood panels.

• Holz-Her U.S. for the Lumina edgebanders.

• Invis by Lamello for the Mx2 Starter Kit fastening system.

• Leitz Tooling Systems for the ProfilCut Q Premium profiled insert system.

This article originally appeared in the September 2015 issue.

Related Articles