The success of the NexGen 2010 event in February has prompted the organizers to schedule a second event this fall. The event is a series of concurrent open houses at woodworking equipment manufacturers and distributors in North Carolina. The most recent event was held Feb. 8-12.
Travis Alfrey, owner of Travis Alfrey Woodworking in Aberdeen, N.C., attended the February event and enjoyed the up-close demonstrations of CNC routers, panel saws, edgebanders, finishing equipment, molders, sanders and more.
"My business partner and I went looking at CNC machines, but we ended up looking at several different types of machines as well. It was well worth the day spent," says Alfrey.
The participating companies included Biesse America, Stiles Machinery, Cefla Finishing America, Costa & Grissom Machinery Co., Delmac Machinery Group, Holz-Her U.S., Holzma U.S., C.R. Onsrud, Superfici America and Weinig America.
Stephan Waltman, vice president of marketing at Stiles Machinery, says the February event drew about 250 attendees from 150 companies. Attendance fell short of the goal, but the participating companies were pleased enough to add a second event in 2010.
"We are all happy by the fact that NexGen's basic premise is this doesn't cost us a lot of money because we're doing it in our own facilities," says Waltman.
"I think NexGen will be a biannual event for the future. We intend to make it ongoing and at the next planning meeting we're going to entertain the idea of expanding it beyond the 10 joint venture members. There have been some companies who have applied for membership to join us and we will discuss at our next meeting whether or not we will expand the NexGen joint venture by including others."
Aside from the demonstrations, attendees had one-on-one access to company personnel and the opportunity to learn about applications and tooling.
"The most consistent report that came back to us by people that enjoyed their visit was that they loved the fact there was time and it was a more intimate relationship," says Waltman. "They had much more time developing solutions than just looking at machinery. At an event like this, there is an opportunity to get away from crowds and noise and to really get into the solution ideas and engage these experts in a long-lasting discussion."
He emphasizes the event is not an alternative to a trade show, but rather a different way for companies to present their machinery and services in a different environment.
Attendees represented furniture, cabinet, window, door and custom woodworking manufacturers.
"I think it's going to grow. We want to keep it in small numbers so we can manage the growth, but I fully expect it to grow in the fall of 2010," adds Waltman.
For information, visit www.nexgenevent.com or call 866-285-1958.
This article originally appeared in the April 2010 issue.