As Ron Gilboa explains it, the need to produce short-run, cost-effective decorative surfaces combined with ongoing development in digital inkjet printing has created a “perfect storm for the technology to meet woodworking’s market needs.”

With that backdrop, some 60 people gathered in Atlanta at the beginning of the biannual International Woodworking Fair for the inaugural Digital Printing Symposium. The event was created by IWF, Surface & Panel magazine and Keypoint Intelligence.

Participating in this inaugural symposium were industry-leading companies such as Barberan, Baumer, Cefla Finishing and Schattdecor, as well as household names from the graphic arts industry such as Canon and Vanguard Digital Printing Systems. While the companies may appear to work in different sectors, they share a common goal of meeting the growing needs of suppliers and addressing the mass customization in an 11 billion-square-meter-per-year décor market and a $140 billion annual woodworking industry in the U.S. alone.

In his opening presentation, Gilboa, who is group director of production technology for Keypoint, laid out key dynamics in the market, namely the continued demand by consumers for richly decorated surfaces customized to their needs and the desires of architects and contractors looking to add unique elements to their projects.

Gilboa emphasized the efficiency and versatility that digital printing offers the woodworking industry. It improves efficiency by allowing just-in-time manufacturing and by reducing inventories, waste and obsolescence of designs,