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Furniture Manufacturing Expo Continues to Grow in Fifth Run

By eTextile Communications

This article was published in eTextile Communications July 28, 2022. Devin Steele offers an in-depth recap of the recent Furniture Manufacturing Expo, featuring SPESA members Henderson Sewing, Morgan Tecnica, and SPEC.

The Furniture Manufacturing Expo (FME), which took place here last week, continues to grow in its five-year existence.

The two-day tradeshow allowed suppliers to showcase their latest products, services, machinery and technologies for the home furnishings manufacturing industry. The event also included a two-day educational program developed by top leaders in the industry focusing on upholstery, woodworking, technology and more.

A number of textile and cut-and-sew suppliers were among exhibitors showcasing their latest products, services, machinery and technologies.

Following are show reviews from a handful of exhibitors.

ATI Corporation of North America

Alex Ziegenfus (facing, left) and Rick Gehring (facing, right) speak with visitors in the ATI – Advanced Testing Instruments booth. (Devin Steele)

Greer, S.C.-based ATI Corporation of North America aimed to reach out to a new market segment at the FME.

“We had some great feedback on our foam testing line for compression,” said Alex Ziegenfus, president of sales.

One of the most popular ATI products at the the show was its F305 tension / compression tester, he said.

“Overall, we had a great show with seeing a lot of old customers of ours and finding a few new customers,” he said.

Card Clothing & Services, Inc.

Ray Bearden (L) of Craftmaster Furniture stops by the Card Clothing & Services booth, staffed by Scott Webb (M) and Jason Mills. (Devin Steele)

At the expo, Card Clothing & Services, Inc., Charlotte, N.C., aimed to provide information on equipment and options related to filling pillow/cushions with polyester and alternatives such as foam and feather.

“This being our third year exhibiting at this show, it has grown, and we’re very pleased with the turnout,” said Jason Mills. “We look forward to exhibiting again next year in 2023.”

The highlight product for Card Clothing & Services was the ProLoft pillow/cushion filling systems, which can start from entry level to full production lines opening the fiber 95%-100% before filling. The company has also expanded to incorporate down and foam into these applications.

“We are receiving more interest in automated pre-weigh filling, which saves on labor costs and increases accuracy of fill weight per piece,” Mills said.

Henderson Sewing Machine Co.

In-person trade shows are important to Henderson Sewing Machine’s marketing efforts to meet customers and vendors face to face, display new or existing products to existing or perspective customers, network with existing or potential customers and vendors and gain an understanding of current and future business climate, according to CEO Frank Henderson.

Frank Henderson (L) speaks with a visitor in the Henderson Sewing Machine booth. (Devin Steele)

“The Furniture Manufacturing Expo in Hickory was well attended by most vendors and not well attended by manufacturers – existing customers or potential customers. Therefore, it did not meet our expectations this year, and I do not understand why.”

Henderson Sewing Machine, based in Andalusia, Ala., highlighted a new YASKAWA Robot integration into a sewing cell, TWINE Digital Thread & Yarn Self-Contained Dyeing System, Large Field CNC Programmable Pattern Sewing System for furniture manufacturers and a Web End-Feed-Cut-Turn-Tack system for webbing integration.

“These and other machines were well received by the attendees,” Henderson said.

Morgan Tecnica Spa

The FME provided Italy-based Morgan Tecnica Spa the opportunity to introduce its new distributor, Atlanta Attachment, which showcased Morgan Tecnica solutions in its booth.

Michael Rabin (facing) of Morgan Tecnica, speaks with visitors in the Atlanta Attachment booth. (Devin Steele)

“Also, after a two-year absence from the show, we felt it was a good time to return and see how the market has changed,” said Michael Rabin, country manager at Morgan Tecnica. “Overall, it did meet our expectations.”

Morgan Tecnica offers a large range of solutions for the cutting room. It produces several types of roll loading and handling systems, automatic spreaders, spreading tables, labelers and automatic cutters.

The highlight product was its single-ply, fully integrated solution PLY 1.

“We generated a lot of interest and many very promising opportunities,” Rabin said.

Manufacturing Solutions Center

The Conover, N.C.-based Manufacturing Solutions Center (MSC) showcased its services in next-door Hickory at the Home Furnishings Expo.

“Our goals were to be a resource for companies looking for help with product development and testing of their products,” said Shane Lynch, lab manager at the MSC.

(L-R) Cody Whitener, Shelisha Rutherford, Seth Setzer and Shane Lynch in the MSC booth (Devin Steele)

The show did meet the MSC staff’s expectations, he added, citing several reasons.

“For our structural testing, this was a great show, as there was a lot of talk about Russian Birch, and the potential shortage,” he said. “Russian Birch is very good quality, and companies are looking to find other woods that they can use, and we can help them with strength testing.

Also, we had multiple conversations about fabric/component testing as well. There was certainly a lot of interest around how we could help furniture manufacturers look at different resources of wood.”

The MSC’s services include testing for hosiery, textiles and furniture; business incubation opportunities; assisting entrepreneurs and inventors; product development; training for hosiery knitting machines, M1 Stoll, AutoCad; 3D printing and reverse engineering; hosiery training; and marketing.

SPEC/Ahearn Denning Machines Inc.

SPEC/Ahearn Denning Machines attends tradeshows for a few reasons: to see old customers and find new perspective customers, interact with industry colleagues, maintain its relevancy in the industry and keep its name out there as a reference for manufacturers to find machines and parts to help them achieve their production goals, said Dan Berzack, president of SPEC, Jefferson, Ga.

Dan Berzack of SPEC / Ahearn Denning Machines is flanked by Benton Gardner (L) and Dave Gardner of The Needle's Eye. (Devin Steele)

“We were able to accomplish all of this goals at the FME 2022,” he said. “We have displayed at every FME (previously the HFME) show since its inception. Every year has been better than the last – and this year was no exception. We were pleased with the attendance and look forward to the 2023 show.”

SPEC/Ahearn Denning Machines sells a vast array of machines and supplies for the soft goods manufacturing industries. At the FME show, the company strives to display machinery specific to the furniture manufacturing processes and not displayed by other companies, Berzack said.

“Our lines of upholstery press machines, pillow stuffing machines and cutting solutions were very popular with the attendees and we had a lot of interest in all the items that we had on display,” he said.


Sharing a booth, Textempo and IPE entered the expo with the goals of increasing brand awareness for the companies while educating attendees on the technology they offer to help improve their manufacturing processes, according to Greg Hathcox, senior vice president of Sales at Textempo.

(L-R) Greg Hathcox of TexTempo, Gene Denny-Lybbert of TexTempo and Brad Mikes of IPE (Devin Steele)

“We also wanted to meet clients and new prospects to expand our sales pipeline, in addition to networking with other exhibitors to see if we could expand partnerships and increase our referrals,” he said.

Primary products highlighted was IPE's Real Time Shop Floor Controls and Automated Incentive Payroll. The companies also promoted their Real Time Machine Monitoring solution, FreePoint, and had good interest from several companies that want to better track and utilize their CNC systems, Hathcox added.


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