Up-market furniture maker, English Hardwood Design, has removed a major production bottleneck by buying two Striebig vertical panel saws to increase panel cutting capacity.
As well as solving the problem and boosting efficiency, the benefits of using the semi-automatic Control and the smaller Compact saws have included reduced operator fatigue and improved dust extraction.
The Carnforth, Lancashire family business has been making interior furniture for 30 years. It has held firm to its principles of quality, attention to detail and personal service. It specialises in quality bespoke kitchens, and some bedroom furniture, crafted in a variety of hardwoods sourced from sustainable resources.
Two Striebig saws increase production
Operating at the top end of the market, most of its output goes to eight carefully selected kitchen design outlets across the UK. The rest of its sales come from private customers who visit its large factory showroom.
Director Graham Brady looks after the manufacturing side of the business and the design outlets, with his brother Keith responsible for local retail sales and the in-house showroom. With an annual turnover of around £1.5 million it has a staff of 19, which includes three wood machinist apprentices, and operates from 10,000 sq ft premises. The two saws replaced a Striebig Standard that had been used for 15 years to cut MFC and MDF panels for carcassing.
Said Graham Brady: “Having just one vertical panel saw was causing us problems as we were suffering from production bottlenecks, particularly during busy periods.
“For example, if the saw was in the middle of cutting a large run of MFC panels for a job and another machinist urgently needed an MDF panels cut, we either had to interrupt the first job and change the blade, or keep the second man waiting”
“We also wanted to reduce operator fatigue and benefit from improved extraction. As we were more than happy with the performance of the Standard we decided to stick with Striebig for the new saws.”
Striebig’s exclusive UK agent, T.M. Machinery Sales, was delighted to receive a telephone call from Mr Brady who ordered the two saws based on information gleaned from sales literature.
The Control 5224 version chosen has a maximum panel cutting size of 4300 x 2240mm and an 80mm depth of cut.
As it’s used mainly to cut MFC and wood veneered panels, it was supplied with a scoring blade that delivers perfectly smooth cuts.
The panels measure 2.8 x 2.07m and are upwards of 3mm thick. The saw also sizes 40mm thick solid timber worktops which the blade slices through with ease. The Control offers every possible option for automatic sawing operations. With manual feeding of the saw unit eliminated, the operator’s job is made easier, giving him ample time to prepare the next sawing job. Ease of operation is provided by a PLC control system, with any operating errors displayed so they can be immediately corrected.
Numerous automatic procedures can be carried out by the press of a button including locking and releasing the beam saw, setting the horizontal cutting height, plunging and swivelling the motor, locking the support rollers during sawing and fine saw blade adjustment.
Said Mr Brady: “It’s an excellent saw and the accuracy is spot on. When cutting MFC panels with our old saw we first needed to make a scoring cut and then a final cut. Now it’s done in one quick operation.” The new-look Compact 4164, used mainly for MDF panels, sets new standards for ease of use together with exceptional degrees of versatility. It has a maximum panel cutting size of 3100 x 1644mm and a maximum cutting depth of 60mm.
The combination of a totally re-designed control panel, saw head housing and saw head operating mechanism means the Compact is now even easier to use. It has small work piece supports extending along the full length of the machine for fast cutting of small pieces.
The idea of using two vertical panel saws came from the company’s works manager, Robert Cowperthwaite. He said: “It’s a much better arrangement. The men don’t have to wait to get on to one of the saws any more so there’s no longer any backlog during rush periods and no getting in one another’s way. Both saws are simple to use, are quiet and create a lot less dust.
“One of our men has severe arthritis in his hands and used to struggle with the old saw. The new ones, particularly the Control, have made his job far easier.” He added that the Compact “is a real space saver that’s ideal if you are tight for space, as we are.”
All the panel stocks are kept in one spot nearby and are brought out when needed, so there’s a clear working area around the saws.
Said Graham Brady: “The accuracy and quality of cut in both saws is excellent and I like the extra dust extraction point that is fitted in the horizontal cutting area that helps keep dust to a minimum.”
He considered the investment in the two saws well worthwhile. “I reckon we have reduced sawing time by 30% as well as making the job far easier. With the efficiency gains we are achieving the pay back period for them will be about two years.”
With its combination of traditional craftsmanship and the use of the latest production technology, English Hardwood Design looks set to continue with its steady expansion programme.
Issued by Stephen Barry Publicity. Tel: 020 8341 6660. Email: email@example.com