Think­ing out­side the square pays div­i­dends

Australasian Timber - - MANUFACTURING TECHNOLOGY -

Think­ing out­side the square is al­most the “norm” for Vic­to­ri­an­based MPB En­gi­neer­ing. When there’s a need for a spe­cial­ist piece of ma­chin­ery to (a) ease the work­load or (b) boost pro­duc­tion, then Aaron Bot­tom­ley and the crew at MPB are at the fore­front.

Not that long ago, a very large tim­ber man­u­fac­turer (who wishes to re­main anony­mous) was af­ter a sys­tem that would quicken their lam­i­nat­ing process ... a job they had been do­ing man­u­ally and needed 15 work­ers to com­plete.

“They came to us ini­tially and we put for­ward a pro­posal and the way we have done it no­body has done it like this be­fore,” Aaron ex­plained. “Most presses are like a ro­tary press but they can be a bit hard to load and un­load plus you’ve got the is­sue of glue drip­ping back down onto the boards be­low or onto the ma­chine it­self.

“So, we set ours out lay­ing flat!

“It takes a lit­tle more room but it meant load­ing and un­load­ing was very, very sim­ple.

“They came to us and we put for­ward a pro­posal about 18 months ago and in that time they were re­search­ing world­wide for any other al­ter­na­tives, but none of them stacked up against our so­lu­tion,” he added.

“They came back to us and wanted to pro­ceed. We drew it up and did the cost­ings anal­y­sis on the de­sign then did some tri­als and ev­ery­thing was good so we pressed ahead and built it for them.

“It took about 12 months ... the whole process was longer than that, but the ac­tual build time was about 12 months, and then in­stal­la­tion was a cou­ple of weeks.”

The fully au­to­matic lam­i­nated press puts the pre-glued boards in one end, clamps the boards up, which re­main in the press for 12 min­utes (enough time for the glue to cure), then the vac­uum lifter un­loads it through a trim­saw where it’s cut it to length. It can ei­ther cut it into one piece or into three pieces.

Then the vac­uum lifter is again used to pick it off the trim saw and au­to­mat­i­cally stack it.

The work­force (on this spe­cific task) of 15 went down to four plus pro­duc­tion has in­creased.

The au­to­matic lam­i­nat­ing sys­tem more than proved it­self, so Aaron came up with the idea to make a 3D model of the unit and dis­play it at this year’s Ligna.

“It was printed in dif­fer­ent sec­tions (about 10), then painted and as­sem­bled. We put it in a per­spex box for the dis­play,” said Aaron. The model is about 300 wide by 1,000 long and about 200 high

“There was a good steady stream of peo­ple com­ing through with quite rea­son­able rep­re­sen­ta­tion from Aus­tralia.

“It’s a very spe­cific unit but there were some who showed in­ter­est,” he said.

With the lam­i­na­tor a suc­cess, MPB is cur­rently work­ing on a big mould­ing line with vac­uum lifter, moul­der in­feed, moul­der out­feed stacker.

“One pack goes in and one pack comes out. No one touches it. It’s fully ma­chined.” he said

That unit is due to be com­mis­sioned early 2018 in Vic­to­ria.

On show for all to see at Ligna.

MPB En­gi­neer­ing’s Ligna stand.

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