Thinking outside the square pays dividends
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.