County Armagh based Alfred Briggs (Alwood) Limited is the oldest and most innovative kitchen manufacturer in Ireland. With its rich history of designing and manufacturing award winning bespoke kitchens and bedroom solutions, it serves the retail and developer markets.
Quality is the cornerstone of every product it manufactures which is why the company favours HOMAG woodworking machinery, as development manager Alfie Briggs explains: “We’ve been making kitchen and bedroom furniture since 1933 when my grandfather, Alfred Briggs, started the business. From the early days, our philosophy has always been to invest in the best machinery we could find.
“We were the first company in Ireland to purchase a CNC machine and have always found HOMAG equipment to be amongst the very best on the market. The machine build quality and consistency of finished workpieces that you get with HOMAG is without match, particularly when it comes to its edge banding machines.
“Most people have no idea as to the complexity of an edge bander. There are so many processes that go on under the skin of the machine including a joint trimming unit, a glue station, a snipping unit, a trimmer, a radius scraper, a glue joint scraper and a buffing unit. Each has to work perfectly in order to produce first-class joints between the edge tape and the panel.”
PUR glue for a strong, water resistant bond
“Our investment in the new HOMAG EDGETEQ S-300 with XES 200 glue station came about because the previous edge bander had reached the end of its productive life and we wanted to upgrade to a better quality model.
“With the new edge bander we wanted to be able to use water resistant PUR glue as well as the standard EVA glue. PUR glue offers increased resistance to moisture and heat. Consequently, it is ideal for use in manufacturing items that will be exposed to damp such as our kitchen furniture.
“Because we focus on small run, bespoke solutions, we don’t put high volumes through the edge bander. One drawback of this is that it can cause issues with PUR glue, particularly if there are extended interruptions to work such as overnight or over the weekend, when the PUR glue can go off.
“For this reason we also invested in a HOMAG XES 200 glue station. This clever piece of kit eliminates these issues. It is a really compact unit with a footprint of less than 1m2, and it enables easy, efficient switching between different colours and glue types.”
The station stores the glue application units in a vacuum; this delays the bonding time so that the PUR glue does not harden during an interruption to production. It then pre-heats the glue application unit to minimise downtime before use. Also, cleaning or glue change can be done automatically without interrupting production on the edge banding machine.
Selecting and specifying the HOMAG EDGETEQ S-300 edge bander
Alfie Briggs again, “The majority of the machines in our workshop are from HOMAG UK. When it came to choosing a replacement for our old edge bander, however, it was important we did our due diligence thoroughly to ensure we found the best solution for our needs.
“A couple of our engineers had a good look at the alternative machines in the marketplace. They carried out research both online and at exhibitions to see what different manufacturers had to offer. Whilst HOMAG is often our first port of call, it was by no means a done deal that they would get the order.
“At the end of the due diligence process we were convinced that overall the EDGETEQ S-300 with the XES glue station was the best fit for our requirements. Our production engineer worked closely with HOMAG to specify the machine to make sure it was fit for purpose.”
Achieving new levels of quality
“Once the EDGETEQ was installed and commissioned, the HOMAG engineers trained our staff on site. The process was well planned and it meant we were up and running in about four days.
“We can now produce much higher quality products which we are confident will stand up against any of our competition. The PUR glue option gives us more flexibility and enables us to manufacture in smaller batches for bespoke solutions.
“The peace of mind we get from partnering with HOMAG means we can get on with designing and manufacturing the very best kitchen and bedroom furniture solutions. We don’t have to think about the quality of finish or the backup service; we just know it’s going to be first-class,” concludes Briggs.
Contact Adele Hunt at HOMAG UK: 01332 856424