Founded in 1905 in Michigan, USA, Herman Miller is a design led office and home furniture manufacturer. The company’s purpose reflects the desire of all its brands to leverage the power of design to improve people’s lives – its mission is to pursue design for the good of humankind. In line with this, the UK division recently invested in a HOMAG CENTATEQ E-310 CNC edge bander with a powerEdge Pro Duo gluing unit.
“The ethos of Herman Miller demands that every product we manufacture has to be premium quality, and to achieve that, we have to invest in the best machinery available,” explains the UK company’s Head of Engineering, Martin Waller. He continues, “Here in the UK we have been investing in HOMAG product for over 25 years and we now have six HOMAG models on our plant list.
“Our latest asset is the CENTATEQ E-310 CNC edge bander with a Pro Duo gluing unit. There were two key reasons we wanted this machine: the first was to replace an ageing CNC from another manufacturer and the second was to provide us with the flexibility to offer real wood edge finishes in addition to our standard edged products.”
Zero joint edges with HOMAG’s hot air system
“Our sales team was seeing an increasing demand for real wood premium edge finishing and our old process to achieve this was very rudimentary. It was labour intensive and had a high cycle time, making it very inefficient.
“The CENTATEQ E-310 CNC with the Pro Duo unit offers us the versatility of being able to produce real wood edged products in a one step process. At the same time, the same Pro Duo unit has a hot air facility giving us the ability to cost-effectively apply our standard edging as well.
“For us, the hot air option on the powerEdge Pro Duo gluing unit offers a big advantage; it achieves a zero joint finish but with significantly lower running costs than our larger, high volume laser edging machines. This means we get the same high quality end product but with a much lower capital cost.
“Additionally, this latest generation of head has a number of technical advances which produce a more accurate application of the edge tape, especially when it comes to butt joint features.”
Trust in HOMAG solutions
“Although we are a single manufacturing site in the UK, globally as part of the Herman Miller group, we have over 30 HOMAG machines including many edge banders. This gives us a real confidence in the HOMAG brand and is one of the reasons we didn’t hesitate to invest in the new CENTATEQ E-310 CNC.
“The E-310, however, stood out on its own due to its performance capabilities, lifetime value, accuracy and the quality of finished work pieces. And, because it is controlled with HOMAG’s woodWOP software, it was much easier and quicker for our operatives to become proficient running it. If we’d have bought another brand of machine it would have been much harder to get to grips with.
“Another benefit of the woodWOP software is that we program work remotely from the office and, because the CENTATEQ uses woodWOP, it is easy for our programming team to adapt to the new machine rather than having to learn something very different.”
Responding to customer demand
“From the company point of view, we are now more able to support our sales team who are being asked to make special products or enhance our standard items with real wood edge banding. The CENTATEQ CNC gives us the capacity to fulfil this demand more efficiently.
“What’s more, the UK government’s Capital Allowances – Super Deduction – currently offers 130% first-year relief on qualifying plant and machinery investments until 31 March 2023. This makes investing in new machinery very attractive, and we wanted to take advantage of this before it ends.”
Flexible training schemes
“The training options from HOMAG are another plus point from our perspective. They give us the opportunity to ’pick and mix’ between different training methods to suit the operators’ skill levels.
“For the CENTATEQ E-310 CNC we sent two people to HOMAG’s Schopfloch headquarters in Germany for the full training, whilst three other operators undertook remote woodWOP training with HOMAG UK. This flexibility enabled us to maximise the training opportunities for our team.”
The complete package from HOMAG
“We didn’t buy the new edge bander on a ‘return on investment’ basis, rather it was a business continuation decision with the added flexibility that came with the performance capabilities of the Pro Duo gluing unit.
“Because we spent a lot of time at the front end refining the specification of the machine and conducting performance trials with several potential machine suppliers, we knew exactly what the CENTATEQ would deliver. And it has not disappointed. In fact, based on the success of the E-310, we have ordered an additional HOMAG machine; the new machine is a 5-axis CNC processing centre which is due for delivery in September.
“Ultimately, HOMAG offers us a one stop shop. All the staff in the UK and Germany, are extremely knowledgeable and helpful. Consequently, we have strong relationships with people in both locations, and they’re always on hand to discuss our needs,” concludes Martin Waller.
If you would like a demonstration or further information on HOMAG woodworking machinery or software, please contact Adele Hunt at HOMAG UK on 01332 856424 or email: [email protected]
T: 01332 856500