Vesta Space Ltd isn’t your average wardrobe manufacturer. Over the last six years, Jon Meek and co-owner, Mark Davies have created a business model that sees them work extensively with housing developers, contractors, the trade and general public to provide an end to end service from tender to completion. Keen to build on its solid reputation and maintain growth, Jon has invested in a new Striebig Compact vertical panel saw and AL-KO Mobil Jet 160 dust extraction unit from TM Machinery.
“A vertical panel saw had always been on our radar,” begins Jon, Director of Vesta Space Ltd. “When we set-up the business six years ago, we purchased a sliding table saw. This was mainly because of the up-front cost of the machine but we quickly realised that there was much more to buying a machine than its price tag.”
Making the most of the company’s 4,750sqft workshop was a huge factor behind the purchase of a Striebig vertical panel saw. “We follow a just-in-time production model, making sliding wardrobe doors on a short lead time. This is a really efficient way of working but, with limited floorspace available and our racking often reaching capacity, we needed to utilise every metre of space we had available to us. This meant investing in machines that allowed us to scale up without being restricted by space.”
With a sliding table saw taking up a large section of their workshop, Jon knew a Striebig vertical panel saw could offer him a fantastic space-saving solution and he was right. Requiring just seven square metres of working space – a third of the space required by an equivalent sliding table saw – the Striebig Compact not only offered Vesta Space a significantly smaller footprint, it offered quicker production times and increased output.
“When we originally purchased our sliding table saw, we were making 30 doors a day. We are now on course to make hundreds a week. Trying to handle sheets of MFC on a sliding table saw was challenging and required a lot of working space around the machine. Cutting panels was also a two-person job. Full size 8mm thick MFC sheets are not heavy but they are flexible, making them awkward to manoeuvre. On our old saw, the blade remained stationary so we had to manually position and feed the material through the blade. The pliability of the material made it difficult to hold in place, which ultimately had a knock-on effect on the accuracy of each cut and the time it took to machine.
“These problems simply don’t exist with a Striebig,” says Jon. Its moving saw head makes it a sleek one-person operation and its Swiss build quality and scoring blade guarantees a clean, precise cut within 0.1mm with no breakouts.
“The Striebig is not just for rough cuts,” he says. “It has dramatically speeded up the cutting process of our wardrobe interiors and makes light work of shelf towers that require six identical shelves in one design. It’s also a much cleaner job thanks to the AL-KO dust extraction unit. There is no dust whatsoever, which makes for a clean and healthy working environment.”
It’s also offered Vesta Space an opportunity to maximise production efficiencies and future proof its manufacturing: “Our door frameworks have a certain throat size. Before we had the Striebig, we were routing down the edges on a spindle moulder so they would go into the frame. With the Striebig, we are buying a different style of frame with a different size of throat that accommodates our design without additional machining, slashing production time. This has allowed us to scale up and increase our current production by 25%, while still having the potential to increase our production capabilities by a further 30% in the next two years.”
The machine’s flexibility was also a selling point. Jon explains: “If our manufacturing requirements change, there are a number of retrofittable options available to us, including additional mitre capabilities and optimisation software. This meant we didn’t need to invest in extra cost options we were not sure we needed at the point of sale. Instead, we only opted for a 400mm strip-cutter for fuss-free repeat cuts and a scoring blade. Going forward, we can add certain things onto the machine instead of upgrading it completely. We found this to be unique to Striebig.”
It was this no-nonsense approach that made Jon want to buy from TM Machinery. “The sales process was straightforward,” he says. “There wasn’t any flounce or over-selling. They sold us a machine that was right for us, with a dust extraction unit that worked effectively with the saw. The team clearly had a great knowledge of the Striebig range and understood us as a business.”
With the machine duo now being put to good use, there are new projects in the pipeline. “We have just secured a large contact in Birmingham that requires the design, manufacturer and install of over 800 sliding doors,” he confirms. “Instead of glass fronts, the contractors want wooden panels. This will certainly up-scale the volume of panels we are processing but we know we are in a position to be able to deliver to a high standard and on time. Looking ahead, it’s our goal to continue on this path and win more work. With the right machinery in place, we know this is achievable.”