Manufacturing of Modular Furniture on Industrial Scale

A Guide for Furniture Manufacturer

When it comes to produce modular furniture for a large size project then the main worry is the quality and the productivity. Most of the modular furnituremanufacturers are making Modular furniture with the help of basic machinery orwith entry-level machines. For making the furniture on larger scale the first and foremost requirement is to have industrial scale machines and manufacturing process. Industrial scale means processing per day –per shift approx. 500 plus sheets .
This article will cover making of “Modular Furniture on Industrial scale”.

We have observed that many manufacturers of Modular furniture have set up units with high-tech machinery available in the market with varying investment budgets. There are many manufacturers of Modular Furniture in India and hence there is a huge competition in the market in this sector. Unfortunately today many of them are facing the problems of quality, productivity and uniformity. This is happening in spite of / even if they have very good machines and an excellent factory setup. Ultimately this ends up in to financial crises. We havestudied that the main reason for this situation is due to problems in the following areas

  • Composition of machines.
  • Manufacturing process.
  • Bottle necks.
  • Poor maintenance of machines and tooling.
  • Lack of precision in work In this article we will consider Making of Modular Furniture on Industrial Scale for large batch production.

This setup will need an investment that can range from 5Cr. to 15Cr. depending upon the source of the equipment and the grade of the equipment selected for the project. In the market machines are available from entry level woodworking machines to industrial grade. Entry level machines are not sturdy enough to withstand the pressures of large batch production. Hence selection of Industrial scale equipment is recommended for uninterrupted production.
The main operations in making of modular furniture are namely

  • Panel cutting
  • Edge banding
  • Boring

We will consider the Industrial Grade Machines which will perform these three operations most efficiently for Modular Furniture Manufacturing on large scale.

Panel Cutting

Important criteria’s while selecting the Panel Beam Saw:
Panel cutting is done using in line panel beam saw or Angular Cutting depending up on the automation and production needed per shift. For a capacity of 300 to 600 sheets sizing per shift, a good quality and sturdy equipment is needed.

  • One should check that the slides and the sliding mechanism should be precise and with auto cleaning mechanism.
  • Ball screw mechanism should be of reputed brand from Japan. We should understand that the ball slide should be very precisely machined all along the length of the carriage.
  • Also the material used in the slides should be mechanically stable without any movement or deflection in course of usage. Many times it is seen that the machine works fine when new, but within few months problems start like chipping and uneven cutting of panels etc. Any stoppage in production will be very costly.

In this type of composition two beam saws are kept in line. The panels are loaded with the help of auto loader in the first beam saw (3.2, 4.5 or 5.6 meterlength). We can select the saw diameter so as to accommodate maximum number of sheets at a time.

This machine has got pairs of clamping bars that are independent of movement. Thus we can cut different lengths in one cut by variable movement of the clamps.

The second beam saw is a cross cutting beam saw
. The main difference is the width. It can cut width from 140 mm to 1300 mm, length of 260 mm to 5600 mm and panel thickness of 6 mm to 50 mm.We can load a bunch of 4 to 9 boards at a time. The clamper clamps the board and first reference cut is made. After this the bars are cut to required width of the component. These bars are fed to conveyer that takes the bars to other beam saw for length cutting.

This machine has inbuilt optimization software that controls the wastages. It can also store large number of cutting programs that make the job easy. The programs can easily modify to new cutting patterns.

All these machines should be connected to heavy suction for removal of dust and keep the machine clean. The air flow from dust collectors keeps the saw blade cool that increases the life of the saw blade.

The second important point is the scoring blade and it’s positioning. There are few types of adjustable scoring blades available in the market. One consists of two blades with adjustable shims to select the thickness of the scoring grove to match the mail blade cutting. The second is V grove type; in this we adjust the width of the cut by adjusting the depth of the cut. The third is wobbling cutter block. In this we can adjust the degree of wobble to match the main saw blade cut.

The sharpening of the tool is very important in mass production and if not sharpened properly it may end up in to a lot of wastages.

Important points while using the Panel Beam Saw Machine effectively:

The sharpening of the main and scoring blade is a very crucial. Many factories have told me that the cutting is very good when the saw blade is new but it is not the same when re-sharpened. This indicates that the sharpening is not done properly. One should have a good saw blade grinder to do the work effectively and accurately. We cannot depend upon venders whose workmanship will directly affect the quality and productivity. It is often realized by us that the carbide tip’s thickness becomes uneven once the blade is re-sharpened. The height of the blade also changes from tip to tip. This indicates that the dividing head of the sharpening machine is not set properly or has some problem. In case of varying height of tips only few carbide tips are cutting and rest are just moving without cutting. Hence the load is transferred on few tips resulting in poor finish and bad cut. Same situation also arises in case of main blade re-sharpening.

Last but not the least; the machine should be maintained well. Proper cleaning and lubrication is important for flawless working of the machine.

Selecting an edge banding machine: Do’s and don’ts

Important criteria’s while selecting the Machinery:

Hence one should have Double side Edge banding Machines.Edge banding is the second important process of value addition in panel Furniture manufacturing. In high production factories it is necessary to edge band two sides in one passage.

Any good edge-banding machine should be a good piece of engineering. This starts with a smooth track movement, uniform gluing, and right pressure to give thin glue line, fine trimming of top and bottom edges buffing and cleaning.

Normally Hot melt glues are used in Edge banding machines, but now PUR adhesives are available that gives very thin glue line that boosts the aesthetics of the product. Laser machines are also available which guarantees a thin glue line.In this machine one machine is fixed and the other is moving on strong mechanical slide. The position of this is adjusted as per the width of the panel.

In order to have an uninterrupted production, one should have two Double side Edge banding Machines in line with a turning device. In this way we can have all the four sides of the component edge banded in one passage. This will assure a continuous process without any stoppages.

The edge-banding machine can be fitted with a magazine of multiple edge bands of varying thickness and finish to suit the surface that changes automatically with the barcode reader.Important points while using the Edge banding Machine effectively:
One has to be very careful at every operation while working one on edge banding machines as the output is very high when industrial scale is the chosen scale and any mistake can cause huge rejections and losses. The sharpness of the pre milling, cutting and trimming tools is very important as the productivity is very high. The Glue pot should have good quality glue and right temperature as pot temperature is very critical in bonding strength of the edge band.

Through Feed Automatic Boring Machine
The ready components are fed to through feed automatic boring machine. These are very fast operating machines that can handle 20 to 25 work pieces per minute and these have very fast set-up times from 5 to 20 seconds. The machine can have the latest-generation 8000 rpm drilling heads that are ultra-rigid andallow maximum configurability for all production needs: up to 12 machining heads and as many as 384 independent spindles.

Automatic boring machines for large volumes in small batches
These boring machines can complete boring on five surfaces of the panel. It can also take workpieces that are different from one another. The machines are provided with barcode reader that sets the machine automatically for the designed drilling pattern. Due to this one can have different size panels with different drilling pattern handled with ease. Hence these machines are very flexible and require very little setting time.

All the high-end boring machines are optioned with automatic insertion of hardware. This is custom made as per the hardware selected. All types of hardware can be inserted automatically. Alternatively one can supply the hardware in a plastic pouch. For these automatic pouching machines are available that can handle hundreds of components at atime.

In the final production process,all the finished components are sorted out to complete a product and are packed with shrink wrapping machine with bubble film to avoid damages. Automatic / semi- automatic and manual shrink wrapping machines are available to suit the investment budget.

Important aspects while using the Machinery effectively:
As a conclusion, Most important aspectswhile using these automated machines should be: the maintenance of the machine, dust collection, cleanliness and proper lubrication etc. The cutting tools, saws, drills should be re-sharpened from time to time to get good finish.

With proper care and attitude one can produce International Quality and high quality surface finish product without any difficulty. What we need is the determination that’s all.