We hear from our customers on a regular basis that the quality of our contour edgebanding is pretty great. They know how difficult these parts can be to make because it's either something they struggle with themselves, or if they don't have the capability, something they struggle to outsource with acceptable quality levels. So this week we're featuring a contour part and detailing what goes into making a best-in-class contour edgebanded part that’s durable, great to look at, and efficient to produce.
About the part
This part is the outside end of a single booth used in the restaurant industry. These parts are cut from a 4’ x 8’ cold press panel laid up with horizontal grade standard finish High Pressure Laminate on both sides, 1 1/8” Industrial Particle Board core and 3MM PVC edgeband. We've been making this part in several different colors for several years and typically do a production run at least every 2 weeks to keep orders filled for this customer. In addition, we keep material on hand to cut down lead time, you can read more about their stocking program in a previous blog post.
The manufacturing process
What’s unique about this part are the tight curves and the challenges it creates for manufacturing a quality end product in the timelines we typically work under. If the part isn't programed or dialed in and run just right, the edgeband won't stick or the edge trimming won't finish the part to the tight tolerances we've come to expect from modern machinery and processes. You're then left to fix the defects by either starting over or having your team spend time working the part by hand. No matter how skilled you are with a file or scrapper, it will never look as clean and professional as it would if it was done right in the first place.
So how do we do it? It starts with engineering. Knowing the capabilities and limitations of the machine and translating it to a program that can be executed. One advantage of making parts for over 350 customers in 7 different industries is that we've seen it all. From basic rounds and rounded corners to clover-leafs, kidneys, boogie-boards and more. Our team has thousands of hours of combined experience writing programs for parts of all shapes and sizes.
For this specific program, we went through multiple rounds of testing and optimization and dialed it in to produce a nearly perfect product every time with little or no handwork required to finish it off. This process involves more time up-front but in the end, it increases both quality and efficiency.
The next step is to make the part. For that, we use our IMA BIMA Contour Edgebander. After the part is laid up and cut to rough size, it's positioned in place and a first pass routes the part to the finished shape. Next the edgeband is applied and the team checks to make sure it's fully adhered to the edges, if not, it's pulled off and any adjustments are made before it's run again. After the edgeband is stuck on, the excess material is trimmed on top and bottom. After a quick wipe down, the part's ready to go. Watch the whole process here:
These detail photos of the finished part shows the edges are extremely clean, even around the tight end corners, with zero gaps or imperfections in the edgeband as they transition around the corners. This part has to be perfect on both sides since it's seen from all angles and gets plenty of touches from our customer's customers.
Our team is dedicated to making the highest quality parts. We regularly send our team for training and are constantly learning new skills, tips and tricks. We’ll be posting more thoughts, tips and tricks around contour edgebanding very soon.
To learn more about Laminate Works and learn how we could help you grow your business, visit our new customer page and fill out our 5 question survey to see if there's a good fit for us to work together.