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Efficient Edgebanding practices at Haworth: Haworth's new PUR system improves efficiency, sustainability.

Its commitment to the production of high-quality, ergonomic workspaces is a constant, but being a good environmental steward means Haworth Inc. of Holland, MI, must continuously review its materials and processes to eliminate waste. The company says reducing the amount of raw materials used for manufacturing products, as well as maximizing equipment utilization in production are two keys to global responsibility.

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Global responsibility is very important to the contract furniture giant. In addition to its LEED-certified facilities and sustainable manufacturing processes, Haworth says it is the first in the industry to have achieved zero waste to landfill, at its U.S. manufacturing facilities and global headquarters, as well as at the Shanghai, China, and Pune, India, manufacturing facilities. The company has manufacturing facilities located throughout North America, as well as in Europe and Asia Pacific.

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According to its annual report, Haworth employs more than 6,000 people worldwide and has more than 600 dealers, with sales locations throughout the world. The company reported $1.11 billion in global sales for 2009.

Haworth has seven sustainability objectives, including manufacturing sustainable products and workspace designs, energy management and the continued push for zero waste and emissions.

Efficiency in Edgebanding

Among the processes the company looked at in its efforts to reduce material usage while maximizing production efficiency, was the edgebanding line. A recent review of the company's adhesive usage led Ed Velthouse, manufacturing engineer for Haworth, to determine that polyurethane (PUR) adhesive would be ideal for an edgebanding application.

A thin line of PUR can provide a strong, durable and long-lasting bond between particleboard panels and edgebanding. An added bonus is that PUR's bond strength supports thinner edgebands. The thinner adhesive bond line and edgeband itself results not only in a cleaner look, but also reduces the natural resources used from the environment, the company says.

However, because PURs react to moisture in air, Velthouse had the challenge of how to most effectively handle PUR adhesives in the production line. Within the edgebanding process, Haworth was using Homag edgebanders with open wheel pots.

While the open wheel pots were sufficient to process the previously used ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA) adhesive, Velthouse says the company soon determined it would need a closed adhesive dispensing system in order to fully optimize the PUR application system. An additional challenge, according to Velthouse, was that the new process would use low volumes of PUR, meaning the traditional pails or drums of PUR were not the best option.

The solution, he says, was to use the Nordson PURBlue 4 melter. Two, three or four kilogram foil-encased PUR slugs are placed into the melter tank and PURBlue 4 melter uses "melt-on-demand" processing, thereby protecting unused adhesive from prematurely curing in the tank.

Within the edgebanding line, Haworth is now using the PURBlue 4 melter in conjunction with Nordson's EB60V slot nozzle to create a controlled, closed adhesive application system.

"Creating a clean, high-quality finished product with a thin but strong, durable adhesive bond using efficient manufacturing processes supports Haworth's core values of being a sustainable corporation," adds Velthouse.
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Title Annotation:INCREASING PRODUCTIVITY
Comment:Efficient Edgebanding practices at Haworth: Haworth's new PUR system improves efficiency, sustainability.(INCREASING PRODUCTIVITY)
Publication:Wood & Wood Products
Date:Sep 1, 2010
Words:514
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