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Maximizing CNC machinery.

To examine the benefits of CNC routers and machining centers, WOOD & WOOD PRODUCTS interviewed five manufacturers on efficiency, ease of use and productivity.


Sligh Furniture Inc. of Grand Rapids, Mich., a residential furniture manufacturer for more than 200 years, has offered clocks for nearly a decade. Sligh employs more than 300 people, said Jeff Sheridan, machine room and sub-assembly supervisor.

The company purchased its first CNC machine, a Heian NC432P router, three years ago. Learning to operate the machine was easy, according to Sheridan. The biggest adjustment when using CNC machinery was getting used to the improvements in quality and production, he added.

The clock industry requires a variety of contoured pieces, Sheridan said, and the router consistently produces high-quality components. Most clock parts are made of solid cherry, oak, maple and mahogany. Other components have a solid wood core and are overlaid with veneer, while only 2 percent have a particleboard core laminated with wood veneer. On any material, the Heian NC432P delivers "a steady feed rate, steady motor rate and no chance of slippage," Sheridan said.

Increased speed and better tolerances are other benefits of working with the machine, Sheridan said.

In addition, productivity has increased. Currently, 290 clock parts are programmed into the machine, said Larry Kelly, router operator. The router handles up to four pieces at a time on each of the two tables and production runs range from 50 to 300 pieces, he said.

The CNC machining center has also reduced the number of steps involved to manufacture these pieces. With eight heads, four routers and four drills, the Heian fully machines these pieces. At least one router, two shapers and some sanding machines have been eliminated, said Sheridan. Kelly added that some bandsaw operations also have been deleted.

Reduced set-up time is another advantage using the CNC router, Sheridan said. Once a program is downloaded from a CAD station, final adjustments are made at the router with Fanuc controllers.
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Title Annotation:Technology Profile
Author:Dunne, Beverly
Publication:Wood & Wood Products
Date:Jun 1, 1992
Previous Article:Top 25 furniture makers.
Next Article:14th Challengers Award draws 120 entries.

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