International markets, sophisticated customer demand and the continuous optimization of manufacturing processes have changed the Brazilian furniture market. Successful companies use the most innovative technology, process optimized and to the highest degree flexible to compete. An actual example of how that can be accomplished is the fully automated, recently designed and installed B- and C-part processing system at a Brazilian customer of IMA. This system produces between 3,000 and 4,000 high end panels in true batch size 1 operation. To accomplish this feat highly automated and precise technology is required.
The production process of full-size sheets starts with an IMA Cutting Center high speed nested base router connected to a fully NC-controlled automatic storage retrieval system. The storage retrieval system is designed to hold full-size sheets as well as partial sheets for reprocessing. This processing of C-parts is accomplished by a second IMA nested base machine system called the BIMA Cut, which is also directly connected to the storage retrieval system. Each sheet – whether it is a full size sheet or a partial sheet – is inventoried automatically and stored randomly in the storage retrieval system. Specialized software controls the inventory of panels and connects to the customer’s ERP system providing materials to the nested base machines for processing as required.
A fully automated and process-controlled buffer system holds the cut to size parts after the nesting process and prior to edgebanding. This buffer system also holds partial sheets that the system can automatically return into the storage retrieval system for later use.
The next processing step is the automated sizing and edgebanding line that is automatically tied to the buffer system behind the nested base routers. Four single sided combination edgebanders with specialized infeed systems process the cut to size panels length- and crosswise in true batch size 1 fashion. The machines size and square the panels as well as edgeband and finish them fully automatically. The changeover between different edge designs or groove patterns happens “on the fly” in a gap of about two feet in length. The IMA KFA single motor high speed corner rounding unit is an important unit that allows corner rounding speeds of up to 30 m/min. (approx. 96 fpm) with a gap of about two feet between panels.
A porcupine buffer system after the edgebanding line provides opportunity for commissioning of individual parts into customer orders prior to drilling/hardware insertion as well as assembly and packaging of the product.
The complete processing steps are controlled by the software company and long term IMA partner 3Tec. Their software called “FLS” controls and optimizes all processes in the machine system from raw board inventory to finished panel distribution to subsequent processing. The identification of individual panels in the line is accomplished by barcode and the data necessary for controlling the system is being provided by the customer’s ERP system that 3Tec’s FLS software connects to.