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Two locations, two IMA Advantage 500L edgebanders

Primeway liked its first IMA Advantage 500L edgebander so much that when they expanded to a second location, they ordered the exact same model.

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The first IMA Advantage 500L was bought in early 2012 for the company’s existing location in Madison Heights, Mich. Kevin Walby, Primeway president, explained that they wanted a large heavy-duty, durable machine.

“The Advantage edgebander is the only major piece of equipment we added here, because all of the other equipment was relatively new,” he said.

“Knowing we were going to expand into our other building, we held off on any additional capital machinery here. Everything was working pretty well.”

Primeway deals with office furniture dealers, that’s the target market. Office, health care and higher education are the main end users of the company’s tables, desks and office products.

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The first 500L was given a chance to prove itself with a job for a 90-room health care facility. A total of 900 door and drawer fronts were made, and the edgebander worked flawlessly on that job.

Primeway began work in a second location a few blocks away in April 2013, and they bought a second Advantage 500L almost exactly a year after the first one.

Walby sees several advantages in having two identical machines. One operator can run both, if there is a problem you can look at the other one.

“Certainly the cross-training of operators on both machines, being able to transfer pre-written programs (are advantages),” he said. “When we put the second one in we took 50 or so programs we had already put into the one machine, just put it into a flash drive and put it into the other.

“Another big thing we felt was important was the learning curve to get that piece of equipment up and running. And what I think was a huge value was not having to learn all the different mechanics and nuances and maintenance on an entirely separate machine.”

The only challenges for Primeway are keeping everything tuned and running properly. “We’re constantly changing thicknesses and styles,” Walby said. “It’s important for us to have an edgebander that allows us to do that quickly.”

The beam adjusts automatically, it’s not a manual process. “Any challenges we’re finding are not with the machine itself, because it is such a powerhouse.

“It’s a relationship issue too. You start having 10 or 15 different pieces of equipment and every one is from a different supplier. That’s a lot of equipment. That’s a lot of maintenance to remember.”

The two edgebanders are identical, even though they bought them a year apart. They asked for the same model, and that’s what they got.

“If we have a mechanical issue on one of them and we have to do some troubleshooting, we can look at the other one and see what is going wrong, why this is happening.”

We could have bought a smaller edgebander for less, but you would eat up that money fast in what you’re going to lose in learning a whole different machine. Your maintenance people have to understand the nuances of how that machine ticks.

“We thought about it hard, and when we laid it all out we determined it was money well spent.”

Part of that decision grew out of the fact that they were happy with IMA. “They build some of the bext edgebanding equipment out there,” Walby said.

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Can also use an operator on the other machine to come in and run a job if one operator is not available.

Overall at the second location Primeway is making more casegoods and more flat products. At the main location they are doing more custom work.

“At the (main) location it is more reception stations and boardroom tables. That kind of custom. We’re trying to gear up that (second) facility to make more of that flat-panel, casegoods, work surfaces, training tables, simple conference tables.”

Primeway has 26 employees and is continuing to grow.

“In 2013 we aligned ourselves with some great clients that are also growing,” Walby said. “We are working with six or seven new clients in early 2014. We’re hoping to triple our customer base in 2014.”

See video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fdondD9Rz0s

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