Improved automation for smaller machines, adhesive developments and printing technologies are just some of the new trends in edgebanding technology.

It is not only large companies that are reaping the benefits of edgebander technology. Small to mid-size shops also are benefitting from edgebanders’ improved automation, software options and gluing capabilities.

According to machinery manufacturers interviewed by Wood & Wood Products, automation is becoming integral to the success of woodworking businesses. Manufacturers are no longer willing to spend the time making manual adjustments to working units as they change from one edgeband to another. Quick setup and rapid changeover are becoming a necessity.

“We’re seeing a lot of interest by customers in increased automation,” says Steve Konyndyk, edge processing product specialist with Stiles Machinery Inc. “Companies want to run a little bit of everything, and they want fast changeover with no operator intervention.”

Adam Lopuk, national sales manager for Adwood Corp., also sees faster changeover with preset settings being offered on even the simplest edgebander today.
“These features are found usually on edgebanders that machine 3mm PVC material and up, typically with four or more stations,” Lopuk says. “Simpler machines for thin wood, 5mm PVC and HPL with three or less stations do not require a changeover system as described, but still have features like mechanical digital readouts so the operator can preset a desired setting, record it and bring it back.”

“Automation is now becoming an important issue for many companies,” says Richard Hannigan, vice president of sales, Holz-Her U.S. Inc. “The latest technology features computer-controlled adjustments for virtually every spindle that the operator might need to adjust. This includes magazine, pressure unit, end trim, top/bottom trim — including all copy devices — scraping and other more complex units. Servo-motors are attached to the spindles and are
able to make very fine adjustments to within 0.001 inch.

“All adjustments are made from the central control panel and stored in a program,” Hannigan adds. “The operator loads the appropriate program and the servo-motors make every required adjustment, simultaneously and within seconds. The control and the connected servo-units create essentially a CNC edgebander.”

Edgebanding methods include the application of the adhesive to the panel by nozzles, which are under high pressure. Photo courtesy of Holz-Her U.S.
Troubleshooting Tips

Machine Maintenance

If you keep the machine clean, you will be miles ahead of the game. Once you have the bearings and cutters clean, use one of the products on the market that prevents glue build-up on the cutters and bearings. It’s a great way to prevent any jams.
Al Akavan, president, Virutex

Check the actual tolerances of the working units, including copy wheels and spring tensions for proper copy to the panel. Most working units require a copy/tension to the panel of 1 to 1.5 mm, but be sure to check with your machine manufacturer to confirm the recommended settings. Also pay attention to the recommended lubrication periods for each machine.
Ed Moran, product manager, Biesse America

Edgebander users need to routinely examine key parts of the machine, including the following edgebander stations: feed track, top pressure beam, pre-mill unit, glue pot, side pressure roller, end trimming unit, rough and fine milling units, corner rounding units, scraping unit, hot air blowers and buffing unit.

On the feed track for example, replace worn or damaged track pads, inspect sprockets and chains for wear, also checking for flatness, uneven pad height or missing track pads, which could reduce the surface area and holding power of the pads and rollers.

Other essential tools include a precision square, calipers, device to measure glue temperature, magnet disk and magnifying glass.
David Lillard, product manager, Delmac Machinery Group

Woodworking companies can avoid edgeband adhesive failures and high repair costs by selecting the correct adhesive for the conditions. Environmental situations that can affect an edgeband bond include severe temperature ranges during transportation, exposure to high-moisture conditions and exposure to certain chemicals.
— Richard Hannigan, vice president of sales, Holz-Her U.S. Inc.

Software & Controls

As far as troubleshooting goes, the Pro Logic Control (PLC) is key. It is an actual computer component in the machine that will assist in the troubleshooting. The touchscreen will tell the operator what is malfunctioning on the machine. Smaller machines with the PLC, but no screen, can use the PLC codes on the unit to determine the machine’s malfunction.
Adam Lopuk, national sales manager, Adwood Corp.

Machines with controllers are much more user friendly today. Error codes will appear in text, alerting users in plain language what needs to be done, i.e. check for enough voltage.
Tim Sermonet, product manager for edgebander sales, SCM

Software programs are available that will enable the optimum programming and operation of edgebanders as well as offering optional diagnostics. These systems provide a user-friendly
display of error messages with possible remedies and a graphic visualization of the machine’s status to permit quicker
Steve Konyndyk, edge processing product specialist, Stiles Machinery Inc.

Computer automation on edgebanders also results in a more consistent product, says Ed Moran, product manager for Biesse America. “In the past, many machines only offered actual copy shoes to trace and follow the panel, yet this form of copy was not accurate and lacked consistency. Now, even on smaller edgebanders, you will begin to find copy wheels with precision bearings, which offer the best in a consistent finish, panel after panel,” Moran says.

Tim Sermonet, product manager for edgebander sales at SCM, also makes note of the trend toward increased capabilities of smaller machines. “In the past, features like controllers and servo drivers were only offered on the big machines. Today, it is possible to buy an edgebander with a PC on a machine costing $100,000,” he says.

Controllers have made it easier for shops of all sizes to operate and troubleshoot problems, says David Lillard, product manager for Delmac Machinery Group. “The touchscreens feature icon-based information and are much easier for operators to use for diagnosing and troubleshooting problems in addition to helping with ease of setup,” Lillard adds.

Increased Options
Lopuk says he also has seen a rise in the popularity of pre-mill stations. “This station is before the gluing station and usually has two rotating cutter heads that trim between 0.5mm and 3mm from the edge of a panel. This gives users the cleanest edge possible before applying the glue and translates into an almost invisible glue line.”

Moran says he also has seen improvements on corner rounding units. “In the past, the large four-motor units only fit on larger machines. Today, one can find high-precision, multi-position, two-motor corner rounding units.”

Some machinery manufacturers, he adds, use the corner rounding in place of the top-and-bottom fitting, super finish unit, eliminating a work unit under the hood of the machine and shortening the overall length of the machine.

“Customers want to accomplish more with a specific unit, such as a super finish or corner rounding unit that can perform two to four different finishes with a multi-profile tool, all from the touch of a button or the control screen,” says Sermonet.

“[Many] entry-level edgebanders have color and fully programmable controllers. The servo-driver work units are especially important because they allow users to make adjustments with controls to the servo. Users can go automatically from one material to the next, saving the operator timely adjustments,” Sermonet adds.

Increased production rates, combined with more options in edgebanding materials, have led to a rise in popularity of multi-coil magazines, says Konyndyk. However, he notes, there also is a growing trend for companies using edgebanders as dedicated machines in a cell.

“You see this more in a lean manufacturing setup, where the machine is only used for one application and needs very little or no changeover,” he says.

Gluing Trends
A number of adhesive developments also are impacting edgebander technology, says Hannigan.

“The adhesive manufacturers have responded with the development of new adhesives like polyurethane reactives (PUR). These adhesives have special properties which make them resistant to high temperatures and virtually waterproof. However, these adhesives cannot be reactivated after initial melting, cross- linking and hardening. This presents problems for standard glue pots since the glue cannot be remelted after it has cooled and hardened. Special technology has been developed to turn open glue pots systems into closed, sealed systems, which allow better use of the new adhesives,” Hannigan adds.

Lillard notes that the PUR delivery system is increasing in popularity due to improvements in the adhesives and how they are applied. “The controls for this glue delivery system and methods for cleaning have been improved, making it more attractive to users,” Lillard says.

Moran, too, makes note of changes in the gluing system. “Today’s manufacturers of machines are making the units smaller and quicker for ease of maintenance and/or changeover of the glue reservoir,” he says. “Some manufacturers have taken the large, heavy old glue systems and separated the glue head applicator from the reservoir to help reduce downtime from hours to minutes in the area of glue system maintenance.”

“For small shops, more and more the technology is going from a glue pot machine to a hot air machine and preglued tapes,” Akavan says. “This is due to the fact that in the U.S. market, more and more manufacturers are supplying color matches of preglued tapes for hot air machines.”

The reason for the trend, he says is, “If small shops want to do 10 boards, they don’t want to spend two hours cleaning or waiting to run 10 boards. Also, thicker tapes up to 2mm and 3mm thick are now available preglued for small shops.”

Moran also makes note of other adhesive developments. “In today’s market, you will now find a much higher quality adhesive called ‘non-filled.’ With the use of this adhesive, the benefits are: reduction in maintenance/clean-up; depending on the application, you will get a better bond on the material being applied; reduced glue spread and tighter edges; and no need to change glue color,” Moran says.

Developments in Materials and Print Technology
New developments in materials are spurring changes in the edgebanding market. Adam Lopuk, national sales manager for Adwood, says he sees a trend in the United States market toward increased use of 2mm PVC in place of 3mm PVC.

“This is already happening across Europe and has started in the United States. This will allow more shops with smaller machines or shops with the ability to purchase smaller machines to be able to run the 2mm product with a finished 2mm radius.”
Steve Konyndyk, edge processing product specialist, Stiles Machinery Inc., points to development in print lines as “revolutionizing the edgebanding design process.”

“This new process supports lean manufacturing principles by eliminating the need for multi-coil edgeband magazines, extensive material inventory, procurement and handling logistics,” Konyndyk says. New print line systems utilize technology to apply any color or pattern directly onto a neutral ABS edgebanding material.

“All four-color processes are completed in a single pass. Images may be scanned and downloaded to the print line from any PC equipped with appropriate software, such as Adobe PhotoShop,” he adds.

According to Konyndyk, the first time an image is produced, it typically takes 20 minutes from scan to print. “Thereafter, previously scanned images can be printed on demand. Supporting both batch size of one and high-volume manufacturing environments, the system imprints a selected color image from a single unit to any number of multiple units.”

Today’s edgebanders feature ease of setup and improved production for any type of application.
Photo courtesy of DMG
Machinery manufacturers have seen improvements being made to corner rounding units as well as other stations.
Photo courtesy of Biesse America
Multi-coil magazines offer flexibility for banding a variety of colors and thicknesses. Photo courtesy of DMG New developments for edgebanding materials include changes in the print technology.
Photo courtesy of Stiles Machinery

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