The Sharpening Your Manufacturing Edge at Stiles Machinery’s headquarters in Kentwood, Mich., drew a large crowd of more than 100, despite challenging winter weather.

The main focus was on two edgebanding technologies and a material handling and work cell system. An education session on Zero Edge Technology by Doug Maat looked at laserTec and airTec methods for edgebanding. These technologies offer elimination of an adhesive, and superior heat resistance and performance.

Maat said that these technologies represent one of the most important developments in panel processing in recent years.

The newer airTec technology employs compressed hot air and can be used on an existing Brandt edgebander. Compressed hot air is applied close to the point where both panel and edgebanding material come together. The cost of adding airTec to an edgebander can be about $45,000, compared to about $300,000 to add laserTec to a machine. Feed rates of about 50 feet per minute have been used, and the same materials can be banded by both laser and hot air.

Ken McFadden spoke on the Bargstedt IntelliStore technology, which has become more common in Europe. He said that the panel handling technology could be used in any market segment, it can handle many SKUs, and can help if customers are experiencing damaged panels.

McFadden said that there were nine systems installed in the United States in 2013, including millwork, store fixture, cabinet and office furniture companies.

The average system can cut 70 to 100 sheets in a shift. It allows reduced inventory to be carried and requires less storage space. The combination of an IntelliStore and panel saw or CNC machining center can reduce cutting time by 50 percent.


Equipment demonstrations

Those at the event also saw a number of machines to demonstrate these technologies. The LaserTec edgebanding was demonstrated on a Homag KAL 310 profiLine.

The airTec technology was demonstrated separately on a Brandt Highflex 1650 edgebander.

Gary Wernlund showed a Weeke BHP 008 CNC machining center that is used for nesting and is made in Michigan. This machining center has automatic pushoff and automatic pull-on.

The Bargstedt IntelliStore full-scale inventory management system was also demonstrated by moving panels. This setup will also be shown at IWF in Atlanta.

Eric Delaney showed the new features and technology of the Brandt 1600 series edgebander. In addition, a Vector Revolution 180 demonstrated contour edgebanding.

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