Listed below are three of the most frequently asked questions when using moulders to machine mouldings and millwork, components and other solid wood products.

Q: What are the benefits of higher RPMs on the moulder? 

A: The advantage of higher RPM spindles is the ability to process mouldings while achieving an acceptable finish quality at a higher capacity rate. So if your desired finish quality is 18 knife marks per inch, you can achieve this at 28 linear feet per minute with a 6,000 RPM tooled spindle. In comparison, a 12,000 RPM tooled spindle will achieve the same finish quality at 56 linear feet per minute. So the benefit is that the higher RPM spindle allows your capacity rate to double. 

Q: There’s always a desire to make things better, faster, and at a lower cost. How do you spot and react to these needs?

A: There are three key considerations:

1) Look for idle material and eliminate it, keeping material flowing from one station to another. Over ripping, for example, can be convenient for the next time you “might” need that rip size for a moulding, but it forces a lot of unnecessary labor to move that extra material, store it, and then find it the next time it is needed. Flexible machines enable you to produce what you need, when you need it.

2) Look for paperwork, then eliminate it by setting up an electronic job/order tracking system. This allows operators to anticipate what is next, rather than react to what comes at them.

3) Look for machine downtime and eliminate it. If your moulder operator is standing beside his idle machine chances are he is waiting on one of two things: tools or wood. This is where an electronic system comes into play. Give the forklift driver, moulder operator and grinderman the transparency to see what the other is doing. It will allow them to better coordinate what needs to be done next to keep production running.

Q: How fast can I change over from one profile to the next?

A: Valuable time every day is spent in setup, so the more you reduce the setup time the more productive you’re going to be. The demand for technology drives the automation of the machines — woodworkers are always looking for advances with the controllers and the ability to monitor all aspects of the machine.

Sources: Weinig, Stiles Machinery, SCM Group. Read more online at WoodworkingNetwork.com.

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