Sigma3 has been manufacturing and retailing kitchens for over 40 years from its base in Llantrisant near Cardiff. Chairman and founder, Brian Lakin, has been continually expanding the network of its retail stores since the company began back in 1975.

Over recent years, the focus has been on expanding Signa3’s Masterclass kitchen brand which it supplies to selected independent kitchen retailers on a national basis.

As part of this ongoing development, the company has invested over £1.3m in new machinery and equipment and a 10,000 sq ft warehouse, to meet increased demands in volume and to dramatically improve the quality of its panels.

Managing director, Gerald Jones, explains: “The reason driving our investment in new edgebanding technology was the company’s desire to achieve an invisible edge and a more aesthetically pleasing product. For 12 months we deliberated and researched seven different manufacturers – eventually shortlisting down to three.

“We ultimately decided in favour of Paul Ott GmbH to supply three Strongedge edgebanding systems, all equipped with state-of-the-art TransLift panel handling solutions. These machines produce a zero glue line finish, using over 100 different colours and textures.

“In making a decision as to the specific machinery,” says Gerald,  “consideration was given to the adhesive technologies available today, including laser, hot air reactivation, traditional EVA and PUR adhesives. The benefits and flexibility of the Paul Ott’s patented Combimelt glue application system became obvious. We were impressed by the build quality and the attention to detail at the Paul Ott factory, as well as the support offered throughout by their dealer, FEN UK”.

Historically the company had been using double-sided edgebanders with squaring and sizing capability. Of course, consideration had to be given, when eventually moving to single-sided edgebanding machinery.

However, after considerable testing of the Paul Ott machines, equipped with the TransStart panel infeed, the company’s initial concerns were completely alleviated.

All three Strongedge machines have the LCM cleaning systems fitted, ensuring all panels leave the machine fully-finished, without the need for any manual cleaning intervention after edgebanding.

The machines are able to produce panels with solid wood edges applied up to 20 mm in thickness and coil materials right down to 0.3mm. Feeding speed is 20m/min, including corner rounding passes. The machines are fully automatic in operation, each one is equipped with eight fully automated tape magazines. The TransLift panel handling system fitted to each machine is a panel return solution that works 100% of the time for 100% of all panel sizes.

Mr Gerald Jones goes on to say: “Our decision to move to single-sided edgebanding was driven by the company’s need to produce a greater variety of product in lower batch sizes. To combat the loss of output by replacing a double sided edgebander with a single-sided edgebander, we decided to add to the machines the TransLift panel return system. The result of the measures is that we have improved quality, panel aesthetics and have a much greater flexibility.

“We specified all of the new edgebanding machines with a very similar specification and capability. Hence, Sigma3 Ltd now have one supplier and a service arrangement also with one supplier.

“As the company was changing all of its edgebanders, the speed and efficiency of the installation was critical. All three machines were installed by FEN UK over a six week period and at all times the company retained at least two fully-operating machines. The installation went perfectly to plan for each of the three machines.”

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