At the previous Ligna in 2017, Homag set out its plans to revolutionise the industry with digital solutions that would transform the working processes within manufacturing facilities. Many thought that those ambitions were, to put it politely, a little fanciful. Yet here we are looking back on Ligna 2019 where Homag has delivered those concepts as working machines and software solutions.

Yet again, this global market leader has taken the dream of the workshop of the future and turned it into reality. Not only that, but they have done it for small carpentry shops and industrial sized businesses alike. Automation is no longer the preserve of the big manufacturers. These new Homag technologies are within reach of the small independent producers as well as the giants of the industry and they are set to dramatically change manufacturing.

Automation for all workshops – Homag displayed an entry level automated production cell concept

The company’s focus has been on developing clever tools that simplify the daily working life of machine operators and support working processes with minimal effort. Throughout, Homag has been sensitive to the restraints of small businesses; as a consequence, there is no need to invest in an entire system. Users can instead opt for individual machines, smart hardware, software and digital assistants which can be integrated into a workshop as funds allow.

“The company has gone to great lengths to ensure these new digital solutions are available for every size of business,” underlines Simon Brooks, managing director of Homag UK. “Now even small carpentry workshops can create an automated cell that will handle the main processes within their business.

“The digital revolution goes way beyond machines. Homag has introduced a number of web-based applications such as cabinetCreator, productionManager and productionAssist that will transform business processes. These tools will help manufacturers speed up production, improve efficiencies, eliminate errors and reduce costs.”

cabinetCreator – Homag’s latest web-based application speeds up production, improve efficiencies, eliminate errors and reduce costs

Automated production cell concepts

To demonstrate how every business can create their own individual workshop step by step, Homag set up three production cells at the show. The first cell featured the Sawteq B-130, Homag’s smallest panel dividing saw, the Edgeteq.

S-200 entry-level edge bander with the airTec unit and a Centateq P-110 CNC with 360° clearance and all-round bumper safety technology.

Homag’s Centateq-210 – high performance, handling and flexibility in a compact footprint

he second cell included the Centateq N-600 nesting CNC with five-axis technology, the latest option to directly insert connector fittings and the new labelling software woodprint 4.0. This was supported with a Drillteq D-500 horizontal drilling, trimming and dowel-driving machine, the Edgeteq S-380 profiLine with airTec, EVA and PUR bonding, and a Loopteq return system for one-person operation, a Sandteq W-200 compact entry level wide-belt sander and a Cabteq S-250 furniture press.

The last cell was aimed at medium-sized panel-processing businesses with an interlinked and fully networked cell that autonomously processes panels. Among other items the driverless transport system, TRANSBOT, was used in this cell. The focus was on the interaction between humans and machines. The result demonstrated was a fully autonomous production process from cutting to the finished packed furniture, ready for delivery.

New flexible edge solutions from Homag 

Ligna saw the premiere of several new edge banding machines from Homag including two new entry-level models, the Edgeteq S-200 and S-240, along with the Edgeteq S-500 and S-800 series.

The Edgeteq S-200 can process edges up to a thickness of 6mm and workpieces up to a thickness of 60mm. Another new option in this series is the hot air reactivation airTec unit. This means, that in addition to the glue application with the gluing roller (also for processing PUR), the visual zero joint can now be created. Both systems can be used flexibly as required.

Joining the S-200 is a completely new base edge bander, the Edgeteq S-240 model 1240. This offers a high level of automation and has the QA65N overhead glue application system featuring an easy cleaning and emptying function.

With feed speeds of 20, 25 or 30m/min, the Edgeteq S-500 series can now be equipped with the MS40 multi-level routing unit, the MF60 Servotrim multi-function profile routing unit, the BF40 fine routing unit and the MZ40 multi-level scraper unit.

Homag Edgeteq-S-500 series can now be equipped with new routing, Servotrim and scraper units

Saving time and money in manufacturing processes is vital; Homag, therefore, has put significant effort into making gains wherever it can. The new Edgeteq S-500 profiLine is a case in point. Equipped with an airTec unit for optical zero joints, it also has two overhead application units for PUR and EVA. The bonding system automatically changes between EVA, PUR and airTec saving valuable setup time.

Homag’s CNCs continue to break new ground

The new Centateq P-210 series does not follow the standard configuration for this performance class: a gantry design with a drive unit on both sides, a drilling gear and trimming spindle arranged separately with two independent Z axes, a dynamic field division for shuttle operation, and a dual-circuit vacuum system with double-lip technology for infinitely variable adjustment of the clamping equipment.

The convenience package offers the option to control the machine directly from the machine body. The mobile terminal features the new powerTouch 2 user interface with a PC87 machine control unit. With simple and intuitive slot assignment and automatic, location-specific generation of the suction unit assignment, this series sets the benchmark for performance and ease of machine operation.

 The Centateq P-210 can be equipped with up to 24 tool change slots and up to 21 vertical and 10 horizontal drilling spindles with patented spindle clamp. The user can choose between three-, four-, and five-axis heads, and gluing is now also possible. 

Despite all this, the Centateq’s installation area is barely larger than that of its little brother, the P-110, and is freely accessible from three sides. Overall, the new Centateq P-210 strikes a good balance between space requirements, performance, handling and flexibility.

The new benchmark in gluing technology: the powerEdge Pro Duo gluing unit

Over the past few months, Homag experts have been working behind closed doors to develop a completely new unit for edge banding on CNC machines. The result is the brand-new powerEdge Pro Duo gluing unit for the Centateq E-310 and E-500. 

This groundbreaking technology brings glueless CNC edgebanding within reach of many more businesses providing the same edge quality as Homag’s top end laser edge CNC edgebanding routers.   

Homag’s powerful programming system allows defined and controllable parameters at each point along the contour. Quality-enhancing variables such as pressure, temperature and speed are easily managed in an intelligent control system resulting in perfect edge quality.

Nesting with the Centateq N-600

The Centateq N-600 nesting machine trims and drills parts – with five-axis technology, if desired – and even offers the option to insert connector fittings directly. Homag demonstrated this process on the Cabineo drilling unit with a new Cabineo feed system. Once the fully processed parts were ready to be transported from the outfeed of the Centateq, the Feedbot C-500 took over. 

The Centateq-600 nesting CNC – directly inserts connector fittings

To remove the panels from the nesting machine, the robot takes parts from the outfeed of the Centateq one at a time to produce an optimised stack in masked time as the router nests the next panel. This stack is constructed in such a way that each layer contains as many parts as possible. The resulting stack geometry reduces the stack height and, in turn, the transport costs. 

The stack is also more stable, so the workpieces are perfectly prepared for further processing on an edge processing machine. Using an automated system adds value and results in increased operation output with a higher level of process quality.

The future of panel dividing 

Homag has set the benchmark for panel dividing saws for some time and its latest (and smallest), the Sawteq B-130, is not only competitively priced (in a similar bracket to a well-equipped circular saw), but also features modern saw control software. This provides a significantly more automated cutting process that is very precise and efficient. 

Offering still more power for the trade, the Sawteq B-200 was demonstrated at Ligna with a lifting table. The B-200 comes standard with a 60mm saw blade projection that can optionally be increased to 80mm or even 95mm. Other needs-based options are available for greater throughput, speed and processing diversity. For example, Power Concept PRACTIVE; this enables several strips with different cross cuts to be cut to length simultaneously – significantly increasing output.

At the show Homag demonstrated its best-selling saw, the Sawteq B-300 with a storage system feed, an integrated feed-stacking table with panel labeling system and intelliGuide professional.

Homag demonstrated intelliGuide professional – the first assistance system which reacts to operators

intelliGuide professional is the first assistance system to react intelligently to the actions of the machine operator. An integrated camera system including workplace lighting and special software make this possible. intelliGuide professional sees which part is currently being fed to the saw. It also recognises the alignment of the workpiece. If the actions deviate from the cutting pattern, intelliGuide will either flexibly adapt the cutting process – where possible and expedient – or give the machine operator instructions for appropriate action.

For this, intelliGuide professional is equipped not only with the LED strip at the cutting line, but also with a laser projection unit. The latter projects clear instructions for processing and actions directly onto the current workpiece. Arrows on the workpiece show the operator how to turn and position it, for example. Thanks to the self-explanatory pictograms, the operator always knows which steps he should carry out next.

Homag surprises with a diverse range of surface processing products 

For several years now, Homag has been continuously expanding its strategy and expertise in surface processing. Since making its debut in the painting product segment, Homag has so far concentrated on the Sprayteq S-100 series.

This spraying machine is specifically designed for small and medium-sized companies looking for an entry-level solution for automated spray painting. Now, in partnership with the world-famous painting system specialist, MAKOR, Homag provides a comprehensive product portfolio that includes machines for surface painting as well as for profile and window painting. 

And, as you would expect from a surfaces specialist, Homag offers everything from application technology, to essential drying systems, right through to material handling.

Lamteq F-200 – simplified laminating requiring only two people

In terms of laminating, its Lamteq F-200 can be operated by just two people, thanks to partially automated material handling. Further reductions in manufacturing costs stem from an optimised parts flow. This means that a greater number of parts can be laminated with an equal amount of effort.

Surface apps for more efficient working

Homag is also supporting its customers and partners in surface processing by aiding digital transformation and providing useful apps. 

The intelliCoating, intelliLaminating, intelliMoulding, and intelliSanding apps are digital multifunction tools available free of charge. These user-friendly digital tools help every machine operator to perform individual tasks within their working environment with greater ease and no fuss.

intelliServiceNet – the solution of the future

The new intelliServiceNet enables users to receive faster, more focused assistance based on the latest, future-proof technology. It is a development of the TeleServiceNet system that made Homag specialists available by phone to answer any questions wood processing businesses may have about machine technology. 

Homag has now taken this service to a higher level with intelliServiceNet. Users simply contact TeleService employees as usual, either via the ServiceBoard App, by telephone or by email. Machine operators will be able to use intelliServiceNet to view previous contact with TeleService via a web portal. intelliServiceNet will also offer advanced diagnostic tools for the machine and the use of various Service apps, such as those aimed at predictive maintenance.

Under the new system Homag TeleService employees will have access to more information about the machine in advance. This will make physical data available for TeleService employees to analyse in advance, allowing production to be resumed more quickly after machine faults.

The future has arrived

Simon Brooks again:“The advances the company has made over the last two years have totally changed the woodworking landscape. Arguably, the biggest winners from this technological revolution will be the small to medium sized workshops that will now be able to compete with larger manufacturers by investing in affordable automated systems.

“For me, no visit to Ligna is complete without a walk through Homag’s Innovation Centre. This year it was particularly rewarding, not only to journey back in time through the technological milestones in the furniture manufacturing industry, but also to look ahead at machines of the future, the intelligent workpiece and new, smart technologies.

“Here in the UK we are looking forward to working with customers to develop the right automated solutions for their own business needs. Whether you’re looking at creating totally automated production cells or having single operator machine solutions to improve productivity, we’re here to help,”

concludes Simon.

For a demonstration or further information about the latest wide range of Homag machinery, software solutions or other services, contact Adele Hunt at Homag UK on 01332 856424.