Ridgeway Furniture is a carpentry-based manufacturing business located in Leighton established in 1988 as a bespoke joinery manufacturer, making stairs, hotel furniture and kitchens. During the 1990s, as the golf and leisure industries grew, the company began to specialise in changing room furniture.

Ridgeway designs, manufactures, installs and maintains changing-room furniture crafted from solid wood and veneer, and has an excellent knowledge of wood- based manufacturing. Having recently increased factory space to expand production, Ridgeway’s managing director, Mark Cutler, identified the need for new manufacturing processes and machinery, so he contacted Roger Gabb at SCM Group UK, who had supplied a K500 edgebander seven years previously.

To date, Ridgeway has utilised the traditional ‘screw and dowel’ method of cabinet construction. Using a small drilling machine, with the increase in production, it soon became evident a faster machine with minimum setting up time was required. SCM’s Cyflex F900 PRO BR was demonstrated in SCM’s showroom, and after an impressive demo an order was placed.

Ridgeway’s operations manager, Dave Watson, comments: “Almost every panel in our cabinets requires some type of drilling or routering, so we thought the Cyflex, which takes up very little floor space, was the ideal machine, in preference to a large CNC machining centre. As the Cyflex can now additionally have a routing electro-spindle as well as the standard grooving saw, the specification met our requirements.”

The Cyflex bakelite worktable offers zero set-up time, designed to assist the operator and avoid any setting-up procedures. The table allows space for all vertical and horizontal drilling spindles and the grooving saw blade to pass through to machine each panel whatever the positions of the holes and grooves. An automatic side aligning device with the TP detecting system for calibrating the opposite panel side reference, securely holds the panels even with the most difficult situations.

The F18 drilling unit, with 12 vertical and six horizontal independent spindles (four along the X axis and two along the Y axis) and an integrated grooving blade along the X axis provides the machining of the panels together with the 5.5kW, 18000rpm vertical routing spindle and ISO 30 rapid tool changeover. Maximum X - Y axis speed is 40metres/min. SCM Group’s high powered Xilog programming system is very easy to use and is the same as fitted to SCM’s machining centres. Auto centralised lubrication is included. Maximum workpiece dimensions are 3050 x 900 x 60mm, minimum 200 x 70 x 10mm.

Dave Watson continues: “We were so impressed with the Cyflex, within four weeks, we decided to purchase a second machine so we could operate the two Cyflexes in tandem. Programming the machines is done on the easy-to-use on-board computer or in the office and simply transferred by a memory stick.”

At the same time, Ridgeway’s edge-banding requirements were reviewed, so a more up-to-date machine was considered, and a machine in SCM’s Nottingham showroom was demonstrated and immediately ordered. The model S1000 T-ERL, has a very high specification, including the I-Touch computer, and numerous electronic setting devices including the top pressure beam – together with all the top mounted units – and the positioning of the pressure rollers.

Operating at a variable feed speed of 10-22m/min, a panel spacer at the infeed ensures the best feed rate of the panels is obtained. An anti-adhesive unit is followed by an RT-E panel edge trimming unit – fitted with diamond cutters – to give a perfect panel edge for gluing and removing any imperfections since the panels were cut. A gluing unit with a hot melt pre-melting hopper feed unit ensures continuous glue flow even when processing long panels continuously.

An end trimming unit is followed by an RSP in-line top and bottom trimming unit and then an RI/S top and bottom tiltable edge trimming unit with a two-position pneumatic kit for fast adjustment of the cutters for different edge trimming:  straight, radiused or chamfered. A corner rounding unit is followed by edge scraping and an oscillating buffing unit.

Dave Watson comments: “The S1000 is the latest edge bander and as expected is very easy to program and set up between jobs. Being longer than our old SCM machine, it is much easier to gain access to the operating units and make any necessary adjustments and to change cutters. We apply mostly 2mm thick PVC and the finish on our panels is superb.”

As Ridgeway had previously sent its laminating to an outside supplier, it was decided to bring the operation in-house to give maximum flexibility and offer shorter delivery times, so an SCM press was ordered, the model GS 6/90 30-13. With a 3300 x 1300mm capacity and heated platens with a 15kW oil boiler to heat them, applying laminate to chipboard, MDF or other substrates is quickly carried out.

Dave Watson concludes: “We are currently very busy supplying our lockers to fitness centres and golf clubs, as well as furniture to hotels, so the acquisition of the new SCM machines has been of considerable benefit to our business. Training by SCM has been excellent and we look forward to many years of good service from the CNC drills, edge-bander and press.”