Over the last 24 years, James Johnson has achieved recognition as one of the leading specialists in bespoke joinery, providing clients, architects and interior designers with products of exceptional quality and reliability. The company turns over £11m and works with leading names such as Overbury plc, Lend Lease and ISG, completing projects for the likes of the National Theatre, Sky and BP.

Based in Dagenham, the company has dealt with Homag UK for many years, its first purchase being a second-hand Brandt edgebander. “The nature of our work requires that we invest in the best machinery possible,” explains Ian Silk, James Johnson’s joinery director. He continues: “Last year we were looking to invest in a CNC, a new edgebander and a beam saw.

“When we carried out our research which included evaluating four or five brands, we were extremely impressed with the quality and performance of the Homag Group machinery. At the time, Homag was planning to have a Holzma beam saw and a Brandt edgebander on show at the W14 exhibition and so we did a deal to purchase the Holzma HPP 300 beam saw and Brandt Ambition 1650 FC from the exhibition.”

One good thing leads to another
“At W14 we also saw the Weeke Vantage 100 CNC and the BHX 055 vertical CNC machines in action and, as one of our existing flatbed CNCs had just broken down, we made the decision to invest in both the Vantage and the BHX CNCs.

“We were doing more and more panel work and realised that the BHX 055 would be good for small panels whilst the Vantage 100 flatbed machine would handle bigger panels faster and to a much higher standard.

“Although we were offered a finance package from Homag, we decided to buy the equipment outright. Probably the biggest factor in our purchasing decision was the total integration of all the machines.

“Even though the machines come from different companies within the group, they all run off software that is compatible making life much easier for our operators. We run woodWOP, MagiCut and a nesting package which are easy to use and help improve efficiencies within the business.”

Weeke Vantage 100 nesting CNC
“The Vantage 100 has made a big impact on our business. It is easy to program and is so fast. Currently, we are making a large quantity of panels that have hundreds of holes in them and with the old CNC it was taking eight hours a panel to process. With the Weeke Vantage 100, however, we have halved that time to just four hours, delivering an impressive 100% improvement.

“The speed of the machine, however, does not compromise the quality which is much better than we could achieve with our previous set up. With the Vantage 100 we gain all round; it is simple for the team in the office to program jobs and also easy for the machine operators to produce the necessary work.”

Versatile, accurate and fast
“The Weeke Vantage 100 is fantastic; it has a three-axis head which gives us more versatility combined with speed and accuracy. We can do a lot more with it compared to the previous CNC and we are looking forward to attracting new business with these added capabilities. Given all this, we are expecting the machine to pay for itself within three years.

“One big benefit the Vantage 100 has given us is a competitive edge when it comes to turnaround times. These days, the market is very sensitive to delivery times; customers want work on site very quickly after ordering and the new CNC enables us to minimise production times and get high quality jobs to site fast.

“Another significant gain has been thanks to the vacuum system which allows us to cut right through the boards. Previously, we could not cut completely through the board; this meant we had to hand trim out each part when it came off the machine. With the Vantage, that additional work is a thing of the past, the parts come off the machine and do not require any trimming.”

Weeke BHX 055 vertical CNC routing and drilling
“A lot of our work involves panels and carcass construction and the BHX 055 is a real workhorse when it comes to this type of production. The panels are cut on the Holzma beam saw, edged on the Brandt and drilled on the BHX 055 before being put together on the bench.

“Previously the carcasses were constructed by hand with biscuit joints but now they are drilled on the Weeke and dowelled which saves us at least 50% in terms of production time. In addition, it gives us a better quality finished product which is great.

“Overall, we are delighted with the investments we have made in Homag Group equipment and we are looking forward to continuing our close working relationship with Homag UK in the years ahead,” concludes Ian Silk.

For information on Homag Group products and software or to arrange a machine demonstration, contact Adele Dixon at Homag UK on 01332 856424.