In 2016, Alderwood Joinery relocated production to larger 550 sq m workshop premises, situated just five miles northwest of Newcastle city centre – a move that was precipitated by the need for additional space following the company’s decision to invest in a new CNC machining centre from SCM Group UK.

Alderwood Joinery began trading in early 2014, initially specialising in bespoke joinery for the construction industry, including custom-designed staircases, doors, and other architectural joinery. During this time, however, the company has broadened its customer base, and established a reputation for supplying quality joinery for the shopfitting sector, including work for a major high street coffee brand, as well as manufacturing bespoke reception desks for customer-facing office environments, and for production of furniture used in care and residential homes.

However, as business owner Wendy Cronin explains: “Much of the work being undertaken for this newer clientele often necessitates the production of multiples of the same components and, in order to service this market effectively, it soon became apparent that some investment in automated machinery was required to increase production speed and repeatability.” 

A key factor in the decision to proceed with investment in a CNC production unit was the timely appointment of workshop manager Mark Clennan. Having previously worked with CNC machinery, Mark was ideally placed to advise on the production capabilities of a CNC machine, and to put together an outline brief for the machining facilities Alderwood now needed.

Having had experience of working with SCM machines in the past, Mark was aware of the wide range of CNC models and options available from SCM Group, and had discussions with SCM’s area sales manager, Lee Gibson, to assess the company’s requirements. 

SCM Accord 25 FX-M makes light work of nested components for furniture framework at Alderwood Joinery

fter meeting with Alderwood, Lee had no hesitation in recommending the SCM Accord 25 FX-M CNC machining centre, with specifications tailored to handle the variety of work Alderwood Joinery was now regularly undertaking. “We did have discussions with other CNC manufacturers,” says Mark Clennan, “but the proposal from SCM Group ticked all the boxes for us, and the machine has continued to meet our expectations in the months since it was commissioned.”

Alderwood excels in fast, efficient production of furniture frames and formers 

he Accord 25 FX-M CNC installed at Alderwood is a five-axis machine, and is equipped with the high-performance SCM multi-function extruded aluminium worktable. It is capable of highly flexible production and provides exceptional precision and finish quality regardless of component shape and dimensions.

Nested cabinet components machined in minutes and batched ready for assembly

he aluminium worktable is fixed directly to the machine’s steel base, ensuring maximum stability and rigidity, and preventing vibration during machining. Holes in the worktable, spaced 120mm apart, provide suction from the integrated vacuum circuit, and the provision of two independent vacuum pumps allows the use of two discreet working areas when required. 

A matrix of T-shaped grooves, at 40mm spacing, allows optimum positioning of rubber seals and locking of support fixtures, such as suction cups or jigs. 

To meet Alderwood’s production requirements, Lee proposed a worktable with ‘X-Y’ machining area of 3650 x 2120mm – this represents the shortest and widest machining area available with the Accord 25 FX-M, which can be specified with a maximum worktable length up to 6170mm, and a minimum width of just 1320mm. In the Z axis, this model allows passage of components up to 250mm in height.

The Prisma KS machining head is equipped with a 12kW high-speed electrospindle, capable of rotation speeds from 600 to 24,000rpm, and features a quick release tool holder. To guarantee maximum strength and torque during routing, the head is fixed directly to the mobile gantry, facilitating high levels of stock removal, when necessary, and achieving the highest quality finish. 

Trainee operator, Ryan Robinson, is tutored by Alderwood’s workshop manager, Mark Clennan

uring machining operations, the gantry travels the length of the bed at a top speed of 60m/min, and operator safety at Alderwood is ensured by the installation of horizontal photocells, fitted around the machine perimeter, which cut machine speed to 25m/min if the operator steps within a metre of the machine.

TecPad allows the operator to monitor and adjust machining operations remotely

In addition to the standard mobile console control unit, the machine specification for Alderwood also included a TecPad – a handheld 7in touch screen remote control unit which provides truly mobile control of electrospindle rotation speed and speed of axes adjustment, and allows the operator to constantly monitor progress throughout machining operations.

Lee Gibson comments: “During initial discussions with Mark Clennan, it was clear that Alderwood needed to carry out nesting operations as well as machining individual workpieces, and switching between the different tasks needed to be fast and efficient.” 

Installation of the SCM Accord has also provided Alderwood with another diversification opportunity – as well as machining wood and timber, the company now machines Corian®, and is manufacturing reception area desking and storage systems destined for customers such as Nuffield Hospitals. 

In conclusion, Lee adds: “The SCM Accord 25 FX-M provides Mark with all the flexibility he needs to meet the challenging demands of Alderwood’s diverse production schedule.” 

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