Howard Brothers Joinery has one aim: Building Better Lives. This mission requires not only the attention to detail for which the business is widely known, but also commitment and a need to ensure it has the very best tools for its work.

Over the last two or three years, the company has been on a journey to lay the foundations for the future growth of the business. As part of the process, Howard Brothers Joinery has evaluated the opportunities afforded by advances in both software and machinery.  

“We do a lot of projects in the high-end commercial and residential fit-out markets,” explains director, Tim Hedges. He continues: “The work is bespoke and time frames are always very tight so it is important for us to have the systems in place to cope with the pressures these factors exert on the business.

“Our overall plan is to take advantage of the interconnectivity of our machinery via software, so that we can maximise the efficiencies this brings to our production. To do this effectively we believe that it is important to have machinery from the same manufacturer as this eliminates any potential incompatibility issues.

“We have had Homag machinery for around 20 years and it has always performed to a very high standard, both in terms of reliability and quality. Our portfolio from Homag now includes a Highflex edge bander, a BHX 200 CNC and, our most recent addition, an HPP 300 beam saw which was bought to replace an aging beam saw.”

Bottleneck in production

“Our old beam saw from Homag UK had done us proud. We bought it back in 1999 and it has certainly been put through its paces in the last 17 years, emerging with flying colours. Technology, however, has moved on, particularly on the software front and we began to experience a bit of a bottleneck in production with the saw not able to keep up with the significantly increased volume of work we now handle.

“The decision was made, therefore, to invest in a new saw and in line with our agreed policy to stay with one machine manufacturer, we talked to Homag about a replacement. The saw we set out to buy was significantly less specified than the one we ended up buying.

“Charles Smith from Homag UK was leading us on the specification of the machine and we were happy with the spec we finalised with him. Having placed the order, another machine then became available at a significantly improved lead time, so we decided to upgrade.

“This model has some additional features that we didn’t think we needed, however. Now it’s installed and operational we are really pleased we made the decision to go for the higher specified saw, despite the increased price tag.

“Whilst our MagiCut software was able to talk to the old saw, it was limited in its capacity. We were not able to collate all the cutting parts and it required a lot more user intervention, whereas with the new HPP 300 and optimisation software, we are able to send batch manufacturing sequences direct from the office down to the new saw. The saw then generates the best cutting plans enabling us to be more efficient in both material usage and time on the saw.”

30% efficiency gains

“Because we had a similar saw before, it wasn’t such a transformational leap for us, so we weren’t expecting a significant gain in throughput. Since we’ve had the HPP 300, however, we’ve been pleasantly surprised at the speed in terms of how we are able to process work through that department.

“This is a consequence of two things: firstly, the machine itself is 10-15% quicker than the previous saw. The more significant benefit, however, has come from the software integration that allows us to optimise directly onto the saw. It then orientates the cutting plans and allows us to plan ahead in terms of material delivery to the saw.

“Overall, we believe we have made about a 30% efficiency gain out of this set up. In addition, we have eliminated any downtime that was occurring due to the ageing of the old saw.

“The Homag HPP 300 has exceeded our expectations. We knew we were going to get a benefit, but it’s better than we had expected. As a result of these unforeseen productivity gains, we now expect the new saw to pay for itself earlier than we had planned.”

Homag – professional, friendly and efficient

“As a company to deal with, we find Homag very clear and transparent; we pay a premium to have its equipment, but we can easily justify the extra cost because of the interconnectivity of the machinery and software it offers. We know we can buy cheaper products out there, but we believe Homag products are a fair price for what they deliver to our business.

“Charles Smith always bends over backwards to help us, whilst Adele Hunt and the team at head office are always very professional, supportive and help us whenever they can.

“We are very happy relying on Homag products to give us the results we want. They are enabling us to follow through on our promise to deliver solutions right first time, from design to delivery of the finished product and to help us in our commitment to Building Better Lives,” concludes Tim Hedges.

HPP 300 – panel dividing saw

The HPP 300 beam saw is equipped for a wide range of cutting applications and is ready for networked production. It offers high performance in a compact space and is suitable for producing in batch size 1 as well as in smaller series. For those looking to automate storage and retrieval, the saw is ready for connection to automatic horizontal storage systems.

The HPP 300 has an 80mm saw blade projection as standard; customers, however, can select 95mm as an option. The saw is easy to operate, reliable and efficient and comes with an ergonomic table height of 920mm.

The rugged pressure beam guarantees first-class cut quality whilst the program fence delivers precision and dimensional accuracy. Its newly-designed saw carriage provides for exceptionally smooth running, high precision and low energy consumption.