As a family business, R & S Tonks has remained faithful to their critical value of ensuring product quality. Following many trusted years’ service from its Wadkin CP32 sliding table panel saw, it was time to upgrade. 

After considerable research and deliberation, Andy Eardley, R & S Tonks’ workshop manager, soon realised that there was only one name capable of meeting the precision and bespoke machine requirements – an Altendorf from Daltons Wadkin.

From humble beginnings over 65 years ago operating from a rented stable behind a hotel, to its purpose-built factory and office unit, R & S Tonks has undoubtedly developed into an industry leader offering a top notch building refurbishment and maintenance service to blue chip and independent businesses throughout the hospitality sector.

Many elements from within have aided the company to grow, such as the very best manufacturing equipment and an exceptional team of experienced joiners and tradesmen – many of which have more than 20 years’ service within the business. 

Daltons Wadkin has previously supplied R & S Tonks with machinery, servicing and training. Daltons Wadkin, also a family business, and R & S Tonks share similar core values, an important factor for Robert Tonks, the current managing director of R & S Tonks.

Andy Eardley’s comments on its requirements and reasons for choosing an Altendorf:

“Our customers are demanding even shorter turnaround times and we must be able to offer 100% product quality and repeatability. Whilst needing to improve the core functions of our sliding table panel saw, we need a machine with the flexibility that will enable us to open up new markets. We need perfection and we need it right first time. Having searched the market, an Altendorf panel saw is the only answer.”

After discussing the almost limitless combination of options available for an Altendorf saw, it became apparent that the versatile F45 ProDrive tailored exactly to R & S Tonks’ production requirements.

To cater for large panel material, the Altendorf F45 was equipped with a 3200mm sliding table and a 300mm-wide infeed support roller, which Is particularly useful when cutting longer pieces against the extended 1600mm rip fence. The convenient on/off switches on the sliding table improve safety and operating ergonomics, allowing large workpieces to be loaded before switching the machine on.

In addition to panel work, crosscutting timber material needed to be catered for. Increased cutting depth to 204mm was included, paired with a VARIO drive motor allowing a vast array of material and sizes to be cut with ease.

“The quick, fine digital adjustments we can now make on the crosscut-mitre fence reduces at least 50% operator time opposed to our previous cutting method,” comments Andy. “The rip fence is CNC controlled, we store programs in the ProDrive’s memory function. This again saves a significant amount of set-up time, whilst eliminating any chance of operator error thanks to the machine’s accuracy.”

Daltons Wadkin’ factory-trained engineers delivered and commissioned the machine, providing familiarisation training to maximise the efficiency of the Altendorf.

“This is only one example of many growing businesses making the transition to CNC-assisted technology,” comments Daltons Wadkin director, Alex Dalton. “Automated processes and more intelligent machines are a necessity to improve accuracy, efficiency and labour saving. Repetitive work which would normally be done by hand, and guess-work such as length compensation can be minimised to make workflow processes smoother.”

The Altendorf F45 ProDrive has now been with R & S Tonks for 12 months, and has served each and every purpose to the full.

Andy Eardley’s words of advice for anyone in the market for a new sliding table saw are clear:

“Speak to the right suppliers, and existing machine owners who have first-hand experience using the saws. The time we have taken researching, and making the informed decision has paid the business back in dividends.”