One of the UK’s largest and most successful suppliers of furniture to leading retailers such as John Lewis, Marks & Spencer and Next, Westbridge Furniture Design, is always looking for ways to further enhance the quality of its products while maximising the efficiency of its manufacturing operations.
To achieve these goals, the company has recently been working with adhesives expert Chemique Adhesives to improve production techniques not only for its furniture products, but also for the packaging used to ship them. As a result of this collaboration, Westbridge has achieved considerable time savings and has received positive feedback from customers worldwide.
Westbridge operates out of three UK sites which between them, total more than 450,000 sq ft of production, design and office space. The company employs 1300 people in the UK and at its two dedicated cut-and-sew factories in Romania. Its full product range includes more than 150,000 variants and every new design must be tested and shown to meet strict performance criteria before it goes into production.
When Westbridge first contacted Chemique, it was looking for a supplier of single part water-based adhesives. After an initial consultation, specialists from Chemique assessed Westbridge’s requirements in detail, and suggested that an alternative – ProAqua 2, a two-part water-based adhesive system ideally suited to bonding foam, wood and fabrics – would be a better option.
ProAqua 2 is a high-grade adhesive that guarantees no fabric bleed-through and excellent tack on difficult substrates. It is a two-part water-based product that is safe and user-friendly and offers excellent adhesion when bonding foam to wood and fabrics. These characteristics, together with ease of application and proven performance, make it an ideal choice for heavy duty furniture applications. Westbridge uses the ProAqua adhesive for fabricating foam cushions and sofa arms.
“We were very impressed with the performance, convenience and economy of the water-based adhesive, so we asked Chemique if they could also help us find a good bonding solution for our packaging,” says Paul Myerscough, works director at Westbridge Furniture.
“They suggested the Protak range of hot-melt adhesives which eliminated the need for tape. Using these adhesives, we can put the boxes together very quickly as the adhesive dries almost instantly. This way we save time whilst also creating a visually appealing package in keeping with our high-end bespoke products.”
As part of on-going improvements, Chemique also offered a hot melt system from its Protak range for bonding foam to sofa frames and eliminating the need for staples. This not only improves efficiency but also removes any foam pinching caused by stapling, giving the furniture a fuller, smoother appearance.
Protak is a technically advanced range of adhesives based on EVA, PUR, Polyolefin and resins. The products in the range have been specially formulated to provide high adhesive performance in a variety of applications such as edgebanding, panel lamination, profile wrapping, product assembly, foam bonding and packaging.
Chemique has supplied and currently maintains all of Westbridge Furniture’s hot melt machines, hoses and guns and has also installed overhead gantries and counter balances to improve safety, reduce damages and improve operator efficiency.
Westbridge also required six spray booths for adhesive application. Chemique designed and installed these booths and now maintains them when necessary as part of the Chemique Adhesives Total Service Package, which includes tailor-made adhesive and sealant solutions combined with full engineering and technical support.
“The spray booths are working very well for us and, with the excellent training our staff have received from Chemique Adhesives, they are helping us to achieve significantly improved efficiency and productivity across the board,” says Paul Myerscough.
“We enjoy working with the Chemique team as they are proactive in solving problems and suggesting improvements – and their expertise means we can rely on them to come up with the right solution. But what really counts for us is that they think both inside and outside the box – and that’s a key skill in our industry!”