Sven Christiansen is a privately-owned, British furniture manufacturing company, grown from a partnership established in 1974. The company designs and manufactures solutions for all office furniture applications and environments, including office desk systems, reception desks, conference and meeting tables, office screens and wall storage systems, together with a comprehensive range of seating.
“With a turnover of around £13.5m Christiansen has a long-established reputation as a company of great integrity,” explains operations director, Patrick Rudge. He continues: “We stand behind our word and products, and always strive to provide the highest quality office furniture together with the very best service and value. In the rare event of an issue, we do whatever is necessary to resolve it to the customer’s satisfaction.
“The business has an extensive portfolio of standard products, however, a significant part of our production comprises of custom items. These may be variations on standard products or entirely bespoke items.
“To achieve quality and reliability, we have always invested in the best woodworking equipment available. Our partnership with Homag UK has grown out of this approach. The majority of machinery in our facility is from Homag; we even have a 27-year-old BP15 CNC machine which is still working on a daily basis. More impressive, perhaps, is the fact that we can still get spare parts for it from Homag!”
Changes in demand drive need for new machines
“The move away from producing two or three hundred pieces of a particular item towards batches of one, two or three items was putting pressure on our business. Batch size one production requires constant changing of set-ups, particularly on edgebanders. We were losing valuable production time having to manually do this and so we decided to invest in a machine that could handle such changes automatically.
Homag software makes machinery simple to operate
“Additionally, we needed to free-up some of our team to work in other areas, so we wanted a machine that could be operated by one or two people.
“When it’s time to invest in new equipment Homag is always on our short list. In this instance, it was the knowledge and experience of Homag’s Matt Long that swung the deal their way. We told Matt what we needed the edgebander system to achieve and he came back with a number of options for us to consider.”
Homag KAL 370 flexLine with Loopteq O-500 return system
“After visiting a number of factories in the UK who had similar equipment we settled on the Homag KAL 370 flexLine edgebander (now known as the Edgeteq S-500) with a Loopteq O-500 return system. The beauty of this configuration is that you can put any size of panel through it and it automatically processes it without having to manually set up for each different-sized panel.
“The model we chose has an edge tape magazine that holds up to 12 different tapes which are automatically changed as required. The KAL 370 also has the airTec glueless edge system which creates a superbly finished, seamless edge.
“The return system even enables the edgebander to be operated by just one person. Once the panel has been edged on one side it automatically goes onto a return conveyor which takes it back to the operator. He then turns the panel and puts it back onto the machine to do the next edge. The flexibility this gives us is immense, as are the time and labour savings.
The Homag KAL 370 flexLine with Loopteq O-500 return system for panel return
“Our old double-sided edgebander is often only operating productively for four hours in an eight hour shift, the rest of the time taken up with changing settings. With our new KAL 370, we can run it continuously throughout the shift, so our productivity is massively increased.
“The new machine is also very easy to operate. We sent our people over to Germany for training before the machine was delivered. Then, once it had been installed, the Homag engineer provided more training at our premises, staying until our guys were one hundred per cent happy.”
The Homag Centateq E-310 CNC
“We took delivery of our new CNC machine just a month after the edgebander had been installed. This Homag Centateq E-310 CNC was a replacement for an older model. Again, one of the main drivers here was to have a machine that was both more productive and accurate.
“The need was for a CNC that would enable us to machine complex parts and also edge the shaped panels. The E-310 is the perfect match for us. All of the essential functions are in clear view and mounted directly on the machine.
“The operators can see what’s going on through the large window and because, due to Homag’s latest advances in safety technology, there are no prohibitive barriers around the machine, the operators have easy access to the table from any side.
“There is so much this machine can do; it’s perfect for batch size one production. The table clamping system is quick and easy to use with its LED positioning system and the woodWOP software used to operate the machine is fast and intuitive. From drilling and routing through to sawing and edgebanding, it is a tremendous piece of kit.”
Excellent working relationship
“One of the factors that keep us going back to Homag time and time again is the excellent working relationship we have with their people. Everyone from Matt Long to the installation engineers and administrative staff is thoroughly professional, friendly and helpful. They are a pleasure to deal with.
“As for the machines themselves, they are extremely reliable and the quality of the finished furniture we produce using them is first class. The Sven Christiansen brand is known in the industry for high quality, so it is vital for us that we maintain this level of finish and Homag help us to do just that.”
“From a financial point of view, we’ve saved on time and labour costs, particularly with the KAL 370 flexLine edgebander with its Loopteq return system. It can be run by one operator or two if we are running large panels. Compared to our double-sided edgebander which needs four operators, this delivers huge savings.
“As far as the CNC is concerned, it is much more accurate than our previous machine and consequently, it too gives us a better finished product. Additionally, we can cut, shape and edge the panels all on the one machine which makes life much more efficient and straightforward.
“Overall, we’re delighted with the new Homag equipment and we believe the machines will pay for themselves in well under five years,” concludes Patrick Rudge.
Fore a demonstration or more information about Homag edgebanding systems or CNC solutions, contact Adele Hunt at Homag UK on 01332 856424.