Coventry-based Burbidge & Son has a rich and diverse history stretching back to 1867, when founder Henry Burbidge started the company with capital of 10 shillings. Since then, the company has made everything from bobbins and quills to parts for Black & Decker Workmates, wooden car components, guitar bodies and teak handles for electric kettles.

In more recent times the company, now headed up by Henry’s great-grandson Ben Burbidge, has established a niche in kitchen and bathroom furniture production. This resulted in Ben being invited to take on the role of master of The Worshipful Company of Furniture Makers in 2016. At the same time, Burbidge & Son was awarded the prestigious Manufacturing Guild Mark by the Worshipful Company of Furniture Makers.

Mike Procter, operations director for Burbidge & Son, takes up the story: “The company is very proud of its unique heritage, and in 2017 we celebrated our 150th anniversary with a new corporate identity and a renewed passion to drive the business forward.

“One of the business’ key goals for expansion was a new venture to grow our cabinet manufacturing capacity and offer a much wider product offering. Along with our recently purchased CAD-CAM software, Homag’s Cabteq S-200 and Drillteq V-200 were the key elements in our plan to achieve this goal.

“Our aim was to separate the kitchen and bathroom furniture manufacturing into two separate, streamlined production cells. Analysis of our processes clearly showed a potential bottleneck in the cabinet pressing and drilling/routing areas, so we knew we had to invest in new machinery to prevent this becoming an issue.

The Cabteq S-200 offers high-quality performance, alongside Homag’s reliable service and support

Selecting the right partners for the future

“The company has been a long-time user of Homag machinery – amongst equipment we already had were a vertical CNC drilling centre and a cabinet press. Naturally, these machines set the benchmark for our requirements.

“It wouldn’t, however, have been prudent for us to simply opt for Homag solutions without evaluating market alternatives. For the CNC drill, this was relatively straightforward – we shortlisted two respected Italian brands alongside the Homag. 

“The cabinet press, on the other hand, was not so simple – most of the alternative brands don’t have a representative company in the UK. Consequently, whilst their machinery may be equally as good, they simply can’t offer the level of service and support to match Homag UK.

“Reliable service and support are vitally important for us and, with the price, performance and quality of Cabteq S-200 more than matching the alternatives, we were confident to place an order for this model. 

“The CNC vertical drilling machine was an altogether tougher decision. We had experience of all three brands under consideration but, after a period of careful investigation, it was the overall price/performance ratio, backed by the excellent service support from Homag, that were the deciding factors for us.

“The Drillteq V-200 we settled on enables us to not only drill and rout accurately in one pass, but it also gives us the ability to shape curved units on the machine using the CAD-CAM software.

Improved throughput and flexibility

“The addition of these two machines has enabled us to set up two production cells in our 20,000ft2 unit – one for kitchens and the other for bathrooms. This has significantly improved the workflow through the factory and added flexibility to our manufacturing process.

“We’re delighted with the improvements we have been able to achieve since acquiring the two new Homag machines. There’s no doubt these technical advances have been helped by our partnership with Homag UK – the people there are always helpful, friendly and professional. We know we can rely on them and we’re confident that in 10 years’ time or more, they will still have spare parts for our equipment if and when we need them,” concludes Mike. 

For a demonstration or more information on Homag’s Cabteq or Drillteq machines, contact Adele Hunt at Homag UK on 01332 856424.