HSL Chairs is a family run business, producing high quality furniture for over 50 years. With a head office and factory in Batley, West Yorkshire, just around the corner from where it all began, they now have over 500 employees. Their manufacturing process had been very traditional and labour intensive, using band saws and routers to machine the various parts needed for the frames of their renowned chairs.
The company decided to look at CNC and turned to Masterwood for solutions. After discussing their needs and seeing a machine being demonstrated, they ordered their first CNC, the MW1538M through-feed, which was installed in early 2016. When asked why HSL chose Masterwood to supply their CNC machine – manufacturing and design director Kevin Wall said: “We spoke to other companies, but we felt that with Masterwood we got more quality and strength.”
Within a year, HSL saw a dramatic change in their production, most importantly how much time could be saved, and so placed an order for a second machine.
With the possibilities that the new technology offered, they started to redesign their existing products, making the base and foundations the same but requiring less variation in components.
Kevin said: “It enabled us to reduce the problems with our existing products. The internal frames were much improved, preventing the inaccuracies we’d previously experienced. We were able to use the CNC to router the pieces, giving us far better accuracy.
“It reduced our time and made assembly easier, resulting in a more productive workforce. We control the quality right from the start of the product, until it goes out the door. If the frame is right, we have the accuracy all the way through the factory. We’ve decreased the number of parts we have to rework or adjust, saving us time. We would not have been able to grow like this without the CNCs.”
As production and demand continued to increase for HSL, a third CNC was added in December 2018, then a fourth in June 2021, another MW1538M. Machine operator, Rob, said: “Not only has it increased the output we are getting from the machines, but it’s increased the production through the factory and the final products we can get out the door as were the first point of production.
“We work more efficiently, we get as much as we can out of a sheet, we are going green, we want to not only as efficient as we can but as good for the plant as we can. Its pointless buying responsibly sourced timber if we’re throwing half the sheet into a skip.
“We get much more out of a sheet than we would previously, with smaller parts out of offcuts and parts that would be too small for someone to safely work on traditional machines. We have two of us that run the four Masterwood CNC machines, we’ve got it timed so while one is cutting one is being unloaded, there’s very little standing about.
“The machines are our main work horses, we couldn’t get the quality that we’ve got now without them. At the start with the one machine, we only needed that amount of capacity, but as we progressed and we learnt how we could get quicker and more production out of the machine.”
For more information on new and used Masterwood CNC machinery, including trade-in offers, or a visit the Gatwick showroom, contact Masterwood GB Ltd.