Edinburgh-based architectural interior manufacturers and one of Scotland’s largest independent joinery manufacturers, Jason Baker Design, has recently purchased a Makor Start One spraying machine from HOMAG UK. The investment was made to increase the company’s throughput, improve the quality of its finish, and enhance the health and safety of its employees.
“We design and manufacture a wide variety of joinery products for the commercial market,” explains Jason Baker, MD at Jason Baker Design. “Like most manufacturers in our industry, we employ a French polisher trained in all elements of finishing – from shellac-based French polishing to spraying of synthetic coatings. Working in our spray shop, he would apply a wide variety of finishes by hand across a huge range of products.
“With the consistent growth of the business, we recognised that we probably needed at least one or two more polishers to keep up with demand, but we didn’t have the space for these additional craftsmen. Consequently, we decided to evaluate automating some of our finishing processes by introducing a spraying machine.
“Initial research suggested there were three main suppliers in the market, one of which was HOMAG UK. We have invested heavily in HOMAG woodworking machinery over the past five years and have found the quality of the equipment and the aftersales support first class. Accordingly, our first port of call was to speak to HOMAG before reaching out to the other two companies.”
The decision to invest in the Makor Start One
“Once we had gathered all the information, it was clear that the compact nature of the Makor Start One established it as the front runner for our 5000ft2 factory. HOMAG then arranged for us to visit a manufacturer based in Huddersfield that was already operating this particular Makor spraying machine.
“Seeing the Start One in action was really useful, particularly as we were able to talk to the operator who used the machine on a daily basis. With what we learned from this visit it quickly became apparent that the Makor Start One was a good fit for our business and so we placed the order with HOMAG UK.
“It was delivered in May this year and installed by HOMAG’s partner in Scotland, AWMS, who did a great job. The commissioning and training were conducted by a Makor engineer who spent a week with us getting everything up and running.
“As it was a completely new system for us, it took a little time to get accustomed to it. Once we’d set it up a few times, however, we were soon fully operational and it’s a pretty simple machine to use.”
“Due to the value of the machine, we qualified for a Digital Development Loan from the Scottish Government. This interest-free loan facility is aimed at SMEs wanting to improve their digital capabilities and/or processes. Our goal, to automate the company’s finishing process, was a very good case study for them so once we’d completed the application, it was a quick and efficient procedure to obtain the funding.
“We borrowed one hundred per cent of the value of the machine at zero per cent over five years. In terms of interest alone, we estimate this will save us around £20,000 over the period of the loan, making it a very worthwhile exercise.”
Business benefits already clear to see
“When we embarked on this project, we had three clear objectives we wanted to achieve with the automated spraying solution:
- Increase the capacity of our finishing process without additional employees
- Improve the finish quality of all our products
- Enhance the health and safety of our employees
“The Makor Start One has delivered on every front. The speed and efficiency of the Start One is truly amazing, yet we have not had to employ more staff. Despite the increase in throughput, the quality of finish is second to none because the spraying area is a controllable enclosed environment. Being an enclosed area means our staff are not subjected to lacquer or solvent fumes, making it a much safer and healthier work environment.
“Although it is early days, results so far indicate that the machine is on target to pay for itself within three years which is excellent. This will help us grow the business from its current turnover of £1.5m as we now can meet the ever-increasing demand for our products.
“Having the service and support from HOMAG UK takes a weight off our shoulders. They are a great partner to work with; all the people are friendly, professional and eager to help, and the machinery is technically advanced and totally reliable,” concludes Baker.
For more information or a demonstration of the Makor or HOMAG machinery and software, please contact Adele Hunt at HOMAG UK on 01332 856424.