Performance Doorset Solutions (PDS) is on its way to achieving its stated ambition of becoming the leading manufacturer of quality timber doorsets, timber windows and high volume made-to-measure joinery in the UK.

From humble beginnings in a small industrial unit in 2003 PDS now operates from substantial purpose built facilities in Littleborough, Lancashire. 

Mike Bratt, site director of PDS explains: “When PDS was established in 2003, it was with the clear understanding that we would be a UK manufacturer of quality products. Since then the business has evolved into a bespoke timber manufacturer, satisfying not only the needs of our customers, but the stringent legislative requirements of the UK construction sector.” 

Right tool for the job

Getting the right tool for the job has become a key requirement of the leadership team at PDS, which has over the years built up a comprehensive and in-depth knowledge of all things joinery, whilst developing andunderstanding of modern manufacturing lean methodologies. 

With principles based on safety, quality and repeatable improved effective, efficient and economic performance, the abilities of the original long serving moulder were analysed, followed by understanding the benefits an additional modern machine should provide. 

Potential suppliers were selected and invited to submit specifications. It soon became apparent that the machine will not work in isolation, that in order to get the best outcome, a combination of suppliers and technical knowhow must be involved.  

With the consent of PDS, Lee Gibson of SCM invited Paul Jennings of Vivaldi Tooling UK to assist in providing a comprehensive solution, ensuring harmony between machine and tooling. Vivaldi Tooling is able to bring to the table extensive knowledge of the industry and its varying production methods and processes used by its numerous customers throughout the world. 

Expectations and requirements

Vivaldi acted to bridge the gap in terms of expectations and requirements when it came to specifying the machine by defining precisely what was required and expected by PDS and conveying this by means of detailed drawings and explanation directly to the technicians at SCM, even down to detailing the position of the feed rollers on the workpiece. 

Pedigree is all important when choosing the right machine and when it comes to machines for manufacturing joinery SCM has it. SCM says it has for many years quietly led the field in moulder design.

SCM was the first manufacturer to produce a moulder with HSK tool holder technology. SCM pioneered moulder body design by producing them from welded steel arranged in cells to ensure rigidity, a system which was at the time derided by other manufacturers working in cast iron but now adopted by them. With such features as the patented SET-UP system and CNC technology for control and process integration, SCM moulders are second to none and the choice of many top companies.

Working in partnership

Complete confidence in the right specification by working closely in partnership and combining the knowledge and experience of SCM, Vivaldi and PDS, PDS had absolute confidence that the machine would do the required job and could only exceed expectations. 

Due to the nature of the batch of one production philosophy at PDS it was decided to further equip and complement the machine with a return conveyer to enable operation by a single operator. 

This decision was taken once it was established that down time due to tool changes and set-up had all but been eliminated and throughfeed rates would be massively increased relative to the old machine still used in production. 

Superset NT Comp 5 was the machine chosen to fit the bill. The machine has five heads, a long 2.5m straightening table ideal for door sets, 15hp top head big enough to tackle the largest of moulds in the toughest of timbers and is capable of taking tools from 100 to 200mm in diameter, electronic positioning of the height and thickness and the T-set quick tool-change device – simple and fast – which some argue very convincingly is better than HSK. 

SCM’s patented Set-Up system changes the position of the feed rollers, presser bars and spindle in one adjustment, slashing set-up time and eliminating the likelihood of operator error. The powerful Control 10 programing system which uses simple recognisable icons to guide the operator through programing make it ultra-user friendly. Control 10 can be linked in the company’s network to back up programs and remote diagnostics. 

More and more a standard option with moulders nowadays, the machine is fitted with a workpiece return conveyer.

Vivaldi tooling part of the key to success 

Paul Jennings of Vivaldi Tooling UK says that in this case it was not just a question of reducing the need for down time because the machine is not affecting capacity. Rather, it is reducing the amount of skilled operator intervention required during the process, the aim being to free up resource to be more effective in other direct value-adding areas.

When recommending a tooling system, we at Vivaldi Tooling take an overview of our customers’ entire production/manufacturing process. Tools are not just tools and quality of tooling is not just about how much you paid for it and how shiny and nice it looked when it came out of the box, it is more about its efficiency, effectiveness and overall economy,” he says.

In a simple illustration of this point, Vivaldi has supplied a range of tools for various applications for use with the Superset NT – most commonly used are the straight knife blocks. Recommended was Vivaldi High Efficiency planer heads which have easy-to-change tungsten knives. 

One of the features that set these tools apart from others available on the market that would seem similar, is that the design incorporates a large streamlined gullet area which means more stock cab be taken off at one time. The knives last longer because the chip can escape which in turn means you get a better surface finish and there is less pressure on the head so the machine draws less power. 

So now instead of taking the blocks off once or twice a week to change the knives, with the Vivaldi system PDS turn the knives over about every six weeks.