Despite their size, Senator are proud that they remain an independent, family owned business with all the things that were important in the beginning; attention to detail, integrity, investment in people and passion for design, still very much running through the veins of the business today. There has also always been the philosophy of investing in the very latest and best manufacturing equipment available which has recently been highlighted in the machinery installed at the Specialist division in Huncoat. The Specialist division came about in 2009 and in 2011 a previously acquired frame manufacturer Timack was integrated into the Specialist site. The pre-upholstered part of the site had previously been nesting all the OSB, ply, MDF and chipboard components that make up the various frames which are then supplied to the Seating Division. To do this they had a standard nesting CNC router with auto loading and unloading. Although the machine had the capability to machine more than one sheet at a time, this was dependant on the size of the part and the material it was being produced from.
As a result production manager Phil Haggerty started to investigate if there were other machines available better suited to meet their requirements. By chance he was looking one day on Twitter and came across a video clip posted by JJ Smith on an MZ Pluris CNC working centre. The video intrigued Phil as he had not seen a machine like this before and as result he contacted JJ Smith to set up a meeting so he could learn more about what it could do. Sales Director Guy Stanley visited site and reviewed all the parts Senator needed to produce and he confirmed they could indeed be produced on the machine Phil had seen in the video, but with some significant benefits over their current process. First off and probably most importantly the Pluris incorporates a CNC bandsaw that can automatically swivel +/- 90 degrees meaning it can cut parts a lot faster than a standard router in addition to being able to cut some shapes of parts a router can not. Also as the bandsaw blade thickness is only 0.8mm it is possible to create a much tighter nested program which results in more parts and less material wastage! Second off it does not use any vacuum to hold the sheets down, instead panel grippers are used meaning it is possible to hold and machine a stack of 3,4 or 5 panels totalling about a maximum of 60mm in thickness (Be it the bandsaw / router can cut higher). Thus production output is significantly higher then when just cutting one sheet on a conventional router. Thirdly, when equipped with the optional automatic lift table, the Pluris is a one man operation were cut parts are actually being produced and collected by the operator whilst the machine is still working. The router head is used when it is not possible to use the bandsaw, or when it is necessary to make a hole enabling the bandsaw to turn. If there is a requirement to drill holes there is a 5 spindle point to point drilling unit.