Ercol ‘Turn’ To Intorex

Intorex LNX 1500 CNC rotary sander

Ercol Furniture are one of the best known and most respected UK manufacturers of quality wood furniture. The company was founded in 1920 by a young Italian called Lucian Ercolani, whose single goal was to make furniture that was well designed and expertly created by craftsman who really took pride in their work. Fast forward nearly 100 years and those guiding principles are still very much at the heart of the company who have managed to combine traditional values with modern manufacturing techniques. To this end Ercol have in recent years made significant investments in some of the best, state of the art CNC machinery that is available. The latest additions have been a new Intorex CNC wood turning lathe and CNC sander for the production of their turned chair,table and sofa feet components in oak, ash and walnut which are an integral design feature in many of the products Ercol produce.

Intorex CNX1600 CNC lathe producing fully turned table leg

It was some years ago that the Ercol production team recognised that they needed to upgrade from their old Hempel lathes, which whilst still operational were starting to give some problems both mechanically and also from a health and safety point of view. Ercol Operations Director Ian Peers, Engineering manager Mick Platt and Operations support manager Roy Graves put together a specification of machine that they hoped would meet their requirements and visited a number of trade fairs to talk to prospective suppliers. As a result of this a visit to the Intorex factory, located just outside Barcelona was arranged to see various models of lathe in operation. After further detailed discussions a model and specification was settled on, including some special adaptions specifically requested by Ercol. The lathe was a top of the range CNX 1600 high speed model with automatic hopper feed loading. As standard the machine is equipped with 2 x independent CNC controlled gouges and 2 x rear hydraulic back knives whose operation is controlled through the program. To suit some of the turned components Ercol produce the CNX would need to be fitted with a number of additional features, the main one being a 4th CNC controlled axis allowing for a router unit to be fitted. Traditionally the router head is used for producing fluted or twisted designs, but in this case Ercol wanted it to drill holes both straight and angled in the turned component. (These are for fitting the cross rails in chairs).

Intorex CNX CNC sander

Shortly after their return to the UK Ercol placed an order for both machines through exclusive UK agent JJ Smith. They were delivered and installed on time in July and prior to dispatch 3 people from Ercol went over to Intorex for a weeks training at the factory. Ercol’s Roy Graves comments “From the very first time myself and Mick Platt started to talk with JJ Smith and Intorex we had a good feeling that they understood our requirements and were very open to suggestions we made for specific modifications to suit our production needs. However the real proof came when we visited the Intorex factory to see the machines in operation, time their production and see first hand the quality of turning we could expect to acheive. Also I have to say the training at the Intorex factory went extremely well and nothing was too much trouble”. Production manager Brian Alman adds “ The Intorex lathe and sander have now been installed several months and we have been very pleased with their performance. They are quick to set up and produce very accurate turned parts with an excellent sanded finish.” JJ Smith Sales Director Guy Stanley concludes “We regard it is a real feather in our cap that a company of Ercol’s standing selected to work with us on this project. It is also a credit to Intorex that they were able to find some non-standard technical solutions that Ercol specifically asked for”.

Ercol 'Originals' Range