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Arnold Laver increase door production with new Essepigi Evolution through feed line

Arnold Laver & Co, who recently merged with the National Timber Group to create the largest independent timber distribution business in the UK, have just installed a new Essepigi high volume door processing line at their main Bradford premises. A favoured supplier for major timber infrastructure projects throughout the UK, Lavers have always been at the forefront of investment in new equipment that will help increase productivity and efficiency. This is now of even greater importance as the new group will have a total of 52 distribution and processing sites, employing a total of 1,300 staff.

Essepigi Evolution simultaneously machines a door on both sides

In recent years an increasingly important part of the business has been the supply of performance doorsets and doorkits. Although the company operate several conventional flat bed CNC machining centres, it became increasingly clear these could not meet current or projected demands. As a result, in early 2018 Group Joinery Director David, Oldfield, along with Bradford Depot Director, John Gabbat, and Production Manager, John Lockwood, were tasked with the job of identifying how to increase production in the ever growing door sector.

While the machining of doors and frames for hinge recesses and locks, etc. is a relatively simple operation, the big disadvantages limiting output was the time it was taking to process an individual door, including manual loading/unloading. It became clear to the ‘team’ that the way forward was a through feed machine, able to machine both sides of a door simultaneously. As Lavers had previously installed a machine supplied from JJ Smith just for the linings, they contacted them again to discuss their new requirements. Following a meeting with Sales Director, Paul Parker, who had recently overseen the sale and installation of a couple of door processing lines in the UK from Italian specialist manufacturer Essepigi, a visit was arranged to see a machine working on site at a large Swedish door manufacturer. As well as machining out for the hinge recesses, lock slots and drilling for handle holes/key slots, this particular model was also equipped with automatic hinge and lock insertion and linked to a separate machine for the frames. John Gabbat comments: “Straight away we could see the difference between what we were already using compared to a line designed for exactly what we need.”

A visit to the Essepigi factory near Ancona was set up a few weeks later to see the projects they had ongoing for various different door processing companies from all over Europe, basically doing similar type of work to Lavers. Following further detailed discussions a proposal was put together for the Essepigi Evolution, which is a through feed, double-sided machine capable of carrying out all types of required machining on different size doors in quick succession. Key features include automatic loading transfer with automatic reference of door width and thickness, which automatically compensates for any minor difference between the programmed door size and the actual door size to be processed. For the machining process, the Evolution is fitted with horizontal electro spindles and a drilling spindle on both sides for the simultaneous, quick machining of locks/hinges in one cycle. In addition there is an overhead bridge fitted with a six-position linear tool changer giving the facility to fully size a door, machine out for apertures, drop seals and door closers. Typical production time for machining an internal door with three hinges and lock would be about a minute, including loading and unloading.

Through feed operation to maximise production output

For sizing a door, drilling for a spyhole and again with three hinges and a lock production time would be approximately two minutes. Options include automatic loading/unloading systems by Robot, QR/Barcode scanning and automatic inserting of the hardware. Machine programming is simple and quick thanks to Essepigi’s own dedicated ‘DoorPro’ software, which uses electronic macro templates. Due to their knowledge and expertise in door production processes. Essepigi are able to offer bespoke/special machine configurations, tailored to the customer’s needs.

The Essepigi ‘Door Pro’ software using macro templates

On their return from Italy, Lavers placed an order and the machine was delivered on schedule and is now in full production. John Gabbat adds: “From the outset both JJ Smith and Essepigi very were professional in their approach and carefully listened to what we wanted. We were very impressed with the machine we saw in operation and also with the tests that were carried out at the Essepigi factory. The installation went very smoothly and I am pleased to say the Evolution is working extremely well and meeting all our through feed operation to maximise production output requirements”. Paul Parker concludes: “It has been a pleasure to work with Arnold Laver on this project, and the fact they gave us such a detailed brief of their requirements helped immensely in identifying the specification of machine they needed. We look forward to partnering them again in the future.”

Examples of machining operations carried out on the Evolution