Hardwood Plywood Panel Press Line
Founded in 1966, States Industries LLC is a leader in plywood manufacturing, supplying environmentally conscious, premium and custom hardwood panel products to North American woodworkers.
As part of an expansion and growth plan, States Industries was immersed in a process of upgrading and improving their production facilities. Thus, this growth strategy included a project for a new hardwood plywood panel press line.
The main challenge of this project lied in developing a hardwood veneer press line that would enable States Industries to produce almost fully automatically what they had been always producing in a manual way.
The project objectives were to increase production capacity for high value panels, and the improvement of manufacturing product quality from a wide array of panel sizes, substrates, hardwood veneers, and order quantities.
The solution consisted of an automatic line to produce hardwood plywood panels, up to 10’ in length, through a short cycle multi-opening press.
The project involved a fully automatic handling and cleaning of the substrate, gluing on top and bottom surfaces, and semi-automatic lay-up of top and bottom hardwood veneers that then feeds a four-opening press in a non-stop basis using a four-basket infeed & outfeed systems.
This happens in a non-stop basis using a four-basket infeed & outfeed systems. Regarding the press, it operates with 514 Tm pressure and 130ºC temperature, resulting in a capacity to produce 4 boards/min.
Essentially, what the press line allowed States to do, is to produce panels with much better labour efficiency, production flexibility and panel quality.
The press line allowed States to reallocate 14 people from areas where they were producing panels in their conventional old way, into other areas where they can grow more value.
Small Order Quantity Production Efficiency
The 4-opening press allows them to do smaller quantities much more effectively and much easier than their conventional 30-opening presses that tend to get dirty and have other issues around when they are running on other types of products or producing small quantities.
Overage Inventory Reduction
According to Ted Downs, “one of the great outcomes of this, is that because we have a lower fall down, and because we can do special order or exact order quantities, it reduces the overages that we produce in the inventory, which of course, helps with our financial positioning, as well“.
Production Capacity Increase
States production capacity grew by at least 30% with far fewer people involved in making the process. Additionally, they cut their reject rate by about half, so, this put them in a very favourable position in terms of recovering the value out of the panel.
According to States Industries Vice President of Manufacturing, Ted Downs, “We’ve been able to produce significantly more 3ply & 2step production at much lower falldown rate than through our conventional multi-opening presses. Biele’s automation simply brought us better efficiency and recovery of grade”.
In Ted’s words, the new line has allowed them to “increase our focus toward customers with more demanding expectations and products requiring greater panel engineering, higher value, and tighter standard quality expectations. Biele has been a solid partner, developed a wonderful engineering solution, and provided great support so that we could move in this direction”.