States Industries Reference Project

Hardwood Plywood Panel Press Line

Read the whole story below.

The Client

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. 

The Challenge

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 Project

The Results

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.

Operator
Reallocation

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.

The Experience

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”.

Overcoming Pandemic Consequences

Ted Downs, Vice President of Manufacturing at States Indsutries

Ted also explains that “We’ve been very happy with our partnership with Biele. One of the things that was a challenge for both, Biele as well as for States, during the project, was that the pandemic occurred, and it became very difficult for communications and travel back and forth between Europe and Oregon. In this sense, one of the things that Biele did very well for us, was that they never abandoned us during the project“.

Biele modified, they adapted their schedules, they adapted their staffing, to try and help us accomplish to commissioning the line on time. With the pandemic, of course, things were delayed, but we were able to commission the line really close to the projected timeline that we had envisaged during the initial project stages, and so, overall, we are very happy with the support that we have with Biele, we are happy with the team in North America, based in Atlanta, and we are happy with the team based in Spain. It’s been a great relationship, and through that relationship. I think that Biele, as well as States, have learned from one and other, and become better as a result of the process”.

Read the complete Reference Story

We have collected customer’s interviews, the story behind the project and more detailed technical information about the project in the following brochure.

Download the reference story here

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