Accuracyunattainable on standard machining centers
The SIGMA ZM Center of the FANUM company combines the precision of machining the details of chairs and tables at the KOLMARChairs and Tables Manufactory in Tomice near Wadowice (Lesser Poland) with high efficiency and versatility.
- Over the past four years we've grown a lot - says the owner of the company Ariel Kolasa. - We have bought several very specialized chair manufacturing machines. They are largely Italian and German manufacturers adapted to the precise machining of chair components. However, the best opinion is in our five-axis Sigma ZM numerically controlled center from the Polish company Fanum, purchased over two years ago. This manufacturer offers, compared to others, a center with a much wider range of treatments and less expensive. In fact, the choice of this machine was determined not by price but by a wide range of functions related to the spatial processing of chair elements, tables and other furniture. An innovative combination of the advantages of a gate structure, two independent supports and an automated detail hopper allows to achieve unprecedented efficiency in the alternating machining mode using the element hoppers. The optimized center design also allows it to be used as a conventional gantry center with manual part loading and two independent machining fields.
Over 250 chair models
In fact, many modern machines work in the woodworking hall next to the Sigma ZM center. I see Pade machining centers, the Powermat 600 planer and the Weinig ProfiRip KM 310 M multi-saw, the Quater saw from the MZ Project, the Challenge 321C grinder, the new Camam grinder, and the Mebor square raw material. Having almost 35 years of production activity, such an extensive and modern machinery park Kolmar has the ability to make even the most unusual chairs and tables.
- We have already mastered the implementation of 257 models of wooden chairs and during the year there are still about 15 new "contract" models made for a specific recipient - says the owner.
- We have long-term contracts with many recipients, so we send products to recipients not only in Poland but also to several European countries, to the USA, Russia or Belarus. Until now, we have manufactured a lot of chairs and tables for wholesale customers, and now we have decided to show our products directly to final furniture buyers or furniture showroom owners. That is why we participated in this year's Meble Polska fair in Poznań, because we want to promote the Kolmar brand more widely, which was previously known to wholesalers and retail chains. We believe that we make furniture models so attractive that it is worth to interest our retail client with our brand. For two years we have been strongly promoting our room chairs but also garden furniture made of wood or in combination with a metal structure. Many of them are used at beer sales points.
The factory of chairs and tables near Wadowice is original because the furniture production process begins with ... sawing round wood. Has its sawmill and wood drying room. For production, it uses its timber from beech, oak, acacia, ash and alder, depending on the current orders of wholesale customers. Room chairs are made mainly of elements of beech and oak, and garden chairs of elements of ash, acacia and alder.
- We did not decide on our own varnishing or upholstered chairs on the spot - says Ariel Kolasa. - We outsource this to external contractors, while we focus on the precise processing of wooden elements by buying modern machines that ensure high quality machining, efficiency and reduction of laborious manual work. This brings results if one compares the annual increase in production in relation to employment remaining at a stable level.
Initially, it was a small carpentry factory making custom-made chest and room furniture, but mainly chairs and tables.
- My father, using very simple machines such as saws, hand grinders and milling machines, made attractive furniture - recalls the interlocutor. - Production increased slowly so now the factoryalready employs over 60 people constituting a stable, qualified crew. However, it must be admitted that for a long time we defended ourselves against buying CNC machines because my father was not entirely convinced of such devices. When I took over the company, I decided to buy machining centers to develop the production of chairs, tables and garden furniture and to offer high quality and very diverse products.Thanks to previous investments, the company's extensive facilities can now focus on equipping it with machines that affect the quality and versatility of machining, and the timing of individual processes.
Perfect for working on chair legs
Riding around domestic and foreign fairs, the young owner observed machining centers for the production of chairs from various manufacturers. In this confrontation the Fanum center was definitely the best. He chose the Sigma ZM four-spindle machine equipped with a prismatic head with four independent 7.5 kW spindles is a good compromise between the dimensions of the machining head and the number of available tools. The use of inverters to control electrospindles avoids downtime between stopping one and starting another tool.
There are three modes at this center that allow you to tailor the machine to your production needs. It can work in a fully mechanized cycle by using detail feeders in both machining fields. The special bed of the parts of the feeder racks allows them to be moved to the parking zone in order to provide one or two work fields when the user decides to manually load larger spatial parts.
In Tomice, the employee only manually fills the workpiece hopper that is picked up by the machine's feeding system onto the machining table and mounted on it during the work of the tools. Sigm ZM has an automated gripper positioning system that allows quick and precise positioning of the machine for every detail, even bent in two planes. Therefore, it is perfect for processing profiled chair and table legs as well as other elements of such furniture.
The machine tool has four tools on the head and two magazines for processing products from which it can pick them up. The machine is operated by one employee who fills the workpieces for processing and receives the processed elements. The multi-spindle machining head moves to the machining field and starts working. The machining is distant from the operator's position, so it is safe and the machine is surrounded by a housing 5700 mm long, 4600 mm deep and 3300 mm high. This allows machining in the X axis up to 3400 mm in length, in the Y axis - 1550 mm (in option up to 2300 mm) and in the Z axis - 1000 mm. In the A axis, the machining range is unlimited and in the C axis it is within +/- 360 degrees. The maximum cross-section of the element can be 130 x 100 mm, length - 1000 mm.
All shapes to make
The machine's work area has been divided into two machining fields. Each field is equipped with an independent footswitch and a control cassette on the front of the housing. Each machining field has a table with an area of 1200 x 500 mm, two beams for one table and two Terpo vacuum pumps with a capacity of 160 m3 / h each. The P4MAN head contains four electrospindles with manual tool change. The maximum spindle speed is 24,000 rpm. Its compact design allows for effective machining of details with complex shapes.
A separate part is the control cabinet and safety cover ensuring mechanical protection of the machine's work zones. The cover around the machine protects the operator from sawdust and chips and reduces noise generated during work. In addition, it is a permanent barrier between particularly dangerous machine elements and the operator.
A professional approach to the client is appreciated
- We have the machine for the third year and we have not had any failure so far - emphasizes the host. - Works perfectly and its accuracy is still perfect. It is very useful to us because at the ordering stage we could configure it for our production. We have also added some elements thanks to which the machine meets 100 percent of our expectations and even more compared to other machines. When it comes to the speed and accuracy of this machine, we have no reservations. Service inspections are carried out according to the manufacturer's instructions. We are very pleased with the selection, especially the manufacturer's website. When buying a Polish machine, there was no language barrier, especially in the field of technical vocabulary. With Fanum, certain technical solutions could be agreed over the phone and two minor failures were almost immediately dealt with by service technicians. This is a great difference compared to the service of our machines from foreign manufacturers. In my opinion, Fanum is characterized by a very professional approach to the customer. Before the purchase, we were able to see the work of the center in several factories and this machine model was shown during assembly at the factory. And already at the ordering stage, a schedule was set for training employees of the company in the preparation of programs and service center. Three people went to Wielopole Skrzyńskie for a few weeks for training, which was continued at our plant for a week after the purchase of the machine. The training included lectures and practical classes at the center.- So after the purchase of the machine we had trained CNC operators because during the training they could make specific elements of the chairs that we manufacture - emphasizes the owner. - We can connect online in the event of any malfunction but also count on technical and programming advice which also perfectly speeds up production because we do not have to waste time investigating certain technical solutions of the machine only we use the help of an external person who designed and knows this type of service perfectly center. Fanum service technicians are professional and helpers of the user and do not treat any event as an opportunity to learn the specifics of a specific machine model.
Apparently impossible machining
Sigma ZM works around the clock at Kolmar! While in the production of garden furniture for beer gardens, the produced batches have several thousand analogous tables, chairs and benches, and the processing of details for such products at the machining center is very efficient and repeatable, other chair models are made of 50-100 pieces. However, after two years of CNC operation, it was found that it is easier to change the parameters of the program of work on the machine than to perform machining on several small machines.
- Because on this machine we are able to perform all operations related to tenoning, drilling, milling, cutting, undercutting or chamfering, and even grinding without involving several machines and employees - says Ariel Kolasa.
- We had cases that the owners of other machining centers claimed that the item was impossible to perform on CNC. And with our employees, after reflection, they often came to the conclusion that, however, this can be done by obtaining the desired accuracy, which cannot be achieved on manual machines. For us it is important because we do not allow the use of putty to level surfaces or fill joints in the manufactured chair structures. Everything must be perfectly combined and reliably even and smooth. The machine with Fanum is very good and can be really used wisely if you can work effectively and work with the manufacturer's specialists. Absolutely not different from foreign machines. After thepurchase, the production of chairs increased based on the number of employees. In addition, work comfort and safety have increased.
The user himself took care of that. On the CNC, as on several other machines, two cameras are mounted inside the center showing the machining on both tables and the third camera is outside. The operator on the monitors watches the current work so he does not have to look into the machine but can deal with sorting and quality control of the elements.