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Industry & Trends

Pace of Investment Rising at Wood Products Manufacturers

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September 27, 2021 | Bill Esler

Atlanta, GA—Wood manufacturing firms have been investing significantly in recent months, a response to a rise in demand, and a more competitive labor market.

Woodworking manufacturers are keeping pace with growing demand—a function of changing conditions in business and consumer demand—while adapting production floors to a “new normal.” Among recent investment headlines:

Factors like social distancing at the plant, and unfilled jobs, require managers to rely increasingly on automated fabrication and finishing systems, as well as integrated handling systems for incoming material and transfer of work pieces in progress between stations.

IMA Schelling and Barbaric teamed up to produce the RTS-P-one which allows a lone operator to stand in place and guide panels through the edgebander to finish all four sides.

A prime example is the popularity of relatively simple systems that save immense amounts of labor, like edgebanding return conveyors. Offered by Doucet, Barbaric, SCM, Biesse, Stiles Machinery/Homag and others, these systems reduce footsteps and improve throughput.

Linking them to operating controllers can increase output dramatically. For example, IMA Schelling Group’s RTS P-One syncs an IMA Novimat Compact 3 edgebander with a Barbaric RTS conveyor specifically built for edgebanding systems. When linked to IMA’s IPC.NET controller, the system can run up to 10 parts a minute and cut operator headcount by half. IMA Schelling will be exhibiting at IWF 2022 in Booth B5011.

CR Onsrud S Series CNC flat bed panel router.

CNC offloading systems which label and then move complete nested cuts onto conveyors for the next steps of processing and assembly are another trending labor saving device. An example is CR Onsrud‘s S Series outfitted with optional in-feed/out-feed shuttle-tables, robotic material handling, and other material handling automation. CR Onsrud will be exhibiting at IWF 2022 in Booth B4318.

The dynamism of its business environment will be highlighted as the woodworking industry steps into the global stage with Woodworking Manufacturing Month launching Friday, October 1. For 31 days, Woodworking Manufacturing Month celebrates North American woodworking’s large and expanding role in the global industrial sector.

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