Cutting Edge Furniture Making – Haworth & Leitz Tooling Solutions

Haworth’s sustainable manufacturing practices help give the contract furniture giant an edge in the marketplace.

One of the top three U.S.· based contract furniture manufacturers, Haworth Inc. is renown worldwide for its quality office furniture and innovations. Founded in 1948 in Holland, Ml, by G.W. Haworth, it remains a family-owned and privately-held company serving markets in more than 120 countries through a global network of 650 dealers and 6,500 employees. 2014 net sales for the furni­ture giant were $1.8 billion.

Spurring the company’s success is its focus on research and design, which help drive the company’s deep understanding of agile workplace needs, said Haworth spokesperson Ryan McCall.

“Globally, Haworth improves workplac­ es with award-winning furniture, interior architecture, and technology solutions to help customers achieve business goals and transform culture, as well as support collaboration and innovation,” said Mc­ Call. “Haworth is committed to protecting and restoring the environment, creating economic value as well as supporting and strengthening its communities .”

As part of Haworth’s sustainable manu­facturing efforts, the company made changes to the production of its furniture and components. Among the technology upgrades in the panel processing area was the implementation last year of Leitz tooling to the edgebanding line.

“We upgraded our double-sided edge­ bander with the Leitz WhisperCut EdgeEx­ pert milling head program,” said McCall. “We were looking for a sizing tool on the edgebander that would greatly increase finished cut quality and greatly decrease the frequency of tool changes.

“Before developing this tooling program, machine operators were spending an aver­ age of 45 minutes every shift changing carbide insert tooling to maintain a quality cut. When we implemented the Whisper­ Cut EdgeExpert program, the PCD milling heads dramatically decreased the need for tool change frequency,” he said.

Feedback from the lead operator on the double-sided edgebander indicates he is now changing the diamond-tipped knives every six to eight weeks, McCall added.

“Work surface production was specifically targeted with this tooling development. We manufacture over 1,200 rectangular work surfaces per day with standard color offerings or a customer’s own material,” he said.

In addition to the edgebanding pro­cess, a number of machines are integral to the production of Haworth’s wide range of products. Among the workhorses in use at the company’s factories are beam and angular saws for cutting panels and sheet goods to size. Laminating is done in-house, utilizing a hot platen press. CNC routers and machining centers are also used extensively within the production area as the furniture manufacturer continuously looks for ways to improve the productivity and profitability of its products and processes.

The Leitz Tooling program is an integral part of this goal. “The WhisperCut EdgeExpert ROI is well under a year based on labor savings alone,” McCall said. “We have had great success with this tooling program.”

Originally published in FDMC Magazine October 2015. Download the PDF here.

Tooling Spotlight: ProfilCut Q Insert Tooling System

In our tooling spotlight, we break down what you need to know about our most popular tools. This month’s MVP is the Profil Cut Q & ProfilCut Q Premium.

The Tool

ProfilCut Q, ProfilCut Q Premium, and ProfilCut Q PCD are the fastest and most precise dedicated profile insert systems available.  The ProfilCut family of tools is designed to optimize process efficiency through perfect cut quality, highest yield, and fastest production cycles.

What makes it better

  • Modular body design offers profile flexibility and economic operation
  • Precision knife locating and retention prevent knife movement due to centrifugal forces
  • All knife changes can be made at the spindle, without disassembly of cutterhead
  • Knife clamping elements are protected from dust & resin build-up for ease of maintenance
  • Longest service cycles with Marathon or TDC (diamond) coated, and RipTec knife options
  • Lightweight aluminum alloy body allows for better balance and, in turn, reduced vibration
  • Certified and approved to operate at knife velocities up to 120 meters per second (50% faster than any competing insert system)

When to use it

  • Five-piece cabinet doors (cope/stick/style/rail/edge detail)
  • Wood interior and exterior doors
  • Wood windows
  • Architectural millwork and mating profiles
  • Miter lock or v-folding applications
  • Finger and glue jointing applications
  • Profiling of non-ferrous metals and advanced materials

Suitable raw materials

  • Soft, hard and exotic wood species
  • Panel materials such as plywood, raw or laminated particleboard and MDF
  • Plastic, foam, resin and composite materials
  • Non-ferrous metals

The results

  • Perfect sand-free finish quality at high knife marks per inch
  • Prevention common defects such as grain plucking, tearing and fuzzing
  • Reduced scrap loss, rework, and post machine sanding and repairs
  • Exact profile dimensions are maintained with every knife change
  • Maximum tool life
  • Multiple profiles can be achieved through simple knife change or exchange of modular cutter disks
  • Reduced machine downtime, with no need for machine recalibration
  • Larger profiles and limited machine spindle wear
  • Lowest possible cost per unit of production

Add this MVP to Your Lineup:

Contact your local Leitz representation by calling (800) 253-6070, or fill out the form below and we’ll get in touch.

Learn More About the ProfilCut Q Insert Tooling System
Contact us for more information.

The Role of Tooling Technology in Cabinet & Cabinet Door Manufacturing

By Mark Alster

Kitchen cabinets are a central focus of modern home designs, as the kitchen is perhaps the most used room in the home. We cook, dine, socialize and entertain in our kitchens. The kitchen becomes the centerpiece of the home, and many of today’s open floor plans incorporate the kitchen into the primary living space. The cabinets are a focal point in any kitchen and must be both functional and aesthetically pleasing.  

Hardwood construction dominates high-end cabinetry, however, European influence and modern laminates provide affordable alternatives that offer an upscale look and feel.

Regardless of the material used, construction quality is of paramount importance, and each presents certain manufacturing challenges. In either case, correct tooling technology will assure the desired finish quality and optimal manufacturing efficiency.

The Challenges

Manufacturing wooden five piece cabinet doors meets the same raw material challenges traditional furniture makers face. The various wood species commonly used in cabinet manufacturing have different hardness ratings and grain structure, which must be addressed through proper tool design and operating parameters. Failure to design or utilize cutting tools, with respect to the cutting characteristics of the various wood species, will result in defects such as plucking, tearing, splintering of the workpiece and significant repair work or scrap loss. Add the fact that door components are generally manufactured across three different machines (moulder, shaper, tennoner), and the various tools must be accurate enough to provide mating joints which are both visually perfect and structurally sound.

Because of the primary components, including particleboard, surface laminates, and edgebanding, and the basic manufacturing process being accomplished using a CNC or saw and edgebander, European-style slab doors may seem easier to manufacture. However, challenges can still arise due to the quality of the particleboard, characteristics of the laminate, and style of edgebanding that is used. Common particleboard with a large-flake loose core can be very challenging to machine without plucking the core and adversely affecting the integrity of the banded edge. Modern laminates feature textured surfaces, made from wear resistance components, which are increasingly difficult to process. Finally, the banding process is becoming more critical, as manufactures strive to achieve a perfect, seamless edge between the laminated and banded surfaces.

The Solution

Using tooling technology, the solutions are relatively simple, and evolve around one key principal; cutting pressure is the root cause of most cutting defects, including plucking, fuzzing, ripped grain, crushed grain and chipped laminates. Cutting pressure can be controlled through the proper application of cutting tool geometry.

The solution must begin with thoughtful tool design, which employs the correct cutting angles for the raw materials being processed. Generally speaking, the harder the workpiece, the lower the cutting angle must be in order to prevent pre-splitting and defects ahead of the knife. Achieving ideal cutter speed and chip-load is critical, as the velocity of cut and amount of material being removed are the keys to maintaining ideal cutting pressure and heat dispersion. Utilizing shear to slice through the workpiece lessens the “chiseling” effect of the knife while reducing cutting pressure and providing better internal support of the material being processed.

Continuous Improvement Focus

Tooling technology continues to increase production efficiency, through improvement in precision, design, sustainability and cutting materials.  Leitz produces precision tooling systems, using advanced cutting materials and designs, which are both flexible and adaptable to meet modern production demands. We apply advanced cutting technologies in a manner which continuously improves the manufacturing process, by optimizing quality output and manufacturing efficiency. Moreover, we work to educate manufacturers as to the availability and proper implementation of current cutting tool technologies. Understanding how tooling can limit or accelerate your manufacturing efficiency is critical, as the investment in cutting-edge tooling technology will always return greater value to your bottom line.

Learn more about Leitz profiling tools.

Download the ProfilCut Q and ProfilCut Q Premium brochure.

Mark Alster has been in the tooling industry for over three decades and is the Central North Regional Manager for Leitz. Mark is passionate about advancing the cutting tooling industry and applies his knowledge and twenty-two years of experience with Leitz to help Leitz customers implement industry-leading advancements. Mark currently serves on the AWFS Board of Directors.

How Cutting Tool Providers Play a Role in Lean Initiatives

By Michael Lind, CEO of Leitz Tooling

You don’t have to be on a full-blown “Lean-Journey” to embrace the building blocks of Lean…

Like all good companies who are committed to continuous improvement, you can positively impact your business by implementing fundamental Lean Manufacturing concepts immediately with minimal outside training. Here are a few ways that your tooling provider can help you.

Continue reading “How Cutting Tool Providers Play a Role in Lean Initiatives”

Leitz Releases Latest Version of Renowned Leitz Lexicon Industry Reference Manual

The Leitz Lexicon Edition 7 industry resource manual is now available in both print and PDF versions.  This premier reference book is used by thousands of manufacturers to maximize the efficiency, productivity, and longevity of their tools.

For decades, the Leitz Lexicon has presented tooling expertise to help manufacturers meet sustainability, flexibility, and quality goals. Edition 7, the latest version, features a new layout and user-friendly structure with each product category in a compact format, providing you comprehensive process and tooling know-how.

Continue reading “Leitz Releases Latest Version of Renowned Leitz Lexicon Industry Reference Manual”