2011/11/20   |   Austria

Outstanding performance in the smallest of spaces

The cabinet-making company Hörl has always set great store by state-of-the-art technology from the Homag Group and is continuing in the same vein: with the purchase of a new, extremely compact saw-storage combination from Holzma and Bargstedt.

An article from the specialist magazine HOB, 9/2011. www.hob-magazin.com.

When Walter Hörl took over a joiner’s workshop in the Austrian municipality of Utzenaich (near Ried im Innkreis) in 1985, he set about turning the small business into an efficient, high-performing family business. From the outset, he invested in the latest manufacturing technology. This allowed him to achieve a degree of productivity that is really quite remarkable for a business of this size. He consistently pursued this strategy and in 2010 he was the first customer in the world to put the new Holzma HPP 430 into operation in combination with an automatic Bargstedt storage system.

Hörl manufactures hiqh-grade furniture and interior fittings for private customers. Furthermore, the Austrian company has made quite a name for itself as a one-stop interior fitter for commercial properties and as a supplier for other joinery shops and industrial firms. They appreciate above all the high quality and reliability of the company in the areas of panel sizing and CNC processing. Walter Hörl laid the foundations for this productive efficiency, which is quite extraordinary in a family business, over 25 years ago.

Small firm, high productivity

“Our joinery shop is located directly in the town centre of Utzenaich. This meant that, right from the start, we had to rule out the option of achieving growth by way of spatial expansion, i.e. by building additional production halls to house more processing machines and a large number of employees,” the businessman explains. Instead, Hörl decided from the outset to improve productivity by investing in state-of-the-art manufacturing technology – which he found in the Homag Group. His first acquisition was a Holzma HPL 11 panel saw. This step was met with amazement by colleagues, because a panel saw of this size, equipped on top of that with automatic lift table infeed, seemed to be better suited to a larger business. Hörl and his wife Angelika have, however, never regretted their decision. On the contrary: “This allowed us to eliminate non-productive periods of time that are incurred when panels are fed manually to the saw,” confirms Angelika Hörl and continues: “The HPL 11 put us in a position to process far higher volumes of panels in less time – and with a minimum of personnel.” The number of employees has remained small to this day, but their quality has increased significantly: Working alongside Angelika and Walter Hörl in the business now are their two sons Markus and Jürgen and just one other employee. All three men in the Hörl family are master craftsmen of their trade and ensure that all work is carried out to first-class quality standards.

Competitive edge with technologies from the HOMAG Group

The positive experience gained with the HPL 11 from Holzma soon led Hörl to opt for other cutting-edge technologies from the Homag Group. “Shortly later, we expanded our technical production facilities and invested in a CNC processing centre from Weeke and an edge banding machine from Homag,” Hörl goes on to remark. These were later joined by a dowel drilling and inserting machine and a nesting unit from Weeke. Each new acquisition allowed the company to increase productivity still further, without having to take on more staff. In the end, the production processes themselves were so perfectly organised that there was little scope for further improvement. The only area that had not yet been optimised was the handling of the panels before the cutting process. Jobs here included sorting in the store, regular trips by fork-lift truck to the saw and loading the lift table. After careful consideration, Walter Hörl decided to reduce these handling times as much as possible by again investing in new technologies. The decision was taken in November 2010: with the aim of boosting cutting output still further and at the same time reducing the time required for feeding, Hörl ordered a new HPP 430 from Holzma in combination with a new, automatic panel storage system from Bargstedt.

Automation with new saw-storage combination

The innovative saw-storage combination was installed in his workshop before the official launch at Ligna 2011. Time-consuming sorting and trips by fork-lift truck are now a thing of the past. Furthermore, feeding by vacuum conveyor is far gentler than simply pushing the panels off the lift table. Even high gloss materials can be processed perfectly. The panels needed for each cutting pattern are requested by the saw, and any offcuts that may result are automatically returned to the store. The store control system also includes an option for managing small offcuts in a manual store. The system automatically labels the

finished parts and the offcuts for the manual store so that all parts in the production process can be reliably identified at all times. Automatic angle correction is yet another useful feature. Hörl is particularly impressed by the amount of space freed up. “As the saw-storage combination has made transport paths and storage space redundant, our production hall now looks a lot larger than before.” Smooth processes thanks to perfect integration The new machines were installed and put into operation with no hitches at all – another success that can be attributed to the long-standing, excellent cooperation with one technology partner. Hörl has been using Holzma optimisation software for more than ten years now; it interfaces perfectly with the Bargstedt storage control system and also optimises the production processes of the Weeke nesting cell. The result is a seamlessly integrated overall system providing maximum productivity. The capacity of the new saw-storage combination was demonstrated directly after it went into operation. “We processed a rather large order on it for a regular customer who needed MDF panels to be cut to tight tolerances. Thanks to the 120 mm cutting height, 80 mm high books presented no problem for our new HPP 430,” confirms Hörl and adds: “In terms of price, a smaller saw would, of course, have been more attractive, but the fact is that the demands of my customers cannot be met with run-of-the-mill solutions. With technologies from the Homag Group I am well prepared for them; this is part of my strategy to make my business successful.”

Image rights held by HOB/Carsten Bucki

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