Continued investment has seen Orchard Melamine steadily increase their production and market share of high quality melamine promotional products. The latest investment in a high speed Kimla CNC router has pushed bespoke coaster production beyond 2.5 million units per year.
The midlands based company was established in 1964 and bought by the current owners in 1999 when manufacturing was moved to their purpose built factory in Rutland. The family run business has grown substantially and has a wide customer base in promotional, catering, retail and educational markets.
Customised melamine products include coasters, place mats and, new for 2015, fridge magnets, previously unseen in the market. Each item is hand finished with a choice of backing including felt and cork, but a bottle neck in the physical routing out of the material was limiting any further increase in production. Four dedicated Wadkin UX CNC routers working continually could not keep pace with demand.
After extensive market research Gary Chamberlain of Orchard Melamine contacted Daltons Wadkin to discuss the issues. ‘Processing time was of course key, but it was imperative that our high standard of quality with which we are synonymous was maintained. We use melamine for our coasters as it is an extremely durable product, but of course this makes it all the tougher when machining’ comments Gary. ‘Each of our four Wadkin UX CNC machines are loaded with a sheet of 10 coasters at a time and they take approximately 6 minutes to machine’.
At the time Daltons Wadkin had recently taken on the agency for Kimla, a leading European manufacturer of CNC machines including high speed routers, waterjets and laser cutters. ‘The Kimla offered a number of advantages over other CNC options’ says Alex Dalton. ‘This was going to be a high volume production machine running almost continually. Each Kimla is custom built to extreme tolerances using only the very best components and of course equipped with the unique Dynamic Vector Analysis (DVA) system for fast operation while maintaining an exceptional cutting finish. This was the ideal machine’.
A customised vacuum bed was developed to secure the coasters. ‘Under normal conditions securing a 100 x 100mm component would not be a problem, but we needed to ramp up the processing time’ comments Alex. ‘We developed an individual vacuum pod system to sit behind each coaster providing the maximum vacuum pressure to enable machining times to be further reduced’.
The Kimla now machines a full sheet of 40 coasters in under 4 minutes, 6 times faster than previously attainable.
‘I am delighted with the Kimla. We have been operating the machine for two years now with no issues whatsoever, and it produces more units than the other 4 machines put together’, says Gary. ‘The installation support, training and backup from Daltons Wadkin has been first class’.