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Biesse guarantees flush finishing for washroom provider

Investing in two Rover A CNCs and a Stream A edgebander has given Washroom Washroom a 50% production capacity boost whilst elevating the level of craftsmanship on the company’s luxury restroom schemes.

Business is booming for Washroom Washroom, one of the UK’s leading providers of high specification washrooms, on the back of a surge in commercial property development in the Capital.

“There are office blocks going up everywhere in London, and the developers and tenants all want beautifully designed restrooms that will make a positive impression on visitors and clients,” says Mark Such, Production Manager at the Essex-based company. “Our reputation for designing, manufacturing and installing luxury washrooms for commercial customers has meant that we have been inundated with projects of this nature.”

Washrooms with a wow factor

The company’s Alto collection is proving particularly popular with this market. Finished in real wood veneer, this stylish washroom scheme makes a design statement by creating a virtually seamless facade. Washroom Washroom manufactures all of the carcasses, doors, partitions, walls and vanity units for its collections at its Abridge facility, which houses a fleet of state-of-the-art CNC machines. At the end of 2023, with its workload steadily increasing, the company purchased two new CNCs and an edgebander, giving it much needed capacity expansion.

Total Care a priority

Washroom Washroom opted to buy all three machines from Biesse, citing the machinery manufacturer’s Total Care guarantee as the key factor in this decision. This five-year warranty and maintenance programme was an industry first when it was introduced in 2011. Today, Biesse is still the only company in the sector to offer this level of support as standard on all core machines.

“Total Care was a big selling point for us,” says Mark. “Previously we had to take out breakdown insurance on our CNC machines, which obviously doesn’t come cheap.”

The CNCs purchased by Washroom Washroom are both five-axis Rover A CNCs - flexible, high-performance machining centres designed for businesses who want the capabilities to process a variety of materials and parts quickly and with excellent results.

Changeovers are fast with the Rover A - it takes a matter of minutes to switch between jobs.

The Rover A matched Washroom Washroom’s requirement for a machine that could handle chipboard, hardwood, MDF or any other material its customers specify, whilst achieving output of seven or eight cubicles over one eight to ten hour shift.

Strong suction

Washroom Washroom has been particularly impressed with the vacuum system on the Rover A, which has supported an increase in productivity. “The vacuum system on the Rover A is really good - much better than we are used to,” says Mark. “The suction is extremely strong, which eliminates vibration and movement of panels during machining. The net result is a better finish and more efficient running of the machine.”

A competitive edge

The edgebander is a Stream A, an automated single-sided edgebander aimed at operations looking to increase their capacity. One of the main reasons Washroom Washroom elected for this machine was the flexibility it offers to switch quickly between solid wood lipping and PVC edging. “We can change between PVC and hardwood edging in five minutes,” confirms Mark. Changeover, which involves adjusting the pressure clamp and calling up a new programme, is particularly quick on the Stream A owing to the machine’s design. “On other models, the gluing station, where the control panel is located, is undercover, whereas on the Stream A it isn’t. This means we don’t have to lift the hood - which cuts the power - to execute a changeover. We can change the machine settings while it is running,” explains Mark.

No compromises on corners

The edgebander is equipped with Biesse’s innovative AR70 high speed corner rounding unit. This NC controlled unit enables users to switch quickly between different radii or a chamfer finish for the corners of the panel, plus it rounds the top and bottom corners in one unit. This means that rather than having to change the tooling to accommodate different tape thicknesses or round off the corners, the machine does this automatically, reducing job changeover time. This level of flexibility is extremely important to Washroom Washroom, whose customers value its responsiveness when issues arise, as Andy Jones, Factory Foreman, explains: “We get a lot of repeat customers because we look after them. If there is a problem, we sort it. We might, for example, get a call from a customer saying they need an extra panel with a PVC edge whilst we are in the middle of a solid wood lipping job. We can switch to PVC and turn that round very quickly indeed because the edgebander is inherently flexible, and it is the same with the CNCs.”

Quality and quantity

From Washroom Washroom’s previous experience, corner rounding units can improve finish at the expense of speed, as they would need to slow the track speed down. However, the company says that with the Stream A, it can still run the belt at 25 m/min. In addition, all tooling on the Stream A is NC controlled, which means tooling set-up is both efficient and precise, guaranteeing a high quality finish from the second the machine starts up. “With previous machines, it would sometimes take a bit more time to get the finish quality right. With the Stream A, the finish is where we need it to be straightaway. And the quality of the finish is fantastic,” says Andy.

50% capacity expansion

As a result of installing the Biesse equipment, Washroom Washroom says it has expanded its cubicle production capacity considerably. “The CNCs and the edgebander have increased our capacity by 50%, enabling us to take on more work, safe in the knowledge that we can turn it around within the tight timescales our customers often demand. Our business is all about delivering on time and to specification and Biesse’s approach to engineering, which balances the need to maximise uptime with the need to be flexible, supports that,” says Andy.

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