Weinig have occupied the same building in Sydney’s Wetherill Park since Allwood separated Weinig and Biesse into two separate companies back in 1998. In early April Weinig/Holz-Her literally moved next door into the recently vacated Biesse premises, adding an additional 1,500 square metres of showroom and storage space. The game of ‘musical chairs’ is a consequence of the Allwood Company that first brought the Weinig brand, and then the Biesse brand to the Australian furniture and joinery industries back in the 1980’s.
To mark the occasion Weinig Holz-Her invited their customers and other interested people to attend an open-house to see the new premises and their range of well-known machines for both solid wood and panel processing. The new premises will allow the Weinig Group to continue its growth with a large showroom and warehouse space for their stock of machines and parts. Machines are delivered regularly and focused on customer feedback throughout the year so there’s likely to be a machine either in stock or ‘on-the-water.’
Neil Forbes has been with Weinig since the early 1980’s and is now Managing Director. He said, “During this event we’ve had hundreds of high-quality visitors. Steve Baudinette; Ash Britton and John Browne from AKD Softwoods in Colac Victoria came along to see the latest dry-milling equipment. Rob Rule from Timber Training Creswick was here to look at the Rondamat 1000 Profile Grinding machine; it’s the first time this fully automatic CNC controlled machine has been shown in Australia. We’ve also had people from Tiana Joinery in South Australia; Notaras Timber here in New South Wales and Parkside Group in Queensland.”
On display was the Holz-Her Pro-Master 5X 5-axes CNC processing machine making a sink unit from a solid piece of PUR laminated wood. The process takes only twelve minutes at full speed and was a great demonstration of the capacity of this machine on a product that is related to the solid wood sector. The Weinig Opticut C50 under-table crosscut saw is widely used in sawmills and can be incorporated into high-capacity production lines. Its big brother is the Opticut S50 optimising saw with a pusher speed of 60 metres/minute. Of course, the celebrated Weinig Cube four-side planer and Powermat 1500 planing and moulding machines were also available to see, producing components throughout the event. Profile and straight knife grinding machines were demonstrated making specialist tool profiles.
In 2010 Weinig bought the Austrian-based Holz-Her company. Holz-Her edge-banders are probably the most-sold machines of this type in Australia and in the last two and a half years, their 5-axes CNC machines have become very popular as well, especially with window and door manufacturers. Weinig had by this time grown into a significant group specialising in secondary wood production; acquiring companies like Waco (High-speed planing machines); Dimter (Optimizing cross-cut saws and gluing presses); Grecon (Finger jointing); Raimann (Rip saws and band resaws) and Luxscan (Scanning technologies).
Weinig has been a big player in the solid wood sector of Australian industry since the late 1960’s, especially in through-feed moulding machines. Back then Wadkin and Robinson, both British companies, were the go-to moulder manufacturers. But a technology change was coming. Unfortunately for the British they were complacent and were soon passed by the German Weinig company who in 1964 looked at moulding in a different way. Push-feed moulders would soon be a thing of the past, replaced by through-feed moulders that were able to straighten and shape the wood at the same time. The addition of a ‘universal’ pivoting spindle was another first that Wadkin was to copy in their last years.
Holz-Her was founded in 1914 as a company with the first wood working machine being produced in 1925. If you were an apprentice, you will remember their power feed units for spindle moulding machines. In 1958 they started making vertical panel saws and in 1969, edge-banding machines, a technology Holz-Her is particularly well-known for. In 1993 they brought out their first CNC machine, followed in 2002 by pressure beam saws.
Neil said, “Weinig Group is the largest manufacturer of machines and systems for solid wood processing in the world and if you’re machining solid wood, we have a machine that will do the job, backed by over seventy years of experience. Since the group acquired Holz-Her we can also offer innovative and future-proof solutions for processing sheet materials.”
Neil said of the industry, “The solid timber sector tends to be more conservative than those using flat panel. They usually keep their machines a lot longer, so they must go the distance. Their negotiations for new equipment take an extended period, but we’ll do well out of this event.” Neil believes that solid timber is being used more now than ever and that people accept that wood is environmentally friendly. He concedes that there is less wood to use and says, “We have to make the best, most optimal use of the wood we have and that’s what Weinig Group is all about.”
Fenestration Solutions Australia (FSA) is a leading supplier of solutions and systems to window and door manufacturers throughout Australia. FSA can help business design a tooling solution for both existing and new machines. On hand were Scott Horne, Shane McDuff and Dave Ackland to assist with joinery tooling solutions. FSA distribute tools from the Swiss Oertli company. Oertli claim long tool life and the best surface finish on visible edges and other critical positions. Scott said, “Quick knife change and an economical service are today’s demands on high-performance tools.” Oertli profiles are designed to suit the ‘norms’ of most countries including Australian awning and casement windows.
Andrew Bismire from Leitz Tooling said, “The production of windows and doors requires highly efficient but complex tooling systems. We know a lot of companies who manufacture corner joints on a CNC machine using our PlugTec system but ProfilCut Q, Shrink Tooling, RippleCut and Hybrid tooling are also widely used in the joinery industry. The knives and clamping system of ProfilCut Q have been re-designed to surpass the old standard by 50%. RipTec handles difficult-to-machine wood, reducing the reject rate to nearly zero. Hybrid tooling combines the benefits of two tooling systems into one. For example, combining ProfilCut Q carbide insert tooling and diamond-tipped WhisperCut as a solution for machining glued-up profiles.”
Weinig last held the same event back in 2008. Neil said, “We have a photo from then and the team photo we take at the end of this week will have the same people in it. Our staff hardly ever changes, only that we’re putting on new technicians do we have more people. Of the 28 people working with Weinig Group Australia, 16 of those are on-the-road technicians. Good tech people are hard to come by, so we hang onto ours.” Neil has seen a lot of changes since the Allwood days but one thing he’s not lost sight of is that people are your best asset. He says, “If you surround yourself with the right people, anything is possible.” Judging by the enthusiasm at the open house, he’s most certainly right.