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Perfect high gloss edges in stationary technology

Network Innovation Partnership with Hunger, Leitz, Rehau and Riepe develops new technique: AEK Unit with milled profile scraper 5.1 on the BIMA Gx50

Now that it is no longer a problem to laser edge high gloss parts in through feed technology, high quality products for the furniture industry can be produced much more efficiently and cost-effectively. Gone are the days when the workpiece had first to be machined and then painted, together with the edge. That was the only way to obtain a continuous high-gloss finish, where the same high gloss appeared on the milled radius as on the rest of the workpiece.

Innovation Partnership

The entire furniture industry must thank the united efforts of the Innovation Partnership between Hunger, Leitz, Rehau, Riepe and IMA, a specialist in the production of furniture manufacturing machinery, for this technological success. Using the jointly developed duo-scraper, not only has highgloss edging been greatly improved with laser technology but also a new standard for the industry has been set. And this technology is certainly needed, if you want to meet the demands of current trends.

Because more and more customers are looking for furniture with highly polished surfaces, whether in the kitchen, the bathroom, the living room or the study. This new technology can meet these needs  with a quality that is at least as good as the conventional painting method, but costing much less to produce.

Previously available in through feed technology, but now in stationary technology too

Immediately after the two years of development required before reaching series production for through feed technologies, the same team of specialists gave themselves a new task. The goal this time was to develop the same edge quality for machining sculptured surfaces with high-gloss components in stationary technologies. Such complex problems are best worked on with the knowledge of, and at the same time for the benefit of, all the participants in a functioning network structure. They had already been tested and were well established. Their ambition and innovative ideas meant that the result was not long in coming.

They have reached their goal presenting a machine with laser technology for processing high gloss surfaces at the IMA stand at LIGNA 2013.

The basis of the process: A BIMA Gx50 with gantry drive

Flexibility, speed and the highest quality standards at each step of machine-based furniture manufacturing: This is how success will be measured, and achieving it will be a guarantee of competitiveness and high machine availability. To meet these requirements, IMA developed the new BIMA Gx series as a moving gantry machine with gantry drive. The Gx50 and Gx60 series were developed for industry and craftsmen, and have many applications – furniture fronts, worktops, stairs, cladding, lightweight building panels and even aluminium or plastic profiles. Several units employed for one application can be replaced by the 5-axis robot head. An investment that pays off quickly: Less downtime by eliminating constant tool changes. As an alternative to the 5-axis head, 4-axis machining also allows everything to be done – milling, sizing, profiling, grooving, cutting and drilling wood materisals, plastics, composites and lightweight materials. Other add-on assemblies are integrated into the drill head. In addition to sizing and milling, functional and decorative edging materials can be attached to the narrow surfaces of both straight and curved workpieces.

High quality, uniform appearance with Laser Edging

Manufacturing formed parts with zero gaps using the patented IMA Laser Edging system results in a high quality, uniform appearance that does not appear aged or worn. With unbeatable advantages for the processor – the availability of the machine is increased significantly compared with conventional bonding units, due to the elimination of the need to heat up, change the adhesive, and undertake expensive cleaning operations. Thanks to its integrated extraction and filtering, the environment is protected and energy consumption reduced. These unbeatable advantages can now be enjoyed in stationary systems too, thanks to the development by the Network Partners in the high gloss sector.

AEK technology with milled profile scraper 5.1

For this purpose, the team developed the patented AEK unit with integrated milled profile scraper 5.1. AEK stands for “Automatisch einstellbares Kombinationsaggregat” – automatic adjustable combination unit – and is a patented development by IMA. After lasering, the special cutting geometry of the milled profile scraper 5.1. produces a surface that is prepared for the high gloss, which is further worked by subsequent polishing and cleaning. The surface is only very lightly roughened by the scraper. Once the radius has been milled, the surface is polished with a waxed polishing wheel at a 45° angle. The oscillating movements allow the entire width of the buffing wheel to be used. Using the same unit, a cleaning cycle follows resulting in the desired high-gloss edge, which cannot be distinguished from the rest of the highgloss material. A further refinement in connection with the AEK unit is the integrated edge thickness measurement, which takes place before the milling process, the results being used to ensure the best possible milled contour. The data is transferred automatically to the AEK, where it is processed to enable any corrections that may be needed to be made.