JJO Production Director, Robert Myers

Wemhöner & Sittex for JJO

More than 20 years of near faultless service from their old Wemhöner made the choice a simple one when JJO wanted a new, more automated pressing line.

JJ Ormerod is a name that requires little introduction. Established towards the back end of the 19th century, it’s a successful family company with a reputation for manufacturing high quality kitchens, bedrooms and bathrooms, which are sold either directly through a UK-wide network of independent specialist retailers, or to the contract trade.
Production Director, Robert Myers, explains: “You won’t see the name JJO on the kitchens we sell through retailers. You might see Avalon Kitchens or Eco Kitchens, Holcombe Bedrooms or Eco Bathrooms – those are our brands – but mostly we brain-box everything and put whatever label the retailer wants on it.
Employing 310 people and with a turnover of around £40m, JJ Ormerod runs a two-shift system on the manufacturing side, six until two and two until ten, with the warehouse running from eight in the morning until five in the afternoon. Efficiency is high on Robert’s agenda. He’s also keen on ensuring consistently high standards – a reason, he says, why JJO only works with panel product and vinyl suppliers like Egger, Finsa and Kronospan. All manufacturing is done on site in Rawtenstall: “We convert it, cut it, edge it, drill it and package it. It’s the same on the vinyl side. For our doors, our board comes from Finsa. We cut out the blanks, route and profile them, spray, press and package everything.
”With prices rising, especially energy prices, Robert has a keen eye on productionenhancing investment opportunities: “We purchased an IMA line in 2003 but over the years we’ve diversified into different markets and had to change some of our machinery to keep pace with demand. We changed the first combination line so we could machine smaller panels and get into the bathroom sector. The second combination line we changed three years ago, purely because of its age. The drills behind it we changed seven years ago to take advantage of developing technology, increase production and reduce manufacturing costs. Recently, one of the areas we decided could benefit most from investment was the door pressing line.
“Back in 2001 we bought a Wemhöner press and it’s served us very well. It’s still a very good press, in great condition and we’ve never had any problems with. Once you turn it on and it reaches operating temperature, it stays at that temperature and it burns electricity all day long. Although we’d never had a problem with it, we knew the newer presses were more energy efficient and could give us both the energy savings we required and the increased production. We also wanted an automated solution for vinyl doors, that included automatic trimming of the pressed panels, so along with the Wemhöner press we also invested in a Sittex automatic trimming line.”
The new Wemhöner 3d Variopress and Sittex pressing and trimming line was commissioned in late spring 2022 and pretty much from the offset it met Robert’s production requirements.
The new press has laser temperature control that reduces its energy consumption and within two weeks of being commissioned it was already demonstrating increased throughput performance and had provided a sizeable 30% uplift in productivity. “That’s purely because the pressure we can achieve with this new Wemhöner reduces the cycle time from three minutes to two,” Robert told me. “In round numbers, the old press could do up to 20 cycles per hour; the new press can do up to 27 in the same time. The old press was six bar; the new press is eight bar, so you have more pressure with less heat. That means better performance, especially with high gloss foils.”
Aside from greater energy efficiency and increased productivity, Robert also wanted to reduce staffing on the pressing line from four people to three. He’s achieved that: two staff at the front end lightly sand the surface of each of the pre-glued and dried door blanks before placing them on the pressing tray.
Although the Sittex can cope with mixed sizes and scans each pressed door before trimming it whatever angle the doors are placed on the tray, the unique VarioPin® system helps the operators to locate panels squarely – and it’s plain to see as you watch them work that they do like everything perfect, even though the system doesn’t require that. A third operator recovers the panels after trimming on the Sittex, disposes of the waste foil and quality checks each panel as it comes out of the brushing unit.
Once all the individual doors have been trimmed out, the door set is transferred by conveyor to the third operator position where it pauses so unwanted foil from the process can be removed by hand. Finally, still in the original layout on the conveyor, the doors continue through a brushing machine, which takes away any residual glue over-spray and removes any sharp edges or imperfections on all the doors simultaneously as they pass through. Each panel is then manually offloaded from the off-feed table and visually checked before stacking.
I realise it’s a no-brainer but I have to ask the question: with so many alternatives in the market, why did Robert choose to invest in a Wemhöner and Sittex line?
“The performance of the Wemhöner we already have has been superb and the reliability has been really excellent. The service we’ve been given by Wemhöner made it not worthwhile to look elsewhere.
We know there are other presses on the market but the support we have received over the years makes Wemhöner the only choice for us.
“If it was down to pounds, shillings and pence and we only looked at the initial cost of the press, we’d probably have spent less by going elsewhere but the expertise Wemhöner has in pressing is second to none and the machine we already had has proven itself to be more than reliable over two decades. Finding a comparable company with a machine of that build quality and starting a new relationship wasn’t something we wanted to do. We are a loyal company. Unless there is a real need because of market influences, we stay with our suppliers. In combination with the Sittex machine, we’ve got a great system that does everything we need. You can’t say fairer than that.”
Read the full article from Furniture Journal here which includes illustarated detail on the operation of the new line.