It was Mr Jenkner’s son Detlef who seized the opportunity and in the attic of a house in Gechingen, the small town near the Black Forest where Holzma started, he designed the second generation of Holzma saws. Mr Jenkner junior officially joined the company in 1969 and the first panel sizing saw with pressure beam and electronically-controlled lateral positioning fence was dispatched from the factory in 1970. From then on, Holzma equipped all its saws with a scoring unit, adjustable horizontally and vertically from outside the machine.
Holzma soon became a specialist in panel saws and today offers such machines for everything from the small workshop to the biggest panel manufacturing and processing operations.
The growing company was getting too big for the bus garage so the Jenkners bought a plot of land in nearby Holzbronn and, literally, built a factory out of secondhand materials themselves, in their spare time. The business moved in to the new premises in 1971 and that site is still the location of Holzma’s headquarters and German factory today, although it has grown a lot since then and now covers 70,000m2.
In the same year, the first system for cutting strips was delivered to the UK, incorporating a fully automatic de-stacking system for the cut books. This was followed in 1972 with the first order for an angular saw system, a principle familiar to panel producers.
As opportunities in the North American furniture market opened up with the use of particleboard and MDF in cabinets, Holzma opened Holzma US Sales and Service in Gastonia, North Carolina, in 1981.
The Holzma company joined the massive Homag Group in 1987 and is today 100% owned by Homag.
The Homag Group is keen to promote good business within its subsidiaries and offers two awards each year to the best in the group.
Holzma has won ‘Best Operative Performance’ four times – in 2003,4,5 and 6. It has also won ‘Best Strategy’ three times. Within Holzma, an employee ideas scheme with annual rewards helps to keep innovation coming from every level in the company.
All the machining of the steel components is carried out inhouse at Holzbronn for all frames, beds and so on.
Major parts are first cut to size using an automated band saw.
For cutting shaped panels out of sheet metal for machine cabinets, there is a new fully automatic laser cutting machine. This has an intelligent connection between stock and machine, with the stock being held adjacent to the machine. A carriage retrieves the stock required for a particular job automatically. The laser can cut almost any shape required without the need for chamfering of the edge, or for pre-cutting. Also, no tool changer is required of course. The laser gives every part a number which helps the workers to sort them; the number vanishes after painting.
Machining of the machine tables and guides/pushers is carried out on CNC machines to exacting tolerances. Here, the V-grooves to hold the table’s guiding rods are machined and then the cylindrical guiding rods are screwed into the groove. This ‘Holzma monorail guiding system’ carries its own 10-year guarantee on the guiding rods.
Painted components are powder coated manually with spray guns because the wide variety of shapes and sizes means the manual process is most suitable.
Assembly of the machine tables is carried out using laser/electronic measurement and the company guarantees a maximum tolerance of +/-0.1mm per metre on table flatness; anything outside this tolerance is rejected.
"This is a major point for the precision of the saws, so it is very important," explained Andreas Braun, a sales manager with the company.
There are two main assembly lines in which all the components of the machines are brought together and electrical wiring is carried out.
Every finished machine is then test-run for 24 hours.
There is a demonstration centre/showroom at the factory, where a representative cross-section of machines is on display.
The machine range starts with the smallest horizontal beam saw, the HPP 230, made, together with the HPP250, at its 10,000m2 factory in Barcelona, Spain. All other machines are made at the Holzbronn factory and go up to the HKL with rip-cut and cross-cut saws in one machine and automatic feed from the rear of the machine.
The new Power Concept, launched at the Ligna exhibition 2007, is a clamp system with three ‘fingers’ guided separately to allow cross-cutting of two different-size strips simultaneously. "This reduces the number of cuts considerably, resulting in up to 40% faster cutting cycles," explained Mr Braun.
In the past, Holzma offered two hydraulic aligners for cross-cutting, but for the past five years, it has offered central side alignment, which shortens cycle times by up to 25%.
One problem as saw sizes increase in the new 5 series particularly, is that the size and weight of the saw motor to be lifted also increases – and so does the wear and tear on the guiding mechanisms. This led to another innovation: Holzma’s answer was to just raise the saw on an arm, while the motor body remains stationary and this is now fitted to the large 5 Series of saws offered to the panel industry.
Also, adjustment of the scoring saw used to have to be carried out by hand with an Allen key. Now, Holzma offers fully automatic camera-controlled scoring saw adjustment on the larger 530, 550 and 570 machines. It employs a camera system to ensure correct adjustment within almost 40 seconds and this world’s first has a patent pending and won a 2007 German innovation award.
Another major recent development for the 5 series was to change from steel machine bases to mineral cast. The saw carriage has also been completely redesigned.
"This gives less vibration, the best noise emission levels and the best rigidity," said Andreas Braun. There is a patent pending on this innovation too.
In fact, there are a number of patents pending for the 5 Series, including the new drive principle for the saw carriage, the accurate linear guides for the blade-raising system and the light sensor with its own cleaning device.
A large complex angular panel sawing plant such as that required by a panel manufacturer or processor to cut multiple sizes must make the best use of the valuable panels fed to it. Thus Holzma has for some years offered its Cut-Rite software to control this optimisation of speed versus waste. It has sold over 6,000 licenses for this software which it claims makes it the market leader in optimisation software.
Another service offered by Holzma is simulation of the customer’s requirements, using data from Cut Rite and the customer’s specific parameters.
The Homag Group has a diverse range of woodworking machinery and handling equipment to offer and there are obvious synergies within the group.
One such is Bargstedt, which works with Holzma to supply vacuum feeding and de-stacking systems with a clamping system.
The service department at Holzbronn offers Holzma’s TeleService by modem/phone line and every Holzma machine is equipped with a modem.
"If the customer allows us to, we can look at all the data and even run the machine remotely if necessary," said Armin Auer, manager of the Service Centre. "If the customer can’t explain the problem, we can see it and get the machine running again."
"If something is broken, we can call our nearest dealer and arrange spare part delivery, reducing downtime to a minimum."
The second service system is via the internet and is of course faster: TeleService Net. Software updates are also offered over the internet.
Finally there is a free 24-hour telephone help line based at Holzbronn.
This is all backed up by local partners worldwide, who also offer support.
Many surfaced panels require very careful handling to avoid damage to the decorative surfaces and Holzma has developed a scratch-sensitivity test with the Rosenheim Institute in Germany to enable Holzma to test how sensitive their customer’s surfaces are, in one of seven sensitivity classes, in order to choose the right machine configuration of vacuum lifters, brush rollers, etc.
Full customer training is offered on site, with specially equipped classrooms so that customer’s operators can familiarise themselves with the optimisation and CADmatic software used to run the machines.
Holzma holds its Holzma Treff, or inhouse exhibition, for customers each September, when it presents its latest innovations and services.