MFI Manufacturing is the production facility making flat-pack and ready assembled kitchen and bedroom furniture for MFI stores. Based in Howden, East Yorkshire, the company has a large manufacturing facility with automated facilities for board lamination, cutting to size, edging, boring, drilling, routing and packing. The company now employs over 800 people on this site, the facility has been there for 22 years, under various brand names, and other facilities (for fixings manufacture etc.) are nearby at locations in Hull. Production of the famous flat-pack furniture requires great efficiency and throughput, with over 100,000 units produced each week.
The facility handles the complete process of the manufacture of fla-pack units. The chipboard arrives in large standard sheets; these are first laminated before being fed toautomatic programmable sawing machines. These machines cut the laminated board into the sizes required (or multiple parts if the end unit is small), prior to edging strip being applied. The edged boards are then fed to complex drilling, boring and routing machines where the various assembly fixings will belocated. Multiple part boards (such as drawer fronts) are then sawn into individual units and edged. Each board is then fed by conveyor and picker/stacker unit to a large number of parallel roller conveyors to await final picking according to the schedule for the packing lines. A picking unit travels up and down the conveyors selecting the parts that are required for the particular fla-packs that are being run on the packing lines.
Early adoption of Wonderware’s InTouch SCADA systems on laminating machines showed the production department the production advantages that could be obtained through process visualisation. These systems were supplied as part of the laminating process machinery.