Tools and tooling systems
for wood and plastics

“The tooling changes we’ve made with Leitz have saved us tens of thousands of pounds” 
– Mersey MDF, Plas & Ply

Mersey MPP

Click for full story in Furniture & Joinery Production, Nov 2015

October 2015

When the melamine faced chipboard (MFC) that is the staple material of your manufacturing starts to chip, you start to face a whole range of production, rectification, time and cost issues. 

“Toward the end of their lives, you’re changing saw blades on a daily basis for frequent sharpening. You need that clean edge on the product but with the downtime it gets costly very quickly,” said Terry Stephens, managing director of decorative board specialists Mersey MDF, Plas & Ply.

Six months ago, Leitz Tooling’s Technical Sales Representative for the North West visited the Liverpool-based company to discuss how tooling from Leitz could help their production. While material chipping is a widespread problem experienced by most manufacturers using MFC, it is one of many production issues for which Leitz Tooling can offer solutions. 

Such is Leitz’s confidence in its high quality BS EN847 1-3 manufactured tooling that it offered to install a set of saw blades at Mersey MDF, Plas & Ply on a free of charge/pay on results basis.  Mersey MDF Plas & Ply was founded as Mersey Timber in 1919, and managing director Terry Stephens bought it 30 years ago. A family company working nationwide, the company supplies cut and edged MFC from stock and to specification for trade customers from the kitchen and bedroom fitting industry. Their online business has been successful from when it launched two years ago, building from one delivery a week to currently over a hundred.

“Leitz gave me numbers for the life and performances of the saws that I thought were impossible. I simply didn’t believe it; but we lost nothing by trying.” In fact, in this particular case Leitz’s saw blades ran for 10 days between sharpening, saving the company significant amounts of money. “Leitz’s tooling technology is very good,” said Mr Stephens. “With four beam saws and three edgebanders, as well as other machines, and a thriving trade and online business, we can’t afford for poor tooling to spoil the product, affect our production schedule and end up costing us time and money. The tooling changes we’ve made with Leitz have saved us tens of thousands of pounds. That’s well worth a bit more for the tool in the first place.”

Brian Maddox, Leitz Tooling Sales Manager offers an example justification based on some of the tooling data shared by Mersey MDF, Plas & Ply. “Just looking at the average blade life, you can immediately see that here the average Leitz saw blade is running five times longer than their previous make of saw blade. This means five times less sharpening costs, five times fewer tool changes, five times fewer lots of expensive downtime – the list goes on,” said Mr Maddox. “Yes, Leitz saw blades cost a little more, but they’re not five times more expensive.” 

Justification for Mersey MDF Plas & Ply

                                        Previous saw blades     Leitz saw blades
Cost per set                £145                            £165
Average blade life 2 days                            Up to 10 days
Number of regrinds 12                                    18

12 regrinds at 2 working days covered by previous saw blade = 24 days                
18 regrinds at 10 working days covered by Leitz saw blade = 180 days
For a true comparison, you need to factor in the cost and frequency of servicing the saw blades, the cost of downtime and running the business. “The results are different for each business but customers continue to prove to us that buying cheap tools is a huge drain on their businesses. With our tools and support, they can get the right finish on the material first time, and in many cases save extraordinary amounts of money.”

“We know our Razor-Cut (finish cut) saw blades are among the best available, and a trial with our saw blades can make a huge difference in downtime and setting time, duration and quality,” continued Mr Maddox. Every tool from Leitz is manufactured to BS EN847 1-3, which means every tool is tested to a high standard of accuracy and safety, helping prolong the life of the tool and, ultimately, the machines they are used with. “Our tools give an excellent finish on most materials, which mean less sanding and rectification, less coating and ultimately, lower labour costs. Companies can become fixated on the purchase price of tools, but correct, quality tools can have a fantastic positive impact on other costs. Quality service back up and monitoring is also crucial to reducing overall costs.” 

Leitz Tooling want more manufacturers in all areas of wood processing from panel products to solid wood and sawmilling to contact them about production problems, and how their tooling can help. Email or call 01279 454530.