2014-04-02 11:28:18 - Gresham is one of Britain’s leaders in the growing workspace furniture
sector for whom a new multi-function work-centre from RW Machines is already demonstrating the equivalent of six figure savings in production costs.
A key task in the early weeks of working with Altair,” says production director Tony Baines, “has been convincing my top shop-floor operators that they can leave this new machine to get on with the job. Our four original drilling lines needed to be closely overseen to anticipate problems; but, if a problem comes up on the Altair it just stops - and it indicates the position of the hold-up so it can be quickly sorted.”
The new production regime also serves MD Julian Roebuck’s team management strategy for upgrading the quality of Gresham’s 300 strong workforce by continually improving the efficiency of individuals according to their skills. “We are very active in the business of workforce education and training,” he
says, “sending people on courses and working with them on-site to develop their natural abilities and improve their potential.”
Gresham makes modular system furniture for today’s progressive business environment: dynamic desking and award winning eco-designs that, according to Julian, “are limited only by the imagination of our customers.” A 296 page catalogue showcases the latest products and innovations alongside established favourites and is available in conventionally published form plus also, in these days of instant internet access, to download in PDF form: www.gof.co.uk/downloads.html
A substantial refit of two huge showrooms at the Bolton factory has just taken place to showcase the latest workspace design options in conjunction with a range of subtle colour combinations and graphics. Gresham’s on-site interior design team is continually creating new workspace furniture layouts in a broad range of footprints and with back heights and seating options to suit a growing range of applications that includes public areas, private meetings and just day to day working needs - all with full working connectivity.
Engineers from RW Machines have been working closely with Gresham during the set-up and early operating phases of the new Altair program and Tony Baines and his key production people have been experimenting under the watchful eye of David Thompson Rowland. Altair is opening up manufacturing flexibility options that Julian Roebuck seeks ultimately to use as part of his plan to develop the workforce. He regularly calls on contributions from Tony Baines and his shopfloor team, at set piece meetings and also through hands-on contact and awareness sessions.
Gresham services the workspace furniture and systems needs of police forces, universities and also the NHS and a major new government contract has just been won within the national police network. The aim of Tony Baines and his team will be to produce furniture and systems that are stylish and modern and yet are robust enough to withstand the daily stresses and strains of working police station environments.
With the new Altair system, efficiency savings will be huge, confirms Tony Baines: “Instead of setting up four CNC and drilling lines independently,” he says, “production scheduling for the new system will come down direct from the drawing office to the new workcentre. Panels will then go directly to assembly stations, which will speed up production and work towards the elimination of a lot of re-make consequences. David Thompson Rowland at RW is also currently working with Stema in Italy on a new tracking and logistics system to distribute work-in-progress panels to a range of carcase assembly points.
With Altair, Gresham is able to address all six faces of every panel working at speeds up to 90m/min and to very exacting standards of positioning accuracy, all from a 10sq/m footprint. As work progresses, fresh panels will be introduced on one side of the Altair as work is taken off, either manually or automatically, at the other. In addition to shop floor operator savings, Tony Baines says that Altair is also saving upwards of 30 sq/mtrs of floor space.