Advances in Edgebander Technology

Woodworkers describe good results from applying the adjustability and programmable features of the newest generation of edgebanders. January 23, 2014

We are looking to upgrade our edgebander. We would like to get a newer used edgebander. We currently have 2 Holz-Her banders (1 in each of our 2 locations). The difficulty for us is that we never do one thing for very long - we do a lot of variety. Thickness of parts ranges from 1/4 to 2". We apply PVC tape (up to 3mm thick), hardwood edge banding, and laminate strips.

So it is important that we are able to change from one application to another quickly. With our current bander, if we take a lot of setup time, we can get the edge almost perfect on PVC tape, but in practice edges are typically filed and cleaned by hand. I have almost resigned myself to the fact at this point.

Is there a brand that you can recommend? We are looking at a Homag SE-9800 as one of the options.

Forum Responses
(Architectural Woodworking Forum)
From contributor D:
If you have had good success with Holz-Her in the past, take a look at their newer machines with the MOT-6 servo controls. Our Sprint 1312 has the trimming stations all controlled with servo motors. This gives us super-fine adjustability, all from a control panel at the front of the machine.

We do a variety of edge banding, like you: 3mm flush, 3mm radiused edge, .5 mm flush or with a 10-degree bevel, wood or PVC, coil or strip. We have had the machine for 2 1/2 years (from new) and it's been a champ.

From the original questioner:
Do you remember what year your Sprint 1312 is? I don't have a problem going with a Holz-Her again, but we have had enough problems to make me what to look into other options. Thanks for the feedback.

From contributor D:
We put our machine into service April 2010, replacing a smaller Brandt machine that was starting to show its age. Apart from routine maintenance we haven't had to do much. The part I like about the servo controls is that the operator never has to open the hood except to clean the machine out at the end of a job. No fiddling with mechanical adjustments, and the servos allow adjustability in ridiculously small increments - fractions of a millimeter.

From contributor S:
I would recommend buying an edgebander that is programmable, so whatever you want to run, you press the program for that and it adjusts itself. How much you want to spend will determine the features you get. A more expensive machine may have a jointer, trimmers, end cut, round over cutter, scrapers, buffers, etc. So for prefinished birch ply with 3 mm PVC edging, you may use all those features so that would be programmed into Program 1. Next you may run maple plywood with .5 mm edgetape, so you would run only some of the features, so they would be programmed in as Program 2. This way you can run one and then the other at the push of a button. The only thing you need to manually change is your edging material. The new, better machines have automatic glue feeds so you don't even need to add to your glue pot. When the machine is set up properly and programmed, you don't have to touch it again. There is no filing or scraping or sanding one end - it is perfect.

As for a manufacturer, I buy equipment based on the service available for that machine in my area. Where I am there are great techs for SCM and for Homag, so I would buy a Brandt, Homag or SCM. I currently own a Brandt and am very happy with it. I have owned SCM and Holz-Her in the past. Edgebanders are just like trucks, one guy likes one kind and the next guy likes a different kind.

From contributor K:
Your situation sounds a lot like ours, and many others I'm sure. We purchased an IMA Advantage 550L back in January and I can't say enough about what a fine piece of machinery it is. Scott described to a T exactly what this bander does, and you would not believe the man hours it saves on filing, cleaning, etc. IMA is in Raleigh, North Carolina if that helps any, and they are really good people. Our shop is in Michigan if you ever want a demo.

From the original questioner:
It is hard for me to tell what machines have CNC adjustment, and what that means. Is it simply controlling what cutters are on and off, and whether they are angled or not, or do some machines actually have servos that control the fine adjustment of each cutter? For example I am looking at a Busellato that claims: "CNC Operated with most setup and changes form Control Panel with monitor - positioning by Servo drives!" But I am pretty sure it doesn't have servos to control each cutter.

From contributor K:
Our IMA is all front end controlled, meaning if you are running 3 mil vinyl on a panel that is 30.1 mm thick, you have a program that is called "3 mil vinyl 1st and 2nd pass." You select that program, hit the green button on the touch screen and all of the cutters adjust via servos to properly trim that vinyl. IMA also has a smoothing station that turns dark 3mil vinyl back to its dark color after the profile scraper scrapes it. We used to use a heat gun or some nasty chemical to achieve this, but now when it comes out of the bander, it is literally ready to ship!

From contributor L:
Even with a manual bander you should not have to file and clean by hand. I suspect the operator is ill trained or lazy. You are wasting money. We are running an older IDM58 with many miles on the clock and it still puts a perfectly trimmed edge on, including corner radius. The operator has to dial it in manually, but it stays that way once there. I'd love to have one of the new no adhesive banders, but they're expensive.

From contributor K:
By the way. Our IMA bander is not the glueless laser type. It is a hot melt pellet system with auto-feed.

From contributor C:
I'm with contributor L. A few test pieces and manually move the cutters and get it right. The shop foreman stops anyone in their tracks with a file and we find out what needs to be adjusted. You bought the bander to get away from the hand work.

Jumping back and forth can be tough, but are you using the right adhesive for the application? P-Lam and the PVC can use the same, but I always change to something completely different for the 3mm. I'm sure training and well documented manuals are in order, whether you buy or keep. Make the adjustment phase a company policy, just like cleaning the spoilboard or setting the score on a saw.

We have had excellent results from Biesse Exchange.

From contributor S:
No offense to anyone, but there are a lot of tired banders out there that just won't stay adjusted!

From contributor C:
Been there, done that. Junked a Cehisa I had for a week, once I realize I had been screwed, and went out and bought our first bander brand new. Never looked back.

From contributor V:

We have an IMA 6200x - best quality you can buy, and best service. Owned all the big brands and there is no comparison to IMA quality.

From contributor J:
You must be a dealer with a comment like that! That is like saying General Motors makes the best trucks! If one company made the best product hands down, they would be the only company in business. All comes down to personal preference, what meets your needs, parts and service, warranty, price, etc. One of the biggest commercial shops I know has had everything also, and he won't use anything except Brandt.

From contributor V:
Apparently you've never owned and IMA.

From contributor F:
Company I worked for had an IMA Novimat L20. It must have been built on a Monday - the technician was always there fixing it.