As Nature Intended, With Alphacam
It wasn’t nature that created straight lines in building – it was the limitations of technology. But with tailor-made CAD/CAM developments from Alphacam, Bolefloor curved flooring meets the true definition of unique. Each floorboard is as individual as the tree it came from, meaning no two floors from Bolefloor are alike.
Hannes Tarn, of Bolefloor, in Estonia, says it all began with the idea of producing floorboards with curves following the tree’s natural growth. “Every room has different conditions, and we now combine nature with the latest technology to create a unique floor every time.”combine nature with the latest technology to create a unique floor every time.”
“With Alphacam, it only takes around three minutes to program our Homag Profi BOF211/72/AP router with the NC codes to produce 100 completely unique floorboards. Without Alphacam I can’t imagine how long it would take. It’s the only way to produce this kind floor, as every detail must fit perfectly with its neighbour. Alphacam is one of the key-stones of our manufacturing process.”
The main goal was to create production efficiencies through technology to ensure their exclusive floors were affordable by all sectors of the market place, overcoming the parquet floor industry’s paradigm of fast and straight production lines, with special customised machinery and new routines.
An essential part of Bolefloor’s plan was for the CNC machining of all the unique, irregular pieces of one complete floor to be undertaken in a fully automated batch process. The leading CAM solution, Alphacam, was selected to ensure that the CNC machining achieves the required optimal throughput needed for volume production.
As well as the fast generation of accurate NC code, Bolefloor also finds Alphacam’s Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) function to be particularly valuable, allowing them to customise tool assignment, board and vacuum cap positioning, and creating work lists.
Another important outcome for Bolefloor is that using Alphacam leads to considerable savings of the natural resource. Not only is the surface attractive to look at, but it means more floors per forest. “Every tree is used to its full potential in the production process.”
To make every piece of the floor unique, Bolefloor’s technology combines its tailor-made CAD/CAM developments with scanning systems, CAD-integrated measurement devices, and innovative optimisation algorithms. As part of the process, scanners identify ‘imperfections’ such as knots and sapwood near the edges or ends of the boards. Also, the MicroStation Powerdraft CAD system’s ability to generate advanced 2D/3D vector graphic objects and elements, helps Bolefloor’s designers to manage large amounts of irregular shapes, in conjunction with their high-resolution images simultaneously.
The Alphacam software, WoodWOP postprocessor and the MicroStation CAD package with its special flooring design solution, along with full implementation and training, were provided by Alphacam’s Estonian reseller, Cadsys.
While Bolefloor intend to install another Homag Profi during 2012, Hannes Tarn says programming with Alphacam means they are not restricted to just one manufacturer. “In the future we have the freedom to choose any machine on the market that is most suitable for our needs.”
Bolefloor’s Solid Oak, Ash, Maple, Cherry and Walnut floors are available grooved and ungrooved, or a combination of both, including grooved and ungrooved end joints.. The floorboards can be up to 3,000 mm long, with widths between 150-300mm with the curves causing slight natural variations in places. The thickness is a uniform 21mm.
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