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Laguna Tools Adds Platinum Series Machines: Industrial Bandsaw Leads Company into New Applications
Laguna Tools – Machinery Supplier Introduces Industrial Bandsaw
By Peter Hildebrandt
Date Posted: 3/1/2008
IRVINE, California — Laguna Tools has added the Laguna Platinum Series horizontal bandsaw to its extensive line of bandsaws.
The company, based in Irvine, Calif., has been in the business of supplying machinery for professional markets such as cabinet makers as well as home hobbyists since 1983.
With its new line of Platinum Series machines, Laguna is venturing further into other lumber remanufacturing and wood processing applications where they are less well known.
Laguna Tools imports machines and sells them under the Laguna nameplate. It sells directly to woodworking businesses and hobbyists. The company has approximately 35 employees.
The company’s lines of machinery include bandsaws, jointers, planers, lathes, mortisers, panel saws, rip saws, table saws, shapers, sanders and more. The company offers combination machines as well as accessories, dust collectors and work benches.
The new Laguna Tools Platinum Series horizontal bandsaw is especially exciting, said Torben Helshoj, company president. “This new machine is ergonomically designed with a horizontal belt feeder. This makes loading and off loading easier than with vertical machines. To adjust the thickness of the cut, the saw unit is raised and lowered by two ball screws that are computer controlled for maximum accuracy to within four-thousandths of an inch. Operation is user-friendly, so there is a minimal learning curve.
Cutting height is adjustable four ways:
• Manual – The cutting head can be adjusted up or down with a push button control.
• Pre-Set Heights — There are four pre-set heights for repetitive work; they are accessed at the press of a button and can be changed at any time.
• Programmable – Enter the cutting height, and the bandsaw automatically adjusts to the new setting.
• Height Values – Key in a value, and the machine will move by that value each time; this control feature keeps the jointed surface against the feed conveyor.
The Laguna Tools Platinum Series bandsaws are powered by a Siemens 30 hp motor; Siemens is a multi-national German company. The machines are wired for 3-phase electrics, 220 volts. The saw runs a 2-inch, 15-foot blade.
The infeed and return conveyors are powered by a hydraulic system from the main saw motor. Speed adjustment is quick with a control valve. The sophisticated air-over-hydraulic blade tensioning system is automatic; it is fast, accurate, makes blade tensioning virtually trouble-free and extends blade life. The saw comes with a pneumatic blade lubrication system that reduces pitch build-up for longer blade life.
Torben was an established, award-winning custom furniture designer who won the prestigious Queen of Denmark’s Silver Medal in Woodworking when he came to the U.S. in 1983 to begin a custom cabinet and woodworking business. After realizing that the American woodworking industry lacked the type of machinery he was accustomed to using in Denmark and Europe, he began importing equipment and also supplied machines to other businesses like his. The machinery business grew.
“For the first five years, the company was only a side business to the thriving woodworking shop,” Torben recalled. In 1987, however, he began using video tapes of machinery and equipment as a marketing tool. Since then, Laguna Tools has become been an industry leader in woodworking equipment and has been an innovative leader in both price and quality, according to Torben.
Laguna Tools introduced its first panel saw in 1989 followed up by the company’s first bandsaw; the machines earned top ratings among the industry.
“Our dream was very simple,” said Torben. “Produce the bandsaw that could cut as straight and smooth as a table saw. This is easier to say than to do. We had to redesign the frame so that the machine was able to properly balance and tension a blade. The fence was next. Then, we knew that we could not achieve the kind of cuts we really needed without redesigning the blade.”
Laguna Tools partnered with a German company to develop a blade that Torben had been dreaming about for over a decade. The thin kerf bandsaw blade cuts so cleanly that it eliminates the need for sanding. The Resaw King blade can be re-sharpened up to five times and has complemented the company’s bandsaw machine offerings.
“The guides were our next priority,” Torben recalled. “Our guides use a ceramic material which is quite unique. The benefits of ceramic are many, but the most obvious is that it is a very poor heat conductor. Therefore, during cutting the ceramic guides can touch the blade and stabilize it for even better cuts,” said Torben.
For the next 18 years, Laguna Tools focused on providing the industry with its top quality line of products and superior customer service, phasing out its custom cabinet roots.
Listening to people that buy machinery and use it has been an important part of the growth and development of Laguna Tools. “Connecting with the woodworker is what it is all about,” said Torben. “If you don’t connect your company with the customer, you will remain stagnant. Our industry changes constantly with the technology and needs of our customers. We have a business relationship with every one of our customers that moves us rapidly forward. Like our tag line, ‘Thriving on Innovation,’ our customers are propelling our ideas into reality as we speak to them about their work and the obstacles they face. We incorporate their ideas into the finest customer service plan we can implement to make their purchase the finest experience while making sure they receive total satisfaction and get their money’s worth.”
Laguna Tools offers three distinct lines of machinery products. The Signature Series consists of top-of-the-line, heavy-duty machines. They are designed and built for heavy production applications. “The Signature Series has been around for decades and comes with a proven track record of performance,” said Torben.
The Laguna Series is an innovative line of machines that Laguna has reinvented, with Torben directly involved with the design. “By re-innovating a classic machine to improve performance and bringing out the agility of the machine, we’ve taken a machine and made it better,” said Torben. “It’s as simple as that. We’ve added features and functions to improve the woodworking experience.”
New Platinum Series
The latest addition is the company’s Platinum Series line of machines. “It has been unfolding over the last few years and has already proven to be the leader we expected it to be in its class,” said Torben. “Our customers have been asking us for a Laguna Tools line that is more cost-effective. We had our eye on Asia and tested the manufacturers with a few simple products first and were surprised by the quality. The Platinum Series is a competitive line of selective machines and accessories that stands up to the Laguna performance standard.”
The four ways of adjusting the cutting height of the new Laguna Tools Platinum Series horizontal bandsaw makes the machine particularly versatile, Torben noted. “There are a couple of different ways to work it,” he explained. “You can put into the memory some typical thicknesses you are using, and then you simply hit one button and the machine goes automatically to that setting.” The operator also can input the desired amount or quantity, and the machine will go to that as well.
The operator also can input a certain cutting height value; each time that button is pressed, the machine returns to that same value. “This feature means that the operator can keep the flat side against the conveyor, and they’re actually using the piece of wood’s other side,” explained Torben. “Normally you would set the distance from the fence or conveyor — in this case, to the blade, set as, say, a quarter of an inch. But that would mean you are putting the flat side down against the conveyor, and the next cut would be based on the previous cut. We do it the other way. We use the piece on the other side of the blade, and this is more accurate.”
Board thickness is read out on a digital display. All cutting height adjustments are made by hydraulic power, which is safer than electric, and are computer controlled. Accuracy is within a couple of thousandths of an inch.
Cutting height is achieved by ball screw. “Normally,” said Torben, “a threaded rod and a nut are used in such a situation. With Laguna Tools equipment, this is the same kind of ball screw that is used in millworking operations. Therefore, the backlash is much less, and the accuracy is much higher, and everything is smoother overall.”
Maximum blade width is 2 inches, which allows the operator to achieve high feed speeds without blade deflection. Both feed speed and blade speed are adjustable.
“By doing both of those, we can greatly extend the life of the blade,” noted Torben. “The softer the wood, in fact, the higher the speed you would want. That’s just a general rule as some woods are also more abrasive than others, something which also affects the choice of blade and, again, the blade speed.”
Parts for Laguna Tools equipment are readily available and can be sent out immediately. Installation of most machines is very simple; they are shipped fully assembled. In the case of a bandsaw, the blade needs to be installed and the unit needs to be connected to compressed air for air-over-hydraulic blade tensioning system.
For more information, call Laguna Tools at (800) 234-1976 or visit the company’s Web site at www.lagunatools.com.
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