Reprinted with permission from MLS Machinery, Inc.
Flooring Equipment covers a vast array of different machinery. Some of the equipment includes planers, rip saws, chop saws or cut off saws, optimizers, moulders, finishing equipment and end matches. All of the above mentioned machines have been covered under various categories of equipment other than the end matcher.
In this section we will cover different types of moulders used specifically in the flooring industry as well as end matchers.
In the manufacture of flooring, the moulder used can be a four head machine and the width will depend on the width of the flooring being run. The main aim of the first head of the moulder (the bottom head) is to put in the stress relief grooves and straighten the material. The top head (last head) is to do the final finish on the top of the floor. The two side heads are to make the tongue and groove that will be necessary to join the floors together when they are laid down.
It is advisable to use two side heads that are directly opposing each other in order to get a perfect tongue and groove. If they are off set as they are in most moulders and there is a variation in the thickness of the material, the tongue and groove might not match properly.
It is not to say that a conventional moulder, be it a 5 of 6 head machine cannot be used, but direct opposing side heads is beneficial.
In high speed production of flooring, these machines would be running at a 150 feet plus a minute and in most cases would be a four head machine with opposing side heads.
The end matcher is a machine that puts the tongue and groove on the ends of the flooring as opposed to the moulder which puts the tongue and groove on the long side of the flooring. End matching can be done on a double end tenoner if all the flooring has been cut to size, or for small production. It can be done on a single end tenoner or a shaper, however the accuracy could create some problems.
An end matcher for production is very similar to a high speed finger jointer. These machines will allow for random lengths of flooring and the feeding mechanism will take one random length piece at a time and pass it through a shaping head, which could be the one making the tongue. Once the one side is done, the material handling device through a system of cross transfers transfers the floor to a second shaper on the opposite side of the table and the groove will be shaped at this station. These machines are rather large but are very basic they have to be made with a very strong frame and need to be installed with 100% accuracy so that the parts are perfectly square in order for the floor when laid, to fit not only in length but the ends as well.
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