To put it simply: it was one of the best projects that we have ever completed.
Gunnar Gabrielsen, Fibo AS

With 150,000 islands and more than 25,000 kilometres of coastline, this country knows all there is to know about water. We are talking about Norway. Since 1952, Fibo Group AS has been producing wall panels for installation in wet rooms here in Lyngdal at the southernmost point of the country.

Over the years, a garage operation has developed into a European market leader for wet room panels. Thanks to the patented Aqualock system, these panels (top layer = HPL; core = 9 mm thick birch plywood; back layer = counterbalance laminate) are extremely quick and easy to install. “Our system can be installed around five times faster and up to 60% more cost effective than traditional tiles", Gunnar Gabrielsen, the manager responsible for production in Lyngdal, tells us.

In Scandinavia and the United Kingdom Fibo is already virtually synonymous with first installs and, in particular, with the renovation of wet rooms. Annually, around 75,000 bathrooms are equipped with the system. Over 16 million square metres of wall panels and boards for kitchen walls have been produced in the last ten years. More than 750 different decorative options are available for selection.

Customer information
Designed and manufactured in Norway – the home of wood technology and contemporary Scandinavian styling. Fibo is a leading supplier of high-quality, 100% waterproof wall panels. Our wall systems are easy to install, durable and eco-friendly. The system is tried and tested in wet-rooms and other demanding areas. The panels come with a 25 year warranty so you are guaranteed a result that will last for many years.

Fibo is on track for growth. The renovation market is expanding in the relevant markets. Although Fibo panels have been able to capture market shares at the expense of tiles, they still have a market share of less than 40% compared to that of tiles. This means further growth is possible.

Highly flexible short cycle throughfeed press system supplied by Bürkle

To positively shape these processes at the production facilities in Lyngdal and, simultaneously, optimise the operational material flow, investments have been made in new buildings. At the same time, it was necessary to install a new, highly flexible short cycle throughfeed press system as the centrepiece of panel production. This is where the Freudenstadt-based company Robert Bürkle GmbH comes into play as a system specialist for press technology.

“We have known and admired Bürkle's capabilities in various projects for many years. So it was obvious that we would discuss the press project with them", explains the Fibo management.

Fibo opted for a Bürkle ODW short cycle throughfeed press.

In order to guarantee maximum flexibility, two presses, each 7800 mm long, are positioned parallel to each other. Each press presses up to 3 workpieces per cycle. The press makes it possible to process workpieces with a maximum weight up to of 60 kg, a workpiece thickness of 8 to 15 mm, a length of 2000 to 3050 mm and a width of 1220 to 1300 mm. MDF/HDF panels are used as substrate. For the surface finishing, Fibo uses decorative foil (HPL or CPL as cut-to-size material) with a thickness of 0.4 to 1.2 mm.

Special paper (made from roll) with a paper weight up to 250 g/m2 is used as backing paper. The maximum stacking height for feeding and de-stacking is 1200 mm; operation is possible with or without a protection board. A protection board is generally used during de-stacking. The laminates for surface finishing are always supplied on pallets, (maximum stack height 500 mm), separated before layup, cleaned and aligned for minimum overhang.

The mechanically possible output of the entire system is designed for a cycle time of 8 seconds per workpiece; the press time itself is approx. 30 to 40 seconds. This results in a total output of 400 panels per hour.

Multi circuit hydraulics for individual pressure control

The centrepiece of the system consists of 2 Bürkle "classic" frame-type downstroke ODW short cycle presses. They are equipped with press tables made of solid steel panels with a polished surface and heating ducts drilled from the solid material.

The press is heated with hot water (maximum operating temperature of 130°C). Each press has a total weight of approx. 37,000 kg. The total pressing force is approx. 7,320 kN and the specific pressing pressure is approx. 80 N/cm².

An additional multi-circuit hydraulic system, which can be used to individually control the pressure of the cylinder groups, is installed in order to also work efficiently on presses that are not fully occupied. The entire line is fitted with the BÜRKLE Remote Service System. This means that access to all system elements is ensured at all times for the elimination of any faults.

With the installation of the new press line and the associated gains in quality and flexibility, Fibo has made a big leap forward. A current objective to reduce the stock of finished panels from 7 to just 4 days has already almost been achieved thanks to the gain in flexibility. However, there have been no signs of a slowdown in Lyngdal as yet. This was also made evident, for instance, by the presentation of the Norwegian LEAN enterprise award in 2010, 2013 and 2015. “We are looking to grow further," continues Gabrielsen. To do so, we need systems partners like Bürkle".

Above all, the most impressive aspects of the collaboration with the Freudenstadt-based company were the high personal and professional commitment of the responsible project leader Axel Mayer, the engineering capabilities of the Bürkle engineers behind him and the absolute adherence to schedule with regard to the complex installation of the system in Lyngdal. “To put it simply: it was one of the best projects that we have ever completed", says Gabrielsen in praise of the collaboration.

© 2019 DRW-Verlag Weinbrenner GmbH & Co. KG, HK Holz- und Kunststoffverarbeitung