Bringing the Grain to Life - YU SHYANG Brings Tradition out with Automation
Exhibiting at this year's InterWood Taipei was the old school woodworking veteran Yu Shyang Machine Co., Ltd. This company has been operating for decades, specializing in and veneer panel wide belt sanders, lacquered panel wide belt sanders wide abrasive sanders, sanders for plywood, open sided wide belt sanders, sanding machines for curved slats, pattern edge sanding machines and wide belt planer sanders. Chairman of the company, Mr. Wey Ter-wang, was there in person to exhibit the YCLE Irregular Polishing Machine. He said that this all-new model was his answer to calls in the industry for redefined markets and value-added technology, and it is the culmination of Wey's 40 plus years experience. It has been on the market about eight months. The Set-up The machine was designed for the fine sanding of delicate relief carvings and it reaches recesses as deep as 4 inches. A typical application would be for generally flat pieces that come out of a CNC router or machining center. The workpiece travels through the machine fixed to a vacuum conveyor and passes 6 spindles that can be fit with all types of bristles, be they made of brass, steel, nylon, etc., depending on what material is being processed. Each brush spindle is configured in the machine at a different angle, and they can spin in both forward and backward directions. This allows the bristles to access the minutest of irregular nooks and crannies. In addition are four rotary brushes which mimic the action of a portable floor scrubbing machine. Unlike the brushes that spin vertically, they rotate in differing directions horizontally across the workpiece. Wey pointed out that all brush speeds are adjustable, citing an example as to why this function is appropriate: “Some jobs are more delicate than others, so you want to slow down the processing for that. But also, when you look at the oily properties of a wood like teak, you have to consider that friction generates heat and that will cause the resin in the wood to gum up your brushes.” Efficiency Mr. Wey had a relief carving that was about 3 by 5 feet in size. It was actually finger joined solid wood made of general scrap and varying qualities and hardnesses of wood. He used this sub-standard plank as a way to emphasize that even if you put low grade stock through the machine, the results are still outstanding. The YCLE had the piece sanded and polished in less than three minutes. Looking at general output, the machine can process 15 pieces like that one per hour, or 120 pieces per 8 hour work day. That figure is based on an underestimation by 25%, because he is counting four minutes for the piece that took three minutes. “It is realistic to say,” says Wey, “that this single machine is efficient enough to put 80 workers out of a job.” He further calculated that even if you paid one employee just US$30 a day, your daily wage costs for 80 workers would be $2,400. Over a month that amounts to nearly 50 thousand US dollars, which works out to be more than enough to purchase the machine. From the Old School Mr. Wey comes from the old school of woodworking, where master carvers of treasured solid woods like Taiwanese Elm, Chamfer and Hinoki would spend ages creating reliefs of intricate dragons, calligraphy, scenes in nature and anything else in the realms of spiritual or physical existence. These coveted works of art can often be seen in Taiwanese living rooms, museums and hotel lobbies. Their magnificence captures specific moments in history like a battle along the Great Wall or a misty sunset beyond the cliffs of Guilin. Some of those old masters are still around, and one can find them working their craft in the old alley ways of Sanyi, Taiwan. Regarding the apprentices of these masters, Mr. Wey said that the final sanding and polishing of the relief carvings has been traditionally performed by them. “If you have any idea how much work goes into that process,” says Wey, “I think you will appreciate this new machine I have designed.” The relief carving Mr. Wey put through the machine came out perfectly polished. All surfaces were perfect and the edges meant to be sharp were not rounded over. Mr. Wey pointed out, “The person who would have to sand this particular piece would be at it all day and I guarantee you, he wouldn't show up for work the next day.” Mr. Wey Ter-wang is also a standing director in the Taiwan Woodworking Machinery Association, TWMA.
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