Wood & Panel

Peter Tuenker

Peter Tuenker

Peter Tuenker, Managing Director, IMA Schelling Group and Todd Atkinson, regional sales manager for the southeast speak on the current phase of woodworking business for IMA Schelling Group USA in conversation with Wood & Panel.


How has been the response to the Machine Trade-In Program?


Peter Tuenker: We have seen a very positive response to our trade in program. Earlier this year we purchased a second building right across from our office that we specifically use for our machine rebuilds. Our European trained craftsmen are rebuilding our machines now for more than 20 years but we felt it was time to take this commitment to the next level by giving our team more space and tools to increase our ability to offer these factory rebuild machines as an alternative to our new machine offerings. We sell more than one machine per month on average and we use this department also as a training ground for our new technicians. We are very happy with the long term results coming from this part of our business.


Experience Edgebanding Excellence. We were actually looking forward to IWF! Can you tell us about the unique features of IMA L12 Edgebaner?


Peter Tuenker: Peter Tuenker: The Novimat Compact L12 is our workhorse machine. It offers the flexibility to process everything from HPL strips to coiled edgebanding material up to 3 mm thickness and solid wood lippings. All of this application flexibility is supported by an electronic set up of the machine which makes the Compact L12 the ideal machine for a multi shift operation with constantly changing edgebanding requirements.


The IMA Novimat Compact R3 Edgebander attracted eyeballs and gained a huge edge on their competition at Cinchkit in Houston, please share your experience.


Peter Tuenker: Cinchkit began with George Hagle’s clear strategic plan for manufacturing, marketing, and supporting complete cabinet refacing packages their customers and has followed this plan precisely. Initially the product offering was 5-piece doors and drawer fronts, with slab doors and drawer fronts introduced in the first half of 2020.

Adhering to their plan to tool up for medium-to-long term manufacturing capabilities from the outset, Cinchkit selected the IMA Novimat Compact R3 edgebander with IMA’s quick-color-change PUR glue application system. This 25 meter/minute 6-coil machine will provide dependably consistent quality, operation, and productivity in the coming years as the volume of Cinchkit’s edgebanded products continues to grow.


COVID-19 has disrupted the ways a company functions! IWF 2020 got cancelled. How are you planning to showcase new launches?


Peter Tuenker: First of all I need to mention that it is our highest priority to keep our employees and customers safe. Our factories in Europe as well as our offices around the globe are engaging with our customers in new ways. We do virtual machine run-offs at the factories and use web meetings instead of physical meetings. We are also in the process of preparing for our first life virtual event with our partner CR Onsrud. In late August you will be able to visit our showroom virtually and watch machine demos and sit in on very informative education sessions concerning our technology or process optimization etc.. This is something that we will take from the current state of the world we live in and continue to build on that in the future.


What are the safety measures you have taken and if you have adopted any alternative ways of doing business to safely ensure staff and customer safety from novel coronavirus spread?


Peter Tuenker: As mentioned before we value the health and well being of our employees and customers over everything else. We – like everybody else – had to adapt to the “new normal” and have limited our physical contacts and kept our physical distance since the start of the pandemic. We are practicing social distancing wherever possible and we have been fortunate to not have anybody working for us infected by the virus. We will continue to do our best to keep it this way.


How is the new normal business scenario affecting the brand? What about the supply chain? How are you addressing the challenges?


Peter Tuenker: Luckily we have long standing relationships with our European vendors which has helped us this year. So far we have not been affected by supply chain shortages and hopefully the worst is behind us.


Digital technology is the only way forward. How far do you think that Technology will help in business transformation?

  Peter Tuenker: This crisis has accelerated the transformation not only of our industry but the world. A lot of the challenges that Covid brought with it like safe distancing, limitations on travel etc. have changed the way we communicate with each other and quite a few of these changes will be permanent. This includes the way our customers and their customers do business, shop, learn about products and services etc. This is definitely one aspect of this pandemic.

Keeping hopes high, this too shall pass soon. But what will be its impact on the global wood manufacturing and plastic composite industry?

  Peter Tuenker: We will definitely deal with the fall out of this pandemic for a while but based on the feedback we are getting from our customers it looks like that we should be back to “normal” by 2021. Our industry is on the verge of becoming a 21st century automated industry. Digitalization and process automation are musts for our industry. A lot of our customers have started this journey but we will need at least another decade before this process is front and center for everybody who wants to compete on a global stage. This also includes small and medium size businesses since new distribution channels are opening up even for smaller companies to compete.

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