Owning a Case Clamp is an essential component to completing your dowel construction cabinet manufacturing process. Like the other machinery involved it allows you to produce more cabinets with less people. The right case clamp helps insure a higher quality squarer cabinet and is much faster and simpler than bar clamping, screwing or biscuits resulting in a more efficiently produced cabinet which means more profit for you. On top of that, your employees will be much happier when they don’t have to deal with constantly adjusting bar clamps or installing screws.
Primarily you want to consider the set-up time and change over time from one cabinet size to another. Obviously the faster the better. UHLING clamps are the fastest on the market. You will also need to factor in capacity requirements (usually considering what sizes you do 80-90% of the time), floor space availability, position of cabinet preferred (laying down or standing up) and ease of use of the clamp. Our HP2000 and HP3000 models require less floor space than any other clamp on the market.
This is primarily a factor of the glue you are using, your method of construction and your handling of the cabinet once it is out of the clamp. There are glues with one minute set up up to 20 minutes and beyond. I use five minutes as a general rule of thumb. If you are hot melting or stapling your backs in the cabinet while the cabinet is in the clamp you can usually remove them quicker. If handling is minimal after clamping, the cabinet can possibly be removed sooner as well. You must know the performance features of the glue you are using to fully answer this question.
This is where set-up comes in. You need to position the opening of the clamp for the size of your cabinet. This is very easy to do on our clamps and only takes a matter of seconds on most of our models. Then the operator will preassemble the cabinet, place it in the clamp and apply the pressure. While that unit is in the clamp, the operator will then either install the back and/or possibly the hardware or preassemble the next unit and cycle them through. If he needs to change to another size this is again quickly and effortlessly accomplished when using a UHLING. Sometimes clamping multiple units of the same size is an option for increased capacity but this has its limits as well once again based on the set-up time of the glue you are using.
This is undoubtedly the most misunderstood concept in clamping cabinets. You do not need top pressure for general cabinet clamping. The reason that it may appear that you need side and top pressure is that the conventional horizontal style case clamp was designed in Europe where the cabinets were laid on their side and conveyed through the production cycle. When a cabinet is laying on its side, the joints are horizontal and the cabinet naturally racks in its non glue cured condition. You need side pressure to justify the cabinet into the corner (squaring it sort of speak), then you need pressure down from the top to close the joints. When we developed the HP3000 case clamp we rotated it 90 degrees to vertical. This reduced floor space requirements and made access to the clamp and the cabinet much easier for the operator. He doesn’t have to bend over all day loading and unloading the clamp. This also made the joints vertical. Therefore, gravity actually justifies the cabinet into the corner creating a 90 degree angle and you only need to apply pressure from the side to close the joints. The only time then that you actually need top and side pressure is if you have vertical partitions in your cabinets. We have an optional top clamping attachment for the HP3000 for these situations or you may want to consider our HP4000 or HP5000 models.
Hopefully the questions answered above give you a good idea on this question. Aside from that, the HP3000 is far and away our most popular model and the best value. Not mentioned above is our custom manufacturing capability which allows you to obtain a clamp that will meet your exact requirements. We also offer our HP9000 fully automated feed through model for large scale applications where the cabinets are not handled by operators.
We generally have the HP2000, HP3000 and HP4000 models in stock. If not, they are usually only one to three weeks out. Custom orders run about four weeks. Our HP5000 and HP9000 models are built to order and delivery is usually six to 12 weeks.