Ekornes, the largest furniture maker in Scandinavia, has selected an EFD Induction mobile ‘Minac’ heating system to braze steel support bars used in sofas. The system, which has been in use by Ekornes since the middle of 2012, is based on a Minac 18/25, meaning the system has a continuous power output of 18 kW and a maximum power output of 25 kW.
For Terje Solgaard, EFD Induction's Sales Manager for Norway, one of the main reasons why companies such as Ekornes opt for a Minac is the productivity of automated induction brazing. ‘Induction heating is unrivalled when it comes to output. Put simply, induction can braze more parts per hour than any alternative process.’
But, adds Solgaard, the real attraction of induction brazing is that it boosts output while simultaneously ensuring consistent, high-quality joints. ‘Indeed, since induction quickly brazes individual work pieces, we can integrate the brazing process into a continuous production flow. And as each work piece is brazed separately and with electronic controls, we can repeat the desired heating cycle with amazing accuracy, and at high speed, too.’
Brazing is a relatively straightforward process that involves using heat to melt a filler metal. This filler is then absorbed by capillary action into two close-fitting pieces of metal. The resulting joint is exceptionally strong, typically being as strong, if not stronger, than the base metals it joins. But unlike welding, brazing preserves the integrity of the base metals by not melting them.
Ekornes currently has seven production centres, six in Norway, one in the US. The company, which has around 1,500 employees, is best known for its Stressless® and Ekornes® brands of sofas and armchairs, and its Svane® range of mattresses.