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The RipTec-cutting process: New ways to machine solid wood

Leitz: A sustainable machining technology for a sustainable working material

The challenge in terms of sustainability:

Wood is the oldest working material in the history of mankind. This is due to its versatility and its excellent constructive features. Moreover, wood is the only renewable resource. It functions as a CO2-reservoir and has excellent insulating values. Therefore solid wood products often are the more sustainable solution in comparison to products of other material. In the last few years, many economic sectors have rediscovered the working material wood — including the modern construction sector. However, the many advantages of solid wood are confronted with one disadvantage: the inhomogeneous, fibrous structure of the working material. A real challenge for the processing.   

The initial situation:

When machining solid wood with conventional cutting procedures, often tear-outs and chippings come up, mainly if the tool knives work against the growth direction of the wood or if they encounter problem areas such as those around knots or annual ring zones. Consequence: solid wood applications cause a high reject rate, or you have to expect expensive manual extra work. In parallel, the tool knives are strongly stressed and wear quickly.

The solution:

On these premises, Leitz has designed the RipTec cutting system.  This involves innovative machining technology, which meets the demands of the structural characteristics of solid wood workpieces. While using the RipTec cutting system, a fine ripple profile is cut into the surface of a workpiece similar to a miniature washboard structure. It can be integrated into various typical solid wood applications. As a procedure to pre-cut during the planing of squared timber and during the profiling of furniture parts or floor panels, it allows an efficient and high quality finish in the second machining step. In the wooden windows business segment, it is used as a patented method of final cutting of the cross grain areas of the frame components, in which cutting quality and durability of the frame corner joint are increased. RipTec is used with different Leitz tooling systems and is used in many industrial companies and workshops.

The sustainable strengths:

Especially in the case of irregular fibre orientation, uncontrolled growth and cross grain machining, RipTec prevents tear-outs and chippings in the wood. By this, product quality, production speed and tool performance are increasing on the one hand. On the other hand, reject and rework are minimized. Even woods of so-called B-quality can be processed by RipTec, precious resources, which couldn't have been used by conventional machining procedures. Thus, the RipTec cutting method makes solid wood processing more efficient and reduces consumption of resources.

The inventors:
Development team under the leadership of Andreas Kisselbach.  Dipl.-Ing. Andreas Kisselbach has worked for the Leitz GmbH & Co.KG in Oberkochen since 1996 and is responsible for Research and Development within the Leitz Group.

Brief profile of the company:

Name: Leitz GmbH & Co. KG
Headquarters: Oberkochen / Germany
Year established: 1876
Employees: 3,300
Solutions: Precision tools and tooling systems for processing of wood and plastics
Internationality: 10 production facilities in Europe, Asia, North and South America, subsidiaries and sales offices in 36 countries, about 160 service centers

Founded in 1876 in Oberkochen, Southern Germany, the Leitz Group is the worldwide leading manufacturer of tools for industrial processing of wood, wood derived materials, plastic and compound materials. The Leitz product spectrum covers the complete range of precision tools for automated machines. In a complete package of advisory services, 3,300 Leitz employees pass on their experience of cutting tools to customers so meeting daily the requirements of a complete problem solver and producing service provider. Leitz products regularly are used in more than 150 countries on earth. By 10 production locations in Europe, Asia and America, Leitz sales companies and -offices in 36 countries, a close net of about 160 service stations with quick-production facilities as well as sales partners, Leitz is represented on all continents.