Gary Miles of CMC and Boards for Africa's Leroy Robbert with the KDT KS839 beam saw

Gary Miles of CMC and Boards for Africa’s Leroy Robbert with the KDT KS839 beam saw.

Leroy Robbert operates the KDT beam saw at Boards for Africa and, after 18 months, remains amazed at the speed and reliability of the machine he has renamed “fast and furious”. The company has ordered a second KDT beam saw, and the ship is on the way.

Boards For Africa is a family business that started in 2007 and quickly became the first and largest importer of gloss boards and wood-based panels in the Western Cape. Today, PG Bison and Sonae Arauco supply the boards the company supplies and cuts and edges for cabinetry in homes, retail, shop-fitting, hospitality and office spaces.

Robbert recounted his surprise when he fed the first board into the machine. “I put the board in, turned back to the control panel and suddenly, the first component exited the machine, and I had to jump out of the way. Almost overnight our productivity shot up!”

Gary Miles, manager of CMC Woodworking’s Cape Town branch, supplied and installed the 6,5 tonnes heavy-duty KDT KS839 beam saw. “It usually takes a team of people a week to install a beam saw. However, it took two people two and a half days to install the KDT at Boards for Africa in Philippi, Cape Town,” he says.

Miles has worked with a wide range of original equipment woodworking machinery manufacturers over the years. “For the first time in my career, I have not dispatched a technician to deal with mechanical issues,” he comments.

“The beam saw is well designed, and the attention to detail is remarkable. “You would be surprised to find that something as simple as small rollers on the flat-edged infeed table increases productivity. Boards for Africa is saving money because it is quicker and easier to load the boards without damaging them.”

Miles says he occasionally gets a call to assist with a programming error “when Leroy has finger trouble”. Unlike other machines that display an error code to look up in user manuals, the KDT self-diagnoses and presents a picture on the screen indicating the exact location and nature of the problem. “Leroy usually fixes the problem before I arrive.”


The KDT's infeed table edge rollers make manual feeding easy for the operators

The KDT’s infeed table edge rollers make manual feeding easy for the operators.

KDT was established in Guangdong, China, in 2006 and listed on the Shenzhen Main Stock Exchange ten years later. It has registered several patents and developed most Chinese quality standards for the country’s wood processing machines. In 2018 it acquired the Italian CNC woodworking machines manufacturer, Masterwood.

Miles says it is a myth that all Chinese machines are inferior to European machines. “In my opinion, the KDT machines are far superior to any woodworking machine outsourced by Italian manufacturers to India. The beam saw is half the price of most European machines while matching their production. Quick returns on investment (ROI) lets our customers focus on expanding their markets and capacity.”