16 July 2024, 20:14
By Furniture News Jul 07, 2022

MattressTek – automation without boundaries

Machinery specialist MattressTek has come to play a vital role in many UK bedmaking operations. Here, directors Shaun Peel and Michael Birtwistle discuss how British manufacturing has become synonymous with quality, why automation is the way forward, and how the company has made itself a force for growth …

With over 40 years of combined design and engineering experience, mattress machinery manufacturer MattressTek has maintained its positioning as a provider of quality, robust and reliable production lines for the bed industry and beyond.

Innovation and problem-solving are at its core, and this has led to investment in a number of areas in the business – a refreshed website launch, new product updates, workforce expansion and system enhancements are just some of the most recent developments, in addition to the growth of MattressTek’s export operations.

“We have firmly cemented ourselves as one of the leaders in the making of machines for the mattress industry, with our range proving popular with clients and big brands in the UK, US, Mexico, Europe and Australia,” says technical director Shaun Peel.

“British manufacturing means quality, robustness, reliability and innovation. As our machines are designed and built from our site in Lancashire, we can vigorously test and adapt them, where needed, to ensure the most efficient running of our customers’ production lines, and maximisation of the amount of products made. We’re always keen to explore where we can reduce downtime and prevent bottlenecks in the early stages of our assessment of their lines, streamlining production and saving time by speeding up the process.

“There are a whole host of machines needed to help manufacturers make their products – positioning, stuffing, stitching, sewing, unbaling, gluing, turning, flipping, inspecting and packing. Automation is literally the way forward.

“Our machines meet those needs, and allow seamless addition into any existing production lines – many being built bespoke to specific requirements, meaning there is minimal disruption for installation, which is also done by our expert fitters. Automating the production process also helps to deal with the labour lag the industry is currently facing.”

MattressTek’s recently developed machines include its Stacker and Stuffer, as well as 90/180° turning and flipping inspection and straight-line belt-and-roller-driven conveyors. Machines such as the Hot Glue Bridge (pictured), which applies glue and layers of mattress filling components before they are pressed together by the Tamping machine, are also proving popular.

Fellow director Michael Birtwistle says: “We have developed and refined our machines, with regard to the design, hardware and programmable technology, allowing us to adapt them to fit into limited space at factories, as well as incorporating sensors to flag up when material runs out or threads break, for example.”

Backed by its reputation for quality and the fulfilment of repairs, MattressTek’s development has also included the expansion of its team in various areas including fabrication, fitters, installation and electrical, as well as supporting the design and build teams. This has coincided with other internal investments, too, says Michael: “We’ve been able to attract local skilled workers, tripling our workforce over the last two years. Adding to this growth, we’ve invested in internal processes and systems to make it a safe, efficient and enjoyable place to work.

“We’ve also invested in a Material Requirements Planning (MRP) system to streamline, track and plan production and resourcing, which will support the sustained global export of our range. We have aligned our marketing to showcase the full product range and our development, taking on a full-time member of the team.”

Over the past 12 months, MattressTek has been busy refining its online presence and expanding its physical footprint, building a store for fabrication and build, and more. 

Michael concludes: “Although we are busy fulfilling orders of our customers throughout the UK, 70% of our production is exported across the globe, and this spread will continue to grow. Growth has been pretty rapid, attributed to the onboarding of staff members and the development of existing products and processes, along with the introduction and development of new machines. We will continue to export to our customers across the US, Europe, Mexico and the UK, as well as having a presence at bed industry, machinery, automation and manufacturing exhibitions, too.”

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